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This 190 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 190 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >     
Today's Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google
Understanding Where We Are & Where We are Going
The Shower Scene




msg:3334100
 7:55 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm convinced that today's webmaster is under the Google mindshare spell. Most don't even realize it.

  • Google's Guidelines do not define Ethical SEO
    Many webmasters equate Google's guidelines with "ethical seo." Google's guidelines represent rules that are convenient for Google. Ethics has nothing to do with it. Internet ethics define how you interact with other webmasters and websites, whether you choose to link to a partner with a real link or not, sabotage, and other questions of right and wrong that sometimes are so subjective they can have a thousand right answers. Google's Guidelines are not part of the ethical equation. It's time webmasters corrected their lazy habit of referring to ethics and Google's Guidelines as if they were one and the same.

  • Google has gone beyond user mindshare
    In many ways Google has acquired webmaster mindshare. How else to explain a post by a member who details his aggressive site promotion efforts then asks if it's ethical? Google literally has webmasters brainwashed into thinking that their guidelines defines ethics. When a webmaster as a matter of course refers to violating Google's guidelines as pertaining to ethics, what else can you do but call it what it is: a brainwash.

  • The Google Webmaster Spell
    Today's webmasters have become so under the Google spell that all their energy is focused on Google. The mindshare takeover is so complete they even think the Google Directory is an entity in itself.

    [webmasterworld.com...]

    I have my one site listed in google directory and the link information is wrong there. Could anyone tell me how we can contact the editors and change my link information for my website link in google directory....

  • Google Defines Webmaster Dialogue and Thinking
    Today's webmaster so intellectually lazy they actually believe that the best information is going to come from a heavily moderated Google Groups forum. Today's webmaster confuses helpful information with what is essentially Kool-Aid that is being posted on Matt Cutts blog.

    Do you actually believe the dialogue on a Google Group or a Matt Cutts blog is moderated for anything other than to make webmasters conform to Google's corporate will? On WebmasterWorld, and other forums like DP, SEW, TW, and many others, we are free to discuss every aspect of search marketing. On Matt Cutts blog and the official Google forums you are not. Google controls the dialogue and the outcomes of the discussions. Google and Matt Cutts are not concerned with helping you rank better. They are concerned about the integrity of their algorithm, and making webmasters unpaid partners in protecting Google's algorithm through snitch networks and data mining enterprises like Webmaster Central.

  • Thank you for smoking, have some more kool aid.
    Todays webmaster is so compliant, complacent, and utterly sheep-like they are willingly surrendering highly personal data to Google without understanding how it ultimately benefits Google far more than it benefits them. The toolbar was pretty invasive, but webmaster central is a shameless data grab. Old ladies resist when someone snatches their purse. Todays webmaster lacks the will to resist and the intellect to understand what Google is doing to them. Do you understand the irony of a search for "Webmaster Central [google.com]" leading to several web pages that benefits Google instead of websites that benefit webmasters?

  • Google is taking over and moderating the webmaster discussion
    Google endeavours to control the discussion of Google by limiting it to their own network of blogs and discussion forums. How else to explain the absence of AdSense advisor, GoogleGuy, Adam Lasnik, and AdWords Advisor? ASA didn't even bother to announce the last AdSense weekend update. GoogleGuy is absent on Webmaster Forums except to defend Google at TW or promoting their snitch programs.

    When was the last time GoogleGuy or the other representatives did something on the webmaster forums to help or answer questions? Where have they gone? I will tell you where they are. They are hijacking our dialogue and moderating it on the official Matt Cutts blog and their other Kool-Aid forums. I believe it's a conscious effort to control what you think and gain webmaster mindshare for the benefit of Google.

    Google is the Internet
    Am I the only one who feels it's extraordinary how Google is becoming the arbiter of web ethics, coding practices, and the webmaster dialogue? Do webmasters really want an Internet that is defined and dicated according to what is good for Google?

[edited by: The_Shower_Scene at 8:11 pm (utc) on May 8, 2007]

 

nickg




msg:3334775
 12:18 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I really believe the true intent of google is data acquisition , after all thats where Sergey and Larry started out and yes, all these invasive tools we get for free are part of this data collection process. But I think we flatter ourselves if we think data from webmaster central/analytics as nearly as valuable as their 'customers' data - the 'dumb end user'. So if we all went on google strike - i don't really think it would make a lot of difference.

In terms of how they communicate to the webmaster community, of course they edge their message to suit their needs, but bear in mind those needs do align themselves quite well with web sites, users want. Saying that, we dont see sites made of 100% flash so much now...maybe the web would have been very differet if google were able to properly index a flash site...

I think a lot of the webmaster disquiet is because of fear. Fear that they are beginning to know too much, fear that they will leverage and monopolise what will ultimately be the most important communiction channel the human race will have. 1984 fear in a friendly package.

As has been said before, there are no ethics here, just what ranks and makes you, or them money. The reality is that the webmaster/seo community can moan, but as long as 'dumb end users' love google - we can't turn that tide.

Miamacs




msg:3334792
 12:43 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ethics? In business?
I have my own ethics, and it has nothing to do with rules.
How would abiding the rules get you above the fold... I wonder.

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm white hat all over.
It's just these little red runes on it that I cover with feathers from my wings.

I think of it this way...
Google is not a business partner, it's a year-round contest.
A competition for websites. There's the free version ( search ) and a fee based one ( AdWords ).

...

Adam, you're right.
Shower scene, you're right.
How could that be?

The reason why webmasters are sometimes mad at Google
No it's not the lack of support. It's pobably the promises made intentionally / unintentionally

- Google has a cuddly, friendly, easy to follow, chump-like public image for the sheep of the internet. I bet Internet for Dummies mentions them in its first sentence. So that they can reach most of the people, and that people ( you know, PEOPLE, average IQ around 100 ) understood what they offer. They pat the information hungry searchers and startup websites on the head and tell them everything's gonna be fine, they'll help.

Why do you think it's directed at YOU?

- Google also has advanced tools to allow a hint of mutual benefit. Well, of course it's not laid out in pure black and white ( pun intended ), you have to think for yourself... these are "Webmaster Tools" and not "Webmaster Products". And it works to some extent. Otherwise people'd start posting Yahoo! logos on their sites, Yahoo! search boxes and pretty soon, Yahoo! ads as well. ( Which I will be doing once it pays better. ) But Google has more support, you just have to find it, swallow that bitterness of it being mostly ( not all but mostly ) automated, despite the "herding" campaign which promised university kids from next door.

I use and like Analytics. ( but not the new design )
I use GWT to great extent.
I use Trends, AdWords, AdSense.

I also - have to - use AWstats, Yahoo! site explorer, WordTracker, Overture keyword suggestions, and a lot of other tools. Google isn't my only option, but they're getting better and better. Due to us providing calm feedback.

Each and every one of their tools could be MUCH better, and I do feel that I'm still at loss when it comes to SEO done, and information posted ... compared to the information I get in return. But it's still the best option.

I don't have second thoughts about keeping my privacy, except keeping the accounts for different clients under different usernames.

Come on, stop getting offended because they have two faces, yes they have. One for sheep and one for wolves. They're afraid of wolves.

...

...okay, I'm always angry when I read through Google propaganda, but... only because I'm jealous.

But let's get this straight, it's not the ENGINEERS / Webmaster support people at Google who do this, and they're not the ones you are mad at. It's their PR department and generic image that promised - directly or indireclty, intentionally or just suggesting that - you can make a living off of the Internet without a campaign outside their system ( = being found in Google automagically ).

The discontent is the result of the usual problems.
The need to have a global, politically correct, hard to sue, easy to understand image that SELLS, vs. support for the selected few hundred thousand who don't spam / bite / hijack / code viruses / build crappy sites and mail them things like "Dear Google, why is it that I'm not first for... "

...

We (the Webmasters) were the hands that fed Google. We (the Webmasters) built Google. We (the Webmasters) made Google what it is today. And now we find ourselves in reverse roles, Google are now the hands that feed us Webmasters.

Yeah. Isn't this called pension?
Perhaps this bumper sticker would sell after all... "Google is MY child too"
Honestly, did any of you have a website that was considered popular before Google was around? How much was plenty back in those days? Not that I don't agree with the statement though...

There's an infinite number of possibilities in how to get people on your sites, get bookmarked, your 15 minutes in every other community, stategic relationships, references from media other than the net, or links from your fans, partners... ( Google is about links you know ). And believe it or not, Adam just gave away the ideas you should have had on your own from the first moment... which could get you rank in Google better as well. It's SEO / SEM 101.

glengara




msg:3334794
 12:54 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Most people I "talk to" want to be in rather than out, only time ethics and the G guidelines meet IMO....

ddwebguru




msg:3334797
 12:58 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Fact is that why google and Matt Cutts and Adam Lasnik say all about their secret? It's a game you have to play knowing something or sit out side play ground. In an interview some one ask to Matt - is good pr increase se ranking in google? He did not answer it, just say another topic, so we have to know by research what the SE want - here I think Google like god we know something about their work...

atlrus




msg:3334808
 1:16 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

We (the Webmasters) were the hands that fed Google. We (the Webmasters) built Google. We (the Webmasters) made Google what it is today. And now we find ourselves in reverse roles, Google are now the hands that feed us Webmasters. Our creation has turned on us. Its like a science fiction movie.

That's one of the jewels, but I am surprised it came out of a moderator.

Webmasters did not build Google. Did we build Yahoo and MSN and Ask and the rest of the mediocre search engines around? Of course not. And I don't really see on what your claims are based.

Google actually has respect for the robots.txt, so if you do not want to be listed - just exclude it. Your website will still be operational, and you will stop worrying about being banned - it cannot be any simpler. It's an unwritten agreement which can be broken by EITHER side, anytime.

I am also critical of many things about Google, but to come over here and start bashing webmasters that they obay Google rules is uncalled for and just plain stupid:

When my website ranks at the same spot on Google, MSN and Yahoo, and the last two account for less than 5% of my search engine traffic - it's just ridiculous to even suggest that I am brain-washed by doing my best to keep my good Google position - it's called common sense and a good business decision.

I did not build any of my websites to feed Google, to help Google with content, to help Google improve, to rank on Goolge, etc. and if Google disappears tomorrow - I could give two ****. My customers will continue to exist, my business will continue to operate - I would just get my free traffic from different channels - and that's why Google owes me nothing.

Sorry that you got banned or whatever, but if you want something to change - you need to go and b*tch at MSN and Yahoo for being lousy competitors.

wheel




msg:3334822
 1:40 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>Webmasters did not build Google.
It's commonly assumed that Google's initial success was a result of grassroots promotion from within the technical community.

>>>bashing webmasters that they obay Google rules is uncalled for and just plain stupid:
I don't think he was bashing webmasters that follow Google rules. He's bashing the folks that believe following Googles rules is somehow 'right', 'the only thing to do', or 'ethical'.

>>Google actually has respect for the robots.txt, so if you do not want to be listed - just exclude it.
You can do the same thing with MFA's and scraper sites. If they don't obey that, you can just block their IP's. It's the same thing as Google showing your cache. Sure, you can be proactive to block Google or other scrapers. And if you don't, both will scrape and republish your content in it's entirety. The difference is that some people seem to distinguish Google's practice as being their right, or ethical. It's not, it's simply allowed because we get something in return. That's it, it doesn't make it any different ethically than a standard scraper site. And again, this is an example of the blinders people have on over Google.

If someone scrapes and republishes my content without my explicit permission, isn't that wrong? Of course it is. It's important to make the distinction that Google doesn't have the actual right to do this, we simply allow it because it's a profitable relationship.

And in return, my motivation is to get top ranking to maximize that scraped content. Why would I care about someone's guidelines? I don't - they have every right to set up their guidelines and ban or penalize anyone even arbitrarily. That doesn't mean that anyone is 'unethical' or wrong if they believe they can get top ranking by ignoring the guidelines without getting found out by Google. I didn't ask them to crawl my site. I didn't ask them to rank my site. And I never agreed to any guidelines set out by a company who doesn't have my best interests at heart.

night707




msg:3334829
 1:50 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

We (the Webmasters) were the hands that fed Google. We (the Webmasters) built Google.

Google has done a lot for many webmasters in the past.

At least for my feel, Googles Bourbon update had been THE turning point as since then many quality webmasters had been sandboxed whilst MFA and other junk have been rewarded with tons of cash.

Just wish, that there will be a search engine or directory only for quality sites.

I am certain, that millions of users would like to see that too.

Webwork




msg:3334833
 1:58 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Three Schools of Thought

Google is Everything!

  • Spoken like "the name of god that one does not utter"
  • Entirely rational: It's how (many of) you make (most of) your coin
  • You either sell SEO/SEM services or your web-based revenue thrives or dies based upon your website's position in the SERPs
  • The flavor of the month is aged sites, aged links, trust, link growth pattern analysis, slow and steady redeployment of aged sites. That cat is out of the bag. No doubt the SE engineers are looking for those signals, making the sleuthing and counter-sleuthing game ever more byzantine . . and what to do about all the trashy .edu links . . and what to do about . .
  • Brute force, cunning or?

Google Doesn't Exist!

  • A few true believers shake their heads, look askance, roll their eyes, groan.
  • It's an operating principal not a faux reality.
  • What's the SE's favorite flavor of the month? I don't care.
  • IF Google doesn't exist then I don't plan and/or act and/or design for Google. That doesn't mean I'm ignorant of taxonomy, metas, good descritions and <H>, helpful intersite linking
  • Google exists! Whoopee! I may get traffic. Great! If I don't? I don't miss what I don't count on and I'd rather not count on Google or Yahoo or MSN. Invest SE related revenue into other efforts to gain traffic that will persist when Google again looks the other way.
  • Peace of mind? Yes, one version of it.
  • Outcome? Sustainable business model. Traffic arrives from diverse sources. Diversity is sustainability.
  • The less I care about Google and the more I care about users and accessibility and navigation and diverse sources of traffic the more Google likes me? Is that unreal or is that reality?

Google is a Game!

  • You got game? Ka-ching!

Blue pill or red pill? I'm not sure which one I've taken, but don't wake me. I'm happy with this dream I'm having. ;0)

[edited by: Webwork at 2:22 pm (utc) on May 9, 2007]

aleksl




msg:3334838
 2:08 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

atlrus: When my website ranks at the same spot on Google, MSN and Yahoo, and the last two account for less than 5% of my search engine traffic... and if Google disappears tomorrow - I could give ***

This is a pipe-smoking comment. If MSN and Yahoo bring 5% of your traffic, G brings 95%, and if G disappears tomorrow, you will loose 95% of SE traffic. How is THAT for "I could give ***".

This is precisely on the OP's topic "Todayís Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google", and you, my friend, didn't get it.

Great Original Post. A for-profit corporation CANíT POSSIBLY define ethics. They either make money, or donít. If they donít, they have to lay off people, if they do Ė money has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is people who now have to pay for traffic.

Granted, Google originated a HUGE market, where there was almost none. I refer to web advertising one can argue that there were banners before G...let's not go in there for the moment. But G also want to own that market. Not even dominate - OWN. They no longer have to hide their data mining activities either.

I think I agree with several previous posters - if you make money on the internet, Google is a competitor. Competitor for traffic. We as webmasters and business owners want free or low-cost traffic - from any means. Google also wants free traffic, so they can redirect it through toll booths - their paid channels (Adwords being one). As more and more internet traffic will flow through Google-owned entities, they will be making it increasingly hard to escape the toll booths.

Hence their guidelines, which is nothing more than a toll booth marks. "No doorways" - I don't argue the essence of doorways, but Google doesn't like them not because they are bad for visitors, but because this is a free traffic that escapes. Also, their guideline about "content". The #1 and #2 reasons they need content is so they can put Adsense on it, or scrape it and put Adwords on their SERP pages for related KWs. How is that can be considered "ethical", or even a "webmaster guidelines"?..

Many, many things to consider...

Webwork - Google doesn't exist. Just ask any buddhist. :)

[edit]punctuation[/edit]

[edited by: aleksl at 2:11 pm (utc) on May 9, 2007]

mattg3




msg:3334839
 2:08 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well Google is still better than Yahoo.... charging you $49 per domain... and "ethics" ...

Yahoo or MSN world would be much worse... well if there has to be a monopolist I'd rather have Google, tbh ..

europeforvisitors




msg:3334843
 2:15 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did not build any of my websites to feed Google, to help Google with content, to help Google improve, to rank on Goolge, etc.

My current main site (at its old domain) was drawing readers through Infoseek, Altavista, etc. 18 months before Google was founded, and when I first saw the Google Webmaster guidelines, I thought "Yeah, that's what I'm already doing." As I suggested in an earlier post, the Google Webmaster guidelines are a helpful primer, not unlike Brett Tabke's "26 steps to 15K a day" guide. They're nothing more than a summary of good Web practices and common-sense editorial rules of thumb that were accepted long before Google Search was launched.

I don't think in terms of a "relationship" with Google Search, and I certainly don't view Google Search as a "business partner." (I don't even view Google AdSense as a "business partner"--I plop a snippet of code on my pages, Google AdSense serves ads, and I get a payment at the end of the month. That isn't a partnership; it's a landlord-tenant arrangement, and I'm free to evict the tenant if I find someone who'll pay more rent.)

Google Search (the topic of this forum) is a search engine. Its stated mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible." Create good informational content that meets the needs of users (as many of us were doing when Sergey Brin and Larry Page were in junior high), and the odds are pretty good that Google will index it and send you traffic. If you'd rather not invest time and money in content development, then you should find other ways to acquire traffic.

Side note: I can't help thinking that Google and Webmasters might be better served if Google made less effort to communicate with Webmasters. Maybe Webmasters would be less addicted to Google if Matt Cutts, Adam Lasnik, GoogleGuy, etc. simply went about their business instead of abetting addictive behavior.

AsHaL




msg:3334845
 2:18 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Reading both this post and the replies has given me a lot of info insight into both sides of the story.

Shower Scene - thank you for putting all that out there! For a while I've been in a love-hate relationship with Google - love it because it's handy and I still use it mostly for my searches, hate it because it seems to rule the web world nowadays (someone I believe mentioned the word monopoly? Funny, because I've been thinking the same thing). Also love the comparison to Big Brother!

However, all this time, I was more than happy to blame Google for the state of things - your post made me realize that although Google IS a for-profit organization and will operate as any other business (meaning they don't do ANYTHING without making sure it will somehow benefit them) - Google didn't get that powerful on it's own. Webmasters put them there by putting so much emphasis on them. By relying so heavily on Google, we handed them the power!

Of course, now that Google's so powerful, it's kind of hard to shun them - no matter how varied your source of visitors/income/whatever for you website, I would bet that ANYONE would take a huge hit in revenue/visitors if they ever fell off the face of Google.

So I've got that much going on. Now the thing is, what can we really do about it at this point? I would say your post is a great start - admitting there's a problem is half the battle! Hopefully, as the web matures and evolves, webmasters will too - we need to diversify SEM/SEO tactics and not rely so heavily on Google anymore. Also, I'm sure over the years many more SEs and Social Media sites will evolve, hopefully evening the playing field a bit.

Thanks again for sharing - that was DEFINITELY a post worth reading (at work no less, even though I'm swamped!)

atlrus




msg:3334856
 2:21 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's commonly assumed that Google's initial success was a result of grassroots promotion from within the technical community.

And it's a wrong assumption - Google success was a result of their good service (back then), i.e. of the customers - you can grassroot Ask all you want, and still no one would ever use it.

I don't think he was bashing webmasters that follow Google rules. He's bashing the folks that believe following Googles rules is somehow 'right', 'the only thing to do', or 'ethical'.

And it is. In my example earlier Google brings me 95% of SE traffic, thus I go by their rules (This applies only to websites depending on SE traffic to survive). If I don't like the rules - I am free to NOT follow them. But to call me brain-washed because I choose the free traffic over cloaking - that's offensive.

If someone scrapes and republishes my content without my explicit permission, isn't that wrong? Of course it is. It's important to make the distinction that Google doesn't have the actual right to do this, we simply allow it because it's a profitable relationship.

Google does not scrape your content. One sentence is not considered content, and that's all Google shows on their results. And if you count the direct link to your website - it's pretty much like their version of an "organic" link. You cannot compare it with scraping, because scraping websites is 100% useless to the end user and it's done mostly to inflate content and rank better on the SEs - Google does not need to rank on Google ;)

The rest has been around long before Google - robots.txt, search engines, etc. was not introduced by Google, so I don't see why would you blame it for following the long time established search engine purpose - to crawl any website possible. Since long before Google was established the rule has been - if you don't want your page in a search engine - exclude it from the robot.txt - what's new?

atlrus




msg:3334860
 2:25 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

aleksl:
This is a pipe-smoking comment. If MSN and Yahoo bring 5% of your traffic, G brings 95%, and if G disappears tomorrow, you will loose 95% of SE traffic. How is THAT for "I could give ***".

See, again with the blind bashing - if G disappears, I will get all 100% from Yahoo and MSN, as people will search on those two.

Duh!

pageoneresults




msg:3334861
 2:26 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can't help thinking that Google and Webmasters might be better served if Google made less effort to communicate with Webmasters.

I do believe that is already being done. As noted here, there hasn't been much activity from the SE reps like before.

I too believe that they would be better served if they just kept to themselves and published general guidelines like they do. I've seen what happens when an SE Rep comes into the forums to answer questions, its usually not a pretty sight. Everyone and their mother wants attention after an SE Rep posts. I've seen posts from SE Reps and then those that followed were just a mish mash of absolute garbage. My site this, my site that, why haven't you responded to my emails? Sure, like a company like Google is going to "personally" respond to your emails? Come on, let's get real. If you get a "personal" response, frame it!

The Webmaster's Relationship with Google has long been over. I believe shortly after they went public is when things went south for many.

What I'd like to know is...

Today's Consumer and their relationship with Google.

You see, it was all about us in the beginning. We were the "bread and butter" for Google. I must have referred Google to over a 1,000 people back then. And those 1,000 referred Google to another 1,000, etc. That's how it all started and that's why I make the statements about "We the Webmasters Built Google". The online buzz that we generated back then was the fuel they needed to become rooted. Once they rooted, we were not needed anymore. ;)

explorador




msg:3334883
 2:49 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Todays Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google

There is a huge change. The following doesn't apply to everyone but I think is what we find the most: G is free as a SE. It brings tons of visitors to sites that generate money. So, 0 inversion (yes I know, making your site SE compliant takes time and is considered an inversion itself, but is something you MUST do anyway) So at the end, now most of us get something in return even NOT investing on Google. This makes almost everyone think you can get something without "giving".

This made spoiled webmasters who still refuse to invest and yet, want to get more and more money.Even this is valid, an early comment of the internet found on a magazine makes me thing "how good is your business if you don't even want to invest? even needing to invest so little on the internet?"

Some invest, some won't. I think the benefits of G has changed this into "I don't need to invest" or the "everything should be free" and worse, complaining to G being a free service and yet [b]demanding a satisfying answer telling them what they did wrong.

aleksl:This is a pipe-smoking comment. If MSN and Yahoo bring 5% of your traffic, G brings 95%, and if G disappears tomorrow, you will loose 95% of SE traffic. How is THAT for "I could give ***".

See, again with the blind bashing - if G disappears, I will get all 100% from Yahoo and MSN, as people will search on those two.Duh!

True, but the problem is when your site disappears from G, not G disappearing as a SE. Then people still use G, and if you are not there, you have less G-traffic.

Little changes in the way G works had huge impact on business (we can read here on the forum), and being listed on other SE made almost no difference to recover.

Mattg3: Feeling the same, but I guess it's just good business sense. Diversity is the key to survival. Specialists are always vulnerable to environmental changes. Don't be a Panda be a rat or c*ckroach... ;)

That is sooooooo true

Heh, no problem for me as long as I can be assimilated and still keep cashing my Adsense checks. :)

Yet again, this is what I think is the biggest issue. People are becoming so hungry for $$ that if Adsense pays for changing your logos, some will do it. Internet is all about info and people, and yet, more and more are building Adsense Websites... for G, not for people.

kwasher




msg:3334885
 2:50 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

HEAR HEAR! Nice post.

I removed the invasive google toolbar years ago. And I do not even THINK about google search engine when I build a site. I build the site -I- want. For MY users.

Its the search engines job to find them and spider them if they want to. Far far too many webmasters live and die by what google thinks.


caveman




msg:3334895
 3:02 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Am I the only one who feels it's extraordinary how Google is becoming the arbiter of web ethics, coding practices, and the webmaster dialogue?

No, clearly you're not. ;-)

Personally I've been commenting about for years and tend to get the "you're too paranoid" thing, so on I go about my business. However, I've noticed in the past year that a few more folks here and there are not drinking the Kool-Aid.

Regarding companies and their relationships with various constituencies, I've seen too many large companies for too long abuse their power. Often they don't even see it as abuse. They see it as protecting their share and promoting their business strategies. Often, very often, that is done in the name of doing right by their customers and constituencies. (On a mirco level, one example might be how affiliate aggregators simultaneously and on the same Web site tell publishers they get the highest possible prices for their inventory, while telling advertisers that they can get them the lowest possible rates for the highest quality traffic. I always wonder how many actually believe that...)

Google's Webmaster Guidelines are designed to help Webmasters and users

Speaking of which. :P

Really? Are they not there primarily to assist Google in managing their constituencies, and keeping people worried about doing too much of what actally works? The battle of perception in the war on spam is at least as fierce and filled with twists and turns as the actual site level stuff going on.

Seems to me a fair characterization that G provides only the amount of information required to keep people partially informed, and worried. Partial listing of backlinks. Disruption of supp's monitoring. Unclear info on penalties. "Suggestions" about what G might not recommend. Etc.

Googlers can't even always get their stories straight on when/why/how buying TLA's is OK or not OK. One suggests that they have no issue. The other suggests it's to be avoided. Man, it's enough to give a poor Webmaster indigestion. ;-)

We Googlers try to post where we can do the most good.

Hmmm, I'm not the oldest of old timers around here, but my sense is more that Googlers tend these days to pop up when the rablerousers start taking things down paths of discussion that might be viewed as unpatriotic, errr, wait, I meant, not moving in the direction G might perfer.

If you can't see the current and future value of Webmaster Central, you aren't paying attention.

That comment gets me. Really? ;-)

Hmmm, lemme see, I'm a search engine company and I got a problem. I've moved the entire focus of my search unit to fighting spam. Problem is, it's a tough battle. What can I do? I know, I can acquire goodies to give away to wm's and entice them to GIVE me as much information as possible. Don't chase; make them come to me. More I give the more I get. Gmail, analytics, and so on. Pretty soon they'll all be drinking, umm, sorry, joining in and providing detailed information about not just one, but quite possibly all of their sites. The better I make the information, the more HELPFUL I become, the more I get. Oh dang it, did I let it slip out the other day that I might actually use the information they provide? For example, if one site owned by a webmaster comes under a dark cloud, I might be inclined to look at that Webmaster's other sites in our central information archive.

I know, I know. Sounds a bit over the top huh? Well, I'm not saying that Webmaster Central doesn't provide some useful information.

But suggesting that we're not paying attention because we choose not to use something, when we understand exactly what G is providing, and how it might be used, is precisely the sort of tactic that this thread relates to.

Google is amassing an enormous amount of information on surfers. For a while it was anonymous surfing information. Indeed, your ISP knew more, as MC recently pointed out, because they can associate your name and account with your surfing habits...

Webmaster Central is like an ISP in terms of what they know about those who sign on to WCentral, only worse, because they have access to: Your your G checkout and banking information, your WHOIS historical data, your registered sites, your Adwords sites, your tactics, your searches and Web behaviour, your domain registrations, your non-adwords ad buying, your Performics affiliate account, your affiliate sites...

Are you kidding me? Increasingly, G is not just my business partner and enabler, they are my competitor. Everything that G does and says must be viewed, IMHO, as I would view the comments of a competitors. Not necessarily evil. But certainly not my friend. They simply are what they are. A company that seeks to control access to the world's information.

They have my respect. They cannot have all of my information. As it is, I can't seem to avoid giving them more than I care to.

wheel




msg:3334912
 3:09 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>Google does not scrape your content. One sentence is not considered content, and that's all Google shows on their results.

Really? You're actually 100% completely wrong. Do a search on Google. Then click on the 'cache' link. Does that look like a one sentence, or a complete republishing of your page? Why wheel, you're right, they're republishing you're entire site.

And what have we here when I run a site:www.domain.com search? Why wheel, look, Google's republishing my entire site in it's entirety. All for the fine use of the many scrapers that I'm trying to block on my site, but can't block on Google's servers when they republish in 'scraper ready' format.

But you say I can turn that off? Now we're back to ethics again, but the other way around. No way is republishing my site anywhere near ethical, and I really don't see how it's even legal. And don't give me that 'turn off the cache' argument.

If they're publishing snippets by default, nobody's got a case - it's fair use. When they by default republish entire sites without express permission, again I say we're into the realm of ethics.

I wonder how a DMCA notice would go down against Google's serps.

aleksl




msg:3334913
 3:13 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google does not scrape your content. One sentence is not considered content

Google scrapes content, period. If your site has 1 page and 1000 Keywords on the page, there will be a 1000 pages on Google.com where the snippet of your content will reside. Now, extrapolate that.

if G disappears, I will get all 100% from Yahoo and MSN, as people will search on those two

What if your site disappears from Google? bye-bye 95% of the traffic? :) I am sorry to tell you this, but what you are running is not a business then.

What also interests me, is how SEO used to be BAD all around (that original 2001 thread is enlightening, and there's a quote from Google guidelines there that says something in extend of "webmasters who will use Google traffic with intent of making money will be banned"). Now we have "white hat SEO" and "black hat SEO". White hats are webmaster who help Google scrape content better (i.e. give free content to Google). Black hats are those who don't want to give Google "good free content", but rather want to get free traffic from Google. IMHO has nothing to do with CUSTOMERS - actual visitors.

SullySEO




msg:3334924
 3:18 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

And it makes me sad when I read, time after time, "I built up this great affiliate site on Widgets and I just hired two new employees... but now my Google traffic has dropped and my life is ruined!" Really? No one bookmarked your site? No one is talking about your site on blogs, in forums, on social media sites, on TV, on the radio, in your local community, at Widget conventions, in schools, in magazines, in newspapers, in e-mail, in chats, on IMs, in newsletters...? Where have you been, and what -- besides depending on free traffic -- have you been doing?!

Thank you! It's too easy to gain free Google traffic and to forget about doing the rest. The rest is too much like WORK.

Does really surfers cares about cannonical url, inbound and outbound links, size and age of site, location of host sever, if the site is listed or not in dmoz or yahoo directory, h1, mod rewrite and htaccess...and many other similar critera?

Yeah, I wish we didn't have to concern ourselves with stuff like this.

ronin




msg:3334931
 3:23 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is only so powerful because it doesn't have credible competitors snapping at its heels. As a substantial referrer of paid and organic traffic it's great. As the only substantial referrer of paid and organic traffic, it would be a nightmare.

Right now, Yahoo, MSN and Ask are pale imitations of Google.

Directories such as dmoz refer minimal traffic.

There has been some buzz about social bookmarking sites as "long list" alternatives to SEs but digg, del.icio.us and others cannot - in my experience - consistently send traffic to a given site in the same volumes as Google can.

If credible challengers rise up to take on Google then G will lose its reified status. The professional webmaster community ought to be backing the next big traffic source which can compete.

But where is it?

Will it be a search engine? (Or did Search Engine history end with Google?)

Or will it be something else? In which case what?

pageoneresults




msg:3334947
 3:55 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's a pretty good "basic" list of Google Acquisitions since 2001 September. Its nice to see them all on one page as it gives you a much clearer picture of what they are up to. ;)

<a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_acquisitions"></a>

I'm sure many of us have followed Google's success and will continue to do so. I'd pay real close attention to their acquisitions over the next 12-24 months. Google are HUGE!. This is not just "some search engine" anymore. Google is a generation. Google is the Internet whether we want to admit that or not. To the new Webmaster, there is nothing else but Google. Same applies to the consumer.

I'm one of those that pays "very close attention to detail" when watching media such as TV, etc. Ever notice that Google does zero when it comes to commercials? Or, I don't recall ever seeing one. But, what I do see, are those visual references while watching a movie and someone is using the Internet. For example, I watch Law and Order SVU. When it comes to research, Google is the search engine of choice. I've never, ever, seen a visual reference to Yahoo! or MSN while watching Law and Order.

Another example, my daughter (7) and I will spend time on the Internet, I'm teaching her at an early age to take over the business. ;) She is learning how to search. She knows what Google is. But she is not quite sure what Yahoo! and MSN are. Or Ask, or AOL, or any of the others.

What do you think is one of the most popluar phrases amongst teens?

Google It! :)

Take a close look at the Acquisition listing again. Now, whiteboard it. You can come up with all sorts of theories. ;)

stever




msg:3334948
 3:56 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Very good points by wheel and caveman above...

Let's take an example which illustrates the relationship with Google (or any other search engine).

Anyone who has a website and spends any time on webmaster forums will know that one of the most common questions is "How do I stop someone stealing my images?".

And, of course, the simple answer is that you can't once you publish them. However the threads quite often end up with ingenious ways to revenge oneself on hotlinkers, or ways to issue a DMCA notice, or other reactions that one can take in response.

And everyone knows, because Google is the largest image search engine that scrapes and publishes images, that it is also effectively the largest fence for the theft of these rights-protected images. Which I am not saying is good or bad, I'm just saying that it is.

Now, if you are a Google fundamentalist, at this point you say that, if you do not want Google to index and display the images that you have spent time and money to produce, then you should just simply add a rule to the robots.txt to disallow the images directory. And that is that.

But if you consider that you have no relationship with Google, as efv so rightly points out, then you just consider it as another site that has taken your work and is using it for their own purposes.

Now I can have different responses to different sites using my pictures. If cheap-hotels-in-elbonia.info is using my sunset gallery, then I might send them a DMCA notice.

If however the University of Elbonia is using them to illustrate tidepool formations then I might write nicely to them and suggest that they might want to credit the pictures.

And if I notice that I am getting a lot of traffic through a search engine's unauthorised use of my image, then I may consider ways of
a) making the image more or less clickable
b) making the image more or less branded
c) making the image and the page where it is situated more or less relevant to visitors
d) persuading those visitors to act in ways which benefit my site
e) increasing that traffic by whatever means is beneficial to me

And that is the difference between one side of the argument here and the other.

atlrus




msg:3334969
 4:13 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Really? You're actually 100% completely wrong. Do a search on Google. Then click on the 'cache' link. Does that look like a one sentence, or a complete republishing of your page? Why wheel, you're right, they're republishing you're entire site.

And what have we here when I run a site:www.domain.com search? Why wheel, look, Google's republishing my entire site in it's entirety. All for the fine use of the many scrapers that I'm trying to block on my site, but can't block on Google's servers when they republish in 'scraper ready' format.

Uffff, you would pick it untill it comes around your way.

This is not how Google operates - this is how ALL SEARCH ENGINES WORK! You do the same thing on Yahoo, MSN and the rest - you will get the SAME RESULTS!

Since when did the search engines become scrapers?!? Since you got banned by one?

wheel




msg:3334987
 4:31 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I got banned all of a sudden? Where did you read that?

Time for a recap:
- someone claims Google doesn't republish entire sites.
- I point out that this is demonstratably false
- your response is that I must have got banned? If that's your reasoned response, you don't have much. Try reputing with facts for a change instead of running around with your pee all hot.

I like your argument about everyone else doing it so that makes it right though. Great logic, also a sound foundation for building a set of ethics. Everyone doing it=OK to do it. Gotcha.

But at least we agree that Google is scraping and republishing entire sites without permission.

thecityofgold2005




msg:3335019
 5:01 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is a pipe-smoking comment. If MSN and Yahoo bring 5% of your traffic, G brings 95%, and if G disappears tomorrow, you will loose 95% of SE traffic. How is THAT for "I could give ***".

And that comment presumes that if Google were to dissapear all the people using it would just give up and not just move onto a different search engine.

[edited by: tedster at 5:21 pm (utc) on May 9, 2007]

europeforvisitors




msg:3335037
 5:15 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

And that comment presumes that if Google were to dissapear all the people using it would just give up and not just move onto a different search engine.

I can remember when InfoSeek was my #1 referrer. Later, it was AltaVista, and after that it was Ask Jeeves. And I was a latecomer to the Web: I didn't start using it until 1993, and I didn't have a Web site until early 1996. :-)

[edited by: tedster at 5:21 pm (utc) on May 9, 2007]

aleksl




msg:3335063
 5:33 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

So what do last 2 comments suggest on the topic "Todays Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google"?

Is that a suggestion to Webmasters to ride it out untill there's some other magically "good" search engine that will defeat Google? Great, I thought we were discussing something more constructive.

I think that unless we step up and provide Our own gidelines to Ethical use of webmaster content by Search Engines, every next wannabe Search Engine will be following exactly the same path:

We are good-doers, let us crawl --> We are uncommercial --> Stop using our results for commercial purposes --> We are using your websites for our own commercial purposes --> We are God, if you don't like it screw you --> Oops, how come users switched to another SE?

tigertom




msg:3335084
 5:49 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google's a near-monopoly. Doesn't matter how nice it is. All fine and dandy, until you get penalised. Unless you're a _real_ web _master_, you're toast.

Google owns the internet, and Adsense is now your wage. A wage paid by a master with whom you have no contract of employment. One regular poster on this theme regularly says primly "Google owes you nothing". How very true that is, and I hope like minds will remember it when they get their metaphorical pink slip.

Google has done some _wonderful_ marketing. They have convinced the greatest cynics on the planet, geeks, that they 'do no evil', that they are a force for 'good'. I can't think of any other body, including the Catholic Chruch, that has managed that.

The original poster is right. Confusing webmaster 'ethics' with 'what Google wants' is stupid. Making a near-monoploy even more so is stupid. Giving it more and more info. about your business is stupid.

And why do people think Google _isn't_ cross-analysing Adwords, Toolbar and Search data? If any other company on the planet had that kind of info about your sites and those you visit, would you be as content about it?

mattg3




msg:3335093
 6:00 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

And why do people think Google _isn't_ cross-analysing Adwords, Toolbar and Search data? If any other company on the planet had that kind of info about your sites and those you visit, would you be as content about it?

I think it's been openly admitted that they use their data to increase profits. The open question is do the RANK pages according to adsense adwords usage. Here it depends if they see the marketing gain to be seen as holy spam fighters more worth as to adjust dynamic to the market.

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