Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.196.232.162

Message Too Old, No Replies

Google Hard Coding Results....to their product benefit

     
4:58 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:6149
votes: 282


In a still-simmering Google antitrust complaint, UK-based vertical search outfit Foundem accuses the Mountain View web giant of using its search monopoly to unfairly favor its own services over those of its competitors. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt denies the accusation, arguing that the company's search engine always delivers "the best end-user outcome." But Harvard professor and noted Google watcher Ben Edelman believes otherwise.

He says he's found a "smoking gun" that indicates Google's search engine does in fact favor the company's own services.

Edelman says his evidence shows that Google may "hard-code" its own links to appear at the top of certain algorithmic search result pages, including links for Google Finance, Google Health, and other Mountain View-operated web services. In other words, these links appear independently of Google's search algorithms, undermining the company's off-stated claims that its search results are unbiased and completely automated.


Long article. In part an update to earlier Foundem charges, in part an exploration of the "smoking gun"...

[theregister.co.uk...]
5:42 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:May 26, 2000
posts:37301
votes: 0


I just finished reading this. It's a very well-done bit of research. I was considering how to begin a thread and then I found that you beat me to it ;)

I also recommend that people read the original source article by Edelman [benedelman.org], rather than just the Register's second-hand report. Also remember, as Google responded, that "Ben Edelman has been a paid consultant for Microsoft".
6:23 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:6149
votes: 282


I think most of us have been following this for some time:

[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

And more. Doing search for Foundem and Google produces OTHER then Webmasterworld reports. Interesting reading and---perhaps---a cause for consideration among webmasters.

And Ted, I wasn't looking to "get there first". I've seen this all too often in Google results in some of my biz sites (not the hobby site I list here) that some concern is warranted.
7:00 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:May 26, 2000
posts:37301
votes: 0


You know, I never doubted that those particular types of links (for Google Finance, Google Health, and other Mountain View-operated web services) were hard-coded. I don't think Google ever said otherwise, either, for these particular verticals.

Particularly interesting is Marissa Mayer's comment in this video from 2007 [youtube.com]

"When we roll[ed] out Google Finance, we did put the Google link first. It seems only fair, right? We do all the work for the search page and all these other things, so we do put it first...That has actually been our policy, since then, because of Finance. So for Google Maps again, it's the first link."
9:05 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Feb 3, 2004
posts: 6099
votes: 6


Particularly interesting is Marissa Mayer's comment in this video from 2007

Yes but the following year ...

As Edelman points out, his findings run contrary to Google's age-old description of its search engine. "No manual intervention," Google Fellow Amit Singhal said in a 2008 blog post. "The final ordering of the results is decided by our algorithms…not manually by us. We believe that the subjective judgment of any individual is…subjective, and information distilled by our algorithms…is better than individual subjectivity."
4:49 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member

joined:May 30, 2009
posts:231
votes: 5


I've found/suspected the hard-coding to be highly plausible.

Also remember, as Google responded, that "Ben Edelman has been a paid consultant for Microsoft".


Point taken, but all three of the big search destinations seem to be hard-coding their own properties/pages into SERP's.
5:52 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 27, 2002
posts:84
votes: 0


It's not really surprising, is it?
8:14 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Feb 3, 2004
posts: 6099
votes: 6


No.
8:16 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

joined:Mar 9, 2010
posts:1806
votes: 9


Which is not surprising? the hard coding or the lies or both?
9:14 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Feb 3, 2004
posts: 6099
votes: 6


Both. ;)
10:24 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

joined:Aug 11, 2008
posts:1269
votes: 44


Stop the presses. Publicly traded company maximises profits for shareholders.

Of course they promote their own services. They would be remiss if they didn't. However, I might suggest they give themselves free adword positions, rather than take "organic" space.
10:45 am on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from LK 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 16, 2005
posts:2417
votes: 17


All his examples are essentially when something is added above the organic results. Its more a case of Google providing content directly rather than sending users to a site.

His other point is that Google puts its own site first within a list of more info links within that content. I still think this is entirely different from the organic SERPS.

Also, its interesting that Google at least provides these links to multiple sites: the same search on Bing returns a simply SERPS with content on top result, but with only a link to MSN (with two news links to MSN underneath it as well!).
12:45 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:June 12, 2003
posts:702
votes: 9


For the record, I agree with graeme_p.

OneBox results, imo, are not algorithmic organic search results.
1:48 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:May 26, 2000
posts:37301
votes: 0


I just checked one of the "health" SERPs from the article - the search on [acne]. There are still 10 organic results, with 3 Google properties {Health, News, Books] added, for a total of 13.
3:42 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Aug 30, 2010
posts:100
votes: 0


We all know Google is the world's leading researcher on acne.

"Rolling Eyes"
5:16 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Feb 3, 2004
posts: 6099
votes: 6


OneBox results, imo, are not algorithmic organic search results.

Isn't that precisely what this is about?
6:59 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 18, 2003
posts:629
votes: 0


Isn't Google's job to return search results that best match a query? Who cares how it's generated? If the results are poor users will leave - that's why Google has all the search volume, other engine results are poor.
9:50 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:June 12, 2003
posts:702
votes: 9


BeeDeeDubbleU, no, if you read Edelman's study, he says the algorithmic results are hand coded. Technically that is wrong.

Plus, Google is not the only engine that does this. They all do.

If I search for weather in san jose, I want a onebox, not a web page.
11:55 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 27, 2003
posts:844
votes: 0


that's why Google has all the search volume, other engine results are poor.
That may of been the case a year ago, now it's not. Bing is every bit as good as Google results and in some instances even better which is why Bing is my default search. (at least for the things I search for).
4:35 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

joined:Mar 9, 2010
posts:1806
votes: 9


I just checked one of the "health" SERPs from the article - the search on [acne]. There are still 10 organic results, with 3 Google properties {Health, News, Books] added, for a total of 13.


I don't see any of the google properties in my part of the world.
4:03 pm on Nov 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 23, 2002
posts:659
votes: 0


This finally puts Google's claim that they don't manipulate search results to a lie.
6:41 pm on Nov 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:May 26, 2000
posts:37301
votes: 0


I think you would need evidence that the "ten organic results" are manipulated or hand coded - and this is not that kind of proof. Clearly, the rest of any "universal search results" on the page are not ranking organically and they never were.

After a week of consideration, I think this whole bit of research is just a bunch of BS - smoke and mirrors designed to confuse the public for use in the legal battle. It's a battle in a business war, and not real research.
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members