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[added]Okay, I think I've figured it out... One of our client's DNS is a nypop .net, but the other one is a .il (even though he is US hosted)[/added]
Yes, it is true. If this isn't changed, Google will be partnering with AOL to provide censored search results to AOL users, which won't even allow AOLers an option where my website would come up in search results. And, no it has nothing to do with my website topic. It is even stupider than that. Google/AOL at the moment seem to be planning to censor ALL websites with a foreign top level domain, such as .ws, .co.uk, .au, etc. Thus, all websites about The Beatles, Shakespeare, or even Prince Charles that happen to have a .uk at the end of the domain name will be censored from US AOL users. Check for yourself:
Try running "Prince Charles" through that, and then www.google.com. Gotta make sure to protect the Americans from www.princeofwales.gov.uk, which is "The official website of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.", and #1 at Google. Looks like Google has sunk to an all time low, allowing themselves to be a partner with AOL in providing censored search results. Personally, I'll be sending a copy of this post to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing my disgust and contempt for Google in being a part in this. And to think I used to like Google.
But you can never accuse Google of selling out. They have to many money, just like me. In fact, they are good at making money yet still keeping their nice and funky attitude (okay, so they don't personally reply to e-mail anymore.....Cut and paste isn't personal!)
And, I most definitely consider this Google selling out. They should have, after finding out what AOL wanted, told AOL that they hoped they burned in hell as they deserve, and just walked away. If this is Google's idea of the way to make a buck, and then then IMO they have a very low sense of ethics, and are contrary to the spirit of the Internet.
What I think we are seeing on the alpha/beta test site right now, is nothing more than a snapshot database that is being served with some of the same routines that serve Google AdWords on AOL - hence the auto filtering. Looks to me like they aren't testing the database here, they are testing the interface.
They are just using whatever tools are handy on the shelf. Right now, that could be the backlink server for Googles AOL AdWords displayes.
To suggest that aol/google is doing anything but beta testing from one preproduction database is absurd at this point. It's best to just wait until something more official pops up on the radar.
I'm going to splice this on the aol thread - all the same topic.
What about the people who provide good content but dont have the means, "skill" or permissions to change server locals or other work arounds. Are you suggesting that those people should just lump it. Not so sure that is a good way forward. IMO
What about the .ac.uk 's, surely they cant be de-listed. But they are, apparently universities dont exist in the UK. I suppose one good point is if all the history sites are ommitted it will make the subject a lot easier to study as one will need only do the past few hundred years :-)
Actually the new search IS LIVE about 50% of the time. Every other time I go to aol.com and click on the link at top in the navigation that says search, I get the Google Enhanced results and database. So it may be beta, but it is a live beta.
But on the other hand I don't think google has done anything wrong if the database does stay that way. Google is getting paid to supply results and technology. What AOL wants done with the product is up to AOL. Google would be crazy and I would even say wreckless to turn down AOL just because AOL wanted to do something different then everyone else with the results. JMHO
A naive, but genuine question... why do they beta test such a 'beta' version publically?
Why does it take days, weeks etc. for things to 'straighten out'? Surely the terms of reference and technologies can be agreed, matched, integrated and implemented before it is unleashed, leaving just minor bugs or tweaks to be ironed out?
I slept on this last night, as I sometimes do when I am angry, with the expectation that I may be able to work out some logic or common sense overnight. I couldn't find any.
Why are they trying to blind their US based users from half the internet? Why censor on the basis of hosting location or suffix? Are they too stupid to understand that both these hurdles can be jumped by those who really want to?
I cannot see any advantage in this for AOL. Surely it will be just another incentive for their users to jump ship.... it won't take too long for them to start to realize that important and well known sites have been censored out.
And for Google it will also be damaging. They have their name right next to these limited returns. What impression do they think this will give to AOL users? Obvious... Google produces half baked results... so what's all the hype about.... find a better SE. Is that what Google wants? That's what they will get if this goes live. The start of brand contamination on a a large scale.
Yup... they've got me angry on this one. I hate censorship at the best of times, but this one takes the biscuit for stupidity.
It would seem sensible for AOL to offer a similar to UK where you can choose between two. I really cant see any sensible reason why they wouldnt. They are testing it, but the algo may not be set at all. They well be just testing their hardware/system with a smaller subset of Google results for texting purposes and only including .coms seemed the easiest thing for their purposes.
What is this talk about censorship? All search engines rank and filter results. Surely then they all censor?
I would just wait until it settles as the new AOL search before you have heart attacks. After all, AOL or Google didnt ask us to look at their beta/test bed/playpen/US only search/or whatever did they? One of our smart guy's found it.
We are like voyeurs peeking in a window and coming to incredulous conclusions without anything other than the fuzzy picture we are seeing.
And even if we are seeing what we think we are, Does Google ever settle at the end of an update with it's first change at the start? No!
As a Google SE customer, it would seem to me very sensible NOT to provide default Google results but to provide a unique view on it. Otherwise people would just go to Google. Even BBC is not pure Google.
And after all these guys are "AMERICA on line" are they not? Ive never been able to take them seriously as a global brand until they change that name :)
This may be how it's going to end up, maybe not.
The fact is, at this moment we just don't know what's happening so I think we should all just sit back and chill out a little until we know for sure.
When we know for sure that it's reached it's final configuration and it's settled, if people are still unhappy (and there's some pretty strong opinions here) then it would be at that time that we let our voices be heard.
There must be a reson behind how things are currently looking, but we just don't know what it is yet.
As for Google, I just can't fathom this. Google's reputation is based on having an extensive search database of sites worldwide. The name Google itself is from "googol", and immensely huge number. This will be brand contamination on a large scale for Google. I'd have thought Google would have whacked AOL with a cluestick, and pointed out obvious things like kids using their parents AOL account to search for information to do papers in school history classes and such are gonna have a lot of problems with a search database that excludes most of the world. And, if AOL didn't get a clue, I'd have thought Google would have insisted that AOL not put any mention of Google on the website. This AOL deal must have meant so much money that Google just took leave of their senses. Hopefully only temporarily.
Censorship? They are pretty much blocking out anything that isn't hosted in the US. What do you call it? I call it censorship... 'you can only see what we want you to see and that will be only the stuff hosted here with the right suffix'.
If this goes ahead I REALLY hope it damages them big time, which I believe it will. Stupidity, whatever the motive, deserves abject failure.
It's only beta if it's not available to your users. How many of us would (and do bitch) when software is rushed released, has security holes and generally does not perform it's function to the best of it's ability?
Would you let your visitors use your site (beta or not) if it were not providing full value or not working properly due to it's 'beta' nature?
Taking us out of the equasion, how is providing low quality, non-consistent results providing value to users of AOL's search services?
On the other hand, I think if the net evolves in a way that IP addresses are factored into the SERPS, then it could be a better experience for searchers ---- provided advertisers/webmaters understand the rules and pick a primary market for their audience (and host their site there).
I don't like it any more than you guys (since my site is also "filtered" being Canadian hosted) but if I was an AOL-USA surfer, maybe that's what I'd want. Of course if there is a "US sites only" option, the user will probably not know the difference between a "US site" and a "hosted in the US site", so this could be a barrier if they do that for those that don't switch hosting companies.
But personally if I were Google, I would not have put my brand on the line like that, epsecially in something unproven such as this.
did AOL Germany and England have the "Weltweit" option as of the beginning (beta?)?
I would not be suprised if AOL America would keep results to US sites. It follows the general US inward out-look. (bend-over vitaplease :) ).
It would suprise me if Google would let their name be connected to these type of results though, i.e. without offering that world option.
Anyway, some people want local results yet sadly some organisations think its best to do an initial force-feed of them. That last option would make me feel patronised as an AOL user (anywhere), certainly when looking for the best educational non-profit information.
Even classic Google users want local results when given an option:
So there should be a strong increase of hosting versions of the same site in local countries:
I think that for the first time I will be looking for advice on redirects, cloaking, mirrored sites without PR penalty and all these other techniques I used to frown upon..national village, were back!, provincialism here I come! :(
[edited by: vitaplease at 12:47 pm (utc) on July 24, 2002]
Napoleon, does the USA still account for 50% of the web? I would have thought that the percentage can only get smaller as the popularity of the web grows worldwide.
I suppose that one side effect of this, if it becomes the norm, will be a large-scale movement of sites to US servers. All those Canadian hosted sites mentioned here will probably get moved for example. Sounds like it will be good news for US hosting companies.