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It doesn't surprise me in the least AOL would do this. The surprise was that Google would let AOL put their name and logo alongside these filtered/censored search results. Particularly as Google is trying to market itself, down the company name, as having the biggest and most complete search results. Imagine the brand contamination to Google with AOLers telling people they know: "You don't want to use that Google search engine. I have that on AOL, and they censor even the website of Prince Charles from the results."
This sample serp was discovered by Lingerboy(whoever he is :) )
The search term is 'art'
Serp #9 & #10 are totally removed from the serp, not just moved to page2, but removed.
What they did...
AOL inserted digitalcity.com for 1 and 2. Under matching web sites??? Could this be considered a violation of FTC rule where advertisers or sponsors should be clearly marked?
Those who don't know about Digitalcity and AOL.
What is the AOL Local Guide / Digital City?
AOL Local Guide (available on the Web as Digital City) is the nation's leading local online information source. It provides advertisers and marketers with an active local audience looking for where to go, what to do, and how to get the most out the cities in which they live and visit.
and here's from AOL corp...
Founded in 1985, AOL initially offered limited online services for what was then a miniscule market of personal-computer users. Today, it serves more than 34 million members of its flagship AOL service along with more than 3 million CompuServe members, 120 million registered users of ICQ, and 48 million registered users of the Netscape.com service. AOL also operates some of the most popular services on the World Wide Web including MapQuest, AOL Instant Messenger, AOL Moviefone, Spinner, Winamp, and Digital City, Inc. Through AOL Strategic Business Solutions, the company builds and sells packaged software for enterprise solutions and focuses mainly on AOL Time Warner partners. The AOL International division operates localized online services in 17 countries and in eight languages making AOL the only truly global interactive services provider.
This is misleading...(I wonder if Google is aware of this)...because most users would simply assume that this is Google result.
Currently this is not happening to all keywords but who is to say that this would not be the blanket format for all serp.
When I do a search on AOL for keyword "fonts", the first 2 results listed under "Matching Sites" are not related to the subject, and they are not from Google. They seem to have been inserted by your editors, as is described in the last sentence here:
These results may contain objectionable material not endorsed by AOL.
"Matching Sites" are Web sites listed in order of relevance (listings with the highest relevance appear first). These listings are administered, sorted and maintained by Google (AOL's search partner). For information about how Google sorts these listings, go to [google.com...] and click on the "Our Technology" link. For some searches, the first one or two listings may come from AOL's own collection of matching sites. These listings are usually distinguished from the others by the inclusion of the "AOL Keyword" designation. These appear only when there is a high degree of confidence by the AOL editors that our content is relevant to your search."
However, they have been in no way distinguished from the other listings, and if they are paid listings, then this, in my opinion, is deceptive. The FTC is likely to agree.
To make matter worse, the #9 and #10 results from the Google listings seem to have been truncated to accommodate these bogus listings.
Bad start to an otherwise impressive product launch.
It will probely never get read, but it made me feel good to send it.
Maybye AOL considers it beta since it's not used by all their users with their software yet. The question is when.
[edited by: JeremyL at 10:20 pm (utc) on July 24, 2002]
It counted the first 10 url feed then
add their 2 advertisers then
then saved the 10 URL in their db
effectively dropping Google #9 and #10
add their 2 advertisers to the feed
then parse the first 10 URL
and add it to their db for output