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Removing a term from autosuggest?

 6:23 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am working with a company where when you search for their name, about 5 auto suggest phrases come up - including "company name scam".

There is no content on the web related to anything negative about this company, no websites even have complaints about them, so it is a bit frustrating that somehow this got in there (and I'm wondering if a competitor could have done it).

Is there any way to get rid of this - either by a request, or by asking people to search the company name and other terms so many times this one drops out?.....

thanks in advance



 7:01 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

See this discussion about the same exact issue, where Google lost a lawsuit in France about 'scam' Suggestions [webmasterworld.com].

Because the algorithm for Suggestions is based on what searches users are doing, rather than what web pages are in the results, I don't think there's anything you can do directly.


 7:06 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

My understanding is that a term gets in autosuggest after the searches for it cross a threshold. In other words, some customers are clearly unhappy with the product/service and wonder if they have been scammed.

The company may want to review its products and services and speak to a large group of customers to make sure that they do not perceive something as a scam. Those guys at Free Credit Report are following the law but millions of people think that they run a scam.


 8:25 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

In other words, some customers are clearly unhappy with the product/service and wonder if they have been scammed.

Maybe in some cases. It also has become common, BEFORE doing business with a company, for people to do such searches as part of their research, their due diligence. I have seen negative search suggestions where the result contained just one page - and that page had content something like "we have no reports of any scam associated with this business".

Unfortunately, reputation damage is done by the mere appearance of the negative phrase in the Google Suggestions. No actual search results about true scams or rip-offs needs ever to be seen. And as more people learn about Rip-off Report, for example, the search on "business-name rip-off" seems to be getting more and more common.


 9:31 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

tedster - you are dead on as to the reason. It is exactly what I do when I am not sure about a company or service - i throw "scam" on to the end of it and see what comes up in Google. Nothing comes up for these guys (except happy customers)but it is not great branding in the drop down box.

The problem is, once it makes it to autosuggest it is a self fulfilling prophecy - it appears, people search it and the process repeats....


 9:56 pm on Apr 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes - "scam", "complaint", "rip-off", and "problem" are the most common. As far as I can see, this is a very important issue that Google needs to actively address -- rather than defending their status quo. The French courts agreed, although I understand that an appeal is still in the works.

When reputations can be inaccurately damaged by an algorithm, then those who wrote that algorithm need to re-write it. Algorithms are not an Act of Nature, after all, they are the act of people. And really, how much would it hurt Google's product not to "suggest" these critical terms at all.

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