| This 165 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 165 ( 1 2 3  5 6 ) > > || |
|Google sued for banning sites - possible class action|
| 12:28 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)|
In an attempt to force Google to reveal information about their ranking method, KinderStart filed a civil complaint against Google and is trying to get class action status in order to represent all sites that Google has banned.
Too early to say if this attempt will make any progress. It is interesting to notice the increasing number of lawsuits against the search engines as the Internet has become mainstream and people better understand the online economics.
| 8:54 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>> All that some of us are asking is that they
>> deal with it. If they don't, then I predict
>> that dis-satisfaction will grow among the
>> base, and as any politician knows, the last
>> thing you want to do is to lose your base.
Sometimes politicians seem to lose sight of who "their base" really is. Sometimes search engine observers do the same thing.
Google's "base" consists of the people who use the site to do searches, not those who create websites.
My widget site is ranked first today for a particular widget-based phrase. There are 100,000 widget sites that could be returned, but mine's at the top. I'm happy because I'm making a lot of widget money; Google's users are happy I offer a good selection and reasonable prices, so they like the results they get at Google. My biggest competitor is unhappy; even though his selection and prices are as good as mine, he's on page two.
Now, if next month those results are switched, he's going to be happy. Google's visitors are still going to be happy -- they're still getting a site returned that meets their needs. The fact is there are over a hundred of us widget sites that could be at the top of the listings and still leave the users happy.
So now I'm unhappy. My income has dropped drastically. Can I blame Google? Not at all -- they're still doing what they're supposed to do, satisfying their base. The fact that they had me at the top of the listings for a few months doesn't mean they owe it to me to always be there. They have no responsibility to protect my income -- that responsibility is all mine.
Fortunately when I started this widget site I kept my real job as a gizmo salesman, so I'm not going to get evicted. And of course I still have two other sites bringing in a little cash -- I have to figure out how to increase my widget site traffic... hmm, or maybe start up my own gizmo site.
Or maybe I should sue Google for infringing on my Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom to tell people about my widgets.
[edited by: JayC at 8:55 pm (utc) on Mar. 19, 2006]
| 8:55 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|the sheer number of pro/anti google threads on this forum proves that at the moment its not possible to survive in the i-world today without being in google, so google is a monopoly |
The sheer number of pro/anti G threads proves nothing more than that there are people who have strong opinions about G.
| 9:27 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
And further more...
They claim that Google dumped them from the index without warning. Really?
If you read the Google site they outline exactly how to stay in the index. There is in fact a paper written by the dynamic duo that outlines it step by step at GREAT length, that goes into much more depth. I have the link to it posted on one of my sites, make reference to it, and explain those steps further.
But, NO, NO, NO do not sticky me for more information on it. I don't have the time for it. Google the topic and find it for yourself, as I did years ago. It is my Google Bible. So, why isn't the bible of every other webmaster, who would like to enjoy FREE traffic from Google? Stupidity.
They HAVE informted the internet on their system, and that is proper warning in my book. If you don't take your business seriously enough to educate yourself, inspite of the material being offered, FREE, that is your fault.
WW is full of whiners who complain they got 'dropped' without warning, everytime a new 'update' is launched and it is all Google's fault....more people who failed to do their homework, research the topic, and understand the document. It is a case of laziness and lack of reading comprehension.
I can go to any of those sites owned by post-update whiners, and almost instantly see why they were 'dropped'. If I can do it, why can't they figure it out? They would rather spend their time on WW whining and blaming others for their own failures.
This only brings this particular site owner's stupidity under the magnifying glass for all to see. Any other business owner stupid enough to join, I hope you get what you deserve. Bankruptcy.
It is like the entire web has been reprogrammed with Jerry Springer Show mentality. All we need now is some hunky bald guys to put people in line.
Nuff said. I am out of here. This topic is a time waster if ever there was one on WW. I can't believe it made page one here.
| 9:28 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
With all due respect, I beg to differ with you on that score, gregbo. Here's that first paragraph:
|"Google fails the test for even the first paragraph of the Wikipedia definition of monopoly." |
Wikipedia then goes on to further define the different characteristics of monopolies:
|A monopoly is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a kind of product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods. |
It also mentions the lack of close substitutes. Although Pepsi can easily sub for Coke, it's not a parallel situation. Most people would agree, Yahoo! and Msft ~presently~ offer nothing resembling any truly effective, equivalent alternatives.
|An efficiency monopoly is one that exists because a firm is satisfying consumer demand so well that profitable competition is extremely challenging. |
Wikipedia does note, however, that
|...subtotal monopolies (for example diamonds or petroleum at present) a single organization controls enough of the supply that even if it limits the quantity, or raises prices, the other suppliers will be unable to make up the difference and take significant amounts of market share. |
That's one hell of an understatement. Again: I would contend that Google currently has the de facto monopoly on search. As with all the blindingly-fast, exponentially rapid morphing of all technology in our era, that monopoly could very well be built on shifting sands, and evaporate tomorrow. Like, if Yahoo! and MSN to actually woke up and got their s* together...
|Whether an industry is a natural monopoly may change over time through the introduction of new technologies. |
Whether or not its de facto monopoly qualifies Google to sit within legal rifle-sights is another story. I'd assume Google's pretty much safe. But I think there's certainly enough to qualify Google as a Monopoly by a great many measures nonetheless.
| 9:43 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Google's "base" consists of the people who use the site to do searches, not those who create websites. |
To continue my tortured analogy for one more brief moment, I would see those folks as the "constituents". The "base" (in my usage) are those people who add the Google search box to websites (their own or their clients), so when visitors do their own searches from those pages, they see Google's results AND see the AdWords -- which as we all know, is a HUGE income source for Google. As I think Miop has been arguing, anyone who includes that search box on their pages is making Google money.
So if that "base" becomes disenfranchised and switches to MSN or any other advertising campaign for their sites, then it will be Google's loss.
And also, I agree when you say:
|They have no responsibility to protect my income -- that responsibility is all mine. |
Again, I am NOT talking about them revealing their algorithm, guaranteeing placement, fixing bad coding, providing SEO services, protecting income, or anything else of the sort. All I am arguing for is to have this powerful, prominent, and essential online company give website owners some basic clue as to why they may end up getting a dramatic drop in their ranking in the very near future *. Just that one piece of information and nothing more. As I said previously, then it is the responsibility of the site owner to do the repairs/modifications, or suffer the consequences.
Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see that as any great sacrifice or expense on Google's part (since they have already completed the indexing/ranking analysis), but it can make a gigantic difference to small online businesses. In fact, that one heads-up could save a business from disaster, which helps the site owner and it helps Google ... a win-win.
* I'm not talking here about going from page 1 to page 2 or even page 3 -- I mean going from page 1 on a Monday to page 100 on Wednesday -- THAT is a dramatic and potentially fatal drop.
| 10:20 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Google's "base" consists of the people who use the site to do searches, not those who create websites. |
Google is now a public company and its base are the
shareholders many of whom are unloading their Google
holdings. Google executives have unloaded an
"enormous" quantiy of their own holdings during the last year.
Where is Google headed? Please don't sugarcoat it!
| 10:24 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|All I am arguing for is to have this powerful, prominent, and essential online company give website owners some basic clue as to why they may end up getting a dramatic drop in their ranking in the very near future |
You're assuming that there's a simple answer in most cases, but there may very well not be. Furthermore, the causes of the drop may not be readily apparent to Google employees, since rankings are determined by complex algorithms.
It's one thing for Google to confirm whether a site has been penalized manually, as Google apparently does now when asked (if we're to believe posts here at Webmaster World). But expecting Google employees to troubleshoot possibly complex reasons for automated changes in a site's rankings strikes me as being unrealistic.
| 11:21 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I have a serious problem of accepting that Google is "free". It is not free for the webmaster, for the user, for Adsense member, and clearly to Adword member.
I think what I need to wrap my mind around are:
a. What is Google getting from a webmaster? How much does it worth to Google?
b. What is a webmaster getting from Google? How much does it worth to the webmaster?
Exclude Adsense/Adword from this equations for a minute. That would create a different relationship.
I think we all have a general concept what is possible with b. We have seen the large monthly numbers from sales because of driven traffic through Google.
What I cannot get straight is the valuation what does it worth to Google?
Google is not free, as many of you have stated. There is a cost associated with it - albeit mostly soft cost.
| 11:59 pm on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I think what is really happening here is very predictable. When a business becomes as large as Google it becomes impossible to appease everybody. People who have become dependent on Google begin to rebel and snap at Google through lawsuits etc. when their livelihood is threatened. A business which began as one emphasizing fair play as Google did will eventually grow in time to become what they disliked most at the beginning, a large unflexible behemoth of a company who has no choice but to penalize people for various reasons. Then things really start going downhill, a new younger company with the vision and flexibility Google once had will rear it's head and successfully challenge Google. Dump your Google stock before this happens. Things which grow as fast as Google has fall back even faster, its just the natural way of things.
| 12:07 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|a. What is Google getting from a webmaster? How much does it worth to Google? |
More accurately, how much does it cost Google in terms of indexing content and playing whack-a-mole with the Webmasters and SEOs who are constantly trying to manipulate its search results?
Maybe Google should introduce PFI for every remotely commercial site that wants to be indexed. Then we'd really hear some shrieking. :-)
| 12:28 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|But expecting Google employees to troubleshoot possibly complex reasons for automated changes in a site's rankings strikes me as being unrealistic. |
Agreed. I am not a software engineer so I may be completely out of my element here. I was assuming -- perhaps incorrectly -- that when the spider goes through a site and sends back the data, that the algorithm would dictate the ranking. I then deduced that the same algorithm would have "flags" that would indicate that a severe drop in ranking was necessary, due to some questionable coding.
Finally, I assumed that such a flag -- found by software, not a human -- could be written out in simple terms for the site owner to see. Again my examples:
Alert ==> Hidden keywords
Alert ==> Inappropriate linking
Alert ==> Illegal redirect, etc etc.
If only humans can do such an analysis, then as you said, it's impossible. But if it can be done automatically by the same programing that is indexing the website, then I'd love to see that sort of basic information available to site owners, either by email (as you suggested) or in the sitemap.xml control panel.
| 12:32 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
<I think what is really happening here is very predictable. When a business becomes as large as Google it becomes impossible to appease everybody. >
I disagree! Microplop manages it (even to an unimagineably massive customer base made of individual computer users as well as companies), as do many many multi-national corporations.
This (Google) kind of thing often happens in big companies with inadequate planning and management. Managers and planners are not computer engineers and vice versa.
| 12:35 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Maybe Google should introduce PFI for every remotely commercial site that wants to be indexed |
An excellent idea!
As long as it comes bundled with better communication and better debug mechanism for webmasters... I would have strongly supported such a move by google.
What we have nowadays, the so called “free” listing surrounded by tons of paid listings is a major conflict of interest for Google, any business half brain is able to see the issues at hand. I see nothing wrong with asking for a crawling/listing fee on the SERPs. I think it will even improve SERPs quality.
| 12:40 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
<Google's "base" consists of the people who use the site to do searches, not those who create websites.>
What would the searchers have to search with no websites? They would have no business!
Surely the base is the product they are 'selling', which is the content of people's websites.
If the searchers were the base, G would charge people to search it, which is how it works with specialist libraries and such. There are law and social services websites that professionals can use for research, but you have to pay to access them as the library pays for the material which gets stored in them.
Here we have a service which is free for searchers and for content providers - we are at least equal partners!
| 12:51 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Alert ==> Hidden keywords
Alert ==> Inappropriate linking
Alert ==> Illegal redirect, etc etc.
Don't think this will ever happen. There are still too many black hat tricks google can not detect, evident by the amount of spam still on the SERPs, (albeit all these recent major updates). Google will not want to reveal what it can and what it can not detect. Not only it will worsen the spam problem, it may even expose them to (many) more creative law suits.
All things being equal, i think that the only real solution is to move into a more mature pay for all system. Pay for adwords and pay for crawling/indexing/reviewing....this would be the only real fair solution to the problems we are facing nowdays. Page rank is dead (and somewhat misleading) because after GOOG it is no longer applied fairly.
[edited by: Web_speed at 1:09 am (utc) on Mar. 20, 2006]
| 12:55 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
<What we have nowadays, the so called “free” listing surrounded by tons of paid listings is a major conflict of interest for Google, >
Exactly. Google is a private company and has no obligation to serve the public interest, neither searchers or webmasters.
However, rather than just leaving the aforementioned as mere profit-fodder, it would be a good thing IMHO (speaking as someone who *hasn't* gone bankrupt - yet!) for us to strike up a proper business relationship with Google and vice versa.
We seem (mutually) to manage the one we have with microsoft ok!
I can see why this might frighten Google away though, i.e. to enter into a contractual relationship with us. They don't even seem to be that good at managing their relationship with Adsense and Adwords users (i.e people who do pay or get paid for their relationship with Google)!
| 1:53 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|All things being equal, i think that the only real solution is to move into a more mature pay for all system. Pay for adwords and pay for crawling/indexing/reviewing....this would be the only real fair solution to the problems we are facing nowdays |
Actually, it would be a terrible solution, because only sites with a profit motive would pay to be listed, and non-commercial pages or pages with little revenue potential would disappear from the SERPs.
My own travel-planning site is a good example of why PFI wouldn't be a good idea: If Google had a PFI scheme, I might have to think carefully before submitting pages that are great for users but produce little revenue. My site would end up being like the printed guidebooks that can't justify the cost of covering destinations or activities that attract only modest numbers of travelers. My predicament would be shared by content publishers all over the Web, and the ultimate losers would be users and, to a lesser degree, Google. That's why I predict that Google will never introduce PFI for the general search index (though it might conceivably introduce PFI for Froogle or other purely commercial indexes).
| 2:24 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Google should file a counter suit and sue them out of existence.
The site is pathetic to start with and it is amazing that they got any traffic at all.
They should also be fined for taking up the courts time with pathetic lawsuits such as this one.
Nothing irritates me more than a pathetic company crying about Google not being fair.
Will give them credit for generating the links to their site but that's it.
Instead of suing Google, they need to fire their current Webmaster.
| 2:37 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Actually, it would be a terrible solution, because only sites with a profit motive would pay to be listed, and non-commercial pages or pages with little revenue potential would disappear from the SERPs. |
Not necessarily. Free listings can still appear on the SERPs for a relevant search query. Domains that pay for crawling/indexing/reviewing will simply be better informed (or better hinted) as to might be wrong with their site. The ones who choose to continue riding the "free" listings will have nothing to complain about if the site tanks.
This system works great (and has worked for ages) in the real world. I see no reason why the internet is any different. Mature is the keyword here.
And as to
|If Google had a PFI scheme, I might have to think carefully before submitting pages that are great for users but produce little revenue. |
Limits can be set to paid accounts, price is per domain (and not per page) with a maximum of x pages crawled etc.
IMO, anything is better then the current childish system we have running now. EFV, you may wake up one morning and notice that your site has disappeared from the SERPs because some jerk added an hijack link to it from a bad neighbourhood. What do you do then? who do you call? how many months will you have to wait it out? why isn’t the site come up, not even for it’s business name?...but hey, it’s a free listing, just eat your hat and watch the grass grow. CHILDISH AT BEST .
| 3:02 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
"Their (Google) introduction of the sitemap.xml control panel was a great help to webmasters and a shining example of how they can be a partner, not an adversary."
The only problem with that theory, Reno, is that there are many webmasters that use google sitemaps, but still are listed in the Supplemental Hell club. So, I don't think Sitemaps is a "shinning example" of how Google is the partner of webmasters.
I would like to encourage G to offer a "shinning example" by helping those that are in the Supplemental Hell with details, instead of a form mail response.
| 3:19 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
"Google should file a counter suit and sue them out of existence. The site is pathetic to start with and it is amazing that they got any traffic at all."
phpdude, you must not have any small children because KinderStart is probably very helpful to a lot of first-time parents.
second, phpdude, just because a company such as google has more money than so many small businesses, such as KinderStart, does not mean that Google does not need to abide by common business ethics. I know for a fact that emails sent to Google asking for a "reason" as to why a site is banned usually results in a form mail response. G should at least give an honest reponse to those types of emails asking for details as to why a site's listings have vanished.
If no one holds G accountable, then webmasters could be in trouble.
| 3:54 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|If no one holds G accountable, then webmasters could be in trouble. |
I agree, this pretty much sums it all.
| 4:21 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Not necessarily. Free listings can still appear on the SERPs for a relevant search query. Domains that pay for crawling/indexing/reviewing will simply be better informed (or better hinted) as to might be wrong with their site. |
Hmmm ... I imagine that noncommercial or low-revenue sites will want to retain high SERPs. Some might even file lawsuits.
IMO, PFI is a reasonable business model ... not as subject to fraud or other illicit manipulation of linking, ranking, etc. However, there is the "dark side" of having sites pushed down in the SERPs simply because they couldn't pay enough, if they could pay at all.
FWIW, in "the real world" noncommercial and low-revenue entities pay for services. Some are able to get discounts; some get tax breaks, etc. How this might play out in the SE world is debatable.
| 4:30 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
What is the "Supplemental Hell club"? I have never heard this term before.
| 4:55 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I'm sorry, but I am just sick and tired of listening to webmasters cry about Google.
If their so into helping kids, whey are they filing a no win lawsuit that just takes a courts time when instead that court could be working on keeping the kids predators behind bars. No instead they have to listen so some idiot company cry about being dropped from Google.
Any competent Webmaster/SEO type person knows what will and will not get you ranked, banned or penalized. It's not rocket science.
If you don't know, then hire somebody who does but don't waste valuable court time filing frivioulous lawsuits against Google because your not knowledgable enough to get your site ranked on your own.
If I was Google, I would nuke their entire site from the index just because they now have to spend money to respond to it.
People need to reread the Google submission area:
|We add and update new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, and we invite you to submit your URL here. We do not add all submitted URLs to our index, and we cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear. |
That is pretty simple to understand.
I don't see anything about we guarantee your site a top listing because it helps kids. The content of the site is not relevent.
| 5:01 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
You can read about the Supplemental (Hell) Club here:
| 5:44 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Thanks Steph_R for the prompt reply. I just read all 18 pages in that thread -- mind numbing stuff that explains a LOT about the aberrant behavior by Google that I've seen at my own sites over the past couple weeks. Had no idea things were so nutz. Time for bed......
| 6:37 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
i love that. sue a company because you are an idiot.
typical for the US.
| 6:45 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
looks like now is the best time for that dream to come true
| 10:09 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I'm sorry, but I am just sick and tired of listening to webmasters cry about Google.>
Fortunately some people (Danny Sullivan for example) thinks we might have a point. Amongst other matters, google are 'reprinting' our material (decided in a court) but decided that caching it was 'fair use' (which I think could be overturned later) and so evidently Google is considered to be responsible in some way for material that it holds. It is not an entirely one-way relationship.
<If their so into helping kids, whey are they filing a no win lawsuit that just takes a courts time when instead that court could be working on keeping the kids predators behind bars.>
Is this a criminal court action then? I'm not familiar with the US justice system - don't they seperate system for civil litigation?
< No instead they have to listen so some idiot company cry about being dropped from Google.>
What do you realistically expect?
<Any competent Webmaster/SEO type person knows what will and will not get you ranked, banned or penalized. It's not rocket science.>
Then how come so many people make a decent living from just that very thing?
<If you don't know, then hire somebody who does but don't waste valuable court time filing frivioulous lawsuits against Google because your not knowledgable enough to get your site ranked on your own.>
The site was ranking very well - evidently they were not as stupid as you might think.
<If I was Google, I would nuke their entire site from the index just because they now have to spend money to respond to it.>
No they don't - they could just open a proper channel of communication with the complainant.
As is it, they will be treated to a 'no comment'.
<People need to reread the Google submission area:
We add and update new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, and we invite you to submit your URL here. We do not add all submitted URLs to our index, and we cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear.
That is pretty simple to understand.
I don't see anything about we guarantee your site a top listing because it helps kids. The content of the site is not relevent. >
I don't think any reasonable webmaster or business would expect a guaranteed top listing (unless they had been daft enough to pay someone large sums of money for getting them a guaranteed top listing).
By the way, when I first started out, I taught myself everything over a period of time - learned to build my own website, do my own photos, run the business etc etc. It took me a long time to realise that the site needed to be optimised to rank anywhere worthwhile, because when I did it I *was* reading the Google webmaster guidelines rather than specialist SEO material. Yes I might have paid someone to do that (or learned about it faster) had I known, but I didn't know until I started to question why I wasn't getting anywhere. I then studied the SEO material and got top rankings - of course there was no mention anywhere that you would need to redirect www to non-www (or vice versa) because one day, one of the SE's you depend on for business might decide that these are two identical sites and apply a penalty. There are no mentions in any SEO material I read at that time which indicated that using a template might cause a duplicate content problem. After two years with top rankings you think you've learned and applied the skills appropriately.
There are many businesses on the net which started this way and I'm sure Google knows this - I'm sure people don't really want them nuked if they think about it, or maybe SE's will come to look like any High Street shopping mall in the Western World.
Also, since I have read many SEO specialists posting here in WW during these tumultuous updates saying that they cannot understand what has happened to their client's websites or what to tell them, I guess that simply being well-versed in SEO is not sufficient.
It seems to me that there are lots of glib comments here about the inability of people to keep their websites afloat, and sometimes, you see the same people later complaining that their site was hit. Now as someone else mentioned, it appears that maybe even G doesn't know why some site rank badly (which also presumably means that they are not sure why some rank so well)
Maybe it is 'rocket science' after all. :)
| 2:41 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)|
heh, it will be possible to sue the entire EU with one file.
how about google coming to you asking for a dividend from the companies you managed to to start thanks to google rankings only? :-)
| This 165 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 165 ( 1 2 3  5 6 ) > > |