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As Google Shows More of Its Own Content, More Critics Cry Foul
engine

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Msg#: 4241766 posted 12:59 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

As Google Shows More of Its Own Content, More Critics Cry Foul [online.wsj.com]

Google Inc. increasingly is promoting some of its own content over that of rival websites when users perform an online search, prompting competing sites to cry foul.

The Internet giant is displaying links to its own services—such as local-business information or its Google Health service—above the links to other, non-Google content found by its search engine.

Google, which is developing more content or specialized-search sites in hopes of boosting ad revenue, says that prominently displaying links to them is more useful to Web searchers than just displaying links to sites that rank highly in its search system. But the moves mean Google increasingly is at odds with websites that rely on the search engine for visitors.


Google must feel strongly to defend its position as it has already responded on a blog post.

Google: 'It’s all about the best answers for users' [googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com]
We’ve heard from users and businesses that Place pages are a great way to find local information and reach customers. We’ve also heard from webmasters that Place pages help them reach a broader audience when users click through to learn more.


 

scotland

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 9:32 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wheel - I think you have hit the problem with Google, they have so many teams all competing with each other that I think the changes made to Google Search (that damages most websites that implement Adsense) is done by people that basically have no idea they are going to kill off Google as a business.

I used to dream of having my own little plant nurserty growing heathers and conifers, except it was easier making money on the Internet, now the nursery looks more promising every day!

nmfam



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 9:36 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think you guys are missing the point. Yes they can make money on AdSense but they split the commission with content authors and there's an extra step in between which further reduces revenues.

What if instead you keep the people on your site and don't dilute the traffic value by making them click too many times, give them what they're looking for (a list of restaurants or whatever), and show your own ads there, without having to split them with some "free loader". Not calling you a freeloader but you know... I'm sure that's Google's thought.

As for them (Google) tripping on themselves - this is a very capable bunch of guys. I'm sure they not only know exactly what they're doing - I'm sure they're multivariate testing and tracking the hell out of this on a daily basis. And with revenue driving it all, I'm sure they're not losing site of this due to some bureaucratic short sightedness.

I doubt their sincerity and intentions. I do not doubt their abilities.

jecasc

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 9:52 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

"We built Google for users, not websites, and our goal is to give users answers," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "Sometimes the most useful answer isn't '10 blue links,' but a map for an address query, or a series of images for a query like 'pictures of Egyptian pyramids.' We often provide these results in the form of 'quick answers' at the top of the page, because our users want a quick answer."

Yes, only that usually you scraped those "quick answers" and images from the websites you think are not worth displaying at a top spot. And those websites let your crawlers in with the expectation of getting a spot in the index and then getting visitors and not you stealing their content and thus their revenue.

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 10:03 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I doubt their sincerity and intentions. I do not doubt their abilities. .

Really?

Quick, name two things that make Google money other than adwords.

OK then. Name ONE thing that makes Google money other than adwords.

Quite frankly, if you're basing their competence on their ability to innovate new ways to make money, they should all be fired.

Google's growth is nothing other than organic growth of their search engine traffic and people paying inflated costs for adwords (OK, that's one thing they've done that has increased revenue - squeezing more money out by inflating click costs). Personally I'd be embarrassed by my performance if it was me. I might be filthy stinkin' rich, but I wouldn't be crowing about how innovative I was or all the new things I was doing. Google is still entirely a one trick pony.

These continued changes have NEVER shown themselves to give them more money. They do however provide every opportunity for things to backfire and screw up their existing revenue stream.

5 years ago you were joking if you talked about banning Googlebot. Today, people can and are.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 11:43 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The title is wrong, besides "maps" Google has no content. It has links to places that it has monetized other people's content however. Of course people are crying foul, Google makes BILLIONS per year off other people's content and is "giving back" less and less in the name of Wall St.

We’ve also heard from webmasters that Place pages help them reach a broader audience when users click through to learn more.

Shenanigans, the "audience" is decidedly smaller, as in local small.

albo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 12:27 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has always said, if you don't like their SE, the “competition is just a click away.” (In other words, "Like it or lump it.")

Staffa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 1:49 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

"the competition is just a click away"

I know that very well, I switched to duckduckgo SE about a year ago and haven't looked back since.

Equally, if visitors to my sites via google's generic serps drop below a certain crawl/visitors ratio google bot will be treated like any other useless bot and will be refused entrance to those sites; no crawling without a reasonable return for me.

MWpro

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 6:42 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just changed my homepage to bing.

scotland

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:26 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

When bing / Microsoft can offer a global webmaster advertising programme that is cheaper to advertise on and still provides a good return for the webmaster then Google will be hit where it hurts - and if the Stock Market gets a sniff at that happening then the shares will tumble.

MrFewkes



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 12:03 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

At the end of the day - they built an online search engine and gained success by using our websites.

They are now shoving us to one side.

Its evil - and its a total disgrace.

callivert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 12:35 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

What if instead you keep the people on your site and don't dilute the traffic value by making them click too many times, give them what they're looking for (a list of restaurants or whatever), and show your own ads there, without having to split them with some "free loader". Not calling you a freeloader but you know... I'm sure that's Google's thought.


Well, obviously that's the thinking behind it. However there's a flaw in the plan and that is that they think that some things are free. Nothing is free.
If they promote their own products the google search engine loses just a little bit of quality, because by definition, the number one result isn't the best result. It's like hiring your cousin, who's pretty good, instead of the kick-ass graduate who you never heard of before they responded to your job ad. Your cousin won't hurt the business, not at first, but then you make hiring friends and relatives a habit.
Eventually one day you'll find that your business is second rate and you can't put your finger on what went wrong.

So, the freeloaders are not the independent webmasters. They're just running websites, and an excellent search engine will find the best sites and promote them. The freeloaders are the second-rate Google products that are coasting along on the rich uncle, the Google search engine.

Edge

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 2:20 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

The internet - where everybody is your competitor...

ChanandlerBong

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 3:43 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

we are more powerful than google. If only we realised it and did something about it.

you get even 1-2000 webmaster pledging to ban google through robots.txt on a particular day and you'll start to get movement from mountain view.

Swanny007

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 4:37 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

you get even 1-2000 webmaster pledging to ban google through robots.txt on a particular day and you'll start to get movement from mountain view.

I doubt it, they're very arrogant. Goofle is just something you have to deal with because they're not going away anytime soon.

They still send me lots of organic traffic so I can't complain too much. Once they move into my niche (which they probably will some day), things will change. Aside from blocking them and not using AdSense / Analytics I'm not sure what else I can do.

nmfam



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 5:11 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

> "So, the freeloaders are not the independent webmasters...The freeloaders are the second-rate Google products that are coasting along on the rich uncle, the Google search engine."

Ha! Well, I guess it depends on the kinda site you're running. Plenty of legits sites out there ... but lets see, what was the stat I heard last month? 100,000 new sites enter the AdSense network every MONTH? I'm sure an awful lot of that "content" wouldn't exist if it weren't for expectations they could place in Google's serps and make a few nickels and dimes along the way.

Not saying that's a "freeloading" business model (I do it too), but I can certainly see how Google would see it that way.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 6:53 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

most of those are blogs, i would imagine. how many people sign up to blogger ever month?

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:06 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This has been happening for a while; I don't know why people are complaining now. Wikipedia is tops for everything even though they are not the original source of anything, and Sponsored Links are still at the top of some searches. This is just one more thing to push your content to the bottom.

Google has a business to run and investors to please. Anything they say about "doing what's best for customers" is PR nonsense. They will do what's best for their bottom line. Google has made a fortune off of others content but that market won't last forever as the web is becoming more app driven and closed off. Might as well shift that heavy traffic to Google products while they can.

To all the complainers out there...if your business needs search engines to survive I suggest you start researching other ways to generate traffic flow. Big businesses will be dominating the serps sooner than later.

scooterdude



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:41 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

i remember how i used the web before finding google, brands dominated my thinking, i'd simply type in the exact known url, or add dot.com to the company i was looking for

thats how i expected to make money online, then someone introduced me to google, and another mentioned SEO,,,,

Sadly, before I did much good with SE traffic, seems like Googfle's taking its ball away :)

back to the future heh :)

nmfam



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:53 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree - the Google gravy train was a blip in time and we're all seeing the door closing now. Its back to having to build a brand based on time-tested basics. Build a brand. Get a good reputation. Spread the word. I wonder how many SEO professionals convert into Social marketing professionals in the next 5 years. :P

nmfam



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:55 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh and by the way - regarding the point earlier as to naming 2 things Google has done that have made any money other than AdSense...I think that misses the point. Look at the DEEP investments G is making. It all seems like silly little functionalities if you're too close to it. Take a step back and look at the early steps they're taking to sew it all together with Chrome and Android. Do you really think their plan is to create a bunch of one off income streams? Or are they taking more from the Microsoft playbook? ;-)

If you take this bigger perspective and look 10 years out, it seems quite foolish to rely upon Google for free traffic as the sole basis on one's marketing plan, me thinks.

Hugene

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 9:42 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This Pages think affects me directly as my main site provides info about the same stuff that Pages does. When I 1st saw Pages, I wasn't too happy.

But let's analyze what the Pages function really is:
1) It is a bunch of outside links results (not to google's sites) arranged in a different way, above the traditional SERP.
Basically Pages is a sub-division of the SERPs, with some new SERPs.

2) It's is the "Place page" link and the actual "Place page" webpage. Now this is a bit of a problem. This is Google content.

Basically, whereas before on a search for "Blue Widgets" Google would return a page that lists the "Blue Widgets" as top SE result, today Google will first try to list the "Blue Widgets" itself.

This is fair game if the blue widgets listed are link to the actual widgets sites. But if the links are to someone else's reviews of this blue widgets, then we have a problem, because someone else worked to create these reviews, with the hopes of having people browse around on their site to read about the widgets.

The Place Page kind of does this unfair action of aggregating other' people's reviews. This is bad because it cuts your traffic and allows it just to trickle down to the actual single review.

Yet the aggregated reviews on Place Page are only snippets, so you need to actually visit the review to read the whole thing.

Basically, all this to say that to me Place Pages are threading on very thin eggs shells. Anyways, I don't see them as content, I see them more as an "application". In the traditional woprld of web, I think Place Pages are garbage.

But on the smaller mobile screen, with G's technical ability to modify Pages to fit every device, now you might start to understand how G is becoming a publisher of sorts themselves...

wheel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 10:23 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh and by the way - regarding the point earlier as to naming 2 things Google has done that have made any money other than AdSense...I think that misses the point. Look at the DEEP investments G is making. It all seems like silly little functionalities if you're too close to it. Take a step back and look at the early steps they're taking to sew it all together with Chrome and Android. Do you really think their plan is to create a bunch of one off income streams? Or are they taking more from the Microsoft playbook? ;-)

If you take this bigger perspective and look 10 years out, it seems quite foolish to rely upon Google for free traffic as the sole basis on one's marketing plan, me thinks.

I'm not missing the point.You're assuming some sort of devious long term business plan. They simply don't have it.

10 years ago Google sole source of income was Adwords.

Today, 10 years later, Google's sole source of income is Adwords. How's that 'it'll make us money in 10 years' working out so far?

Every single thing they've bought or touched is either worthless in terms of revenue, or they're screwed it up as a monumental failure.

Quite frankly it looks like they're going to continue to make changes to their business model until they find something that will truly f it up for them.

The problem they have now, as noted, is that they're goofing with their underlying business model of adwords. They can screw up everything else, but when you start burning webmasters, you start burning your content, and if they burn their content, there goes their adwords. We're not the only ones relying on Google traffic. Google does too.

EvilSaint

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 2:34 am on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

More people should give Bing a chance, I think that will make Google a bit more aware of the user's needs.

At the moment, it just seems as though Google is just telling people what they should be wanting and liking by giving them sponsored links, map results and place pages before organic results.

What ever happened to choice?

Does this mean that the user focus and traffic importance will move to Page 2 of SERPs on Google? It seems logical since Page 1 is cluttered with not-so-relevant stuff.

I have been using Bing more and more recently and I find it to be much better in terms of the results they deliver. They dont pretend to tell me what I should want...they give me what they've got and let me choose from there...

That's what a Search Engine should be...IMHO ;)

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 1:27 pm on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

More people should give Bing a chance, I think that will make Google a bit more aware of the user's needs.


Do you think Bing will be any different in the long run? ALL search engines are going to go this route eventually.

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 9:50 pm on Dec 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google AdWords prohibits websites whose sole purpose is to drive traffic to another site.

The majority of sites using Adwords in the sectors I work in have the sole purpose of driving traffic to another site. This seems to be reflected in other sectors too.

Therefore, if Google enforces it's own TOS a huge proportion of it's income will disappear.

Are the Google employees who decided on this strategy geniuses, who know something that no-one else does? Or are they flawed idealists who just happened to make a lot of money and achieve a lot of power because, for a while, they were in the right place at the right time?

nmfam



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:01 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

As to the question whether Google gives preferential SERP placements for certain companies ... excellently times article in the NYT:

[nytimes.com...]

scotland

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 12:17 pm on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Following on from nmfam with another newspaper article on nasty G [bit.ly...]

cien

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4241766 posted 7:13 pm on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sooner or later antitrust authorities will step in and I wouldn't be suprised if Google ends up like "Standard Oil", broken up into little pieces.


That's what eventually is going to happen. All the services other than search/adwords/adsense will have to become a separate company or disappear. It's gotten so blatant to the point that even Google itself admits to wrong doing when they say things like,

"prominently displaying links to them is more useful to Web searchers than just displaying links to sites that rank highly in its search system."

I mean, how stupid can they be to say such a thing? That's like daring the J.D. to do something about the anti-competitiveness deal.

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