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Texas opens inquiry into Google search ranking
Google's Internet search rankings under investigation by attorney general
np2003




msg:4196370
 12:54 am on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google Inc.'s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas' attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet's dominant search engine.

The antitrust inquiry disclosed by Google late Friday is just the latest sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as its enters its adolescence. Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage 12 years ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world's most influential businesses with annual revenue approaching $30 billion.

The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its search results to stifle competition.

The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because Google's search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the U.S. and handles even more volume in some parts of the world. That dominance means a website ranking high on the first page of Google's results will likely attract more traffic and generate more revenue, either from ads or merchandise sales.

European regulators already have been investigating complaints alleging that Google has been favoring its own services in its results instead of rival websites.

Several lawsuits filed in the U.S. also have alleged Google's search formula is biased. Google believes Abbott is the first state attorney general to open an antitrust review into the issue.


[google.com...]


Will anything come out of this?

I keep hearing about how Google owes webmasters nothing and how we should be grateful that we're getting traffic for free. Well that might be true years ago but these days, Google has become an uncontrolled monopoly, they have basically become the road authority and GPS provider. If Google decides to shutdown your street then no cars will be able to find you on their GPS and you are toast! How many businesses have gone to the bin from Google manipulating the results?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 1:15 pm (utc) on Sep 4, 2010]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]

 

Stefan




msg:4196946
 11:23 pm on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Those who can not compete blame Google for their failures. That's the bottom line.

I do great in G for most pertinent serps, along with the other SE's. However, when they consistently rank themselves just above me these days on searches of maps (which I sell for fund-raising), while they didn't before they became the supposed online experts on maps, I see it as cheating. Sure, maybe it's just part of their algo, but the algo is created by employees of G, and I don't trust them for a minute. And bottom-line, I have much better GIS data than them, so they shouldn't be on top anyway. Their stuff is crap if you know anything about it.

cien




msg:4196960
 12:53 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not only Google Maps. Also, ole Google Base and Adwords at the top of the organic listings. Google Base (I think it's called Google Merchant now) listings is what is going to can Google, then Google Maps. Anti-competitive behavior can't be more clear than those. Google commands more than 60% of the search market so they are screwed. The ball is rolling so soon you'll hear from a lot of attorney generals.

tedster




msg:4196966
 1:15 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the inquiry phase is over. Google is being sued now. [jumpinternetmarketing.com...]

I don't think that's the case - it's just inaccurate reporting. The only link the article offers as a resource is the Yahoo News coverage of the inquiry.

It is not responsible reporting to say an "inquiry" is the same as "being sued". Sorry if anyone here is affiliated with JumpMarketing, but I'm calling it like it I see it. There's too much tendency to run for the pitchforks and torches as it is.

graeme_p




msg:4196989
 4:01 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Groklaw has good coverage [groklaw.net ]

Suggesting competitors as a "spelling alternative" is a bit off though init really


How often does that happen? Never seen it myself.

They p!ss me off with the "searches related to" also, which tend to list direct competitors.


Sounds very useful to me, and it promotes competition, which is good for the economy as a whole.

np2003




msg:4197009
 5:58 am on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Elsmarc: Those who can not compete blame Google for their failures. That's the bottom line. Google doesn't owe any person or company a high ranking in their serps for any reason unless the person or company pays for an advertising slot.


Problem is, all the top listed sites have thousands of paid backlinks. If you want to compete with the top spammy sites, you have to participate in black hat actions. Doing that means suicide, because those spammy sites don't care if they get de-listed or penalized, they start a new one. You can't afford to do that with a real company that depends on some natural SEO to supplement your total revenue makeup.

Web_speed




msg:4197138
 12:53 pm on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't owe any person or company a high ranking in their serps for any reason unless the person or company pays for an advertising slot.


But Google owes a logical explanation. The days of mind games are over....the line up of government agencies asking questions (world wide) and requiring satisfactory answers is growing large by the day.

An anti trust is just around the corner. The caffeine update was a can of worms, an Adwords catalyst by design. It left Too many pissed off businesses out there, having to use AdWords just to get rank for their own company name.

I've been saying this all along, with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately Google are abusing their power, it is not going to wash very easy nowadays. They will have to provide good satisfactory answers and fast, or risk a looming anti trust.

graeme_p




msg:4197489
 5:21 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Problem is, all the top listed sites have thousands of paid backlinks. If you want to compete with the top spammy sites, you have to participate in black hat actions.

"All" is an exaggeration. Google do definitely have a problem with paid links and artificial links in some niches. That said, the other search engines suffer from it as well - the last time I looked at a real example in any detail Bing was even worse.
The caffeine update was a can of worms, an Adwords catalyst by design


Evidence? Lots of people are quite happy with, and most people (myself included) have seen no change as a result.

Web_speed




msg:4197519
 7:45 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Lots of people are quite happy with


Lots of people aren't. Mainly businesses, neatly tacked away under local search and no longer showing on the organic serps. I currently manage more then a dozen client brick and mortar business websites...what i am seeing after caffeine is quite disgusting realy. 1st page of the serps is cluttered with various Google services leaving many business owners with no other option but to take Adwords if they want to show again where they used to, for relevant searches (often even for thier own business name).

This thing is no longer a search engine...it's a ppc money making machine.

Web_speed




msg:4197533
 8:00 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

P.S.
Is it only me or did anyone else notice the similarity of thier Google webmaster tools control panel and organic serps clicks and impression reports to thier Adwords control panel, impressions and clicks reports ?

Paid serps anyone(?!)... it's in the makings... why else would they provide webmasters with such detailed (organic serps) impressions and click reports. All part of the master plan IMO.

Drenzul




msg:4198479
 12:42 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even if it isn't shown they are manipulating the search results, it won't result in anything happening. Simple reason is, under US law they can display basically whatever the hell they want. Its called the first admentment and Google have just as much right to it as any other company or individual.

As for Google having a Monopoly, a Monopoly assumes that users are forced to use that single provider for ecomonic or other reasons (IE they are the only ones that have the infrastructure)
Since there is no cost to switch to Bing by definition Google do not have a monopoly, just a large market share as opposed to Microsoft who have basically made themselves a Monopoly by ensuring products designed to run on Windows have no chance of running on any other OS due to things like DirectX blocks e.t.c.

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