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Google Under Siege - Fair or Unfair?



8:33 pm on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The Gmail outcry is huge. The Local search outcry is growing. The number of negative Google stories out there is a surprise.

It seems Google can't please anyone these days.

What is the root of it all?

a) The Florida update?
b) Big - just plain bigness (everyone loves to pick on the big guy)?
c) Poor management?
d) Public relations dept screw up?
e) Competitors planting seeds of division?
f) All of the above?


7:35 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That's a good question, Brett. I know that the atmosphere inside Google hasn't changed in any substantial way, e.g. become money-grubbin' or caring less about our users or their privacy--we're still working hard to give high-quality search results back to users. And if you go into Google on a Saturday like today, you'll see quite a few engineers there.

Hi Googleguy,

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
to see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An' foolish notion."
(SOURCE: Robert Burns: "To a Louse", 1786)

Google built its brand on two things:

1. Quality results
2. Free from a commercial skew

This fitted the Utopian vision of the Internet and both sides of the equation where as important as the other. There was a kind of trust built between Google and its users. Absolutely no doubt that Google results could be trusted. They were completely clean.

The complete destruction of the second part of this equation now threatens to destroy the first. I think that there is a very real danger that users will start to distrust results and become suspicious of Googleís motives. You see from an outside point of view Google has not just done a U turn and put its foot on the commercialism gas pedal, it has embraced its conversion to commercialism in such a strong way that commercial is its new brand image, oh and by the way the results are OK. Every new product that Google launches seems to be focused on making money from advertising further strengthening its single minded brand image of commercialism.

If you have got this wrong your golden goose will lay eggs like mad for a while and then whither and die. I wonder if the noise that motivated Brett to start this thread is an indication that the goose is starting to feel the stress of kicking out those eggs.

Personally I donít see a problem with this commercial bias on its own it is simply the strength of the U turn that kind of grates a bit. Itís a bit like the Pope installing condom machines in the Vatican ;)

Best wishes



8:05 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

"in broad agreement with allanp73 here"

As a relative outsider I have to agree there is a lot of sense in what he says. The techies in our place are influential and used to love Google. No more.

Through whatever motive, around about "Florida", they became negative. Even I noticed quality falling, though at the time I had no idea that it was some sort of SEO issue. They lost a lot of their core, most important, support in a very short period indeed.

I too suspect that was the start of the ball rolling.


8:09 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

"the Pope installing condom machines in the Vatican"

It's strange, because I feel like about two weeks ago we launched numrange search, images in news results, web alerts, the UI redesign, and a demo of personalized search--all of which I think of as non-commercial changes and improvements.

Anyway, time to head home for the night. Catch you tomorrow..


8:13 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Let's face it folks, the greatest search engine on earth is the one that feeds us the most traffic.

Since for many webmasters that's no longer Google, the Y word forms on their lips where it used to be the G word when promoting their favorite engine.

And the converse applies ... want to trash a search engine? ... the G word is uttered much easier these days.

I think most webmasters could care less how Google operates with GMail ... the grumbling has deeper roots.

Google will be an interesting test case, to see just how valuable the support of the webmaster community is to a search engine. Can losing the support of legions of webmasters send Google into an Alta Vista death spiral? Stay tuned for the next episode of Search for Tomorrow.


9:11 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vitaplease is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>>...we launched numrange search, images in news results, web alerts, the UI redesign, and a demo of personalized search

The bigger Google becomes the more search variations they are creating.

In theory they should then be making a larger number of searchers and webmasters happy. (more variation and more specifics on first page results)
As others say, I still have to see overall stats on the contrary.

>>....a good time to remind folks that there's other search engines out there and diversification plus keeping eggs in many baskets

In a way all the Google search variations/options/localisations mean the "other search engines". ;)

In Europe we've had Google localisation for a much longer time (the only results from France option). It makes more sense optimising for "only results from France option" than seeking Yahoo referrals for certain countries/languages..

Gmail is the logical step for Google in securing their core-business; search results for showing ads adjacently. Its just the rolling out and reaction of the Gmail program announcement that could have been better.

I'd say Google has one fear and that will be Microsoft in a couple of years and how they (are allowed to) implement search within the (non-browser)operating system. Meanwhile Google might overrush portalisation though..


10:55 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder what Google will try to monetize next. I'm still single, maybe they're cross reference my blog with all the other female bloggers out there and fire me off an email:

"We've scoured the entire internet and found the perfect woman for you, born2drv... she loves corvettes, golf and she's jewish too... now just send us a check for $500 payable to Google, Inc. and we'll hook you up ;)"

When you throw privacy out the window, there are all kinds of other things on the net you can monetize when you think about it ;)

See if google were to make a dating site, and make the best search engine driven dating site out there, I have no problem with this. If they're going to take browser data based on the sites I surf to figure out what my interests, likes&dislikes are and feed this into their dating database to refine their search, obviously everyone would cry foul. I think Google is crossing that boundry now with Gmail.


12:00 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My take:

b) big - just bigness (everyone loves to pick on the big guy)
e) competitors planting seeds of division
d) goto e)



12:13 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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People are starting to wake up to the fact that Google have created an image of 'good' and 'ethical' that will not be sustainable as a major public company.

The more preparations they make for IPO, the more people wake up.

The criticism is unfair IMO and just reflects the fact the gullible are upset at being proven to be naive.

I don't think they are doing anything worse than any other large company - its just that their power in the market makes it more noticeable.


12:36 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The thing that strikes me about it all though, is that it appears like it is a bit of piling on to me. A bit of a feeding frenzy by the press. They smell a bit of blood in the water and are circling.

Journalism in no longer about the facts, it's about sensationalism, because that's what sells, so of course it is piling on.


12:56 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google is the engine people love to hate depending of course on where you fall in the serps for any given month. The month you rank well, Google is great, fantastic, blah, blah, then an algo tweak and suddenly you don't rank so well and all of a sudden Google sucks, horrible results, then your site comes back and bingo Google is God again.

Agreed 100%. I also think that this place is not the best resource to measure how the public feels about Google. We are a subset of the internet user population, and most everyone here has an agenda {now that I think about it... even me}


1:47 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sssid's eloquent post has summed it up nicely for me, well worth reading (msg 65).

I'd like to add though, that Florida was the coffin-nail. This was when I personally felt betrayed.

As for those who claim this was necessary to kick out the spammers - this is pure nonsense.


Because I left my site largely unchanged, and it regained its original positions when Google finally backtracked on that disastrous algo, which looked purely commercially motivated.

There was no value in the Florida experiment, it lasted too long, and caused a lot of damage - internecine damage. I lost thousands, my business nearly folded, and Google lost an enormous amount of goodwill.

There has never been an explanation for Florida. It was absurd.


2:06 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My take - unfair.

If I were running Google I would consider the following as priorities which would need careful balancing. (Search Engine side of the business only.)

1. making money
2. providing a wide variety of search results to satisfy all types of users (i.e., being perceived as the best SE in the business)
3. keep the algo as simple as possible to cope with the ever increasing number of sites and processing required
4. ensure the algo works well in sites of all languages, not just English
5. minimise opportunities for people to spam serps
6. move away from periodic updates to continuous updates, thereby spreading processing and presenting the freshest results
7. minimalize expensive manual intervention
8. minimize delays in keeping regional databases in step
9. keep webmasters content
10. avoid bad PR

Keeping webmasters content is clearly difficult. A considerable number of posts in this thread seem to come from webmasters who are singlemindedly commercial and are irritated when they see a broad spectrum of search results to the detriment of their own sites. The problem is not Google's hubris, but certain webmasters' hubris.

Avoiding bad PR is also difficult. There is a natural antipathy to any organisation that is perceived as dominant.

I must admit as the owner of a non-commercial multi-languge site I'm happy with the way Google is going. Who loves ya, baby! :)

Just wish I could say the same about Yahoo... :(


2:09 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"What is the root of it all?"

Agreed, but this implies a naivety among posters (like myself) who understand the need to make a profit, but still uphold other values.

Maybe it's a European standpoint - I don't know? :)

I'm only a small businessman, but great businessmen / corporations are characterised not by greed, but by an underlying philosophy to provide a great service, and do well. If you get these right, work in good faith, and aim for quality, the money will come.

I don't run my business looking solely for money! I need a certain amount, but my main aim is to be successful (there is a difference, still I think, from a European standpoint.)

If my business is successful: is admired and respected, and grows, I'll die happily. If it also brings in a fortune - I'm certainly not going to turn it away, that's the real icing on the cake!

From my standpoint, and it's only that of an individual, Google has been aggressively pursuing the icing for the past 6 months or so, whilst the underbaked cake collapses beneath it.

Feel free to enter the above into the 'Worst analogy in the World competition 2004' :)


2:33 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, there are problems with Google but the alternatives - Yahoo and MSN - two major entities with the mission of destroying internet we know and turn it into some sort of Internet Shopping Network, makes one feel glad that Google is there. I just hope these are a few other search engines similar to Google to reduce our risky reliance on just one.


2:45 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm only a small businessman, but great businessmen / corporations are characterised not by greed, but by an underlying philosophy to provide a great service, and do well. If you get these right, work in good faith, and aim for quality, the money will come.

That's funny because Bill gates is the richest man in the world and he is very greedy and look at Yahoo they are very rich and are greedy. You take what you can get.

It's funny how at one point webmasters are happy and talk about how much they love Google, some even called them God, but soon as something goes bad for you in Googles search engine you have to go and cry wolf!
Don't get me wrong because IM not defending Google, just sick and tried of people saying one thing, than saying something else later.

All by the way glad to see Googleguy getting into this one.

[edited by: robotsdobetter at 3:09 pm (utc) on April 11, 2004]


2:49 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My personal dissatisfaction with Google started on April 1, with the AdSense changes.

I used to be one of the biggest Google advocates out there, telling my online friends with popular sites to switch to AdSense and telling anyone that Google was the best search by far when it came up in a conversation.

Since April 1, my position toward Google has flipped 180 degrees. The overnight changes to the AdSense program that personally cost me about 2 x the average US household income has changed my tune. Now I tell people to get away from AdSense because it cannot be trusted or relied on as a revenue source, and I don't say anything positive at all about Google. I only wish there was a decent competitor I could advocate for, because I am so pissed off at Google.

For me, it all goes back to the AdSense changes, but I'm sure there are others for whom the other issues Brett mentioned are the source of anger.

What the list Brett made plus reasons others have cited shows is that Google has given many reasons for people to get angry with them recently. It may not effect their market share and revenues today, but when you build this much bad will out there karma will ultimately smack you upside the head.

This also plays into the fact that Google has hit the point in the media cycle where the media wants to tear them down. The media in the USA goes through cycles where they build something or someone up, and then they tear them down. Think of any number of fads, musicians, politicians, etc -- Howard Dean is a perfect example. Why do they do this? Because there are interesting stories to write about people/companies on the rise and on the fall, but not so much at their pinnacle.

The media is so eager to begin the cycle of tearing Google down that they try to play up the benefits of crappy search engines like Mooter that try to do too much thinking for the user.

Add to this that Google itself is now creating a whole bunch of loud, dissatisified stakeholders such as AdSense publishers, Mom and Pop online shop owners, privacy advocates and others.

What Google will find is that, like a cancer, this dissatisfaction will spread out from the disgruntled stakeholders to the public, the media sharks will pick up on it and it will grow into a nightmare for Google.

If a competitor is smart, and swoops in with something like "the way it used to be", Google will be seriously damaged. Some questions are: are any of their competitors smart enough to do this? Are those companies even flexibile enough to adapt to an opportunity and sieze the moment? Are they even paying attention? Sooner or later, someone will. If it isn't Microsoft or Yahoo, someone else will sieze the opportunity.

Is Google wise enough to head this off and find a way to make peace with their angry stakeholders?

Google may not see the effects of this right away. Heck, their revenues may even grow a while before their (unintentional?) attacks on the loyalty of their stakeholders come back to bite them.

If Google thinks it can't happen to them, then they are only fooling themselves. Microsoft may be able to withstand such a process, but they are the exception, not the rule.


4:31 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

The problem with this logic is that SEO's who "game the system" now includes those who previously ranked in Google by writing good, clean sites for the searcher not the SE. They must now revert to those tactics to get traffic from Google.

That hasn't been my experience. For the keywords and keyphrases (some quite competitive) that I monitor, the top-ranked sites don't change a great deal from month to month.

Maybe "those tactics" need to be used in some categories, but "gaming the system" doesn't appear to be a requirement across the board.


4:46 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My personal dissatisfaction with Google started on April 1, with the AdSense changes.

This kind of makes my point... I also got hurt with the new adsense "discount pricing". In addition, my site lost the two top ten SERP positions that brought in as much traffic a day as the next five search phrases back in November and I am yet to regain them. However, I would only argue against Google when I think is warranted.

IMHO, SERPs, Google's editorial policy and even GMail seem reasonable. I can't fault them for trying to make money. It is not like they are a non-profit.

This reminds me of being in a debate team back in seventh grade and attacking this girl merciless on everything that she brought up. Afterwards, I realized how foolish it was to do so. You got to pick your fights.

The answer is: UNFAIR


5:01 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well there sure does seem to be a lot of ill will towards Google these days. Several months ago, I was as upset and angry as anyone else who's cash flow took a nose dive.

a) Florida?

IMHO, the Florida update and some (not all) of the subsequent algo changes were a bold step (if not a flying leap) towards changing the face of the internet. Although allanp73's comments were well thought out and presented, I think many of us have mistakenly taken these changes as a personal attack rather than as what they are.

Years ago, when SEO began to formulate, webmasters discovered that they were able to push their sites to the top simply by repeating key words which were relevant to the sites they were building.

Over the past few years, and in response to the manipulations of the SEO community, search engines have tried several methods to put a stop to these practices by using filters, penalties, PRO and anything else they could come up with including black listing.

Clever web professionals took these moves as a challenge and found even more ways to beat the system.

The result is a complete mess out there in the wild and wooly cyberworld.

A huge hunk of what can be found on the internet is rife with hidden text, hidden links, ridiculously repetitive copy, cloaking, mirror sites, doorways, link farms, thousands of nearly identical sites which lack content, keyword-keyword domains, computer generated pages, etc, etc, etc.

IMO, the Florida update was just the first step towards forcing us to clean up our mess ... and I have no doubt there is more to come. If anyone wants to remain a player, they will have to clean up their act or be lost in the nether regions of the internet forever.

I wholeheartedly support Google in their efforts to clean up the web, curtail spam and find the best algorithm possible.

b) big - just bigness (everyone loves to pick on the big guy)?

Yeah ... everyone loves the underdog but nobody likes huge corporations or the power they wield. Its all part and parcel of growing up.

c) poor management?
d) public relations dept?

I would say yes, poor management together with a sadly misguided public relations department who must have been nodding off last November. Google's mantra seems to have been lost in the IPO scramble.

Having been in marketing and sales with close ties to PR for the better part of 30 years, I was flabbergasted by the lack of communication from Google staffers in regards to recent events.

What may have become the best PR move of the century actually served to vilify them due to what was perceived as a "surprise attack" on the SEO and webmaster communities.

Everyone (well almost everyone) wants the web cleaned up. All their PR people had to do was shove Sergy and Larry in front of a bunch of reporters one week before the Florida update and explain what Google had planned. They would have come out smelling like a rose. Webmasters and SEO'ers would have been forewarned and the public would have been singing their praises. Instead ...

If I were the CEO for Google, I would fire the entire PR department and then myself!

e) competitors planting seeds of division?

Perhaps. But I think they brought most of the backlash upon themselves. Once again, I'd blame the PR department.

f) all of the above?

Mostly ... Yep!

The Gmail outcry is huge.

It will die a natural death. Let it be.


5:04 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The problem with the Adsense payout drop is the way the Looksmarted it. They pretended that they were doing publishers a favour, by "improving" the system. In fact, they were just paying them less. As has been pointed out, the advertisers haven't seen the same drop in costs. If you are dropping the payouts, then say so. Don't call it an upgrade and expect people to respect you for it. I have no problem with them improving their percentages, just with them being deceptive about it.

Google could previously get away with not disclosing the revenue share to publishers because they had our trust. They don't have that trust anymore because they have abused it.

Another thing Google has been deceptive about recently and in the past is claiming that they don't hand edit results. That is technically true, but in fact completely avoids the fact that they manually penalise sites all the time. There goes a bit more trust. [I have no problem with hand editing and I don't understand why this should be a bad thing]

There is a big difference between positive presentation and deceptive spin, and I feel that Google has overstepped the mark.

Yet we are still expected to trust them not to abuse the Toolbar and gmail information collected. That might have worked 12 months ago, but not now.

The point I am making is that Google is no longer the webmasters' friend and trusted ally on the web. They are now the big corporate monster that controls our income. That is why there is so much more complaining.


5:09 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think they need to keep every as a secret until it's out of beta.

Beta is great for us techs, it gives us a chance to play with something new - but the average user will have absolutely no friggin' clue what beta is... And for those that will research what it means, I feel it will loosely translate to them to mean "a shoddy playground experiment". Now, with Google as they are, the last thing they need to be doing is projecting the image that they are a bunch of college grad's playing around with some code.

People on the web want a product that works - they don't want a shoddy experiment.

More than that though, you can't argue with the principles of economics. Every product has a life cycle. Google has hit their climax, and now it's time for the down slope. It's not my opinion, it's a fact.

The only way Google could counteract that fact would be to release something as innovative, usable and useful as their search was 2 or 3 years ago. But even at that, that'd be in exactly in the same position when that new product hits it's climax and starts on its down slope.


5:18 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ok, so we all hate google now...

What are the alternatives?

WHO can we submit to without paying an arm and a leg (overture, I REFUSE, this is robbery).

WHO will spider your WHOLE site not just selective pages you pay an annual fee to?

WHO can meet the above neeed AND supply hits even remotely close to google?

Is there Adwsense competition out there that can at least come CLOSE to what adsense is paying us? Even after April 1 announcement?

If we all hate Google now, WHO do we love? Or at least like?

As bad as google may be to you folks, I fail to see how they are not still the best. If they are not the best, then who is?

IMHO people there is a DRAMATIC need for a google competitor who can meet all the above and compete mark for mark.

This is webmaster world, who out here is up for the challenge? Which one of you will be the first to step up to bat? I myself would love to if not for my limited resources, but some of you appear to be up for the challenge...

Any takers?


5:20 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have 2 other points by the way:

1. I don't think the average Joe is overly concerned about their privacy. Yes, I mean they don't want people to know their credit card numbers and house address and so forth, but I wouldn't imaging that they are too concerned about what Google knows about them - I know I ain't. I mean, what are they going to do, show me targetted ads? Well tough break, most people know what ads are and they can identify them, so they are probably like me and just ignore them. I don't think I've clicked on one of those AdWords in over 6 months (and that's no lie).

2. And this is interesting: When I go to G-Mail, i get this error: "Gmail does not currently support your browser". I'm on MAC, using Safari. A popular combination I would have thought. Not as popular as IE on Windows, true. I'd like to know wy it's not compatible - Why are you trying to force me to use something else. That's a pretty serious usability problem - Was Jakob Neilson consulted on this one? I have all of the normal plug-ins, and javascript is enabled. This is actually the first time I've seen a compatability issue on any website with MAC - Google should know better!


5:23 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Palehorse, the problem with your theories there is that you're looking at it from a webmaster angle. The average Joe doesn't worry about how often sites are spidered or how much those sites have to pay for inclusion.

To be realistic, there's probably nobody on this forum that could challenge Google. Not unless you're will to provide a large amount of funds.


5:27 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well if people really hated Google, they would add a line to the robots.txt file and had nothing to do with it. However, this is not a relationship of equals between websites and Google. The complaints here are just a way to influence the shifts in Google policy.

The point about PR possibly being better is a great one. Nevertheless, I do think they provide a good deal of communication and warning already. Maybe, I have low expectations.....


5:41 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We talk a lot about how Google needed to clean up the unethical SEOs out there and I can't argue that. Nobody can.

But what about the ethical ones and the honest, hardworking innocent webmasters who build a site more or less to Brett's guidelines just to see it get thrashed with some of the fiascos Google has pulled. Google irreversibly damaged too many innocent people with their attempts to clean up the web.

And although I have a lot of respect for GoogleGuy, his search engine just hurt too many innocent people. The majority of us paid too high of a price when Google's algo tried to punish the minority of unethical websites out there.

I totally disagree that the backlash against them has anything to do with them being big. Instead, it has to do with the 1,000 mile migration away from what they once were. We liked them and they liked us. Now, somehow, there's only ill feelings on both sides.


5:49 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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...Free traffic is just a bonus. That is how business works.

I would also like to add that the searchers are google's customers not us... Well unless we are the ones searching :)


6:03 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

HarryM, I really thought your list (and the ordering of that list was really interesting). It's true that a search engine has to make money or it won't be a viable service after long. I was thinking about this thread last night when I was going to sleep, and I think the thing that set Google apart was that we tried our utmost to align #1 and #2 from your list, so that improving things for users would also be good for Google as a business. Things like text ads instead of banners, marking the ads clearly, and trying to make the ads relevant by taking clickthrough into account are the sorts of things that make users happier and return to search again, so it helps set up a virtuous cycle. I think it's interesting that you listed "keeping webmasters content" near the bottom of the top 10. It's certainly true that one could make that principle the top one. The difficulty you'd have is that most webmasters are content when they're in the top spot, and not everybody can be there. That leads to systems like Overture, where you bid to see who is the most willing to be in the top slot.

Anyway, that's a really interesting way to express possible different priorities, and I think the ordering of priorities like that could generate a lot of philosophies of many different search engines. Do you mind if I play around with those a little bit? I might email a few other Googlers about this thread and talk a little bit about the orderings.

Sorry for the long post. Liane, thanks for your post. I remember talking to you a few months ago, so it was good to hear your thoughts about that period now.


6:07 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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But what about the ethical ones and the honest, hardworking innocent webmasters who build a site more or less to Brett's guidelines

How much more and how much less?

There are degrees to everything. Six months ago, my site was what most here would have considered squeeky clean. However, it is "clean-er" now! Is it optimized ... yep! :) Is yours?

Look at your site from the users perspective. Is there anything at all your 10th grade English teacher would change? If so, change it and see what happens.

Innocent or not ... if you want "free" traffic, go with the flow and play by Google's rules. Otherwise, pay for your advertisng and don't worry about your innocence or ethics.


Liane, thanks for your post. I remember talking to you a few months ago, so it was good to hear your thoughts about that period now.

My appologies for my rants back then GG. I didn't understand at the time. I think I do now. BTW, some of those rants were not "really" me. I collapsed soon afterwards due to a fairly severe viral fever which had me down for the count for nearly a month. I honestly didn't remember some of those posts until one of the mods here sent me the URL's a few weeks back. Quite embarassing! :(

[edited by: Liane at 6:17 pm (utc) on April 11, 2004]


6:08 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google needs to do these things:

1) Hire an articulate privacy officer now, who is willing to talk to nonprofit lobbyists without yelling at them.

2) Put together a competent public relations department that is devoid of any and all geeks. I'd recommend that some of them even telecommute from outside of Silicon Valley, so that they're in touch with the real world.

3) Sprinkle some non-geeks among their top executives (Terry Semel is a Luddite and he's just what Yahoo needed).

4) Tell Larry and Sergey that they cannot talk to the press. At a minimum, they should stop bragging that their motto is "Don't be evil." This is the silliest, dumbest, geekiest, most idiotic thing I've ever seen from a major corporation. They'll be laughing about this one at Harvard Business School for generations to come.

Yahoo needs to do these things:

1) Start crawling as deeply as Google.

2) Dump their Site Match program now because it is a horrible idea. Yahoo can dump it now fairly quietly, but if they wait six months it will cost them. It will get dumped eventually, because it cannot stand the light of day.

If Yahoo does these two things, then they will be neck-to-neck with Google before Microsoft even has a chance to launch their new engine. Yahoo has a window of opportunity because Google is stumbling, and because Microsoft has no choice but to show Yahoo's results for perhaps another year or so. If Yahoo blows this one, they will have only themselves to blame.

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