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




msg:4241768
 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.


 

wheel




msg:4241776
 1:39 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Fair enough. As Google shows more of it's own information, they provide less value (traffic) to other websites. That lowers the motivation for other websites to provide their content for Google's use.

And that means people are going to be more prone to blocking Google's bot. Trip advisor seems to have just done this. I'm considering blocking the Google bot from many thousands of pages of unique content that I own as well. I haven't yet, but expect I likely will in the next year or two. They don't provide value for my commercial content, they don't get the non-commercial content.

maximillianos




msg:4241784
 2:40 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

As long as they hold a majority share if search traffic, I will key them include my pages. Heck, if if thy become a minority I will still probably let them include my pages.

What advantage would one gain from not allowing G to send free traffic to their site? I don't understand that perspective. I want as many traffic sources as possible. G is just a traffic source.

jecasc




msg:4241785
 2:40 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I doubt that what they are doing is a clever strategy. To push all their services and applications into their SERPS in front of competitors.

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.

4serendipity




msg:4241789
 2:52 pm on Dec 13, 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.


And I'm not sure that this wouldn't be a bad thing.

wheel




msg:4241790
 2:52 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

What advantage would one gain from not allowing G to send free traffic to their site? I don't understand that perspective. I want as many traffic sources as possible. G is just a traffic source.

They provide me traffic. I provide them content.

However there is a cost. For example:
- bandwidth from the Google bot.
- spammers scraping my site for nefarious activities find my site in Google.
- scrapers scraping my site find my site in Google.

All three of those use up substantial bandwidth and server resources and the last two cause serious problems. All can be remedied by blocking Googlebot.

Right now, the traffic is a net positive. As they drive less traffic, the above negatives start to outweigh the positives - there is a tipping point. And in commercial sectors they are driving hard towards that point. As I noted, I saw a serp recently where the first organic position was like down in spot 8 - way below the fold.

I am looking at a new server probably in the next year. If I blocked Google and the scrapers that find me in Google, I can probably defer or delay that server purchase indefinitely.

It's not something you'll see "yet" in all sectors, but it's definitely happening in some commercial niches.

Blocking Google is definitely starting to become something I'm considering.

walrus




msg:4241800
 3:14 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

smells funny as usual, at least since it went corporate

trillianjedi




msg:4241801
 3:17 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Right now, the traffic is a net positive. As they drive less traffic, the above negatives start to outweigh the positives - there is a tipping point


For me, this sums it up nicely in a nutshell.

I would imagine, although I have no hard statistics on this, that the number of non-competing websites is far higher than the number of competing websites, and therefore the net positive wouldn't tip for quite a while, and in any event only for a relatively select few ?

It's not something you'll see "yet" in all sectors, but it's definitely happening in some commercial niches.


As long as that "some" doesn't become "many" I would think Google has nothing to worry about for quite some time yet.

engine




msg:4241802
 3:21 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with that, TJ.

The next question becomes, is Google a media company or a search engine? I think we've known for a long time that it is becoming a media company.

maximillianos




msg:4241805
 3:28 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

They provide me traffic. I provide them content.

However there is a cost. For example:
- bandwidth from the Google bot.
- spammers scraping my site for nefarious activities find my site in Google.
- scrapers scraping my site find my site in Google.


I guess I still don't understand. I think of it as a channel to expose my content to a larger audience. I'm not giving them my content. When a company advertises in a commercial during the superbowl, they are not giving their product to the broadcasting station, they are exposing their product to millions for obvious reasons. The broadcasting stations is a channel used to get exposure. Just like Google is a channel. One of hundreds.

This list of cost items seems unrelated to Google. They are general issues with any site regardless of Google. Blocking Googlebot is not going to stop scrapers. If you have a link to your site from another site, scrapers will find you.

You can control bandwidth usage from search bots through configuration.

I just don't see the benefit. I mean, Bing probably sends you a lot less traffic, so does that mean they are a net negative for you and you are blocking them?

scooterdude




msg:4241810
 3:32 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

A significant part of google success lies in not needing to pay for advertising thus far

They've obliged me to learn a truth that i only previously had a theoretical understanding off, the importance of drivers

An i don't think Google is cut out to be a media company, its alien to their corporate culture, IMHO :)

frontpage




msg:4241811
 3:35 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

So much for Google claims of not editing search results and relying only on natural search algorithms.

I mentioned Google hand editing results to artificially inject its own E-book commerce links.

[webmasterworld.com...]

steve40




msg:4241816
 3:55 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I suspect if they continue to increase own property results they may be seen over a period of time as a portal by searchers which could well mean a new "Search Engine" that is not a portal for other company properties could catch on very quickly with real users,

I always felt that Google Maps / Places at the top of local search results was a positive for real searchers by providing direct links to local businesses, but when it just takes the searcher to another Google property ( Place page ), users could well start to become frustrated with the process, the ever increasing need to please shareholders rather than users may well end up being Google's downfall

jwolthuis




msg:4241860
 5:16 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

And I'm not sure that this wouldn't be a bad thing.

I'm not sure that I don't understand your post, not.

wheel




msg:4241877
 5:33 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I guess I still don't understand. I think of it as a channel to expose my content to a larger audience. I'm not giving them my content. When a company advertises in a commercial during the superbowl, they are not giving their product to the broadcasting station, they are exposing their product to millions for obvious reasons. The broadcasting stations is a channel used to get exposure. Just like Google is a channel. One of hundreds.

You're not seeing what's happening. Used to be if you were #1 in the organic, you were maybe #4 after the ads. Now you could be in position 10. Traffic there is garbage. And if you are spot #4, you could be on the second page type of thing. This isn't happening everywhere, but it is happening in many places. The organic rankings are getting shoved off the prime realestate. In other words, some of us are seeing dramatically reduced traffic and quality of traffic from Google as the result of their changes.


This list of cost items seems unrelated to Google. They are general issues with any site regardless of Google. Blocking Googlebot is not going to stop scrapers. If you have a link to your site from another site, scrapers will find you.

Blocking googlebot will stop the scrapers as I believe (perhaps mistakenly) that they find my site in Google, not by following links. If I'm not listed in the serps, then they don't find me to waste my bandwidth and use my processor power.

ebound




msg:4241883
 5:51 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Awesome. Google is turning into Yahoo!

wheel




msg:4241899
 6:09 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

lol. Not much in the way of quality serps, and a #*$!ty directory (dmoz). They're twins!

nmfam




msg:4241900
 6:10 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah- been watching this one for a few months now and they slowly test things own. Very concerning.

My guess is they're wanting to take all the head terms themselves and start to push the search results into the background. Thus, long tail is the only way to survive this change. My guess is they want to do the hotel.com model - we're becoming the "rack rate" offers that they backfill with.

Short term implications I think are terrible for site owners. Long term however, I'm still waiting for the wheel to fall off Google's gateway-to-the-internet wagon ... and my guess is this is the beginning. As they provide less value to users, it opens a door as well as sews the seeds of desire...for alternatives. And in the longer term, it ends up being Google who loses by becoming irrelevant and the entire model changes. My guess - semantic web and contextual relevance replace the antiquated "search" model.

:)

jecasc




msg:4241914
 6:45 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the content they were including were somehow superior to their competitors they might have a case with pushing their own results.

But take a look at Google products search for example. In my eyes this is junk, every other product comparison website is superior to Googles. The only reason I even supply feeds is the inclusion in search results.

outland88




msg:4241916
 6:50 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

What caught my eye.

Mr. Kaufer, adding that he has been negotiating with Google for about two months to try to improve his situation.


Yelp Inc. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has complained about Google's use of Yelp content for Google Place pages and is negotiating with Google over the issue.


As I have said for years it’s who you sit down to lunch with and the “fat cats” have been sitting down with Google for quite a while.

[edited by: outland88 at 7:11 pm (utc) on Dec 13, 2010]

nmfam




msg:4241919
 6:56 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I use to work for one of the countries larger online retailers. Google made visits to our office to meet with our CTO on a semi regular basis. ;-)

MWpro




msg:4241920
 7:01 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Horrible, horrible, horrible.

wheel




msg:4241922
 7:07 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

My guess - semantic web and contextual relevance replace the antiquated "search" model.

There's nothing wrong with regular old serps with adwords. It's a fat cow business model, they could milk it easily for a decade, maybe two with 0 change. Even today, 97% of their income is from that model. 97 percent.

And what are they doing? they keep pushing at it. They're going to push it until it breaks - and when it breaks, it can break fast.

Really, in what business do they take their monopoly positin that is making all of the profits, with no real competitor in site, and keep making substantial changes? You think Microsoft is going to start making these changes to their OS and Office Suite? The idea would be seen as insane, yet Google keeps doing it repeatedly.

I have a book review site in my niche where I personally read and post unbiased reviews of books. You know who beats me in the serps? googlebooks. Puh-leeze. Google's scan of the front 10 pages of the book is better for the visitor than someone in the industry who's read the book and posted an extensive review?

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4241929
 7:18 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

nothing wrong with regular old serps with adwords.


Agree. Are shareholders the only decent reason for them tinkering and milking more?

They are intent on squeezing products into the 'main' search, accessible via the home page and toolbars. Users should be given the choice rather than the 'our cluttered serps customised by our algorithm to suit you' approach.

nmfam




msg:4241930
 7:21 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

They're a public company and expected to provide double-digit growth quarter after quarter. They've set that expectation and now must keep it up. They'll keep pushing til it pops.

As for cash cow business - CPL/CPA can me more lucrative than PPC for some of their head terms, I'm quite sure.

Besides, this is the company that released a tool for site optimization. Should it come as any surprise that they're now tweaking and testing to figure out every possible way they can maximize revnues? They've been doing this on the PPC side for years.

londrum




msg:4241938
 7:40 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

i think it's a bit disingenious google saying it's all about what's best for the users... because if you think about it, if they are saying that their mashed-up scraped info is good for the users, then surely the original info is too -- because it's the same! How can google say that a page of snippets can replace the originals in the serps? it just doesn't make sense.

that is the problem with google's plan. for every piece of useful info they provide, there is always going to be another site that provides a better version -- the original one.

google is turning into one of those clip shows on TV -- like the "100 Greatest Baddies on Telly", or "100 Greatest Romances". It's an okay bit of TV, but it's never going to be a substitute for the originals.

nmfam




msg:4241941
 7:51 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Disingenious? But how's that possible? Their company slogan is "do no evil". :P

scotland




msg:4241943
 7:56 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is killing the traffic to websites created by "professional content webmasters" i.e. with Adsense adverts - so they are destroying the Adwords/Adsense income in my opinion.
Move over Google come on Bing as as Google is confusing the hell out of me, they are probably doing the same with most of their search users.

wheel




msg:4241948
 8:27 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

They're a public company and expected to provide double-digit growth quarter after quarter. They've set that expectation and now must keep it up. They'll keep pushing til it pops.

But that's the irony. What's powering that growth is, was, and continues to be their standard adwords formula. All the other things they do provide exactly 0 noticeable increase in cash. If they'd have stopped 5 years ago and sent everyone home, they'd have grossed just as much, without the expense.

Since they've repeatedly and continually made 0 impact with all their innovations, but are starting to alienate the tech/webmaster community they are starting to run the real risk that these changes cause substantial harm. The risk of harm is severe, the likilihood of profit is slim.

Demaestro




msg:4241963
 9:14 pm on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Blocking googlebot will stop the scrapers as I believe (perhaps mistakenly) that they find my site in Google, not by following links.


Yes but if the tipping point you described occurs then it would mean people were using other search engines and not Google.... meaning that they would still find you by searching somewhere.

I understand where you are coming from but I don't agree that there is a positive to blocking Google other than spite and to feel good about it.

This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58 ( [1] 2 > >
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