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In Google’s penalty box, Overstock takes a 5% hit on revenue
tedster




msg:4294317
 6:54 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Continued from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4252178.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I often hear it said that big companies just get a slap on the wrist and then it's back to "business as usual." News from Reuters today shows that Overstock continues to take a real hit.

On Feb. 22, Google notified Overstock that it was penalizing the company for noncompliance with some of Google's search guidelines.

"As a result, we have dropped significantly in some Google natural search result rankings," Overstock said in a regulatory filing.

Google is not yet fully satisfied and continues to penalize Overstock in search results, the company added.

The lower Google natural search rankings has hurt sales during the penalty period to date by 5 percent and Overstock expects this to continue for the rest of the period.

[reuters.com...]



[internetretailer.com...]


Six weeks after getting penalized by Google Inc. for using promotional links with university web sites that boosted its natural search rankings, Overstock.com Inc. says the penalty—a drop in its Google natural search rankings—has resulted in a 5% drop in revenue, according to the retailer's filing toay with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We now estimate that it will be at least another two to three weeks before Google will end the penalty period,” Overstock says in the filing. “During the penalty period to date, we have experienced an approximately 5% negative impact on our revenue, which we anticipate will continue during the penalty period.”

Overstock says Google notified it Feb. 22 that it would get penalized for using a system of links to Overstock.com that were outside of Google’s natural search guidelines. The links were from Overstock promotions on university-related web sites—those with a w

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:44 pm (utc) on Apr 9, 2011]
[edit reason] added quotes - started new [/edit]

 

Shatner




msg:4295224
 4:59 am on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I lost 50% of my Google traffic in Panda, and I was not in violation of any of their guidelines... nor was I notified in advance, nor do I have any idea when what is basically a penalty will, if ever expire.

This is disgusting.

I really don't understand how it's ethical or legal for a company which is basically a monopoly to play favorites based on the amount of wealth involved.

Google is anti-small business.

walkman




msg:4295231
 5:32 am on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ GuyFromKlingon: Go troll somewhere else.

This dual system, where friends and big companies get favorite treatment will be google's downfall and it's perfectly legitimate that someone from USDOJ and EU looks at this. A manual penalty or boost can mean millions and even billions (for Amazon for example) since Google controls 70%-95% of the search market. Or it can mean certain death to a young company and that company may never get a chance to change the world.

How does Google decide these?
What else influences the G reviewer's decision?
How are we sure it's "fair" ?
How many people decide this?
Are the same vague guidelines applied evenly?
Does competition with Google matter in the decision (local pages, soon travel, mortgage, etc etc etc)?

Where do you appeal this?
What's to stop a G employee--they're human after all--from crewing a person's site simply becuase he/she doesn't like them?

GuyFromKlingon




msg:4295338
 11:47 am on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster

In my planet I give you example of BeatThatQuote who was spammer before Google buy it, then Google buy it, now it is hero, top listing! Wow! That was fast penalty lift!

aleksl




msg:4295489
 4:54 pm on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)


A manual penalty or boost can mean millions and even billions (for Amazon for example) since Google controls 70%-95% of the search market. Or it can mean certain death to a young company and that company may never get a chance to change the world.
...
What's to stop a G employee--they're human after all--from crewing a person's site simply becuase he/she doesn't like them?


Well, first let's not assume Overstock is a "young company". Second, if there's a pattern there of fraud, for instance, and bad at that, you look for pattern, and once it is clearly recognized you can safely assume that this particular site isn't all that white after all. So you let a stronger analytical employee look at its results.

---

Overstock restated its 2008 and 2009 earnings because of "discrepancies on books" (in other normal speak it is "because of cooking the books").

---
The DA sued Overstock

People of State of California
v.
Overstock.com Inc.; Does
11/17/2010 RG10-546833
(Oakland)

Complaint for civil penalties and injunctive relief. The defendant makes misleading advertising claims about its prices by listing the comparative “List Price” or “Compare At” price at a level that is actually the “highest price” for a product rather than the prevailing market price. The defendant promises the lowest prices when it actually sells products at higher prices than many merchants.
Free download

Nancy O’Malley
District Attorney of Alameda County
[ktvu.com...]

randle




msg:4295566
 6:24 pm on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

“We now estimate that it will be at least another two to three weeks before Google will end the penalty period,”


Would like to know how they came to this conclusion.

ascensions




msg:4295596
 6:53 pm on Apr 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Would like to know how they came to this conclusion


Answer: Magic 8 ball.

Edge




msg:4297512
 12:47 pm on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

aleskl, interesting details on overstock.com, however walkman(s) point is broader in scope.

Google has tremendous power with their position and control over search results. What should concern everybody is the apparent lack of accountability to the users and websites that utilize their power for success and livelihood. It appears to me that individuals (people) whom work at Google could have the ability in some capacity to change the search visibility of individual websites – without accountability to the target website.

Who is to say that a negative comment posted on WebmasterWorld, or a misinterpreted glance at a conference does not motivate a petty Google employee to ban a website from the search results?

To my knowledge the average website does not have a direct line of communication to Google in the event of traffic collapse for a review or at the least an explanation?

This folks is what a monopoly looks like…

[en.wikipedia.org...]

CanadianGuy




msg:4310593
 12:02 am on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Overstock announced during their last Quarterly Conference Call that the penalty had been lifted. If you check the search results, you'll see they're back on or near the top.

walkman




msg:4310610
 12:58 am on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Penalty lifted? Imagine how this would have been handled if this was an average site

Shaddows




msg:4310662
 7:50 am on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

As normal? 30, 60 or 90 day penalty, then release if the offending behaviour had ceased.

coachm




msg:4319361
 6:43 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I hate to admit it but if BestBuy is not on the first page for the "televisions" query - that's a poor user experience, whether they follow the G guidelines or


That makes sense if one assumes that anyone searching for "televisions" is wanting to buy one. Increasingly it seems that queries for many many terms yield places to buy, or worse, bogus "review" sites that are actually affiliates.

I often search for things and end up looking at sales sites when I have no interest in buying.

On the other hand, I have trouble finding places to actually buy things when I want to, again because of the massive resellers, poor review sites, etc. Then again, I tend to want to buy odd stuff, like a Garmin GPS bicycle bracket, which I still haven't bought yet because I can't find the information about the products that I need.

As for overstock? Not interested. Not interested in ebay listing, or listing from other large companies I keep coming across for almost everything I search for. I can't count the number of times I've clicked on links only to discover that the company doesn't even CARRY what I'm looking for.

It's time we get segmented search engines, I think, so we as users at least can choose what KINDS of results we are looking for.

The Brand, on the other hand, does. And why should they be on the first page? Because people are looking for them specifically. Google is incompetent if they are not there.


Fair enough. Bestbuy is a brand and I expect them to be first if I search including the brand. Samsung is a brand, but I do NOT expect Bestbuy to be at the top if I'm search for Samsung.

And, if I search for television, (fool that I might be), I shouldn't get ANY brands per se, unless i search for "buy television."

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