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Google's Fight Against 'Low-Quality' Sites Continues

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-more-subsidies-for-content-farmers dept.

Google 220

nj_peeps writes "A couple weeks ago, JC Penney made the news for plummeting in Google rankings for everything from 'area rugs' to 'grommet top curtains.' Turns out the retail site had a number of suspicious links pointing at it that could be traced back to a link network intended to manipulate Google's ranking algorithms. Now, Overstock.com has lost rankings for another type of link that Google finds to be manipulation of their algorithms. This situation has led Google to implement a significant change to their search algorithms, affecting almost 12% of queries in an effort to cull content farms and other webspam. And in the midst of all of this, a company with substantial publicity lately for running a paid link network announces they are getting out of the link business entirely."

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Does that mean (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311790)

we can expect google to get better, e.g. closer to what it used to be in the early days?

Re:Does that mean (0)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311854)

where the front page was nothing but a banner and search entry field? Or where "do no evil" was more than an abandoned slogan of good faith? Google sold its soul a long time ago, there is no going backwards.

Re:Does that mean (5, Funny)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311900)

I don't give a damn about their soul, I just want it to point me to the information I am looking for.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312252)

"I don't give a damn about their soul, I just want it to point me to the information I am looking for."

This.

Unfortunately, what I am looking for usually has nothing to do with what anyone else is looking for.
(if the information is that popular, I probably don't need to look for it, so all this page-rank nonsense is just in my way)

A.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312490)

The thing that drives me nuts about Google is the echo chamber of blog posts reposting identical press releases which overwhelms the search results that you are looking for. This is particularly bad when (for example) you are looking for information related to video games. Google should compress these into one result. It can't be helping the accuracy of page-rank.

Re:Does that mean (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312590)

Wouldn't be so bad if people didn't run off to their respective isolationist forums in order to ask/answer questions "publicly."

Two things that would make the web a fundamentally different place: Everyone to a man comfortable editing a wiki, and everyone to a man comfortable using public key cryptography software for signatures. The former would give us better consolidation of information than the chaos of forums (you think games are bad, try cell phone forums, sheesh!). The latter would allow, finally, consequential online reputations/identities to be built.

Re:Does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312618)

Are women included in this, too, you sexist pig?

Re:Does that mean (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312660)

No. Women aren't allowed on the internets, now get back in the kitchen.

Re:Does that mean (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312658)

... everyone to a man comfortable using public key cryptography software for signatures. ... would allow, finally, consequential online reputations/identities to be built.

Are you kidding? That would be horrible! The last thing I want is my boss at work asking why I've been reading erotic transformers meet the Jetsons fan fiction! ...Not that I do, that's just an example of something some sick person might be worried about...

Re:Does that mean (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312630)

This just in: 98% of blogs are pointless!

Re:Does that mean (5, Funny)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312262)

I'd settle for it finding these two droids I've been looking for.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312426)

Re:Does that mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312546)

PROTIP: The "Let Me GOOGLE That For You" meme implies the use of GOOGLE, as the G in LMGTFY means GOOGLE, as in you GOOGLEd the requested search and showed GOOGLE's results, not the direct site linked from same.

PROTIP: There is no "Let Me Motorola That For You" meme.

Re:Does that mean (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312274)

Easy.

Google "Google's Soul"

Re:Does that mean (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312102)

Keep repeating the moronic claim of Google's overarching villainy. When Google does turn evil, no one is going to care because they're already ignoring you.

Re:Does that mean (2)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312160)

where the front page was nothing but a banner and search entry field? Or where "do no evil" was more than an abandoned slogan of good faith? Google sold its soul a long time ago, there is no going backwards.

A companies soul is the cost of them going corporate.

Re:Does that mean (4, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312474)

Some of us actually use that shit at the top left. Suck it.
Also, what the hell is with you people. The slogan is "don't be evil", not "do no evil". It's a minor grammar error, and you're probably confused with monkeys, but this pops up time and time again. Is this some talking point kind of thing that I'm not aware of? Did I not get the memo?

Re:Does that mean (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311880)

Google didn't get any worse, the spammers are the ones who got better.

I understand them if they are rather slow in making significant changes to their algorithm. In this sue-happy society they have to keep any collateral damage as low as possible (i.e. valid sites that move only a few spots down the ranking - can you imagine the outcry?). It's the disadvantage of being number one.

Re:Does that mean (5, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312594)

This is what I don't get. How can you decry the business of another when it adversely affects you, especially when the two industries are completely unrelated (Retail vs Search/Tech)? Google's business is to provide the most relevant results to the search request made. PERIOD. One of the search terms my site consistently is in the top three sites for recently went down several spots as people who've lifted content off my site and posted it to their site, unabridged and unedited. Just flat out copy/pasted it. I know, because there are unique aspects about my content (relevantly unique), which is why my site was so well listed, and why the content was lifted and posted elsewhere.

I worked long and hard creating unique relevant pages to get to the top of the search, only to be replaced by exact copies on other websites. I'm not upset, I consider it flattery that my content is so good that people find it that useful that they want it as their own. However, I would be pissed if the information I had was commercial in nature (it isn't) and people were just taking it because of what I call the Kazaa mentality of just copying things because you want them and are too damn cheap to buy it. In a world where people (used to) buy ring tones for $2.99 but steal $.89 MP3s.

Anyway, back to my point, as a result of people plain stealing my website content, my rankings have dropped considerably by exact copies of my work. What used to be #1 on the first page is probably now somewhere on page #2. It would suck if wasn't giving the info away, the more places that have my info the better. Still, I would love for Google to realize where the original came from (history) and gave points for being "first" for relevant content.

Re:Does that mean (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312892)

This is an issue of dilution and why mass copyright infringement ultimate devalues goods and harms their authors.

Part of the reason why people want certain goods is because not everyone has that good. When suddenly everyone has that good,the willingness of the population to pay top price for the item is significantly reduced; capitalism at work. As a result, once the market becomes diluted, the market price is reduced. This means it has effectively become a commodity item. Worse, when the commodity is commonly received gratis (stolen), the perceived need to actually pay for it is effectively destroyed.

Re:Does that mean (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312750)

Whether it's Google or spammers that are responsible, the reality is that Google just isn't anywhere near as useful as it used to be. And I think they waited way too long to own up to the poor quality of results, they've been at parity with Bing and pretty much everybody else for quite a while, with their only advantage being rate of updates on their index.

Re:Does that mean (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312788)

I understand them if they are rather slow in making significant changes to their algorithm. In this sue-happy society

They could go the way of Microsoft, i.e. Patch Tuesday. Optimize all you want, but we'll be changing the algorithm every month. (Oh, and flagging the quickest responders as spammers, they obviously care too much.)

Re:Does that mean (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311974)

Not if Microsoft keeps suing Google by proxy everytime a linkfarm or vertical search engine gets rated down.

Re:Does that mean (4, Insightful)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312056)

It's not so much as google getting worse or better, but people and companies building businesses around pagerank, and thus the need for very aggressive SEO. Were you to dump the same "low-quality" sites onto the Internet in 2000, I'm sure the results from Google would have been FAR worse than what we see today.

Does This Mean That InfoWorld... (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312286)

...will stop buying those infuriating astroturf placements here on Slashdot designed to bump up their SEO...?

Good, now I can really depend (1, Offtopic)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311830)

on Google to send me exactly where they must know I belong because I can't make that decision for myself.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311860)

on Google to send me exactly where they must know I belong because I can't make that decision for myself.

If you knew the location of the web site where you "belonged", you wouldn't have to search for it to begin with.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (0)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312158)

I guess the humor in my original post on this thread was lost somewhere.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312302)

I guess the humor in my original post on this thread was lost somewhere.

It was low-quality humor, obviously culled from a humor farm - and thus downgraded.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312448)

I guess the humor in my original post on this thread was lost somewhere.

Before it reached the keyboard, I suspect.

For a guy who's real name is Einstein, Super Dave Osbourne is not very bright.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312826)

If you knew the location of the web site where you "belonged", you wouldn't have to search for it to begin with.

Typing it into the search bar is quicker than prefixing "www." or thinking about the spelling.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311878)

Yes, that's what this is about. Freedom to have spam served to me on a silver platter. Please Google, stop filtering all that spam in my gmail inbox too! I hate that you feel the need to protect me; I am a big boy and enjoy sifting through 1000 messages a day looking for the 2 relevant ones! Let freedom ring! /sarcasm.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311892)

Please publicly disclose your email address so that you can decide for yourself which spam email you'd like to keep.

Free your inbox from the tyranny of not getting enough herbal Viagra email!

Re:Good, now I can really depend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311942)

they make herbal viagra now!!????

why hadn't i ever heard of this?

Re:Good, now I can really depend (1)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312242)

Because Google didn't want you to, obviously...

Re:Good, now I can really depend (5, Informative)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312000)

I run a spider. It seems over 95% of pages on the internet are content farm and similar randomly generated crap. They take a hundred sentence fragments, string them together, then see if they can fool Google and other engines into crawling them.

You will not be very happy if they stop filtering the garbage for you.

Bayesian tagging (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312284)

Let people tag sites they've found as a result of a search. Build a tagging system which will allow people to exclude linkspam for example.

I've set up Bayesian tagging for my email client and it works quite well, all my mails come in pre tagged, pretty much 99% accurately, only an occasional one comes through with an incorrect tag these days.

I'm aware of the processing overhead involved... which is what the Google Toolbar is for. Or should I have patented this idea first? Maybe they could just buy Stumbleupon.

Re:Bayesian tagging (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312698)

Let people tag sites they've found as a result of a search. Build a tagging system which will allow people to exclude linkspam for example.

Because no spammer could write a program to repeatedly search for and tag their site.

Re:Bayesian tagging (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312958)

Let people tag sites they've found as a result of a search. Build a tagging system which will allow people to exclude linkspam for example.

That would replace "PageRank" with "whoever can afford to pay Mechanical Turk to tag their site". At that point, Google might as well drop the middleman and use their AdSense auctions to sell page ranking directly.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312090)

send me exactly where they must know I belong because I can't make that decision for myself.

Congratulations on grasping the purpose of a search engine.

Re:Good, now I can really depend (1)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312980)

Nah, that's Facebook you're thinking of, not Google.

Santorum (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311852)

As long as they don't change their algorithm so that the Santorum Google bomb ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorum_(sexual_neologism) [wikipedia.org] ) loses effect, I'm happy.

Re:Santorum (0)

headhot (137860) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311978)

More people are taking about the act then the ex-senator.. I think that goolge returns the correct result.

Re:Santorum (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312418)

Goolge? Have the French made their own version of something again?

Re:Santorum (-1, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312712)

Never heard the term before today. I guess you have to be in certain circles to enjoy creating disgusting terms to shout down political debate. I bet you're proud to be part of that circle jerk.

Re:Santorum (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312792)

No, some people---such as you---are just uninformed fuckwits. Santorum himself recently acknowledged the term and how it was affecting (read "ruining") his chances for a presidential run. People who, you know, know news tend to stay more informed about what's going on in the world. You might want to try doing some learning some time.

Re:Santorum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312810)

"I guess you have to be in certain circles to enjoy creating disgusting terms to shout down political debate."

You don't know what you're talking about, so you look like an idiot. Just sayin'.

Can the car parts spammers be next? (5, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311868)

Please tell me they are going to start going after the myriad car parts spam sites that flood the google rankings when searching for anything but the most obvious automotive items. I am sick and tired of sifting through a dozen completely worthless sites when googling for a part number I am trying to track down. Ebay is more reliable than google for almost everything I am looking for lately.

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312054)

The best interest of somebody selling a muffler on ebay is to get your eyes on the muffler so you can consider buying it. you obviously aren't going to buy the muffler if you've been searching for elvis wigs, and I think bad tagging gets your seller rating shot to shit.

On the other hand, in a web search, the best interest for the site is to maximize their investment and get the most eyeballs. So, they play dirty and abuse the algorithm to get as many hits as possible so their ads get as many hits as possible as well.

We're just lucky in this case that Google is siding with the people on this one, but that's only because Google seems to dislike vertical search sites as much as anyone else who is trying to search for an answer and gets baited into a mailing list / aggregator of the search results you were just looking at in google.

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (3, Funny)

adeft (1805910) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312154)

Same can be said for searching for computer part numbers i.e. a replacement laptop cd-rom. If it wasn't true, this could be considered a computer analogy to explain a car situation.....

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312578)

Women's clothing is really bad too... unless you're looking to buy cases of it from chinese or indian factories.

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (2)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312908)

a computer analogy to explain a car situation.....

Whoa, are you trying to get the world to spin backwards?

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312354)

Ebay is more reliable than google for almost everything I am looking for lately.

Agreed, but the main problem with eBay are all the "duplicates" from the same sellers flooding the results.

Re:Can the car parts spammers be next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312942)

It's not car parts, it any $PRODUCT you happen to be looking for. Even cnet has become a park-page site mysteriously getting top rankings for products they only have page placeholders for.

why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311886)

it looks like a failure on our part to buy advertising. now, we don't show up at all, after 10 years at # 1? nothing gnu about that? we have never manipulated anything. we're non-profit (even more so now) on that particular endeavor. thanks.

as far as climate change; look around. the 'debate' has ended. the 'scientists' are looking at escape methods for us now. they mean us no intentional harm.

Re:why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311970)

why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking?

How the fuck should I know? I don't even have enough information to make a wild-assed guess. Go ask Google.

as far as climate change

What the hell has this anything to do with climate change? GTFO and learn to stay on-topic before returning.

Re:why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking? (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312038)

Does anyone actually search for you on Google? And click your link regularly? That also helps if your popular enough to at least receive that. It also helps if your site is easily searchable and a few other technical specifics any good website administrator should know.

Re:why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312112)

Any organization dumb enough to hire an idiot like you is doomed to begin with, so stop sweating your page rank and go sort some more glass.

Re:why has google taken OUR # 1 search ranking? (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312162)

It's mainly because Google doesn't like or believe in the mission of your non-profit.*

*I completely made it up...

Google keeps doing what its doing, SHOCKER! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311946)

Completely unpredictable that Google keeps maintaining their product, unfathomable

Next target, those stupid mailing list aggregators that keep popping up first in results, but are a redirect to a redirect to a redirect ... and digg/reddit types

I, for one, welcome our new advertising overlords (5, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312026)

What I can say as guy who sells ad space on his website: My Google AdSense income has gone up by a factor of 5 to 10 in the past two months. No, I'm not gonna be able to retire on this money. But it's an obvious increase. And I see it coming at exactly the same time as I see Google cracking down on rank spamming.
I think Google has "rationalized" a lot of their ad process (both ranking and sales) and the only guys who are hurt, are the ones who were gaming the system to begin with. e.g. click fraud and spamming the ranking.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new advertising overlor (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312086)

Mine has stayed relatively stable. Couple dollars more like usual. While I'm sure it depends on the type of content that drives revenue to your site, I have a feeling that very little has changed for those who make more than a couple dollars a day.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new advertising overlor (1)

stephathome (1862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312484)

Mine increased about 3-4 months ago, but not as much as yours did. Bit under double. Still nice to have, but I certainly wouldn't object to a bigger increase.

I suspect it's some other factor, but we can always wonder. It's certainly possible that sites doing more poorly in the rankings would try to regain traffic with the content network.

Re:I, for one, welcome our new advertising overlor (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312786)

I gave up on AdSense years ago, just the fact that they didn't bother to care whether or not the javascript worked across platform was enough to lose any interest in using their product. I don't mind them filling in free ads if nobody has paid for a particular spot, but when their javascript prevents people from showing their ads on my page, that's a problem and given that they supply the tools necessary, it's completely unacceptable.

Some improvement already (2)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312066)

My searches don't seem to be turning up quite so many fake download sites with "certified full download" links anymore, good riddance to those.

Re:Some improvement already (1)

SpacePirate20X6 (935718) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312438)

And it's about time, too... These sites were among the most annoying. Particularly sites that only perform search redirects, and those that claimed to have content, and request you jump through hoops (all in an attempt to generate ad revenue) to view their non-content... Of course, I recognize them straight away for the load of crap they are, these days, but getting rid of those would save me a ridiculous amount of time.

Re:Some improvement already (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312800)

Searching for free software has been quite a challenge. It inevitably turns up more "free downloads" and "free trial" than actual free software by default, and you can't just eliminate those two without losing sites which offer both on the same page.

Content farms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312140)

Anything that banishes content farms from the web is a good thing. I'm tired of sites hosting copies of Wikipedia or newsgroup posts only to manipulate their rank. If you do this, you're scum. It really negatively affects my ability to find good content. Content farms really hurts programming related searches. So many times, I find somebody asking the exact question I need the answer to, but there's no way to read the replies. GRRRRH!

Anything that suppresses content farms is good! (4, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312180)

One of the things I use Google for extensively is the ability to search for wierd error messages, return codes, etc. that appear in commercial software I use for work. It's very frustruating when your very specific search query returns 45 different sites, all of which are rehosting the same forum post or newsgroup article. These get ranked higher up than other unique posts, causing a lot of scrolling through results and wasting time. Also, these aren't queries like "bmw 335i" or "" that are guaranteed to return millions of unique hits. I'm looking for the one other guy in the world who's found this issue and has a workable answer. Google used to be pretty good for that, especially if your query was well formed and incredibly specific.

Real world example - I got an error message trying to install Windows 7 SP1 last week, with a long hex number and a very specifically-worded message. I typed the query into google, and the first hit was some idiot who had no idea what he was talking about on a support forum. The next 5-6 hits were that exact same idiot's post rebroadcast to sites like eggheadcafe.com, techarea.in, etc. I eventually found the answer, but it was on page 3 of the search results.

On another topic, how and why do these content farm sites exist? How does eggheadcafe.com, which just copies newsgroup and forum data, able to pay to keep the site going? Are they all just looking to cash in on ad revenue? Do they really get that much in revenue to justify the site-crawling they must have to do?

Re:Search for error messages (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312526)

The next generation is to get out of generic search. Build a roster of say 5 sites that do a great job on your error code problems and then use advanced search to stay in that domain.

Set up your browser to be specific search domains. (Non error related example) - I typically run IMDB and Wikipedia in a pair, so I do the search on those, one per tab.

Re:Anything that suppresses content farms is good! (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312528)

I got an error message trying to install Windows 7 SP1 last week

sp1 is out?? why doesn't it appear in my updates? and its already giving mysterious errors!

Re:Anything that suppresses content farms is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312584)

In that case you need to know where to look, not just the query - like 'msdn error codes' [google.com] .

Re:Anything that suppresses content farms is good! (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312772)

Also, these aren't queries like "bmw 335i" or ""

If you're trying to put some text between < and >, write &lt; and &gt; , and don't forget to preview ;)

Do they really get that much in revenue to justify the site-crawling they must have to do?

Well, my guess is that the answer is "yes". These forums don't really require that much storage nor bandwidth, the usual "related topics" on that kind of sites helps getting better Pagerank (than the original forum), and the page is otherwise usually mostly filled with ads. You can also imagine other goals, for example :

  1. Copy other forums' posts : forum aggregator;
  2. Imitate other forums : with reputation earned in step 1, you can attract people to write original content for your forum;
  3. Innovate by doing something more / better than other forums;
  4. ...
  5. Profit ! (each step more)

And apparently <ol> tags don't number anymore in the new Slashdot redesign. Letting them to check for potential preview bug...

alta vista (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312190)

Alta Vista was not able to save themselves by complaining that web sites were not being honest about keywords. They were not able to whine and get people to stop using perfectly legal practices.

Market forces will insure that firms will continue to hack the google algorithm. If Google fights back too much firms will begin to use and promote other advertisers, like Bing. This is a typical case where the end user is not the customer. The customer is the firms that pay Google to advertiser. Then search engine only serves to collect views that raise the value of those ads. Therefore the only issue is if the 'low quality' search results causes substantially fewer people to view ads.

In fact I don't see Google doing anything to make the search results better. All the link farms with Google ads appear to perpetually stay high in the ranks. The only time that anything seems to be done is when a firm fails to pay Google for ads and instead pays other firms to manipulate the rankings. I can imagine that Google, who will doing anything, ethical or not, to be the only ad agency on the web, would find that to be a very bad thing.

Re:alta vista (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312804)

you meam all those aggregator sites will stop listing on Google and will fill Bing with all their crapola instead?

that's pretty much the best result I coudl have expected (as I don't bother using Bing in the first place).

Re:alta vista (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312938)

If Google fights back too much firms will begin to use and promote other advertisers, like Bing. This is a typical case where the end user is not the customer. The customer is the firms that pay Google to advertiser.

Google isn't the advertiser. That's what the pages it lists are. Its more like a shopping mall. Google is trying to protect the reputation of its location by attracting Neiman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue. JC Penney's can move to the cheap mall across town with Wal Mart and its customers [peopleofwalmart.com] .

Nothing to see here (1)

ZeroEdge (1998538) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312202)

I still get the right search results for "French Military Victories" [albinoblacksheep.com]

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312342)

You dunce, you posted the wrong link. That's not the google search, it's the page at the first search result.

Here's the correct link. [google.com]

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312818)

How did you do that? Those are both the same link.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312922)

Magic.

(Go to Google, type "french military victories" including quotes, and click I'm Feeling Lucky.)

SEO gaming - no penalty! (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312212)

I've just looked back at JCPenney's stock price, and there's no fluctuation or even a news mention about them getting Google-slapped for SEO gaming. They made it through the Christmas season selling tons of stuff, Google has slapped them down, yet there isn't even a bump. An analyst noted they had slightly weaker January sales and blamed it on "Lower inventory clearance coupled with bad weather".

Apparently it means that SEO gaming does not rise to the level of "Corporate Evil" that would divert shoppers or stock traders. I guess the public must just see it as "corporations advertising like normal."

Re:SEO gaming - no penalty! (2)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312402)

Or maybe, that JCPenney makes most of its money in its brick-and-mortar stores rather than online?

Or most of their online customers go directly to JCPenney's rather than searching for a source of doodads or widgets?

In the end, google might have done JCPenney's a favor by showing them how little business their SEO games actually brought, and that this is an expense they can well do without...

Reactionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312308)

What I don't get is why companies (and individuals) are always reactionary. Why don't they get to the root of the problem?

Here is one solution: Why not offer the "service" itself? Why not supplement the content farms with their own? That way, they control the need for this nature to occur, and can harness the profit from it. Their bottom line would love it.

Anti Link Sites are born... (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312310)

If I have a site that google has identified as a "bad link source", I can sell that as a service so companies can lower the rank of their competition.

Of course, Dr Suess saw this long ago http://www.squidoo.com/thesneetches [squidoo.com] .

OMG WTF Gogle is naw da ebil! (-1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312320)

They're arbitrairaly blockin sites! Welcom to the authoritarian fascist future of googlland, where the googlers can simply claim you as "low-quality" and wipte you off the face of the net. It's like they woke up today and asked "how can we be evil". "Do no evil" indeed. Geez slashdot, way to keep spinning all your stories in favor of the googlords.

Where's the story? (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312360)

Now, Overstock.com has lost rankings for another type of link that Google finds to be manipulation of their algorithms. ... And in the midst of all of this, a company with substantial publicity lately for running a paid link network announces they are getting out of the link business entirely.

So where are the stories to support these two statements? TFS wasn't a summary of a story, it was a few low quality links and some bold, without citation, claims.

Thanks google! (1)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312366)

you-know-what.ragingfist.net
w00t!

And does this mean... (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312476)

.. that Google will FINALLY go after dodgy outfits like ExpertsExchange cloaking their search results and hiding answers from people who click through?

Man, those guys suck.

Re:And does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312684)

I read the fix for that a while ago and just tested it now... Ignore the signup thing at the top. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. The answer is down there. Free.

Re:And does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312688)

You mean ExpertSexchange?

Re:And does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312846)

You mean ExpertSexChange?

Re:And does this mean... (1)

higuita (129722) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312864)

Just scroll down... and down, and down... you will get the answers that google indexed.
but remember, you must click on the link shown on google, dont try to search directly on the site

Re:And does this mean... (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312872)

They do suck but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you get the answers anyway.

[John]

Re:And does this mean... (1)

nbacon (84848) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312946)

FYI - ExpertsExchange: Scroll down for the replies instead of clicking or joining.

Re:And does this mean... (1)

brainstem (519778) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312962)

for the questions linked from google, you just need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the answer

Datasheets (1)

Whatsisname (891214) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312496)

It sure would be nice if google laid the smack down on all of those bogus electronics datasheet archive websites. Those are totally useless and make it very difficult to find specs on old parts.

I fully agree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312564)

I fully agree with Google, I hate it when I search for something [query] and I see a result like `find cheap [query] on http://www.very.low.quality.site.com'.

Bad Press and Conspiracy Theorists vs Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35312710)

You know it's funny to see all these google hating articles online. I rank them right with the "gaming causes violence/rape/torture/etc" articles that are nothing more than an attempt to gain article views and ad clicks.

Where I get disgusted is when I see the conspiracy theorists who say that google isn't going to change anything because they're "making money" off spam sites, when in reality, the more people who are frustrated with google's search enough to leave the more google loses money of SEARCH ad (adwords) clicks.

At my company we spend about 20% of our google advertising budget on adsense ads and that's just to target a single site in our niche. Do you seriously think that google would do anything to damage 80% of their income to try to increase the other 20% by a few percentage points?

Google could care less about adsense clicks. Those are pennies compared to the massive cash that marketers throw into adwords. Saying that google wants to lower their quality of search results OR not actively better those results to make their searchers happy betrays deep ignorance of the way google's business operates.

But of course you couldn't prove that google is doing one thing or another... that's what makes it a good conspiracy.

Malice (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312952)

How about malicious link farms, that is someone sets up a link farm specifically to screw over one of their competitors?

Also, how about aggregation sites... Sites that have "content copied from other sites" but provide data from multiple locations in a single place making the data that much easier to use? I wouldn't consider such sites to be of low quality.

One thing that does irritate me, if i have a technical question google can usually find 50 instances of other people asking the same question, but not all of them will have been answered and you have to go through each one until you find one which has an answer.

Change, yes; improvement, maybe. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#35312954)

Google's latest change is being discussed in the "search engine optimization" community. The consensus seems to be that a few big-name junk sites are being hit, and some minor link farms stopped having an effect, but the change isn't doing much else. "eHow" entries still show up. "alibaba.com" (a wholesale supplier directory, mostly for China, India, etc.) was hit, "globalsources.com" wasn't.

This may be a "manual adjustment", in emulation of Blekko's blacklist of content farms. Google's announcement, of course, provides little useful information.

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