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Tribune Co. said: GoogleBot Responsible For Damaging News Story
whitenight




msg:3742445
 2:50 am on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

In a statement, Tribune said a 2002 story about United Airlines' bankruptcy was unearthed over the past weekend due to, "The inability of Google's automated search agent 'Googlebot' to differentiate between breaking news and frequently viewed stories on the Web sites of its newspapers."
[marketwatch.com...]

Gasp!

Gbot doesn't follow instructions?! ;)

The Big Boy Traders were all over this during the day, saying the FBI needed to investigate WHO created this situation.
Seems Goog's having a bad week all around...

 

engine




msg:3742850
 4:33 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in a statement: "The claim that the Tribune Company asked Google to stop crawling its newspaper Web sites is untrue."

[online.wsj.com...]

Either way, something needs to be sorted.

whitenight




msg:3742858
 4:46 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

lol i love how the Goog spokesperson answered a question that wasn't asked.

Who said anything about "stop crawling"?!

Tribune's official quote was - ""Despite the company's earlier request and the confusion caused by Googlebot and Google News earlier this week, we believe that Googlebot continues to misclassify stories (emphasis mine)""

As usual, if you want to play with the big boys Goog, it's kinda important to get your act together...

If and when the SEC and UAL investors sue them, I'm sure they will find amply affadavits from webmasters all over the world on Gbot's consistent and willful disregard for following protocols.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:3742861
 4:52 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does the news bot not obey robots.txt or robots meta tags, or content expiry dates?

They seem like valid options to take, as a website owner. You never see anyone complaining about search traffic in general.

whitenight




msg:3742865
 5:00 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

You never see anyone complaining about search traffic in general.

Not a valid argument.

The "news" story was over 3 years old.
Why was GOOGLE NEWS placing it on their updated stories lists?!

That was the problem.
(Such a large problem, the SEC had to stop trading on UAL shares as people were already blogging about it and dumping shares like crazy)

It's all well and good, when Goog make gaffes like this on Mom and Pop's small business blog.
But when you start making errors on this with Fortune 500 stocks, it's GOOG that needs to make the adjustment -- not the other way around.

Lord Majestic




msg:3742870
 5:07 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

So what if it did misclassify stories? Google News is not Reuters or Bloomberg and even those agencies make errors in their news (corrections are sent out frequently), it's like trading stocks using free Googles 15-min delayed NASDAQ quotes and then be unhappy at quality of the free information.

Rugles




msg:3742871
 5:07 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think Google is at fault.

The fault lies with the peole who repeated the story without doing any further research and without checking the dates on the story.

This is the fault of the pack of lemmings on Wall street not thinking, researching or confirming a news story.

rohitj




msg:3742873
 5:13 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Lord Majestic -- Google shows real-time quotes now for the nasdaq. They have been for a few months.

bhartzer




msg:3742874
 5:13 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Have you looked at their Sun Sentinel's robots.txt file?

Upon further investigation, it turns out that the Sun Sentinel's CMS created all sorts of duplicates of the old story, even some without a date, which ultimately indicated to Google News that it was a new story.

Lord Majestic




msg:3742878
 5:17 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Lord Majestic -- Google shows real-time quotes now for the nasdaq. They have been for a few months.

So you will trade stocks using this free (unguaranteed) information? It's crazy stuff in my view. Big problem these days is that people are losing ability to critically analyse information - they run a few searches on Google and take the first matches at their face value. The fact that there was no date on the article was a pretty good clue to at least analyse situation further.

The solution for this stuff is 24h delay on buy/sell share orders, at least this will give some time to think and deal with panics. I am all up to bash Google but in this they are not at fault.

whitenight




msg:3742879
 5:21 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google News is not Reuters or Bloomberg

Wrong, Google News is EXACTLY like reuters and bloomberg WITHOUT THE FACT EDITORS in place.

Google made a HUGE deal out of getting the AP and Reuters news stories direct for Google News so they WOULD NOT HAVE TO REDIRECT VISITORS to the "classic sources".

If Goog wants to be a true NEWS SOURCE, then let them PAY HUMAN BEINGS to ensure "mistakes" don't happen.

... even those agencies make errors in their news (corrections are sent out frequently...

Any HUMAN editor making a mistake this big would also be fired on the spot

Why do you think all the Fund Managers, SEC, etc were asking for FBI investigation?

Lord Majestic




msg:3742880
 5:27 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wrong, Google News is EXACTLY like reuters and bloomberg WITHOUT THE FACT EDITORS in place.

No, it's nothing like it - banks PAY a lot of money for proper Reuters/Bloomberg feeds (not the free stuff you see on their websites), these big amounts of money make those feeds much different from free Google News that is far easier to manipulate than Reuters/Bloomberg.

Why do you think all the Fund Managers, SEC, etc were asking for FBI investigation?

They want to shift responsibility from themselves to somewhere. Current markets have got fundamental problems that make them very easy to manipulate - if all share trades had minimum 24 hour period to buy/sell, then a whole class of manipulations would be taken care of - this would include stock spam emails.

whitenight




msg:3742882
 5:34 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

They want to shift responsibility from themselves to somewhere

This statement makes me wonder if you understand who the SEC is? Or how much money the Fund Managers are working with...

if all share trades had minimum 24 hour period to buy/sell, then a whole class of manipulations would be taken care of - this would include stock spam emails.

This statement makes me wonder if you understand how stocks work.

No "email scam" has EVER caused a major FORTUNE 500 share to lose 85% of it's market capital in 30 minutes.
NOR has it caused the SEC to halt trading on shares.

Demaestro




msg:3742886
 5:44 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think whiteknight hit it on the head.

When one of us has issues with the way Google indexes our pages we take steps to resolve it working with the existing algo and use this experience to take proactive measures to stop it from happening again.

Why is it every time a company with lawyers on staff has issue with how their sites are indexed they take this route of blaming the algo.

I am not saying United Airlines did anything wrong or their site is malformed. I am saying it is up to them to fix it, not the other way around.

Lord Majestic




msg:3742887
 5:47 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

This statement makes me wonder if you understand who the SEC is?

I do know who they are. How many years we had stock spam pumping and dumping those stocks while SEC did nothing? They finally took action this year (or end of the last) and results are good, but the point is that they are pretty useless in general.

No "email scam" has EVER caused a major FORTUNE 500 share to lose 85% of it's market capital in 30 minutes.

Sure, but that was years ago - if you look back 20-30 years you will see that effect of email spam was next to zero. Times change and people are getting used to simple Google/Wikipedia stuff and lose ability to apply critical thinking to what they read - this case clearly illustrates the crazy environment we live in when stocks are traded on the basis of Google News who are not guaranteeing any quality of content whatsoever, they should never be used for stock trades.

P.S. I do know how stocks work - I do have 2 business degrees.

whitenight




msg:3742900
 5:57 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

P.S. I do know how stocks work - I do have 2 business degrees.

Ok, then you also know this story isn't about "the crazy environment we live in when stocks are traded on the basis of Google News"

And it has really nothing to do with "how the market reacts" or "where they get their news from"

It again goes to Goog's responsibility as a "trusted" source. Period.

No one's FORCING Goog to automate everything.
No one's FORCING Goog to even be a News provider.

But there ARE long standing laws in place to ensure ACCURATE information if one claims to be a "news source" as opposed to a goofy editorial service.

GOOGLE NEWS can feel free to put up their "goofy-editorial-not-to-be-considered-as-REAL-news" disclaimer if they want.

OR

they can put the necessary SAFEGUARDS in place to ensure a MAJOR PART of the US economy isn't wiped out in a day, because they don't want to pay human workers to keep their credibility - like every other REAL company.

Either way, the powers that be (which are infinitely larger than Goog's Mickey Mouse success) will continue to be all over this.
Rest assured of that.

walkman




msg:3742903
 6:07 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

this is true. I have seen several reports from the 70' on my "Google alerts." G assumes that they day posted on the web /G saw it is the day published. That's not always the case, especially for archives.

Lord Majestic




msg:3742906
 6:09 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

It again goes to Goog's responsibility as a "trusted" source. Period.

They are not responsible for any mistakes on sites they published - if you search for something and some wrong site comes up, is it Google's responsibility that they got wrong content or whatever? Not at all - legally they are not responsible and would not want to be. Hell, even Reuters/Bloomberg won't pay up losses from wrong info they may send and those guys charge for information they supply a lot of money!

IanKelley




msg:3742914
 6:24 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Who said anything about "stop crawling"?!

From the linked article in your OP:

"Tribune said that for that reason it had asked Google "months ago" to stop using its Googlebot to crawl newspaper Web sites"

without checking the dates on the story.

Exactly, a quick glance at the date right there at the top of the article was all anyone had to do. It's understandable that a lot of people missed it but that doesn't make it Google's fault.

Why do you think all the Fund Managers, SEC, etc were asking for FBI investigation?

Asking and getting are two different things.

lose 85% of it's market capital in 30 minutes.

It recovered almost immediately.

davelms




msg:3742925
 7:00 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

The link provided above states:

...Tribune said a single visit during a low-traffic period early Sunday morning pushed the undated story onto the list of most popular business news of its South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper's Web site...

Emphasis is mine.

Are people saying this statement in the linked article isn't actually true? I haven't read the original article (obviously by my question) and I read elsewhere the article was dated 7th September on it but no year.

Finally, whitenight, you seem on a bit of a crusade, personally dissing other people that take the time to make comment and vilifying Google. Maybe it's all those capital letters and bold bits, but I reckon you need to take a deep breath and relax. It's not like someone's died now is it. The world is still going round...

whitenight




msg:3742930
 7:08 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Finally, whitenight, you seem on a bit of a crusade, personally dissing other people that take the time to make comment and vilifying Google. Maybe it's all those capital letters and bold bits, but I reckon you need to take a deep breath and relax. It's not like someone's died now is it. The world is still going round...

lol, new reader of mine?
CAPS - bold - elipses ... all just my normal way of forum speak.. you'll get used to it. ;) And hopefully catch the major points which are usually hidden beneath the sarcasm, "villifying" and the need to take a breath.

I got a response out of you, so the technique is proven to work. ;)

Now only to get people to understand what's really at stake here.

rogerd




msg:3742937
 7:20 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

A few weeks ago, I was fooled by a Google Alert that resurrected a Newsweek story that was actually a couple of years old. I don't think the story itself had a visible date, though I might have missed it. When you get an Alert about a new article, you kind of assume that it is indeed new. I've learned to be more cautious.

swa66




msg:3742943
 7:24 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Crusades aside:

  • It seems Google indexed a 2002 story: good, if I wanted to research the past of UA, I might want to be able to find it.

  • It seems a real newspaper keeps undated stories on the web for Google to index: bad move, how is anybody (let alone an automated bot) going to find it useful if it's got no date on it ? Do they also publish their paper version without a date on it ?

  • it seems the "blog"-people picked up on the old story (perhaps through the Google indexing, unproven). Well the bloggers should try to be a bit more responsible and check stuff before they perform their thing (I'm leaving out that some/most might have forgotten to reveal their source)

  • It seems the "stock"-people reacted to blogs: it seems stupid to use unverified sources that copy from one another like no other. You cannot verify stories that spread in a viral manner unless you go back to the original source.
    Once the downward trend starts the lemmings will follow and sell. The smart ones will buy when it's low and make a nice profit in the coming days/weeks/month as the stock recuperates and those who sold low realize they were being silly and acting on a panic.

Don't play with money you need on the stock market, you will get hurt.

The rest IMHO a blame game, let's move on.

ergophobe




msg:3742972
 8:10 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>I was fooled by a Google Alert

I've been thinking about turnong off Google alerts because the quality is SO BAD. Overwhelmingly, what I get on my alerts are

- ancient stories that have been sent to me over and over again in alerts.

- "alert spam" if you have watches for mention of domains you own which is basically of the format: spammydomain.tld spammydomain.tld yourdomain.tld spammydomain.tld

I would say that every day a 2+ year-old blog post triggers an alert for me. Age and freshness measures seem to be one of Google's absolute worst things. I think that if someone makes minor changes on the page (as in the "recent articles" sidebar updates) Google sees the whole page and thus the actually story as "new" and fires an alert or, in this case, brings it to the top of the news stories.

techrealm




msg:3742983
 8:20 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I suppose two things are glaring here...

1. Technology will fail. Everyone has so much blind faith in machines they forget to use common sense and look around.

2. A fool and their money are soon parted. If your going to try to pretend you have inside information and then actually trade on it, you deserve to lose your share and some.

ken_b




msg:3742984
 8:22 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Instead of assigning a current date to an undated document (or did I misunderstand that?), couldn't Google just give them a date of "date unknown"?

Otherwise there is plenty of blame to go around in this mess.

Or maybe two dates, Date discovered and Document creation date. Or some such.

Rugles




msg:3743006
 8:50 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

lose 85% of it's market capital in 30 minutes.

It recovered almost immediately.

oh, but there would have beed a ton of losses because people have "stop loss" orders in place, so that when the stock started to plunge there is an automatic sell order in place, these people would have lost money when the stock sold for a loss, for no good reason

on the flip side, some people were able to buy that stock for a fraction of its value before the trading was halted

atlrus




msg:3743064
 9:39 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

This whole story is full of sh$t!

1. One single click ranks a news story in the "most viewed" section of a newspaper website, the section having 5 links only! (that comes to show you how much the S.Florida newspaper is being read or the IT dept. really sux doing its job).

2. They ask Google to stop crawing their websites (for news or in general), yet they don't use the robots.txt to disallow?). If your story is not news, it would still rank high temporarily on Google, if G thinks it's a fresh content.

3.
...by Monday the article became more widely distributed to users of Bloomberg LP, the financial-news service widely watched on Wall Street.
Why?!? Is Bloomberg getting its news from Google News?!? Does Bloomberg verfy the news they send out?!?

4. "Savy investors" sell sock based on rumor-artice (even in its original form and date) from the South Florida newspaper?!?

Sure, it's all Google's fault alright...

Demaestro




msg:3743082
 10:04 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

They asked Google to stop indexing their site? Why didn't I think of that? All this time I have been using robots.txt and even <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">

From now on I will just email them a list of pages I want them to ignore. I am sure that will work.

frontpage




msg:3743141
 1:22 am on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

What is funny is that the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Sentinel still have not updated their robots.txt file to prevent Googlebot spidering their sites.

Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in a statement: "The claim that the Tribune Company asked Google to stop crawling its newspaper Web sites is untrue."

Versus Reality

Current robots.txt files:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /search/
Sitemap: [chicagotribune.com...]

User-agent: *
Disallow: /search/
Sitemap: [sun-sentinel.com...]

This 54 message thread spans 2 pages: 54 ( [1] 2 > >
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