Robert_Charlton - 8:31 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
A note on one particular observation above....
My emphasis added....
People still give Google a pass even *after* 3rd parties saw them put monetary values in the search results next to the listings, not once, but twice
IMO, there's a big unmentioned inconsistency between the above two articles and where the numbers are appearing... as well as what the numbers suggest.
Search Engine Roundtable (c April, 2008) describes these numbers as related to AdWords: "Google AdWords Displays Ad Scores: Pscore, mCPC & thresh"
Ditto with the German forum article Barry links to, as well as with the WebmasterWorld discussion he cites....
Strange variables underneath ad on SERP (Pscore, mCPC and thresh)
The WebmasterWorld AdWords Forum discussion also links to a SearchEngineLand article by Barry, also discussing this as about AdWords ranking factors...
Google Showing Ranking Scores On AdWords?
In all of these, all roughly April, 2008, the discussion is about AdWords, where monetary values are to be expected. A possible display glitch is suggested, and IMO there's nothing to suggest that a dollar value was being assigned to organic position.
This latter assertion is the thrust of the valleywag.com article... which I should add is being redirected to gawker.com ("Today's gossip is tomorrow's news"), where the article now resides (in its "Don't Be Evil" section). Objective reporting? I don't know, but I have my thoughts. I do know I'm ultimately seeing only one anonymous source for the story, with a somewhat iffy image.
Google assigns dollar value to search results
Google's ads are paid for; its search results, supposedly, are untainted by commercial concerns. But French blog Zorgloob landed itself a screenshot that calls Google's purity into question. It shows what Google search results look like to a member of Google's AdWords sales team. The picture raises more questions than it answers. For example, why are there dollar signs among so-called "natural" search results? And why does Google note whether a website in its search results belongs to an advertiser? Here's the image."
You'll have to follow the valleywag -> gawker -> Zorgloob links to get the screen capture, which shows dollar values and verticals in organic serps. It's an image that got a lot of buzz at the time. I haven't seen other examples.
I have zero perspective on the credibility of Zorgloob. TomHTML, an editor and the author of the Zorgloob screen capture article, is described on Zorgloob (in translation here) as: "Tom is always looking for the scoop and will not hesitate to say what he thinks of Google (for good or evil)." The article is being touted as an exclusive. TomHTML was at least objective enough to have added the following disclaimer to the image capture (article dated Oct 30, 2007)....
Pour information, sachez que sur la capture ci-dessus les données ont été modifiées par nos soins, ce qui signifie que les informations des lignes ne sont pas en rapport avec les résultats au dessus.
For information, please note that the above capture the data has been modified by us, which means that the information lines are not related to the results above.