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Next Up: Google Search Algorithm Under Government Control?
Google Algorithm Tweaks Need Government Approval?
has2hands




msg:4170678
 1:23 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

New York Times Editorial:

[nytimes.com...]

A sign of things to come?

First the European Anti-trust Regulators..now New York Times' editorial.....all acknowledge the power of Google and their "self serving" algorithm changes that benefit Google directly...and I have to agree.

Hate to see any government fingers in a private business, but many businesses count on Google serps and now Google is getting into travel field (buying ITA and their flight info).....besides products/insurance/etc.

I am glad to see talk and realization on what is happening right in front of our eyes.

It will be interesting to watch how all this plays out.

 

TheMadScientist




msg:4171596
 3:34 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, but if you read all the details I think they still have an argument...
It's too long for me to try and explain right now, but I might be able to come back to it later...

The short version is: Google is not the originator in the markets they are entering right now; they are trying to compete in new markets.

As far as search goes, I think it's interesting and can see it both ways, which is why I'm asking, because there are a large number of search engines and Google did not prevent them from entering the market place and the fact Bing is right there with them IMO when searching (I actually like their results as well or better since I've switched) there may not be an argument for the technological superiority preventing new competitors from entering the market place, because new competitors have entered the market place as little as a year ago.

Mark_A




msg:4171601
 3:38 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

what the government is looking into, i believe. they want to look under the hood to see whether companies are unfairly being 'demoted'


Well, we do adwords and we work to get to page 1 in the serps also. When / if we get high enough on page 1 the intention is that we switch off the adwords. Pos 9 or 10 is not enough to switch off the adwords.

However it has crossed my mind that google can easily detect that we do adwords on a term and also are starting to rank for it. Will they interfere or will they let us get up on page 1 in the serps, despite that it means they will lose a bit of money.

londrum




msg:4171602
 3:38 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

there are a large number of search engines and Google did not prevent them from entering the market place


but you could say the same about microsoft. they did not 'prevent' netscape from pursuing their browser. they just used their dominant position to promote their own. but they still fell foul of the law.
there is no difference.

However it has crossed my mind that google can easily detect that we do adwords on a term and also are starting to rank for it. Will they interfere or will they let us get up on page 1 in the serps, despite that it means they will lose a bit of money.


i reckon the government is thinking the same thing. whats the harm in them taking a peek under the hood.

[edited by: londrum at 3:41 pm (utc) on Jul 16, 2010]

nethead




msg:4171608
 3:41 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do I smell communism ?

TheMadScientist




msg:4171610
 3:44 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Except they recently penalized (banned?) a section of their own site for cloaking, which means they can make a great argument for 'naturally ranking all sites (pages) including theirs'. They penalized their own stinking website!

It's really easy for them to be able to argue, 'It's determined algorithmically and we don't promote or demote based on a bias.', when they demote their own site when there's something they would demote another site for, isn't it?

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 3:45 pm (utc) on Jul 16, 2010]

Mark_A




msg:4171611
 3:44 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do I smell communism ?


No you smell fair and regulated market operation. There is no such thing as a FREE market.

cien




msg:4171618
 3:48 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Do I smell communism?"

LOL! Nah, just fair play. The latest Wi-fi screw up is just a hint of the evil they can be. I bet that algo. is more corrupt than Bernie Madeoff himself. I mean, what can't be more clear than this? Search for the following words without the asterisks and you'll see Google Base properties ("Shopping Results For ...") at the top (not informational sites):

Dou*gh ro*ller
Convec*tion o*ven
dou*gh shee*ter

That's corruption at its best! There is no way Google can spin that to mean otherwise. The Europeans are going to have a cake day with this. I'm sure the US will follow suit.

[edited by: cien at 3:59 pm (utc) on Jul 16, 2010]

TheMadScientist




msg:4171620
 3:49 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

I bet that algo. is more corrupt than Bernie Madeoff himself.

No way... They do actually have money in the bank! LOL!

londrum




msg:4171632
 4:15 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

remember that we are talking about a company here that has already admitted breaking the law in loads of countries around the world to further their own business.

how many countries are investigating them for breach of privacy laws at the moment?

the australian government describe it as the "single biggest breach of privacy in history".

people are probably grateful to the governments for looking into that. but they've got a problem with their governments looking into this. why? whats the difference?

Reno




msg:4171691
 5:33 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Government intervention is the last thing anyone should want, but the only reason that dangerous notion is even floated is because Google has accumulated WAY too much power & influence. We've been talking about it here almost every day for the past couple years -- now the PTB are starting to see the same thing. Google should be concerned.

How to fight it? Not with regulations, but with competition -- LOTS of it. The EU and/or China and/or the Japanese or any other country could put up some serious money to buy the harddrives, build the datacenters, plus hire the very best programmers and graphic designers -- pay them well and give them a deadline to develop the next generation of search. A kind of "Manhatten Project". The gov could make the final result(s) available through public stock offerings (thus recovering the taxpayers' investment), then walk away and let the private sector do what it does best. The Feds have helped developed all kind of products/technology in the past (just look at all the spin offs from NASA), and they could help with this. If the USA is too broke, then the Chinese or the EU could take the lead. With more competition, it would be unnecessary to enact more clueless regulations or require a breakup of the company -- the market would take care of itself.

If Google had 30% of search, this would be a non-story... and 30% is still a ton of business, so no one need weep for Mr Schmidt & Co.

....................

Demaestro




msg:4171697
 5:35 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

the vast vast majority of people find websites through google


That should be to their credit not a reason to come after them or make them change. The reason the vast majority of people do this that Google does a good job of it. Why mess with that? They got this good and this far on their own.

but when they chuck a big black blanket over your head, that is unfair. you may as well go and jump inside a 100 feet hole.


Not when done indiscriminately. You make it seem as if they choose a few people and bury them intentionally. We are still all subject to the same algo.

Google has become the judge and jury of what is right and wrong in SEO and website promotion.


No, they have become the standard in SEO and website promotion.

They give seminars, they offer insight, they give us tools, they produce videos and blogs. They aren't out to get good people. They deal with such a large volume that some good fish will get caught with the bad, but that shouldn't mean a good fishes demise unless they are too dependent one visitor stream.

but what if you cant get on ANY of those pages, what do you do? you cant rely on other search engines, because they dont deliver enough traffic. but one thing that you can do, like you say, is hand money over to google to get back on page 1 (through AdWords).


Maybe they should look into Yellow Pages too. I think you have to pay for inclusion there as well. 30 years ago, you advertised in Yellow Pages or you didn't, but there weren't a lot of ways to get your phone number out there.

Not sure how this is different. Except Yellow Pages had a bigger market share then Google search.

remember that we are talking about a company here that has already admitted breaking the law in loads of countries around the world to further their own business.


What does that have to do with their search algo being subjected to government scrutiny? They make no secret of the fact that their goal is to further their own business. That is not a bad thing.

but what if you cant get on ANY of those pages, what do you do?


Not call the government looking for them to put me in the top because I can't get there myself.

[edited by: Demaestro at 5:39 pm (utc) on Jul 16, 2010]

WesleyC




msg:4171699
 5:36 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another interesting side effect: if the Google algorithm is forcibly given to the US government, it is no longer a trade secret. The government keeps secrets about as well as Charlie Brown plays baseball. If the government gets their paws on the Google search algorithm, I would bet on at least one new search engine using an algorithm remarkably similar to Google's popping up within a matter of months.

I don't think there's much disagreement here--investigate Google through the legal system if need be. However, forcing them to give up the trade secret that is the key to their success, or setting up an oversight committee, would be incredibly unfair to Google. If the goal of this is to be promoting "fair play", it would fail miserably.

Demaestro




msg:4171701
 5:41 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

people are probably grateful to the governments for looking into that. but they've got a problem with their governments looking into this. why? whats the difference?


Specific laws were being broken, what laws are being broken here?

londrum




msg:4171702
 5:44 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

What does that have to do with their search algo being subjected to government scrutiny?


the government aren't doing it just to stick their thumb in someone else's pie. they are worried about google tweaking the knobs in an unfair way. given that they have already demonstrated a willingness to take an unfair (and illegal) approach when it comes to privacy, its got everything to do with it. google are not a trustworthy company. you have to watch what they do. if you disagree, then plenty of people dont -- like the UK Government, the French government, the Australian government, the Italian government...

netmeg




msg:4171703
 5:45 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google only has life or death power over you if you let it. And if you do, you've already failed. The writing is on the wall and it's just a matter of time.

As long as you have the power of observation and a brain in your head, there are plenty of alternatives.

(I came here expecting to find a lot more people ridiculing the NYT story - big fail on MY part, eh?)

I have huge massive problems with Google in some areas - go visit the AdWords forum, for examples. But I sure can't follow the logic that they need to cede control over what shows up in their properties to the government (or any other entity, for that matter)

I'm with incrediBILL. People need to get over their entitlement issues. The market and Google's own mistakes will take care of Google.

but what if you cant get on ANY of those pages, what do you do?


Get better at it. And if you can't, hire someone who is. The responsibility is yours, not Google's.

Demaestro




msg:4171792
 8:26 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

given that they have already demonstrated a willingness to take an unfair (and illegal) approach when it comes to privacy


Illegal in some jurisdictions yes, in others no. In Canada for example what google did with the open wifi would not be illegal.

I still don't see how you relate them being unfair when it comes to privacy and governement intervention in a search results algo.

Are you suggesting that the Google search algo is a privacy concern?

Lots of companies have been charged with all sorts of stuff, that is no reason to take control over an area that they are not breaking any laws in.

You still haven't explained how the government would make the search algo more fair.

If like you said someone can't make the front page how does the gov make that better? Do you donate to their campaign fund to get a top spot? I fail to see how the government would address or resolve any of the issues you raised.

What is wrong with Google search that the gov would solve? How would the gov solve the issues you raised.

No analogies, no pointing out other areas they have been wrong on. Cite a law the Google search algo has breached. Cite a way that the gov could make a site rank well where it wouldn't have if they didn't intervene. And if they do intervene and give away a top spot to a site, at who's expense? You move someone in to the top ten you have to move someone out.

I am not anti gov but I don't see what solution to your problems they could offer.

cien




msg:4171812
 8:53 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Demaestro, simple. Get rid of the self-serving part of the algo. playing fair. Stop abusing their power. The point is Google has violated the law before and it's no Virgin Mary. Privacy laws violations have nothing to do with what currently Google is doing with search. It just means Google can't be trusted with what they are doing now with search. There is plenty of evidence that Google is abusing their power. Example, Google Maps, Universal Search, Google Base, etc. They can't be trusted. Government should intervene and put some regulations in place, not examine the algo.

Demaestro




msg:4171838
 9:41 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Get rid of the self-serving part of the algo.


Sorry but what is the self-serving part of the algo?

Stop abusing their power.


In what way is the algo an abuse of power?

The point is Google has violated the law before and it's no Virgin Mary.


Yes I caught that part. I am still unclear what this has to do with their algo. I could say the same thing about M$. Shouldn't their search algo then also be under government scrutiny and subject to government intervention?

There is plenty of evidence that Google is abusing their power.... Google Maps, Universal Search, Google Base.


What power are they abusing? What power do you think Google has that the rest of us don't have?

I am being sincere, Can you point to a specific law that is being broken? Can you tell me what power they have been given that they are abusing?

They can't be trusted. Government should intervene and put some regulations in place, not examine the algo.


So if something or someone can't be trusted Government should intervene. Curious thing to say when most politicians can't be trusted either.

I am not saying you can trust Google, but I still don't see what trust has to do with gov intervention.

What companies do you trust? I can think of 1000s of companies I don't trust. I don't want gov intervening on any of them because from my experience being deemed not trustworthy is not a reason to have gov in your business.

They can't be trusted. Government should intervene and put some regulations in place, not examine the algo.


You are saying the gov shouldn't examine the algo? But they should intervene you are aware the title of the thread is ..... "Google Search Algorithm Under Government Control"

Do you really think that anything Google has done warrants "Government Control" of their algo?

MadMaximum




msg:4172007
 7:06 am on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

However it has crossed my mind that google can easily detect that we do adwords on a term and also are starting to rank for it. Will they interfere or will they let us get up on page 1 in the serps, despite that it means they will lose a bit of money.


This has already happened according to a post I read awile ago on another SEO forum.

Original article I found:

"To start this post off, here is a bit of information about the site in question, keep these figures in mind as you read the post. As of today my website is a Six year old website, PR5, 10k+ links in site explorer, 44k pages, no ads or outbound links.
Currently I have a love hate relationship with big G, one, I have done very well financially with them, two, it seems they have capped me unless I spend more money.
Your probably wondering about that last statement, let me clarify. Itís been a very long road reading forums like this and learning SEO and link building to get the site to the level it sits at today. But there have been some very strange oddities along the way.

Our company spends upwards of 45k monthly with big G on PPC, and we have a full time dedicated account manager from G that is assigned to our account. This traffic is completely separate from the 20k uniques the site gets organically.

I have many pages throughout the site I can use for this example, but Iíll just stick to one since it has been the most obvious example of what Iím about to chat about.

The keyword in question is about a 1k to 2k a month keyword in terms of my spend in PPC. So I wrote a monster article on this subject and keyword, keep in mind this was about 3 years ago and I dropped it on the site, it was indexed within a day or so and showed up at about page 18, and so the game begins.

So whats the next step, can anyone guess? We throw some links at it right? We want to start pushing it up. I started out with a well written article on the subject and submitted to ezine and got a few blog posts done on high PR blogs related to the niche. These were indexed right away and showed up on site explorer and in webmaster tools within a week or so, and I made massive movement, a jump of about 10 pages, landed somewhere mid page 8. So I continued to build links to this page, keep in mind that this took place over a month or two may be even three (long time ago hard to remember).

Another major jump, now we are sitting mid to high page two and traffic is starting to come in on this keyword organically. Guess what happens next? after a month or two of sitting at the top of page two, I notice when I log into webmaster tools that the links are dropping and its happening fast, they are still there in site explorer and I can go to all the pages and still see the blog posts, articles, forum links, etc, everything is still there, What is going on why are they vanishing out of webmaster tools?
So inside of about a week I only have about 2 or 3 links left in webmaster tools, ezine and a blog post or two.

Guess where my ranking on G went, page 10. Iím like, "what the heck just happened here."

And keep in mind itís in the top 5 on yahoo and bing. So it didnít happen with those guys just G. So I start the process again, get it to about page 2 and bam links vanish from webmaster tools and I drop. As of today I am on the forth round of this process over a 3 year time period and currently sitting on page 7 for the keyword, and Im sure the same thing will happen again when I get to high of ranking again. Now many people talk of big G like itís some God in the sky watching over all our sites, well I donít think this way, itís a bot nuthin more. But my situation is a bit different then most.

So back to the article that I wrote about earlier, could it be links are being discounted so I donít rank to high for this keyword, remember I have dozens of examples of this but Im just using this one article for our example here.

My thought, and Iíd like to hear from the experts here on what I might be missing.

Three Points

1) Someone is evil at G and is nuking, discounting, or whatever, the links so I donít rank to high, as seen by watching links vanish off webmaster tools and the ranking drops, thus keeping me spending the heavy doe rae me on adwords. If so, ok fine! Iím making out great any way, and shouldnít waste my time on building links for these keys anymore.

2) Something Iím doing? And who ever is watching over me at G doesnít like it.

3) Cry baby competitors, everytime I make a run for the top the competitors for these keys start to cry like little babys and log into webmaster tools and report me. Although all my links are legit, what the heck is wrong with a article or blog post anyhow.

Iím starting to think the whole ďDo no EvilĒ thing of Big G is a bunch of BS, because anytime you get money involved and a person stands to gain and someone else can take that away (like me by ranking higher organically) then they will do evil.

Your thoughts opinions and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for your time... "

There you have it, so things like this have happened to people in the past. No way this guy could ever prove it though, interesting read I thought.

johnmoose




msg:4172044
 11:40 am on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

If Google can ruin your business YOU give Google too much power, IMO.

Your Business is really not Google's problem.
It's not the person you're competing with's problem either.
It's your problem and you need to find a way to solve it.
Find a better way.
Make a better plan.

We had businesses before Google, have businesses now and will continue to have businesses with or without Google.


I'll second that!

WebPixie




msg:4172210
 11:17 pm on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google's organic results are sold as unmodified data that is the result of G's impartial search algo.

Can anyone here state with 100% conviction that Google in no way adjusts their search results to favor their own products or demote the rankings of competitive products?

I doubt anyone can, because no one outside of G's inner circle knows. That's the issue. It's not possible for any outsider to know if/when G is being deceptive. If G came out and said "We collect data and adjust it based on our own interests and whims." then okay. But when they sell their results are pure and there's no way for anyone to confirm this, it's an issue.

moTi




msg:4172237
 1:56 am on Jul 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

that's exactly what also crossed my mind. where does this blind trust in a pr department come from? google sez "our algo always delivers the most relevant results in an unbiased order". it must be true, right?

a monopoly isn't necessarily defined by market share. it is defined by the consequences of market share, namely the potential abuse of market power. well, there are several hints that google is abusing its power.

a) they keep on destroying markets with cross-subsidized own services that have nothing to do with their core business just by prominently promoting them in and around the serps.

b) they bundle search with text advertising, both areas in which they occupy a dominant market position. enriched with extensive analytics, the connection between serp position and adwords spending cries for abuse.

remember: this has nothing to do with entitlement issues in any way - completely different discussion.

Samizdata




msg:4172523
 10:03 pm on Jul 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Can anyone here state with 100% conviction that Google in no way adjusts their search results to favor their own products or demote the rankings of competitive products?

Can anyone here state with 100% conviction that PageRank really exists, that it forms a significant part of the Google algorithm, that there are millions of links to Google-owned properties out there on the web, that many of these are from what are known as "authority" sites, and that this might - in the right hands - enable those properties to rank well in the organic SERPs for relevant search terms?

I doubt anyone can, because no one outside of Google's inner circle really knows.

I would, however, sell my webmaster expertise to Google if they ever felt they needed it.

...

hutcheson




msg:4173102
 11:32 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>there are a large number of search engines and Google did not prevent them from entering the market place


>but you could say the same about microsoft. they did not 'prevent' netscape from pursuing their browser. they just used their dominant position to promote their own. but they still fell foul of the law. there is no difference.

You can certainly say all that. In fact, you just did.

But you'd be lying through your teeth, with forked tongue.

Microsoft, by their dominant position in ONE market (personal computer operating systems) absolutely froze Netscape out of distribution channels. Note that this was not a dominant position in browsers. It was a dominant position in another market. That's illegal tying, and Google has nowhere been accused of that.

The moral (immoral?) equivalent would be if Google told people something like, "if you use Bing ads, you can't access the internet anymore." Or "if you use Expedia reservations, you can't see Google maps anymore." CROSS-tying.





"

jeyKay




msg:4173782
 2:41 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google engineers tweak its supersecret algorithm ó as they do hundreds of times a year ó they can break the business of a Web site that is pushed down the rankings.


Google is the reason for your rankings in the first place. So if their algo makes you lose your rankings, and your business, then ultimately its your fail for having relied on Google too much.

jeyKay




msg:4173786
 2:43 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

and just to add to that - why isnt Yahoo getting hit with antitrust suits? They have way more leisure, entertainment, sports etc. channels..they could easily have a vest interest in given their own sites an edge as well.

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