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Search Engine Results Relatively Fair

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the feel-the-love dept.

Google 100

perkr writes "The Economist and PhysicsWeb report on a study from Indiana University claiming that search engines have an egalitarian effect that gives new pages a greater chance to be discovered, compared to what would be the case in the absence of search engines. Based on an analysis of Web traffic and topology, this result contradicts the widely held 'Googlearchy' hypothesis according to which search engines amplify the rich-get-richer dynamics of the Web."

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google good (4, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069557)

First of all any time you want to analyze Google, you have to realize that they've had ten PhDs crunching the problem already for years. Google is designed to give the best results for whatever its users are searching, thus any apparent bent towards egalitarianism, monopolism, antidisestablishmentarianism, or what-have-you, is purely incidental.

If you're searching for something obscure, Google will instantly tell you the one startup company building it. On the other hand, if you want something mainstream, they'll give you a prioritized list of the best sources. There's no alterior motive it seems - they just give you what you searched for... imagine that! I've seen a business through from obscure geek hack to the mainstream consumer, and Google has been there at every step of the way, working exactly as users expect. To accuse them of favoring any particular stratum of that chain is awfully unfouned IMHO unless there are some specific examples. Indeed, answering users' needs instead of pandering to the status quo seems to be he most valuable bit of what google does.

Re:google good (-1, Offtopic)

Chicago Wolves (864999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069569)

http://66.171.121.226/ [66.171.121.226] Best website ever!

Re:google good (0, Offtopic)

Chicago Wolves (864999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069582)

D'oh! Wrong link. Sorry.

Re:google good (2, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069605)

any time you want to analyze Google, you have to realize that they've had ten PhDs crunching the problem already for years

First, I'm not sure that this statement is even true; sure, Google has lots of PhDs, but whether as many as ten of them are actually doing research about searching is not so clear. Managing researchers is even harder than managing programmers.

Second, not all PhDs are created equal. Some do brilliant research both as graduate students and thereafter; others barely manage to achieve a degree with a great deal of assistance from their supervisors, go into industry, and never do any significant research. Certainly Google has some brilliant reseachers, but given that it tends to hire new PhDs before they've had a chance to prove themselves, I'm sure they're also have a lot of dead weight.

Finally, "crunching" a problem doesn't get you anywhere. Ideas either happen or they don't -- if anything, working too hard on a problem will diminish research output rather than increase it.

Re:google good (0)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069607)

Blah blah blah

I'm sorry, but this is pathetic. This fawning over Google is completely unfounded. Yahoo, MSN Search, Google and Amazon's A9 all produce the same results with very little variation for most searches (I've actively tested them out and found that there is only a 5 website difference between any of the search engines, and that difference didn't really put any search engine over the other).

Had your post replaced google with "search engines" then you would have had a point. As it stands, your merely worshipping Google mindlessly.

Re:google good (3, Informative)

goldseries (932320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069625)

FYI Amazon's A9 uses Google to get search results, it just uses a different interface and provides features like online bookmarks and search history.

Re:google good (2, Informative)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069989)

I know I'm going to sound like a Google fanboy here, but Google also now has search history and bookmarks. Also, the search history weighs your new search results towards what you found more useful in the past.

An example of poor Google performance (1, Interesting)

matt me (850665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069661)

It makes no attempt to filter spam, which like email will soon account for about 80% of content.

Try this search for Tartfuel http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=tartfuel [google.co.uk] once a local band. When Google claims to have 28,600 results, in fact there are only 36. Now that's a con. When I give search advice look through all the results and they look me to say "but there's millions". Never, if you're doing a specific search, Google won't even display a tenth page (which is the max).

So, of the 36 results, how many are real? There are 10 relating to the band, one about alcopops, and the other 20+ are spam. Their old website and every subdomain is of the generic spam-generated marketing page this is about 10, and theothers are spammed guestbooks linking to them.

http://classic-motor-bikes.tartfuel.co.uk/ [tartfuel.co.uk]

I'm not interested in Google until it can search through time. Damn, I wish the net archive had done a better job. Most of the content is of popular, mainstream commercial sites, which are so unoriginal, it's off little interest. And how many images did it save? Not enough.

Mod (-5) Google bashing. No. This applies to all the search engines.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (4, Interesting)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069795)

Too true. How about some serious search innovation from Google?

- Effective (but switchable) web spam filtering, as parent mentions.
- The ability to search for strings like "-x flags" (note the quotes) and actually get meaningful results.
- More complex patterns (mathematical expressions, anyone?)
- Sort search results by the date pages were modified, they were discovered by Google? (useful in circumstances when you're looking for the latest information on a topic).
- Semantic sensitive search bots.
- Better results for filetype: operator. Why can't Google index all major filetypes even if it can't make them searcheable?

Anyone got any others?

Google could be working constantly behind the scenes on their engine but perhaps they should start making more noise about it. When was the last time Google's web search engine trod some new ground? Or any search engine for that matter (I refer to Google because they are 'innovating' so much).

Google's image search could use improvement (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071885)

I use it all the time and I'm constantly frustrated by clicking on an image or link and then getting a page that tells me I don't have permission to access it. Can they could fix the search engine so such images are excluded? That's one area in which all search engines seem to be lacking, so far as I know.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (3, Insightful)

njyoder (164804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070009)

It makes no attempt to filter spam, which like email will soon account for about 80% of content.

Not true at all. Insider screenshots of Google's special internal interfaces to employees show that they actually have a human driven spam filtering services. They basically display a page at a time and have the user rate how likely they think it is spam. I can't remember where I saw the screenshots, so I can't find them.

When Google claims to have 28,600 results, in fact there are only 36. Now that's a con.

Did you read the disclaimer at the end? Google excludes many results if they're too similar. You can click that link at the end to show all of the 28k+ results if you like, but it would be rather pointless. This tends to happen when google indexes things like web forums. Because of the way links to forum threads work, you get a lot of overlapping content, and google is simply smart enough to identify it as overlapping content and just count it as one hit.

Mod (-5) Google bashing. No. This applies to all the search engines.

You'll probably be moderated down for spreading misinformation and not actually bothering read this message at the end: "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 22 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included." If those are spam as you say, I think google did a good job by omitting many thousands of spam sites.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070260)

Did you read the disclaimer at the end? Google excludes many results if they're too similar. You can click that link at the end to show all of the 28k+ results if you like,
Dit you actually try clicking that link? You won't get any more results.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (1)

njyoder (164804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070277)

Yes, it's a bug. It normally expands to show all results.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14080039)

Insider screenshots of Google's special internal interfaces to employees show that they actually have a human driven spam filtering services. They basically display a page at a time and have the user rate how likely they think it is spam. I can't remember where I saw the screenshots, so I can't find them.


That explains why Google hire so many people :-)

Re:An example of poor Google performance (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072779)

Funny. I find only 14 results. What does this mean? Did Google suddenly know about those 20 spam results? Or is someone over there monitoring this site and removing results especially for /. readers?

Re:An example of poor Google performance (1)

topper24hours (853597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073749)

Nice try.... but trying the same search "tartfuel" in MSN gave me 4,000 entries and they DID show all of them. So I'm unsure of your position here. It appears that you are saying that you are unhappy with the fact that when you put in this mostly unknown search criteria and Google came back w/ 30 results, 1/3 of which you realized were good, you believe there is a problem? Frankly, I'm impressed w/ how good the results were... you may consider choosing a more clear example next time - perhaps one that illustrates your point rather than refuting it.

Re:An example of poor Google performance (1)

rjenkins1 (930880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14075923)

I suppose the future belongs to social search engines like the new Swicki project.

My experience bears this out also (4, Interesting)

Analogue Kid (54269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069679)

I've made sites with fairly mainstream content before, which were totally ignored by google. But then, I put an article on my blog [blogspot.com] about the history of a certain group of elite English schools in Taiwan. Previously, this information had not been on the internet anywhere. Now, if you type the name of the original school of that group (Modawei) into google, my article [blogspot.com] comes up #1.

Re:My experience bears this out also (4, Insightful)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069920)

I've made sites with fairly mainstream content before, which were totally ignored by Google

That is precisely what the "rich get richer" effect is about. This study seems to be measuring the wrong thing. Of course your mainstream site is going to get a few hits from Google because your site mentions something in some quirky way that other sites don't. However, because there are already 10,000 sites about what you have written, you will never get into the top ten search results. Google puts sites near the front of the SERPs because they have lots of incoming links. Sites that are in the top will get a lot more traffic and some percent of that traffic links to them. Sites at the bottom, get few new incoming links.

Yes those few visitors that you are getting from Google are more visitors than you would get if Google did not exists, but that says nothing about the relative number of visitors that your competitors are getting.

Re:My experience bears this out also (3, Insightful)

enjo13 (444114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070341)

Yes, but doesn't that also give you a chance to 'build' that content into a front page resource. That's the point.. Google isn't making the rich richer, its making (assuming the algorithm is sound) the most useful richer. It SHOULD be difficult to displace a highly useful site for a particular topic from the front page.

The issue, of course, is how we measure how useful content is. Since computers currently aren't that good at analyzing the actual content we have to instead rely on other metrics. Such as popularity, number of links, referrals, and whatever other madness google is currently using. It may not be optimal, but it's certainly much better than other systems we may have. Being on the front page of google for a mainstream subject is certainly rewarding. However, it is still POSSIBLE to displace a page by increasing the visibility of your content organically (such as getting it into the blogosphere) and thus eventually moving yourself onto that highly valuable first page.

For proof of the process you only need to look at the various lawsuits filed against google by companies/individuals who saw their page moved from the front by other more useful sites. I think that google is a highly valuable tool that brings a lot of order to an otherwise chaotic web.

Re:My experience bears this out also (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071928)

Being on the front page of google for a mainstream subject is certainly rewarding. However, it is still POSSIBLE to displace a page by increasing the visibility of your content organically (such as getting it into the blogosphere) and thus eventually moving yourself onto that highly valuable first page.

Well said. There is no promise that your site will get to at the top of the search pile because you made it. If you are basing yourself on popular things, all you really need to do is do something that is unique (just like in real business). For instance, let's say you are a new website for a popular TV show. You can't do the same thing as the bigger, older sites and expect that people are going to flock to you for some reason. You have to do something different, or be vastly better. For instance, if you had links to the transcripts an hour after the show ended on the East Coast (US), you'd get traffic on "'X TV show' scripts" in Google/Yahoo, and hopefully the people who read the transcripts stick around to read the rest of your site, and it gets more internet attention, and thus overall higher rankings in search engines. There is no guarantee of a nice search engine spot, you have to earn it.

Re:My experience bears this out also (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073888)

There is no promise that your site will get to at the top of the search pile because you made it.

More to the point, there is no promise that your site will get to the top of the search results if your site is the most useful. The reason for this is the absolute, incontrovertible truth that:

most-linked != most-useful

The newest, least linked site google has may, in fact, be the most useful result. Since google does not (cannot, apparently... so much for those PHDs) evaluate the site for its actual information content, they rely on a metric which has long since been gamed. That's why we see (first) link farms, totally lame junk "explanation" pages written by novices and know-nothings (like www.about.com's, for instance) and so on.

The fact is, just because someone is capable of putting a link from here to there does not reflect either their ability to pre-qualify the content on the site in question, or the specific site's usefulness, and while this has never really been true, it is less true these days as less and less skilled individuals are enabled to make links (via blogs and other non-technical enabling tools) and more and more "spam" links are emplaced by those whose urge to be seen, and tools enabling being seen, far outstrip the quality of what they have to offer.

Popularity, in the end, is about marketing. Formulate a winning strategy. Get the idea/meme out. Traffic will come. Google specifically enables this by focusing on popularity (number of incoming links), length of site registration (amount of money you have to put into your web site) and other metrics that in no case directly measure usefulness.

In the end, the only time that Google, or any other search engine, can actually give you the "best" results first out of a largish selection of them is when it takes into account site content and not site popularity, as well as the specific interests of the searcher, to whatever degree they can be known. Google, and as far as I know any other engine either, doesn't even try to do this on any exposed portal.

Re:My experience bears this out also (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071986)

The biggest problem as I see it is not in any particular search engine itself (although I personally think Google is best), but once again, human nature.

There are simply an enormous number of websites that have no purpose other than to trick people into visiting (pay per click scams, etc) or trick search engines into making some other page sit higher in the rankings. This isn't a problem created by search engines. This is a problem created by assholes, while some companies like Amazon make the problem worse ("fake" storefronts, etc)... and even Google itself (google ads).

What I'd like to see from Google specifically is a "show me FEWER pages like this" option, in addition to the "show me more pages" option. There are many times where my search results will be infected by a huge number of crap pages that all have the same automated content. Another thing I'd like Google to do is to figure out a way to ignore its own damn advertising. It's not uncommon for a website to come up in a search result because at some point it had a GOOGLE sponsored advertisement that contained the text I was searching for. Dumb. There's nothing like an entire page full of results that are nothing but google ads on some website with nothing but Amazon content.

The net sure makes it easier than ever to make money without actually doing any real work :)

Same across all search engines. (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070079)

Search for Ikioi on Google, MSN, Yahoo, take your pick. (Not yet an entry in H2G2.) I'm obscure and #1! Hmm, not sure if that was a fair trade off...

I think there is a fairly straight forward relationship between rating and specialization, and it has everything to do with competition. And, obscurity is the best way to avoid competition. For instance, the top results are still funny for something so utterly obscure as "French Military Victories".

Re:google good (1)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070631)

First of all any time you want to analyze Google, you have to realize that they've had ten PhDs crunching the problem already for years.

Sorry, but the next step is that you need to realize that there are MILLIONS of people with a vested interest in making money trying to 'game' the system. Over the past year, I have found search engines less and less useful. More often, the top results for many items are 'proxy' sites that come up that aim to make money on ads. Somehow through link sharing or manipulating the google API or something they come up in the tops slots. I imagine it is a constant battle of new measures and counter measures, but the MILLIONS of people have more resources (think power of OSS).

Re:google good (1)

durangotang (904483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070862)

To quote you Sean,

"To accuse them of favoring any particular stratum of that chain is awfully unfouned IMHO unless there are some specific examples."

Yeah, unless you're one of the billion people in China.

Re:google good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14079947)

So you think Google is the only search engine with PhDs? Think again :-)

almost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069568)

frist pist!

I can't complain. (2, Informative)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069591)

I've had worldwidewingtour.com live for about 3 days and I have a good google ranking. Even a search like "hooters wing tour" places me at number 7 on google.

actually, you have a PR 0 (1)

adamgeek (771380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069623)

google "ranks" on a 0-10 scale. you have a 0. anything under 4 is not a "good ranking". whatever searches you're getting good search placement on (which is different thank pagerank.. PR is only one of a few factor in a search) must not be highly contested searchs heh.

Re:actually, you have a PR 0 (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069641)

I'm 7 out of 260,000... it's a lot better than it could be.

Re:actually, you have a PR 0 (1)

rustycage (550599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073711)

Why is google serving up ads for concert tickets(U2/Aerosmith) on the site? Doesn't seem too relevant. Just hit me, must be the word "tour". Well I clicked a few ads, good luck on the tour.

Re:actually, you have a PR 0 (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14074514)

thanks :)
I tried to get a little more content on the container page, but it seems that the title holds more weight than the keywords, perhaps my frame settings should be different for the container.
I hope to get a lot of people interested in what I plan to do, I know I'd read about it... I just hope others feel the same.

That's not how it works (2, Interesting)

arrrrg (902404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069684)

Google only updates their publicly visible Pagerank data every couple weeks or so, to make it more difficult to game the system. New pages will show up as PR 0 until the next public update, but (of course) Google updates their private Pagerank database more often. That being said, WTF?! World Wide Wing Tour?!

Re:That's not how it works (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071298)

That being said, WTF?! World Wide Wing Tour?!

LOL.... did you actually take a look at the site? The idea sprung up one day and has just grown and grown, I ended up stuck in bed for 3 weeks unable to use the computer, or even stand up for more than two minutes at a time and during that time got to think a lot about things that I wanted to do. One of those things was see the US and the rest of the world, so the wing tour idea came back to the forefront, then I ended up buying the domain and some hosting and trying to make it a reality.
Most people think that it's a stupid idea at first because they don't want to sit at Hooters, but I'll actually be traveling the world providing my impression of everywhere I go. I'll kind of be a travel blogger.

Re:I can't complain. (1)

stinkyelf (558533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070007)

uhhh are you sure?
Your search - "hooters wing tour" - did not match any documents.

Re:I can't complain. (1)

DDiabolical (902284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070267)

Results 1 - 10 of about 260,000 for hooters wing tour. (0.09 seconds

Re:I can't complain. (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071279)

Try it: search link [google.com]

Re:I can't complain. (1)

Halvy (748070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072476)


uhhh are you sure? Your search - "hooters wing tour" - did not match any documents.

Thahhts because by looking for it you tripped that special code in the mystical, gooogle's $400 per share machines wizard and now that term it deemed as 'SPAMMMM'!!

:)

-- SlashDots moderation system is NOT broke. It is 'Fixed'.

Re:I can't complain. (1)

bzliu94 (613945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072648)

Wow, okay - "did not match any documents"? I can't believe no one else's caught this yet.

That's Google _Desktop_, not google online.

Rub My Back (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069603)

It's all in the rhythm of the algorithm.

More than fair to me (3, Interesting)

JunkyardCat (795659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069612)

I've established a number of websites primarily for small groups of users, and every one of them has been ranked, even one set up for a friend strictly to put up family pics for his brother to see. If it's out there it's googlable. And no, I don't care if it's not a word :)

Woot! (0, Offtopic)

seebs (15766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069614)

Check out the google results for "rebate lawsuit".

As of this writing, they go to "some guy's blog", namely mine. No links to it that I know of, either, which is sorta weird.

Re:Woot! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073830)

It's linked off your cafe shop, which is I imagine listed and linked off of cafepress and whatever else. You're also running Moveavble Type which can be set to ping Technorati and such whenever you post.

OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069642)

HELLO WORLD
40173 40173
HELLO WORLD
40505 40505 61310 61310 76268 76268 13283 13283 29127 29127
33585 33585 47672 47672 22766 22766 95083 95083 72437 72437
08051 08051 01802 01802 85063 85063 35770 35770 62645 62645
51749 51749 39869 39869 68761 68761 38115 38115 03003 03003
K-BYE

What is this? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069659)

WTF is this? It keeps getting posted. Anyone know?

Re:What is this? (2, Interesting)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069779)

Some kind of cypher communication, using /. as a way to exchange data pretty anonymously? It's certainly interesting to observe that each block is repeated once, the ones between the "HELLO WORLD" maybe identifying a key, though I don't believe in a complex scheme (I'd bet you can en- & decode this thing without using a sheet a paper even), probably just subtract them. Any crypto-gurus around, I'm not interested in wasting my time on this one? Could be just trolling :-P

Re:What is this? (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069896)

Some kind of cypher communication, using /. as a way to exchange data pretty anonymously?

It looks more like something which is trying to look like a cypher. The repeated blocks are redundant, nothing more.

Perhaps it is a social experiment, designed to draw out paranoid theories.

(Accepts pat on tinfoil hatted head)

Next big thing (1, Offtopic)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069668)

Now someone just needs to come up with a rob-the-rich-give-to-the-poor kind of search engine. That way Bob's Blog about Booze will finally be able to stand up to the likes of "search engine rich" sites like CNN and /.

That would suck (1)

Analogue Kid (54269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069694)

Then, when I search for "digital voice recorder", the first 2,000,000 results will be lame ass "coming soon" pages, or pages that suck so much nobody has ever felt like linking to them. Usefull sites, like this one [olympusamerica.com] would be near the bottom so as to ensure that "the rich are robbed".

Hell, while we're at it, why not make roads that way too! Let's rob the "population rich" metropolitan areas and focus our road building on the isolated rocky passes passes which have been deprived of people and infrastructure for far too long.

Maybe we could do elections that way too... oh wait. That actually could be an improvement.

Re:That would suck (1)

Thieflar (889105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070901)

The joke just whizzed on by, passing over your head harmlessly.

Re:That would suck (1)

Analogue Kid (54269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080678)

nah, man. I just ran with it and kept joking.

And all I want to know... (0, Offtopic)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069672)

...is how to get a number one spot in the natural listings. Sigh.

Let's try a thought experiment... (4, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069711)

Suppose there were no search engines.

Most web newbies would form their impressions of the web from their ISP's portal site. That would give a lot of power to corps like AOL, who for a long time tried to persuade their subscribers that there was no web outside of AOL hosted content.

There might still be blogs and social networking sites, but the take up would be slowed since fewer people wold have heard of them, and both might have failed to ignite into the movement we see today.

Which would probably mean that if you wanted something outside of the main ISP channels, you'd be reduced to digging through the spam on USENET to find it.

Google as an egalitarian influence on the web? I think it's a bit of a no-brainer, personally.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (2, Insightful)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069722)

" AOL, who for a long time tried to persuade their subscribers that there was no web outside of AOL hosted content." "Google as an egalitarian influence on the web? I think it's a bit of a no-brainer, personally."

Just because the alternative to having search engines is much worse does not make Google an egalitarian influence by default. It is the least worst solution, definitely, and one I for one can happily live with, but we are still in a situation where if (when?) Google decides to jump ship and to start promoting some sites more than others for personal/financial/sexual favors, we end up in a situation identical to the first one, but in a much less obvious way. So, even if the answer to the question is "mmm... yes" today, it doesn't mean it has (or will) stay like that forever.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069850)

What we need is what DNS should have been for domain names, but for webpages.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069955)

So, even if the answer to the question is "mmm... yes" today, it doesn't mean it has (or will) stay like that forever.

By the same token, the fact that you are (I presume) a law abiding and well mannered member of society doesn't mean you won't suddenly be seduced by the Dark Side and become a serial killer. Should we all view you with fear and distrust based upon your possible future actions, or should we treat you as your actions to date warrant?

Why then is everyone so keen to condemn google for crimes that remain hypothetical? I know Microsoft has an axe to grind here; I just can't see why so many otherwise intelligent people are so keen to propagate the meme.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070186)

"Why then is everyone so keen to condemn google for crimes that remain hypothetical?"

My main concern isn't really an ethical one, and I'm not one to judge Google on their spotless reputation so far. However, my point was to highlight the fact that search engines play a pivotal role in the way Internet works, and what they choose to highlight (or not) has very deep implications. Google, in the end, is a corporation, not a religious/moral institution. and there currently is no reliable neutral third-party to makes sure they (or any other search engine) aren't pushing some sites/products more than others.

I'm just bothered by the fact that we should rely on Google's reputation to make sure that they won't do something stupid/illegal. In business, good faith just doesn't cut it anymore, checks and controls should exist in any industry/service/medium that has the power to shape people's opinion.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070498)

I'm just bothered by the fact that we should rely on Google's reputation to make sure that they won't do something stupid/illegal. In business, good faith just doesn't cut it anymore,

We let Microsoft weild far more power when that particular corporation has a track record of corporate misbehaviour. If we decide that good faith isn't good enough, how about start with those who have sinned in the past, rather than by punishing the innocent? Just a thought.

Incidentally, am I the only one who sees all sorts of potential for government mischief in search engine regulation.

...checks and controls should exist in any industry/service/medium that has the power to shape people's opinion.

Except obviously not, say Fox News (who recently went to court to defend their right to tell deliberate lies in their "news" programs) or any of the politically controlled media cartels, because of free speech and first amendment issues. So in effect, you're proposing regulating a corporation that has yet to do wrong, while far more potent opinion shapers (many of whom have a considerable track record for this sort of thing) are let off scott free.

If we're going to have checks and balances, we should start with the sinners. We can punish the saints later.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070895)

"So in effect, you're proposing regulating a corporation that has yet to do wrong, while far more potent opinion shapers...are let off scott free."

It is BECAUSE we have let the "politically controlled media cartels" degenerate to this point that I believe we should be proactive in this case. I don't want search engines to end up as just another product placement/promotion tool and with limited or no practical use.

" how about start with those who have sinned in the past, rather than by punishing the innocent?"

Nobody actually said anything about "punishing". "Controlling", even passively, is more what I had in mind. And this control has to be a neutral third-party, not necessarily a government entity. Studies like the one from Indiana University should do, as long as they're not funded by "generic rival search engine", which is owned by a corporation you "probably" mentionned. The problem is that there's always going to be some kind of loophole/tradeoff in any kind of control mechanism.

And again, it is not about sinner/saint, good/bad, us/terrorists, it's about people being aware of the power that search engines have in the new economy, and whether or not they should be allowed to conduct business like any random company, or should be given special status that reflects their new power. Hey, I didn't say that I had the best solution to a currently non-existent problem, or that solving this non-existent problem is more important than "punishing" others who have abused of their power. Just because THEY got away with something they shouldn't have gotten away with (no, not murder, but close...), should inspire but not influence the way we should act with Google (or any other search engine). I say bravo Google, but I still got my eyes on you... just in case...

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14074502)

Nobody actually said anything about "punishing". "Controlling", even passively, is more what I had in mind. And this control has to be a neutral third-party, not necessarily a government entity

mmm... but unless you have a remedy that can be applied equally in all cases, then you still have the effect of penalising one company, or possibly one sector of industry. Call in it passive control is a bit like say "it's for your own good" or "this hurts me much more than it does you".

Of course, if all you want is to encourage students to keep on studying the effect of search engines, then I think you already have have you want.

it's about people being aware of the power that search engines have in the new economy

"New economy?" This isn't going to turn into one of those "my business sucks, so it must be Google's fault" discussions, is it? Personally, if someone's business is so marginal that it lives or dies by its position in Google's search results, then I think that person need a better business idea.

Hey, I didn't say that I had the best solution to a currently non-existent problem, or that solving this non-existent problem is more important than "punishing" others who have abused of their power

The problem isn't non-existent, it's just that it isn't yet a problem in Google's case. There are plenty of cases where it is a problem. This isn't so much a poor solution as a grevious and potentially harmful misdirection of effort.

To put it another way: you cited the potential to manipulate public opinion as your driving concern. As such, I'd expect any proposed remedy to address that specific problem and to do so across the board. Your apparent unwillingness to do so and your determined focus on Google makes your concern seem more like a pretext for picking on Google.

Hardly Egalitarian (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069725)

Big companies can pay more for advertising, so if you bury them in the listings they pay to appear at the top of the adverts. It's good solid business sense.

It's also not Egalitarian because Egalitarianism assumes all people are equal, so company of 100,000 employees is 10,000 more important than a company of 10 employees.
It's more like positive discrimination, you discriminate against big companies for your own benefit and pretend its for some greater moral purpose.
In the same way positive discrimination for blacks is really just negative discrimination against whites, spun to sound like a good thing.

Re:Hardly Egalitarian (2, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070579)

Big companies can pay more for advertising, so if you bury them in the listings they pay to appear at the top of the adverts. It's good solid business sense.

So... what's your point?

It's also not Egalitarian because Egalitarianism assumes all people are equal, so company of 100,000 employees is 10,000 more important than a company of 10 employees.

Except corporations are legal entities in their own right (hell, some courts even grant them human rights!) and therefore only count as one, and not as the sum of theiur employees. That's always assuming you want to analyse the matter from the corporate perspective. Personally, I don't think is the most useful approach.

Think in terms of people who want to find the web pages best suited to their requirements (as opposed to the narrow range of pages the cartels want to push) and you'll find those individuals have much freer access to the information they seek. Similarly, consider the individuals who publish the web pages and who have a greater chance of having their pages read when people search using Google. I think you'll find Google an egalitarian influence from both those perspectives,

It's more like positive discrimination, you discriminate against big companies for your own benefit and pretend its for some greater moral purpose.

Bizzarre. Weren't you earlier defending the right of a company to run it's own business as best suits its business model? Or does that only apply when other corporations can pay money to distort the listings to their own gain? Anyway, it's like the corporate shills are always saying: they're free to set up their own engine and take their advertising revenue elsewhere.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073931)

I don't need to suppose; I've been on the web since very early days and online prior to the web on networks such as CompuServe and BIX, bulletin boards, ham radio packet systems (AA7AS) and so forth. People linked from here to there anyway; and early on, there were far more technical types who were already in a "web" of email and forum communications to let each other know when something new started up. The web was not the first web, in other words.

There is no question that google is actually useful to a degree (as opposed to "what people use because it's all they know how to do"), but there is also no question that the web would also be useful without google. As easily demonstrated by the fact that some people never use it, and others, even technical others (like myself) rarely use it (because the results have been getting worse and worse.

The day that google figures out how to evaluate site content instead of using indirect and gamable measures of site popularity will be a wonderful day for those seeking answers at google's search portals.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14074337)

I couldn't afford CompuServe, way back when, but I remember the early web from the days when it was possible to have read it all. I don't think any informal group of techies could manage all that information these days - and your non-tech wouldn't have a hope.

The day that google figures out how to evaluate site content instead of using indirect and gamable measures of site popularity will be a wonderful day

I'm sure they're just as eager to bring about this day as you are to see it happen.

So, what do you use that you find so superior? I use Google, Citeseer and Wikipedia primarily, but outside of a few specialised areas, I find Google's results quite adequate for most purposes. All the same, if you have a better engine, I know I'd be keen try it out

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076709)

I don't know of a better engine. I didn't mean to imply that I did. I don't use search engines much, period. I prefer to follow links selected by people. To that end, I use del.icio.us, various blogs that follow issues of interest to me, mailing lists, RSS feeds from sites that specialize in areas of interest, and company web sites and message boards for the products I own. I pay attention to links I find on slashdot, too. :-)

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076796)

I don't know of a better engine. I didn't mean to imply that I did.

Fair enough. I'm doing a lot of research at the moment and I sometimes need to find information in areas I never thought of before. I'm always looking for another good engine :)

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078747)

The day that google figures out how to evaluate site content

Natural language processing powerful enough for full content evaluation, fast enough to be useful for evaluating the entire Web, and unbiased and broad enough to be useful for a major fraction of the users of the Web . . .

. . . If we had that, what would humans need the information for? The program that can do that will be able to outthink any human decision-maker.

Re:Let's try a thought experiment... (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078939)

If we had [AI]

I don't think so. I think we already have grammar analyzers that can catch random strings of (key)words as opposed to well formed sentences, we are already able to discern what words are general and what are topic-specific, we can determine if spelling is reasonable or 133t-5h173 or uneddikashunal, we can see if some rational proportion of links from a particular site go to sites that have something to do with what the original site had to do with, we can figure out if the site is full of links or full of content or full of linked content, we can pass along sites that appear to be link farms to a human who can make a final determination before the entire domain is blacklisted from the search engine (I figure a single human can reliably blacklist domains at about 1 every few seconds if the connection is fast enough) or maybe we can get that reliable so that a link farm is hammered the second it is spidered. I certainly don't see why not. Yes, we're talking about a lot of computing and analysis. So? It gets less expensive every day.

Some combination of this, with the appropriate amount of computer power, will almost certainly do a better job than counting the number of incoming links and measuring the length of registration for a domain name. Once we start down this road, the analysis will get better, and so forth.

Does any of that mean that the search engine will understand what it is parsing? No. There's not even the slightest hint that this kind of thing would render humans pointless via that route. Furthermore, just as if I learn something, it doesn't relive you of the need to learn, an AI learning won't either.

Now, real AI may indeed solve all these problems; but that's not what we're talking about here, certainly not in the first few generations, anyway. If you do create a real AI, I'm not sure it'd tolerate being a search engine anyway. It'd have to read every web page out there and I'm sure an argument for torture could easily be made.

Impact of Search Engines on Page Popularity (5, Interesting)

Omar El-Domeiri (10568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069716)

There is another paper out of UCLA that is similar to this one except with somewhat opposing results. In which, the authors show analytically that the rich-get-richer phenomenon does exist. http://oak.cs.ucla.edu/~cho/papers/cho-bias.pdf [ucla.edu]

It seems tough to reconcile these two sets of findings, and this new paper even makes mention of this:

"The connection between the popularity of a page and its acquisition of new links has led to the well-known rich-get-richer growth paradigm that explains many of the observed topological features of the Web. The present findings, however, show that several non-linear mechanisms involving search engine algorithms and user behavior regulate the popularity of pages. This calls for a new theoretical framework that considers more of the various behavioral and semantic issues that shape the evolution of the Web. How such a framework may yield coherent models that still agree with the Web's observed topological properties is a difficult and important theoretical
challenge."

Re:Impact of Search Engines on Page Popularity (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070067)

The solution to this is simple. Encourage people not to link to popular pages. It still amazes me how some personal pages have a link to Google on a links page.

Re:Impact of Search Engines on Page Popularity (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070384)

I noticed the "rich-get-richer" study didn't account for activity on the respective pages. A low activity page is unlikely to either attract links or make it into the 20% most popular web pages.

Re:Impact of Search Engines on Page Popularity (1)

Zorthian (932412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071370)

1.) The two results are not mutually incompatible if you keep in mind that they measure different things. The UCLA paper measures popularity by the number of links to a site while the Indiana paper measures web traffic to a site. While they may be correlated, they are different quantities.

Obscure websites may not have many other sites linking to them, but still get more traffic than what they otherwise would have if search engines did not exist.

2.) Web traffic is not zero-sum. By that I mean, it isn't similar to the situation where, if you are in the market for a digital camera, only one company actually gets your business at the expense of others. However, if you are researching digital cameras online, you will visit the google-page-one results, but you will also visit other sites.

Thus while the "rich get richer" on the web, the poor get richer too.

Zero-sum economics would apply, I guess, if you were measuring something like e-commerce transactions on websites. Coming up with a model for generating such traffic would be an interesting exercise.

Somewhere in between (1)

gregski (765387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069752)

As is the case with many things the truth is somewhere in between these two. While I will quite commonly end up visiting an obscure site through google because it has high relevance, the larger sites will almost certainly be listed alongside these results.

For instance slashdot is highly ranked and grows because it has high relevance to a wide selection of technical topics and is also linked from a large number of sites because it is well known.

Google boost (1)

ogonek (833611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069756)

I'm quite certain that new domains get a boost by Google for a little while and then a push down. Or the other way around. Google does something special with new websites (or possibly only domains) anyway. I wish I could be more verbose, but I'm afraid I've forgotten all I read about it, and I'm too lazy to search for decent SEO websites.

amazing research! (1)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069766)

compared to what would be the case in the absence of search engines.


Well duh! Otherwise you'd have to browse. and browse. and browse some more, hoping to find a site with the info you wanted. And you'd probably only know about sites that had a big budget to advertise. Search engines are inevitable - some bright spark is always going to realise that there must be a better way to automate the process by having a computer browse for you, so you can ask it later if it found anything on your topic.

Mmmm, pseudoscience (1)

njyoder (164804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069771)

I didn't even have to read through all the details of the study to see how it was bunk. I was quite suspicious as to how someone could conduct a small study to determine this, especially considering the extremely large amount of sampling and data analysis require to do such a study. And then, it would rely on a bunch of assumptions about your relatively uknown and non-established testing procedures being accurate. Of course, reading the study it appears they have used the notoriously unreliable Alexa rankings and google's also equally unreliable "link:" feature to gauge popularity (the backlink feature returns a tiny subset of pages that link to it).

    I'm sorry, but this study doesn't even attempt to index a large set of data itself, it relies on existing crappy search engine data to validate that those search engines are OMG SO GREAT AND EGALITARIAN. Hello? You can't use search engine data, especially ones known to be unreliable, to confirm shit about them.

Even google admits that phenomenon such as Googlebombing and similar phenomenon is a serious problem and yet, these idiots, with their shitty meausures, think they know better than the people who run the damn search engine.

This just in (2, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069772)

Search Engines give new pages a greater chance to be discovered

This just in - Yellow Pages give new businesses a greater chance to be
discovered.

Good thing its a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14073080)

Word of mouth gives new businesses the best chance to be discovered.
Yellow Pages only give existing businesses a greater chance to be discovered; new businesses cannot afford large ads and only get one line, no-charge listings. Also, yellow page ad salespeople are the most offensive telemarketers.

Pagerank is a Little Like Capital Flow... (3, Interesting)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069792)

Since pages are weighted by the ascribed importance of referencing pages, and so on in an endless mesh, it's clear that there is something non-egalitarian about Google, but this is not enough to make it hierarchical. It's more like capital flow.

Here's how: the wealthy get to decide who receives their spending, and those people in turn decide how strongly to weight their suppliers' votes in the allocation of resources. This perpetuates through in a cycle that reaches a very rough, shifting equilibrium that very much resembles Google's "pagerank", IMO.

Compared with outright hierarchy, this kind of inequality is still going to appear relatively fair, but it doesn't measure up to equally weighted votes. That is, it isn't democratically fair. However, this, or at least some inequality appears to be essential to making useful discrimination, if you're going to use the "intelligence" of the web itself to do it. Ideally, the results would be based upon the quality of the content itself, no matter how obscure, but the artificial intelligence required to do that would be mind-boggling.

Besides, people often want to find something that they were surfing the other day (ie. relatively more likely to be strongly linked), or else read up on what others are talking about, so that they need the same points of reference... An objectively better site might actually be inferior for socialising with one's peers, or engaging in political tribal virtual warfare: a third point of reference in such cases leaves you out of the discussion!

Blogs, an example of supporting new content (1)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069793)

Blogs are an example of Google's support for new content. It's excellent indexing of blogs supported the popularity of the concept. And as a consequence of the importance give to new content, many keywords (esp technical) list blogs right on top.

Supporting new content is essential for the growth of the web. A web NOT weaved around high profile websites, built by media monsters (CNN, BBC...). The new web is about independent content, free thought and free speech. Yours and mine.

Too much control (1)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069854)

The bit this ignores is that it's up to the search engines to decide who gets chosen. So for example, the google sandbox penalises most new sites for up to 18 months. If the best answer to your question is on a new site, sorry, but google probably won't find it. Whatever rules they make up determines what happens.

Re:Too much control (1)

whoniverse (880278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071895)

"The bit this ignores is that it's up to the search engines to decide who gets chosen. So for example, the google sandbox penalises most new sites for up to 18 months. If the best answer to your question is on a new site, sorry, but google probably won't find it. Whatever rules they make up determines what happens." My Doctor Who site is less than 18 months old, but it still gets good rankings in google for some relevant keywords, and has done for the vast majority of its lifetime. The problem is probably more that new sites have relatively less good material than older ones than that google deliberately penalises them.

Re:Too much control (1)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073283)

The google sandbox is a well documented algo that google use. It works on the theory that most spam sites have a short life. Unfortunately they throw out the baby with the bathwater....

Remember, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069932)

...egalitarian communes breed dissidents!

I don't buy it (3, Insightful)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069960)

If you RTFA you'll notice some of the arguments against it.

But beyond that, common sense alone tells you winner takes all, and it continues to be that way, with google or with anyone else.

The entire pageranking algorythm is there to point you to the most likely result you're looking for. They base that on popularity, number of links coming in, and the importance of the referring sites linking you. The net effect is, the more popular you are, the more relevent you become and the higher ranked you are.

Also, when you type in say "windows" Google automatically assumes you're talking about the Windows OS. What if you were looking for real windows? The search engines are always assumming based on popular demand. This steers people's thoughts and pushes them in a non-neutral direction. As a word's context changes to favor a certain direction, search engines rank that as more relevent, which leads to it being more favorable, etc. Cycle repeats.

Re:I don't buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070028)

Hmm, I just Googled for "windows" and what's the third result? "AndersenWindows.com | Windows and Patio Doors | Andersen Windows ...". The search engine assumes nothing, it's just that there are more and popular sites are about Microsoft Windows rather than traditional windows. You just need to know HOW to search for what you're looking for, instead of complaining when Google gives you results based on the populatiry of the single term you entered.

(Hint: try Googling "windows -microsoft -software")

what about relevence? is there a better way? (1)

pstils (928424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069981)

google cannot be completly fair since people are aware of its methods and can design ways to negate them. i can't see how this test was carried out scientifically. the test should not be whether the results are mainstream or not, it should be whether the results are relevent. it appears that economically poor websites have as much ability to fix search results as rich ones do. great. the information content relevence is scored, not by an independent expert, but by the number of other websites that link to it. what we have here is a problem of the popular becoming more popular. not necessarily because of relevence, but because if a webdesigner wants to find an address to link to in their web page, more often than not they're gonna search for it using something like google. __________________________________________________ _______ don't lick the end of a live USB cable even if it looks yum

Umm... DUH! (2, Informative)

jonadab (583620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070043)

Of course. Doesn't anyone remember what the web was like before search engines became popular, when the main way to find pages was by following links there from other pages? If you could get someone to link to your page who in turn was listed prominently on the Humor, Jokes, and Fun page on akebono, then you were all set, but otherwise, it would take *months* for anyone to find out about your page, if they ever did.

Don't even bother replying to this unless you know the significance of akebono.

Akebono? (1)

rolandog (834340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070595)

After surfing the web,... I can now safely say:

The name of a Hawaiian sumo wrestler after which the server that first hosted Yahoo! was named after.

Re:Akebono? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077224)

akebono was a server at Stanford where graduate students in the computer science department could get projects hosted. And yes, the Yahoo! index originated there. It was rather smaller at the time; for instance, "Colleges and Universities" was originally a toplevel category, and did not have any subcategories at first, although it wasn't long before it was subdivided.

This was fairly early in the history of the web, before Netscape, when Gopher was still in more widespread use than the web, although ISTR that the Yahoo! index remained hosted on akebono for quite some little while until its creators finished their graduate work and took it off campus.

the goal... (1)

Aradorn (750787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070584)

The end goal is to be able to return the single 1 page that a user wants that contains ALLLLL the information possible for him/her. Too bad for us these pages dont exist. So the logical thing to do is return all the pages that would satisfy this need, and just those pages - no more, no less. But what google attempts to do is, return ALL pages that it determines as relevent and rank them. This is why we get queries of 100,000+ for somewhat broad terms. It sucks and is a crappy way to do searching. Then on top of that their page rank algorithm is pretty much popularity based and you get even worse results. Eventually there will be a search engine that can determine a fair ranking of pages without the need to check its popularity on the net.

New? Old? Who cares ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070658)

as long as I get what I'm looking for.

Remember Freenet? (1)

rolandog (834340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070694)

If anybody has used Freenet, then perhaps they've already encountered some interesting bookmarked pages. Then again, if I'm not mistaken, most of the content there is in Freenet, is most likely some sord of eye-twitching pr0n.


Then again, this quote from their FAQ is interesting:

Is Freenet searchable?
No search mechanism has yet been implemented. One of the design goals was to make it impossible to locate the exact place where any piece of information is stored. Even a server operator cannot determine what is stored at his own node. This naturally makes searching very difficult. Information is currently retrieved by "keys" which should be guessable, or communicated by some other means.

Penalize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070755)

How about give sites with correct XHTML that follows webstandards a higher rank.

And penalize websites with popups, JavaScript, flash, shockwave, ActiveX, etc and get them a lower rank?

Re:Penalize (1)

Halvy (748070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072404)


How about give sites with correct XHTML that follows webstandards a higher rank. And penalize websites with popups, JavaScript, flash, shockwave, ActiveX, etc and get them a lower rank?

WHAT ARE YOU A TERRORIST!!

;)

--The InterNet is a terrible thing to waste. Arrest Bill Gates and shut down Microsoft immediately.

with the exception of scrapers (1)

dindi (78034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070776)

Scrapers are all those pages, that simply crawl SE results with expensive keywords, then put them onto a page with ads (adsense many times).

They would even include a search, and poll via yahoo/google api, html strip YOUR pages and present it without backlinks to YOUR site.

With the recent Bourbon Dance (recent reindex/algo change is called a Dance in SEO world) it seems that some of these are gone.

Sad is that your site can be penalized for dupe content, and it happened to me multiple times. That means from yahoo number one to the dustbin on sometimes ALL engines. That can effect a small business in a devastating way.

Sorry for the SEO talk, but I am sure some guys are into it too here, so for those that is no news, while for others it might explain what these crap collections are.

Want to find some? Enter your domain name as a search phrase. Alternatively put a very rare phrase on a page that has widely searched keywords, and try this phrase in those sites' search box, you will PUKE I am almost sure.

Than the flame begins, about "relying on search engines as an income". For your information, lots of small businesses cannot afford to bid anymore, at least not in the competitive areas. Weight loss, debt consolidation clicks can cost around $10 per click, and if you think that's all scam business, try PDA accessories or laptop computers, I am almost sure you will end up paying around $8 for a US visitor.

Now then you say "following guidelines" content is KING so you spend money or time (do yourself or pay someone) to find yourself on the first page, and then scrapers find you in those results, and you get penalized for dupe content.

Devilish cycle, and at the end ad services make a double buck:

1. ads on scraper pages
2. inflated PPC (pay-per-click) costs

It seems more and more that the internet turns into television: small businesses cannot affors crap, unless they sell a niche service/product. But how much can you really make on obscure things no one searches for or looks for?

Now combine that with price wars (read an affiliate/SEO forum) and you see prices going down, costs up, and again at the end only BIG_COMPANY makes a real buck.

Now you wonder why your mail box is getting more and more full with spam -> yes some of those are advertisers who turn to this (crappy method) as they gave up on SE results or PPC. I am not saying it is legit (I hate spam) but I know for a fact that some started spamming because they gave anything else up.

How do you find the least visited sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14071323)

Just for fun, sometimes I'd like to see what the 3 millionth ranked page on The Beatles looks like or other very low ranked pages. Anyone know how to do this?

Re:How do you find the least visited sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14073813)

Change the 'start' value in the URL (you might need to go to the second page of results first), e.g. http://www.google.com/search?q=the+beatles&start=3 000000 [google.com]

"Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query. (You asked for results starting from 3000000.)"

Google Needs To Be Sued & Violated.. (1)

Halvy (748070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072585)


I am glad to see so many people here who dont' think Google is the wonderful business that the main stream media make it out to be.

Unless we start doing something along the lines of the pressures that have been put on M$ for the last 10 years, and KEPT-UP until things change, we will have the same lousy state of affairs when it comes to this important issue of searching the InterNet.

A product is NOT FREE when you have to spend countless hours and sometimes days to figure out the most basic things about a subject you NEEEED to research.

Google has failed MISERABALY in this-- even with some of the most basic questions being asked of it.

And now that they are worth $400 per share and the Monstrous-Military-Industrial-Media-Complex has given its blessing to this sad excuse of a business, where is the motivation for it to improve to the point where it will be a truely viable search tool?

Obviously a OSS/GNU type business format will need to take this task on, as it has/is in other important areas for mankind.

Waiting for something 'to happen' is not going to improve this dangerous situation from spiraling down further.

Massive lawsuits and the taking back of any patents and copywrited material owned by companies like Google & Microsoft, by the use of flagrent and vicious 'so-called' violations by the masses (us) are the ONLY sure ways of removing these hand full of criminals who have hijacked our world.

--SlashDots Moderation systems is NOT broke. It is 'Fixed'.

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