Search Results a Cesspool

April 13, 2009

The addled goose is at the end of the trail so I don’t pay much attention to link farms, traffic scams, and online advertising. I was shocked when I read Frank Watson’s “Extortion SEO Sanctioned by Google” here. If true, I have been misunderstanding how the Google operated. Mr. Watson wrote:

There’s a much more successful way to play Google these days — just build a site that can rank for companies or individuals and write crap about them. Once the posts start appearing in the search results, these entities will get in touch with you to remove them and you can charge them for it.

Mr. Watson then asserted:

The king of these programs is Ripoff Report — the darling of Google. Matt Cutts has defended them and their right to publish defaming information — and he has two reports in there himself. Inclusion of information like this makes me agree that the search engine results are “cesspools” — though Yahoo, Microsoft, and the other engines seem to be wise to Ed Magedson, the site’s founder.

Take a look at a site called Ripoff Report. You will have to make your own decision about Mr. Watson’s allegations. Post your views.

Stephen Arnold, April 13, 2009


One Response to “Search Results a Cesspool”

  1. Elaine on April 13th, 2009 4:06 pm

    I think Ripoff Report provides valuable information about people’s feelings and experiences with various businesses. Are they always brilliantly written? No. Are they always completely accurate and unbiased? Well, they provide a glimpse into how someone is thinking and feeling at a point in time. Sometimes people are just pissed off and want to rant, and sometimes they have information that other people need to know about. It’s up to the individual reader to decide whether or not the story is valid and reliable. I would hope most people can do this.

    So, RR isn’t perfect: it allows unethical people to do damage, and those people do exist and in a mean-spirited way seek to create havoc. But, I believe the policy of not investigating every complaint is the proper one. Who’s to know who’s actually telling the truth? Who’s to know who’s right and who’s wrong? And why should it be the site’s responsibility to play judge and jury (at what would certainly be an astounding cost)?

    Having a forum where people can tell their side of the story is critical for balance. Can you imagine if the only stories available to us on the internet were the ones companies wanted us see? I’d call that propaganda! It is right and fitting that Google brings us both sides of the story and lets individuals do the research further to determine if there’s any truth to them. We need Google to continue to bring us everything, especially anything that might be negative. I find it hard to believe that anyone, including an enemy company, would go to the extent that Mr. Watson asserts in order to bring down their opponent without obviously looking like they were written by the same person (besides, they’d have to have separate IP addresses for every report–possible, but a huge pain–and yes, it’s technically feasible, but what kind of asshole really goes to those lengths?) Mr. Watson sounds to me like a very angry, pessimistic, cynical man who may himself be seeking ways to bring down another company. Maybe he’s projecting his own thoughts onto someone else.

    In the long run, I think Google does the right thing for search and for their own survival. It may piss some people off that their favorite, most flattering image isn’t the one being passed around, but that’s democracy. If you’ve got an issue with your reputation, take control of it, and learn to work within Google’s confines.

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