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Senator Rockefeller Warns Google, Microsoft And Yahoo: Dodgy Movers Ar

 10:56 am on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

John D. Rockefeller, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, late on Tuesday sent letters to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo alerting them to how their search engines are being gamed through search engine optimization tactics as part of a wider scam involving moving services, which has seen affected consumers lose personal possessions and pay thousands of dollars above quoted prices to dodgy moving companies that promote one service but deliver another.

The letters — sent to to Matthew Cutts at Google; Shashi Seth, SVP at Yahoo; and Microsoft’s president of online services Qi Lu – note that one of the main ways the moving companies in question are connecting with users in the first place is by “gaming the system”, using tactics such as paid links from thousands of bogus sites, to come up higher in search results for unwitting consumers.



 11:43 am on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why would he write to Yahoo, their search results ( as he ought to know, given the committee he chairs ) are supplied by Microsoft..thus only Microsoft can fix it..( in relation to Yahoo SERPS ) even Yahoo's ads are now supplied via Microsoft's platform, and fed from Microsoft's servers..

Also, if this is currently happening, it makes Google's supposed ( according to them ) "handle" on "paid back links" being caught by their algos and thus "under control" look once again, like the spam team spread FUD that it is..

[edited by: Leosghost at 11:48 am (utc) on Sep 26, 2012]


 11:46 am on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)


Get rid of the dependency on links. Everyone and their pets knows how to link spam these days. But, oh my would that create a massive uproar with webmasters. Massive!

JAB Creations

 12:03 pm on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Leosghost I don't think Mr. Rockefeller specializes in anything web related enough to be aware of that. The fact that any politician is aware that there are three main search engines (even if Yahoo recently stopped being a search engine) is a credit to having a reasonable understanding of the web. That being said I think like anything meaningful in our country the mainstream media sweeps it under the carpet.

- John


 12:05 pm on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

All the ads are A-O-K though!



 2:46 pm on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

So just make the contracts that these doddgy movers use invalid and have the FTC sue them into oblivion and have there incorporation revoked.

Cant John just get his committe to put a bill/motion to this effect before the senate and from wikipedia it appears that you have an equivelent to the 10 Min rule.


 5:58 pm on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Get rid of the dependency on links. Everyone and their pets knows how to link spam these days. But, oh my would that create a massive uproar with webmasters. Massive!

Google is moving away from a dependency on links, they're replacing link dependency with algorithms like "too many ads", "thin content", "value added", etc.

Think about that - they're turning what was decentralized representative voting into centralized authoritarian voting (i.e. you don't rank unless Google likes your content, and no one is above Google).

Instead of fixing the voting process and making sure it isn't rigged, they have imposed marital law.


 10:47 pm on Sep 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even though Yahoo no longer supplies their own results, it makes sense to address these concerns with them. Essentially Yahoo is the customer and they can put pressure on their vendor, Microsoft, to fix their product.

That said, I really hate it when government tries to interfere with the internet - they don't understand it and will just screw it up. If state or local law enforcement sees some way in which a search engine in facilitating crime, they can call the search engine. Do we really need the US Senate to get involved?


 12:32 am on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)


they have imposed marital law

This is what happens when you ask your spouse to proofread. "It looks perfect, honey, go ahead and post it."

their search engines are being gamed through search engine optimization tactics

Nooooo. Search engine optimization? How low can a business stoop?



 12:49 am on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

^ Groan...loooooooooooooool Lucy you crack me up so often, glad you are around (marital vs marshall). Poor Ralph_Slate walked right into Lucy's grip. Dude don't feel bad none of us can escape her wit :)


 12:50 pm on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Dont the Senate have anything better to do, I think google is allowed to do whatever they want, its there business. The senate or who ever, has just not act quick enough, they allowed google to rule the web and now its to late, they can not tell google who can rank for this or that. I dont like the ranking aether, but thats how google like it, so be it, its there SE.


 12:55 pm on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google has become a de-facto credit agency; instead of judging consumers, it judges websites. People trust it as though it is a credit agency, and if Google penalizes you, that can be as bad as a bad credit rating. Google also has a de-facto monopoly on this business, with 75% share in the US and higher in other countries.

Google should be investigated, and eventually regulated.


 1:45 pm on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google also has a de-facto monopoly on this business, with 75% share in the US and higher in other countries.

According to various the logs of various websites that I have access to here in Canada they have about 85% market share. That is really damaging when they start throwing around the weight such as teaming up with a major corporation here and offering free websites for Canadian businesses (so they can sell them advertising afterward) [gybo.ca...] . That has the real potential to put small business web developers out of business. Their monopoly is even bleeding over the border. It's very frustrating that American executive branch regulators aren't reigning them in.


 10:02 pm on Sep 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's almost cute that he's writing to Google to inform them about SEO. I bet they got a laugh out of that. It sounds like some constituents are trying to figure out how this moving scam happened, and they don't quite get it, and they asked him to help, and he didn't really understand it either, but he wrote these letters to make them happy right before elections.

But if I'm right about that, the meta is more interesting than the story. Clearly people are thinking Google screens and gives its approval to sites at the top of the SERPs. There were hints of this in the SOPA inquiries. Both Congress and regular people seem confused about search in general.

That said, expecting the search engines to do something about it is like expecting the Yellow Pages to know real massage parlors from disguised brothels and keep the brothels out of the directory. Isn't this what law enforcement is for?


 4:30 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I find this pretty interesting. It as if Google's serps are being seen as their product in this instance. So, while they may be able to run their SE any way that they want, reading this makes me think that they may be held responsible for the performance of their "recommended" products at some point in some form.

On a side note, I can see this leading to more brand based results.


 5:05 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's what concerns me. If the govt ever does come down on Google, it seems likely it'll be for the wrong things.

But OTOH, Google has never made any effort to educate people on the difference between a directory and a carefully curated listings page... probably because they'd have to admit that anyone can game the SERPs and get to the top, which doesn't sound good to a typical searcher.


 8:54 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

So they address SEO tactics. Is there any mention of these same companies using Adwords to buy position? It comes down to one thing. How long has the website been in business under that owner. If an owner is bad the business will fail. It isn't links, page content etc. I can have a ton of content and then list an item out of stock and what did that do for the web searcher? Nothing but wasted their time. I can have content and the product, but ship poorly or have slow service. Does that help? No. Only age shows the test of time.


 4:50 am on Oct 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Links as a metric in quality is Google's beast to fix, they created it.

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