>> creative lawyer might be able to argue that Google is not really commenting on sites
A "creative lawyer" apparently talked Bob Massa out of some cash, but didn't sway the judge in this case. :p
I'm sure Google has the right to accept or reject advertising on their own site.
>I'm sure Google has the right to accept or reject advertising on their own site.
Yes they do, and they demonstrated it again last week by refusing to allow Adwords from a lady wanting to highlight problems with a UK electrical store.
The issue I see is that Google promotes the fact that their SERPs are mathematically based and not subject to human influence. This is plainly not true, they even admitted it in the documents submitted for the SK case.
Is it not time Google came clean and adjusted Google.com to reflect the fact that Google results are not totally mathematically based and are subject to "human" intervention? In fact they are just an opinion of Google, Inc. and should be taken in that light?
It really is very basic IMHO...Google did what they did to protect their bottom-line and SK sued to try and hold on to their bottom-line. Two things were basically accomplished from this lawsuit, two companies have now been more exposed to where their motivations truly are and many eyes have now been opened on both accounts. This decision brings to and end months of speculation and rhetoric. Google will continue to do what they do, perhaps with a little more confidence, and SK will continue to look for that magical key that opens the Internet door. There are no winners here...but are there losers? Only time will tell.
I think if google wipes out SearchKing and in turn punishes all their webhosting clients for the sins (so-called) of their webhost. Then that would make google guilty of the exact thing they were accused of in the first place.
PageRank is an objective measurement, and it might not be an opinion when it comes out of the algorithm. Once Google decides to adjust it (apply a penalty), that penalty is an opinion.
The process of calculating PageRanks is objective. The subjectivity comes in at two places. First, the outcome strongly depends on the input data. The set of pages crawled in each update cycle is different and selected subjectively (for all we know it could be selected at random). This means that the exact PageRank of a specific page will never be the same from one month to the next, despite the objective and reproducible process. And second, those "naturally" oscillating results can still be tweaked manually after they have been calculated, adding yet another layer of subjectivity.
The court was confused about the finer distinctions between PageRank and SERP rankings. But that distinction is really irrelevant for the train of thought applied. The accepted arguments and their logical conclusions will be very hard to turn around by anyone trying to file a similar suit in the future.
A while ago, Danny Sullivan proposed using the term "editorial results" to classify SERPs as opposed to the media-popular term "algorithmic results". The latter implies an overall objectivity that in reality just isn't there. Yet. ;-) [BTW, this applies to other se's such as ATW, Teoma, etc. and not just Google.]
roundabout's point about providing access to info and not simply commenting on content or pages- is well taken. It's one thing to claim protection for editorial speech. It will be another thing if Google's popularity continues to dominate and further shortcomings of its algo are revealed to cause harm. [unlikely but possible]
Take the case of media consolidation to the extreme... if all our radio stations or all the presses tend to be controlled by a very few number of entities (1-3 conglomerates) and they have very particular guidelines of what constitutes "news" and what issues they won't publish or release (or get buried somewhere), there are legitimate concerns of harm. It's the whole control the data, control the flow of knowledge thing...
Most of us here already have access to other sources online or elsewhere. However, I'm positive we don't represent Joe or Jane Q. Citizen. And to be fair, other search engine industry watchers aren't too concerned about the Google thing because they believe the competition will keep Google honest. We'll see.
|The latter implies an overall objectivity that in reality just isn't there. |
I completely disagree. People understand that an algorithm doesn't just write itself, and as such, every single algo will reflect the innate biases of its coder. The algorithm is 100% objective in applying and ranking sites based on these biases. As such the term "algorithmic results" is about as accurate as you can get.
My point here isn't that the algorithm isn't objective- but that the rankings aren't. The two shouldn't be equated. Google has already acknowledged human tweaking of results (SearchKing isn't the only case). The human "adjustments" are more publicly visible when weaknesses of the algorithm raise discussion online- e.g. the case with that town in England.
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