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Google Delists BMW-Germany

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the wild-wild-west-of-internet-search dept.

Google 613

Raenex writes "The car maker BMW has had its German website bmw.de delisted from Google. The delisting was punishment for using deceptive means to boost page ranking, which has now been set to zero for BMW. Matt Cutts, a Google employee who works to stop unethical search manipulation, originally reported the delisting in his blog and suggests that camera maker Ricoh is not far behind."

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Although this seems "reasonable" in light of the.. (4, Insightful)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647867)

perfidity that BMW was perpetrating, it also illustrates the large and growing power of google, a power that may not always be used for optimal "goodness."

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (4, Insightful)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647881)

You wanna elaborate on how this isn't "good"?

They were spamming, they broke the rules google set, bammo, pagerank=0.
They're still listed on Yahoo (and other search engines).

If google nuked the pagerank of someone who isn't intentionally spamming, like slashdot, we'd all have a right to be screaming bloody murder. But this makes perfect sense.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (2, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647993)

Actually, from what I understand, they weren't spamming at all. What they were doing was using 'doorway' pages, which serve up different content to the googlebot than to human visitors. My understanding is that bmw's DE site wasn't very search engine friendly, and so they used doorway pages to "optimize" their results.

While this is against the googles terms of service, I can see how someone might think this was a perfectly valid way of countering the fact that google wasn't indexing their site well.

This brings up some thorny issues in my mind. Google is now dictating the way we must design our sites if we want to even hope to get a decent google rank. In effect, google is dictating the terms upon which the entire web must operate, or get a 'death penalty', either because your site doesn't match what google is looking for (and thus gets a low rank) or because you gave google what they were looking for, but it violated their terms of service.

This seems inherantly "evil" to me.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (5, Insightful)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648024)

"This brings up some thorny issues in my mind. Google is now dictating the way we must design our sites if we want to even hope to get a decent google rank."

Bollocks. If you design your web site in such a way to properly and openly reflect your business or whatever, no problems. If you attempt to defraud or otherwise screw search engine results then google (and hopefully other search engines) has every right to get shitty. From a consumer perspective I want my google results to best reflect what I am looking for. If google has to delist fraudulent web sites to improve my search results, then they are just doing a good job.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648030)

In no way is Google telling you how to design your web site. What they are saying is that they have a requirement of what google will index. They want to know that the pages that are indexed by them are what the site will show you. IOW, Google is saying that they want to be fair to their customers (you and me). This is part of their clause (do not be evil). But some sites are run by idiots and will look at how they can cheat the search engines. They want high rankings in some areas, without really having it. That is what porn sites do. They try to have links to themselves for things such as Linux, Microsoft, etc, but the site has NOTHING to do with these. That is cheating, and that is what BWM was doing.
 
Evil? Off hand, I would say that Google is STILL the top

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (5, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648057)

>Google is now dictating the way we must design our sites if we want to even hope to get a decent google rank.

You know its "Google rank" as in Google determines the ranking of the page.

>In effect, google is dictating the terms upon which the entire web must operate

Its the users who still determine how the web operates. "We" determined Google is a good search engine and use it. Its quite easy to stop using Google if it starts giving bad information. "I'm looking for BMW in Germany, but Google sucks for that, I'm moving on to another search engine." Before Google there was another most popular search engine (Yahoo? Alta Vista? some Inktomi based site?) and it could easily change again.

I'm all for bashing Google, but its Google's ranking, its their choice.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (1)

nethneta (920417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647995)

"If google nuked the pagerank of someone who isn't intentionally spamming, like slashdot, we'd all have a right to be screaming bloody murder. But this makes perfect sense."

If that happened, a Google employee would not mention it on his personal blog, now would he.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647999)

He never said it wasn't good, jack-ass.. Re-read the bloody post.

How the hell you got +4 insightfull... mods are on drugs

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648019)

They were spamming

No, they weren't spamming. They were presenting different content to search engines than they were to users, a problem search engines have been dealing with for a long time. I've heard it called spider food, etc.

This technique can be beneficial, allowing a page to present easily indexed versions of a page for the search engine devoid of Flash, etc. It can also be abused, presenting on topic info to Google or other engines and Porn, phish, etc to users who land there. Obviously Google thought they were being abusive, contacted them and warned them they would be delisted, and they chose to ignore the warning.

Personally I'm all for slapping down webmasters who do this, but lets not call it spamming, since it occurs entirely on the host site. I can't recall the industry term for this, unfortunately, and since the search engine players are notoriously non-communicative, I'm not even sure our terminology is the same as others.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (2, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648021)

How do you know that Google will always do this for reasons you agree with? Remember the flap over Google cooperating with China's censorship?

Power for optimum profit (2, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647884)

It will be used for optimum profit. Ignoring the few aberrations, if you draw the line-of-best-fit for Google's actions over the next few years, you will find it fits the function of self-interest.

Re:Power for optimum profit (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647976)

if you draw the line-of-best-fit for Google's actions over the next few years, you will find it fits the function of self-interest.

And a company offering a search engine might be likely to have its search engine used more if it's perceived as being more trustworthy, i.e. if searching for something is likely to give you, at the top of the list of results, "better" hits rather than hits on pages the maintainer of which has rigged to show up first.

I.e., a premise of "they're doing it because it's better for Google" doesn't ipso facto mean "they're screwing the user".

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647952)


Quite. And why don't I hear anyone making the argument "But BMW are just acting to maximise the profits of their shareholders, as they are required to do by law" that I have heard so often recently in Google's favour?

Ethics will fall by the wayside, and might will be right; keep your eye on Google.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (5, Insightful)

smitingpurpleemu (951712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647985)

No one makes the argument because BMW is taking advantage of another company, Google, at Google's expense. BMW gains more hits on their web site b/c their PageRank is higher, and Google suffers because word of abuse like this reduces the quality of their searches and the repuration of their search engine. Therefore, to protect their own interests, Google shut down the offender. Both companies were working to maximize the profits of their shareholders, but one was trying to take an action counter to the other's interests, and so the other (Google) responded.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648018)

The poor people that can't figure out that the BMW web site is www.bmw.com. To be honest if they can't figure that one out, then they can't be bright enough to afford a new BMW (can you guess the ones for Holden and Ford).

For more obscure sites, this is a harsher punishment, for major corporations who base web wite is obvious, it doesn't really make much of a difference (the children at BMW in this case deserved to have their hands smacked, it was after all a pretty silly and pointless thing for them to do).

In many ways a perfect example of Google's publicy declared control system working in practice and just a bit of a warning to smaller companies where this kind of behaviour would have a significant affect. Google preserving the rights of the many for a quality search service against the greed of a few, in my book that fits pretty well with "do no evil".

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (1)

Puf_Almighty (904515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648054)

If ethics fall by the wayside, don't you think consumers will respond by progressively rejecting Google as a search engine?

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647957)

...it also illustrates the large and growing power of google, a power that may not always be used for optimal "goodness."

In related news, after being de-listed, the headquarters of BMW Germany ceased to exist. People coming to visit the headquarters found only a vast, dark vortex of nothingness, over which were visible huge glowing letters reading "Error 404: Page Not Found". The entire German management of BMW has disappeared as well, along with several nearby dairy farms and a brewery.

At a press conference, a reporter asked whether this sort of behavior fit with the company's "Do no evil" motto, or reflected a growing arrogance and malice on the part of Google. The Google spokesman declined to respond to the question. Instead his eyes briefly glowed red before the reporter spontaneously burst into flames and was consumed, leaving only a small pile of ashes on the floor.

The remaining reporters had no further questions.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (1)

locohijo (224192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648023)

In related news, after being de-listed, the headquarters of BMW Germany ceased to exist. People coming to visit the headquarters found only a vast, dark vortex of nothingness, over which were visible huge glowing letters reading "Error 404: Page Not Found". The entire German management of BMW has disappeared as well, along with several nearby dairy farms and a brewery.

... and apparently, it was perpetrated with the help of Google Earth.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (1)

krusbjorn (789918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648029)

The lost souls if the employees of BMW Germany, floating around aimlessly in vacuum, now put their last hope to the Wayback Machine.

Re:Although this seems "reasonable" in light of th (3, Funny)

notnAP (846325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648056)

The entire German management of BMW has disappeared as well, along with several nearby dairy farms and a brewery.

Good Lord, no! Not the brewery!

Illustrates the large and growing power of google. (1)

fanblade (863089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648009)

Google search results directly affect business, and on a frighteningly large scale. Who's to say whether a site's HTML is "deceptive"? It's a subjective decision, and one that presents a conflict of interest to Google.
 
If Google's ranking system can be fooled by hidden text, is that BMW's fault? I say it should be up to Google to come up with accurate ranks, NOT reset any site that doesn't jive with their system

Old news (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647868)

This happened a while ago... it was old when digg.com listed it.

Blog Link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647869)

You could at least add a link to the blog entry you mention. Like, say, this one [mattcutts.com] .

Sheesh.

Re:Blog Link (0, Offtopic)

dotgain (630123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647911)

Kinda takes the streamlining out of the Copy, Paste process though, doesn't it?

They're both under the "Edit" menu, hence "Editor".

Sheesh.

Re:Blog Link (1, Offtopic)

MikeWasHere05 (900478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647924)

Slightly offtopic, but...
His site has the Copyright tag removed off the bottom, he's just using a generic downloadable template from http://beccary.com/goodies/wordpress-themes/ [beccary.com]
Now that template also has some similarities to a (continually in construction) site that I've been building at http://mikewashere05.bounceme.net/ [bounceme.net]

Do we really want this guy trying to teach us moral lessons?

BMW (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647870)

hahah butt fuck bmw. that's good stuff.

The original weblog article (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647872)

The original weblog article [mattcutts.com] .
When a search engine visited a page like www.bmw.de/bmw-neuwagen.html, it would see a page like this: [image of page with lots and lots of keywords]

Delisted pages and reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647874)

Does anyone know a list of the pages they have done this to and/or a list of things that they consider to be done to increase pagerank?

Politics (-1, Flamebait)

alfrin (858861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647877)

So now searche engine listing has become Politics. No longer is it abouat organizing information, it's whether or not they want you listed. So if Google doesn't like you (alternate situtaion, not this one) they can remove you from what normal people think of as "on the internet"? Seems unfair to me, maybe they could have lowered it's rating, but remove it?

Re:Politics (5, Insightful)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647897)

So now searche engine listing has become Politics. No longer is it abouat organizing information, it's whether or not they want you listed. So if Google doesn't like you (alternate situtaion, not this one) they can remove you from what normal people think of as "on the internet"? Seems unfair to me, maybe they could have lowered it's rating, but remove it?
Politics? No, Google is taking reasonable action protecting the value of their search engine, by disallowing page-rank abuse. The reason this is news is that BMW is a giant company, getting called on the kind of shit you expect from two-bit porn sites and the like. No one complains when they delist Tommy's Tits And Underage Bits for doing things like this, because it's reasonable behavior. It is, however, an occasion to look at the growing power of Google (and remember, perhaps, that such a large amount of power in the hands of one company can be dangerous, regardless of intent).

Re:Politics (5, Insightful)

dracocat (554744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647940)

It is, however, an occasion to look at the growing power of Google (and remember, perhaps, that such a large amount of power in the hands of one company can be dangerous, regardless of intent).

I don't think we have too much to worry about. The power Google has in this is because it is the most popular search engine. As soon as they start abusing the power and delisting major sites, then there will certainly be another search engine that will take its place. So it is in its best interest to behave well.

The bottom line is that Google wants to be the best search engine it can be. It doesn't do that by not indexing mass amounts of companies. It also doesn't do it by alowing webmasters to get themselves at the top of the results just because of some tricks. So it must walk a fine line. In fact its best bet is to delist one or two high profile companies and make a big deal about it, so that it discourages other companies from following them.

Re:Politics (0, Offtopic)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647941)

I like your stance. If I had mod points you'd get one.

Re:Politics (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647984)

"such a large amount of power in the hands of one company can be dangerous, regardless of intent"

The thing is, any power Google has is entirely derived from its goodwill, and the willingness of people to use it. I can stop using Google at any time, start using another search engine, and their power over me vanishes. Altavista used to be the king of search engines, look where they are now. It could just as easily be Google in the drainage ditch next to it in a few years. Google's made enough money that they can probably survive if they start doing too much evil (because they are doing evil, just not enough for most people to stop using them) and people move to something else. Nothing other than the will of someone to do it stops someone from creating a competitor to Google, and if it does its job better, it takes half a second for me to switch, no hassle. It's not like switching between Windows and Linux, where you need to repartition hard drives, format, look for new software to replace the old stuff, etc. To replace where I search, I just add a new address to my browser's search engines listing, make that the default, and I'm switched. End of story.

Re:Politics (3, Informative)

dracocat (554744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647916)

maybe they could have lowered it's rating, but remove it?

They did simply lower it. They reset its page rank to zero, so it shows up at the bottom of any results, or amongst all the other zero page rank results.

But as far as search engines go, a listing at the end is just the same as not being listed at all. In any case they did just as you said, they lowered its ranking. The summary I guess is technically incorrect, but practically acurate.

Use the site modifier to see... (2, Informative)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647992)

They did simply lower it. They reset its page rank to zero, so it shows up at the bottom of any results, or amongst all the other zero page rank results.

Nope [google.com] , it's really, really gone. Instead of seeing the global site [google.com] , you can only see the .com site. [google.com]

Re:Politics (2, Informative)

SiliconAddict (690343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648013)

Hmmmm.. not entirely sure how the page ranking works.. Go to google and enter "site:bmw.de" and you will get 0 results at the moment.

Re:Politics (2, Informative)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647982)

I'd hardly say it was political, or with political motivations. Google have guidelines and bmw.de did not follow them. For Google to alter the page rank to anything other than zero would be less ethical than resetting it to zero. (afterall no one is to know how much of their rank was attributed to the keyword mashing) Note this isn't an actual blacklist, but rather having the page-rank which was acquired by inappropriate means, reset to zero allows it to in time regain a significant position, but only for relevant websearches

Resetting the page-rank to zero is fair and non-permanent. Simply put bmw.de will regain a legitimate page-rank in the future, but for now this is the short term consequence of using keyword treatment to your website. (Note the bmw.de website would display paragraphs of motoring related keywords when javascript was turned off, this tactic overtime artificially boosts your page rank. It is easy to reproduce, however it is not an invisible action and is against most search sites terms.)

Re:Politics (2, Insightful)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647997)

No longer is it about organizing information, it's whether or not they want you listed.

Their track record says otherwise. In 2004, they came under fire for not removing an anti-semitic website [sethf.com] , jewwatch.com, which was coming up as the first hit when searching for "jew". Even today, it is second only to Wikipedia.

Their argument at the time was that they were not going to block sites from their index based on content. According to that site that I linked, it was blocked in countries where the content of the site was illegal.

It looks to me like they will not block based on (legal) content, but will block people who fsck with PageRanks.

The 'blogosphere (5, Interesting)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647878)

I kind of wish they would delist the whole 'blogosphere too, or at least allow us to set an option to not show 'blogs in our searches. I mean, pagerank abuse is rampant on 'blogs (example)( [google.com] .

Paren't isn't offtopic (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647907)

Sounds like he just hit a nerve with some bloggers.

Its the truth though, alot of times the more relevant/useful search results are buried underneath lots of blogs/splogs/etc. It gets more annoying when people use Google to further their political agendas, such as the case with Jew and Jewwatch.com and Failure for anti-Bushies.

Re:The 'blogosphere (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647926)

Define "blogosphere", please, in such a way that you can do a neat division between it and other pages.

Re:The 'blogosphere (1)

Slow Smurf (839532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647928)

Remember however, google does not consider this wrong in general.

The ultimate goal of google is to show you whatever it is you want to see. When searching for simply the word "failure", that page is what people are expecting to see now and searching for. Why should google artificially alter that?

Re:The 'blogosphere (4, Interesting)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647979)

The ultimate goal of google is to show you whatever it is you want to see. When searching for simply the word "failure", that page is what people are expecting to see now and searching for. Why should google artificially alter that?

Because with googlebombing what Google is showing you is what a small number of motivated people want you to see, not what you want to see. The fact that people involved in a googlebomb want to see something does not make it what the majority of people want to see. And making it circular by saying that people now expect to see the results of a succesful googlebomb when they search for failure is just sophistry.

But [google.com.au] really [google.com.au] , do [google.com.au] you [google.com.au] expect [google.com.au] to [google.com.au] get [google.com.au] anything [google.com.au] meaningful [google.com.au] out [google.com.au] of [google.com.au] a [google.com.au] search [google.com.au] on [google.com.au] single [google.com.au] semi-random [google.com.au] words [google.com.au] on [google.com.au] Google [google.com.au] ?

Re:The 'blogosphere (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648025)

I mean, pagerank abuse is rampant on 'blogs (example [google.com] ).
Huh... If anyone is wondering, a search for the word "failure" used to bring up G.W. Bush's White House biography as the first result. It doesn't seem to anymore.

"miserable failure [google.com] " still works, though. ;-)

I always say... you can't trust Germans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647880)

First they kill the Jews, then they create deceptive search engine pages.

Oh that's really good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647886)

So people who search for BMW won't be able to find the official BMW site? Somehow, that doesn't sound like a very good search engine.

Re:Oh that's really good (3, Informative)

Dan Farina (711066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647893)

No, they won't be able to find BMW-Germany. BMW in other locations, if I understand correctly, should remain unaffected. Note that BMW International is still indexed and at http://www.bmw.com/ [bmw.com]

Re:Oh that's really good (4, Informative)

globalar (669767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647901)

It's not the keyword, but a specific domain. Only bmw.de was penalized and not, for example, the international portal bmw.com. The .de domain has apparently been grossly "offending" for some time, so this probably was not a snap decision. I'm sure someone thought to call PR.

Correct (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647919)

Try googling for: "german BMW de"

www.BMW.com comes up as #4 or so... kinda freaky.

Makes you wonder if there will ever bea "common carrier" law for search engines.

-Rick

Flashbacks! (2, Funny)

ral8158 (947954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647888)

...BMW. Matt Cutts....
Oh my GOD! I'm having flashbacks to geometry! Damn those textbooks creatively using letters to demonstrate rotational, translational, and reflectional symmetry!

(For those deprived of such wonderful experiences, rotating "M" and making a "W" is very common in textbook problems, and, well, I don't even have to start on Matt Cutts, do I?)

SEO? (3, Insightful)

ploss (860589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647891)

I'm wondering if BMW is actually at fault here, or if they were using a Search Engine Optimization company to try to boost their ranking, or at least employing the same techniques? Redirect pages to give different results based on whether its Google looking at your page or a user is certainly something that needs to be stopped, and drastic measures may be the only possible way to fix this problem (besides acquiring a huge range of IPs or having the Google Toolbar be more intrusive.)

Re:SEO? (5, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647929)

I'm wondering if BMW is actually at fault here, or if they were using a Search Engine Optimization company

What's the difference?

Re:SEO? (2, Insightful)

TallGuyRacer (920071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648064)

What's the difference?
Exactly. Sony itself didn't actually create their 'root kit', but they put it on their CDs so they are responsible for it. In the same vein, I've always thought that people are a wasting their time trying to persecute spammers. They should go after the companys that hire the spammers in the first place.

Re:SEO? (2, Insightful)

Yst (936212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647950)

I certainly hope they were using a Search Engine Optimization company. The better for it, if one of these dishonourable businesses makes news for being paid to boost a page rank and producing a page rank dropped to rock bottom instead.

Punishing a large corporation whose webdesign group or whose design contractors were being clever might bring some crap down on a few webdesigners who were playing this dirty game for what it is, and justly enough, too, but bring down said crap on a company whose explicit purpose is to skew search results and that's a result I can genuinely be satisfied with.

And where does this stop? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647899)

Fine, but isn't there a very good case for delisting Sony after their shameless abuses of computing resources?
Taking punative action against rougues who abuse and game the system is no substitute from repairing the system taht
allows the abuses in the first place. I've worked on a few spam filtering, natural language parsing problems dealing with "defining content". Even a quick glance over BMW's online assets leaves me with the clear impression that they offer no real worthwhile content of any kind. So why don't Google use this kind of content ranking to eveluate leaf nodes instead of the sucky backlinkage algorithm they use now? Anybody can astroturf their online business, there is an entire parasitical army of SEO "consultants" making a fast buck off Googles naivity as I speak. If Google actually evaluated the content at corporate sites and weeded out the bullshit and advertising puff then pages like BMW would not even make the first page (except in the sponsored lists). Fix your system Google. Reward original content and not a system that can be bought by throwing money at it to create fake linkage.

Re:And where does this stop? (1)

artson (728234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647936)

Sorry bud, you're looking for DMOZ [dmoz.org] , not Google. DMOZ employs a whole buncha editors to assess sites for quality, content and relevance. That isn't Google's game.

"People do it better."

Re:And where does this stop? (2, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648036)

Do you really trust real people to be "grading" content?

...epecially if they are KNOWN employees of Google (they'd be kinda easy to pay off, no?).

Are they going to delist Google? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647904)

Because it's the first thing that always pops up when I type www.google.com!

Which Domestic Car Maker? (3, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647912)

I'm kind of interested in which "domestic car maker" he's talking about here:

Finally, as long as we're on the subject of cars: to the domestic car maker whose European domain had hidden text on the front: your 30 day removal was set to expire in two days, but the hidden text has been taken off the page, so I'm scheduling the domain for reinclusion now.

Re:Which Domestic Car Maker? (2, Funny)

uradu (10768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647958)

> I'm kind of interested in which "domestic car maker" he's talking about here

Clearly those that don't occur in the wild.

Oh... (5, Funny)

JK1150 (897112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647913)

Oh, is this why Miserable Failure still goes to President Bush? I see they really have a guard on deceptive search methods there at google, but I wonder why their stock is tanking...

Re:Oh... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647931)

Oh, is this why Miserable Failure still goes to President Bush?
No, see, that would be the case if Bush himself was smart enough to know that he was a miserable failure [whitehouse.gov] , and included that keyword a few hundred times on a few hundred pages on his website.
Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know, and so he didn't do these things that Google delists you on. Instead it took a few thousand intelligent people pointing out that he was a miserable failture [whitehouse.gov] to get him in his proper place for that particular search.

Re:Oh... (1)

JK1150 (897112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647964)

Now now, let's not use slashdot to google bomb our political agenda. Next time, you can use that energy to try to win elections or bring google's stock back up.

well ... (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647914)

Slashdot should be delisted soon because there's a whole bunch of @#$#!! yapping going on that doesn't make any sense at all to a search engine or human being, and I for one take responsibility and admit I enjoy it.

Deception (5, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647925)

I really like Google, their philosophy, and their ethics.

I really and truly dislike deception. Its very common, especially when money is involved for some reason.

To me, I look at "work" simply. Work is getting paid for doing things for people that they appreciate. The more unique or the more quality or quantity of things that you bring to people, the more money you will get.

Much of advertising is deceptive. 99.999% of SPAM is completely deceptive. And personally, it really irritates me. Don't get me started about the snail mail I get with things like "Check enclosed". Grrrr.

At least here in the US, BMW is a very desired car. Many consider it a status symbol. Their slogan here is "The Ultimate Driving Machine". I don't know what their status is in Germany.

Good for Google, bad for BMW. TFA says that Ricoh might be next for delisting. One thing I wish Google would do is get Froogle out of beta, and separate the search results for buying things and having information about things. Believe it or not, when I do a search for a digital camera or some other product, I may want to learn something about the product before I buy it. And yes, I do use Google for searching for something to buy. I've found $2-3 parts to fix things that I simply could not have found at a local store.

Re:Deception (2, Insightful)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648000)

I really like Google, their philosophy, and their ethics.

Yes, its original philosophies seem to have survived the company's huge expansion mostly intact. Which means we should be able to trust Google at least in the short-mid term future.

Re:Deception (3, Interesting)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648006)

The more unique or the more quality or quantity of things that you bring to people, the more money you will get.

This is quite simply not true, and even a cursory examination of the products on the shelves of your local grocery or department store will disabuse you of this utopian notion pretty quickly. Price and quality are important, but it is arguable whether they are the most important factors in the success of a product, and quality is largely subjective anyway.

Marketing is the manipulation of perceptions, and that is what really drives sales. Wal-Mart offers neither the best quality nor the lowest prices, for example, but they have successfully convinced a very large number of people that they do, and that's as good as the real thing. There are a lot of market forces at work in the success or failure of a product, and it is often the case that the best products and the hardest-working people fail miserably.

Mind you, I don't think this is the way it should be, but absent some really far-reaching regulation, that's just the way it is in a free market, and it's why there are degrees in things like business and marketing. And yes, virtually all of the other factors amount to unscrupulous behavior to one degree or another. If you'd like that to change, the first step lies in recognizing the market as it actually is.

Google says they don't do this. (2, Interesting)

Leebert (1694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647932)

How do they reconcile this with their FAQ [google.com] which states:

"The order and contents of Google search results are completely automated. No one hand picks a particular result for a given search query, nor does Google ever insert jokes or send messages by changing the order of results."

Re:Google says they don't do this. (4, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647987)

The order is still automated. The site has been delisted due to abuse.

If I randomly list four restaurants, they are random. Not choosing to include a fifth on the list doesn't make the list order non-random. It just means that restaurant #5 isn't on the list. Non-inclusion isn't changing order or content; it is defining what is in the database to be searched.

This is about abuse control and removing invalid sites, not reordering valid sites that conform to their pagerank guidelines. They say "Alternately, your page may have been manually removed from our index if it didn't conform with the quality standards necessary to assign accurate PageRank".

Google's Guidelines [google.com]

--
Evan

Re:Google says they don't do this. (1)

radish (98371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647994)

The results aren't being manually modified. What's being modified is the index contents, from which the results are automatically generated.

Re:Google says they don't do this. (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648052)

What's being modified is the index contents, from which the results are automatically generated.

You may be correct, but that's not how it is characterized in the article:

Moreover, bmw.com.de's PageRank, the algorithms that assign every page on the web a sort of popularity ranking, has been reset to zero.

The PageRank has been reset to zero.

That being said, I went over to Matt Cutts' site. I can't tell for sure either way from what he says there. But he links to http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-02-04-n60 .html [outer-court.com] , which seems to be the basis for the PageRank reset claim in the article.

Either way, I still find it to be somewhat dubious given the general nature of Google's statement.

Nothing to reconcile (1)

Anakron (899671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648038)

They're still not doing anything non-automated. Each page in their index has a page rank. They changed the page rank of one particular page. The algorithm still does what it is supposed to do. No "one hand" involved. No joke, no message.

ARE BMW GOING TO UNLIST DECEPTIVE SPAMMERS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647946)

Who advertise Spyware via google?

Nah, didn't think so... No money in it!

Sh1t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647948)

good to write you- Battled in court,

Ripoffs from Wikipedia (4, Insightful)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647949)

Are they going to do something about the rips from Wikipedia that I often encounter when I run a Google search? There nothing like searching for something (usually fairly obscure), and coming up with (a) a Wikipedia article, and (b) the same Wikipedia article on a dozen other sites with domain names that don't have any fscking thing to do with Wikipedia.

Re:Ripoffs from Wikipedia (2, Informative)

garbletext (669861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647980)

this is quite common. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Mirrors_and _forks [wikipedia.org] for more info.
 
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:JesseW/Full_mirr or_list [wikipedia.org] has a more or less complete list of sites that use wikipedia's content.

Re:Ripoffs from Wikipedia (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647983)

Are you implying that this is an abuse of search engine optimization, or you just don't like how the duplicate sites were ranked? If so, how is it an abuse? If not, what does this have to do with the article (other than both subjects being about Google)?

Re:Ripoffs from Wikipedia (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648003)

Are they going to do something about the rips from Wikipedia that I often encounter when I run a Google search?
Wikipedia allows mirrors and forks [wikipedia.org] , but they must follow the GNU Free Documentation License. If they don't, they end up on a list [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Ripoffs from Wikipedia (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648005)

There are a lot of annoying things out there, but this doesn't break any Google-specific rules. Or any rules at all, really. And would you really want them taken away? Do you want a searchable representation of the web or not?

Re:Ripoffs from Wikipedia (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648043)

There nothing like searching for something (usually fairly obscure), and coming up with (a) a Wikipedia article, and (b) the same Wikipedia article on a dozen other sites with domain names that don't have any fscking thing to do with Wikipedia.

Sure there is.

Try a search for a Linux-related topic and then wade through the endless number of pages that are nothing more than "reprints" of a related man page without thinking it's a RTFM conspiracy.

This is ridiculous behavior on Google's part. (2, Interesting)

johnthorensen (539527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647955)

What I don't understand is why Google is going out of their way to punish BMW for using SEO strategies to up their pagerank instead of chasing all the other junk (porn, pharmaceuticals, etc. websites that do the same with far more malicious intent. In fact, it could almost be said that legitimate companies such as BMW *have* to engage in this type of behavior just to keep themselves above the noise.

I'd really rather that Google spend some time tuning their engine to eliminate all the trash it's accumulated rather than making big headlines punishing organizations that are relatively decent Internet citizens. And on the off chance that Google is trying to 'make an example' by punishing a big company like BMW, someone there needs to be hit with the clue hammer; no disrespectable SEO slinger is going to pay attention to that sort of thing.

Re:This is ridiculous behavior on Google's part. (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648032)


What I don't understand is why Google is going out of their way to punish BMW for using SEO strategies to up their pagerank

Because it's a deliberate attempt to deceive the search engine. That's bad for any end user doing a search as it gives them wrong results. Why is that hard to understand?

instead of chasing all the other junk (porn, pharmaceuticals, etc. websites that do the same with far more malicious intent.

I'm not sure what you're saying. Do you want google to eliminate searches for pharmaceuticals and porn? Or do you believe Google isn't stopping people who do inappropriate SEO techniques for drugs and porn?

And on the off chance that Google is trying to 'make an example' by punishing a big company like BMW, someone there needs to be hit with the clue hammer; no disrespectable SEO slinger is going to pay attention to that sort of thing.

Are you kidding? Being delisted by Google is a Big Deal. The rogue SEO companies won't go away right away, but eventually everyone will hear about getting delisted from Google for doing this garbage and the rogue SEO companies will all but disapear. If you seriously think that BMW.de being delisted by google won't make BMW change their deceptive website, I think it's you that needs to be hit with a "clue hammer".

Re:This is ridiculous behavior on Google's part. (4, Insightful)

pcgamez (40751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648044)

In a word, bull.

A company of that size does not NEED to use black hat techniques. Google's algorythms are good enough that a company of that size is almost always the top search (the only time I have not seen that is when there were two large companies with similar names). Using these techniques make it easier, but they are not needed.

Also note, it does set an example. They are not going after *just* bmw.de.

boost me or delete me (1)

paddleonward (952124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647975)

Can someone put in simple terms how this "improper boosting" is done? What is the proper way to get boosted?

Re:boost me or delete me (2, Informative)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648022)

The improper way to boost page rank is to hide descriptive text and "key words" in the body of your page (same color as backround color), add spurious "alt" tags to images, and using links from "link farms"...

The proper way to boost your site is to use descriptive text in the body of your page, use descriptive and accurate "alt" tags (for text browsers), add proper meta data to your page, as well as advertise or share links with relevant sites...

Re:boost me or delete me (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648027)

Simple. You have a normal page that your users see. When the Google spider reaches your site, you serve him a special baked page full of keywords. How would you do it? Simple, just check who's accessing your site. Google plays nice, the 'bot always check ROBOTS.TXT first, and also, its IP can always be resolved to a hostname like somerobot.google.com.

So BMW was cheating - they detected that Google was coming, and served such a page (also known as a "doorway page" in SEO business. Simple as that.

I do not like this. (1)

Aqws (932918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648001)

I do not think that removing a website from google is a god idea. It goes directly against their goal of organizing the worlds information. Many people depend on google to get information, this denies them some of that(very little now, but many websites use SEO). A better move would have been to lower the page-rank of the websites that linked to it, and to decrease the score that the BMW website has, a lot. I have been happy with the way Google has ignored interfering with the algorithms that they use to organize the information on the internet. I considered them to be unbiased, that way the results are what I want to see instead of what google wants me to see. Google has seemed very commited to not tampering with things like this. Gearge Bush's biography is the top result for miserable and failure, and an anti-Semetic website is the top result for the word Jew. They've refused to change either of those results. I have felt safe because the 800-pound gorrila that google is has not been throwing it's weight around. Off-topic: According to Bill Gates, google is working on a hamburger making robot. I love hamburgers, but am to lazy to make them. Also, google employees read Google-slashdot, but I have yet to see them post.

Dugg... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648007)

Geez this was on digg yesterday, slashdot is really slipping.

In other news... (3, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648008)

...BMW drivers all over Palo Alto are somehow locked out of their cars, coincidentally affecting some Google employees. No word yet on if this affects all cars globally, or if this is a localized problem.

Is this restraint of trade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648012)

I Googled BMW Germany. I got BMW.com. BMW.de was nowhere in sight. So, yes, they really did it.

Can BMW sue Google for restraint of trade? I have no idea. If a map maker deliberately omits the street on which my business is located, I think I have cause for an action. If the mapmaker claims that they did it because I defaced a street sign, I still think I have cause for action. People have a right to expect maps to be accurate.

Google purports to find information on the web. They aren't a directory where you have to pay to be listed. It doesn't matter that they offer their service for free. If they post misleading information or omit information that people should expect to be there, they could be in trouble.

.de ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648017)

Wouldn't people (apart from Germans, or those that speak German) go to bmw.com anyway?

So let me get this straight... (0, Troll)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648020)

Google comes up with the PageRank system, basically counting the number of links to a particular page from all the other pages on the Internet, and they are shocked (shocked!) to find that the system is being abused.

From Google's Technology Page [google.com] : PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.

Democratic? Call this Troll-bait, but how is the Internet democratic? I get a million friends to put a link to some worthless page on all our sites and suddenly the PageRank for that site jumps. And how democratic is it when Google "decides" that someone has violated the spirit of the system and shuts them out? More like autocratic.

Frankly Google is hoist upon its own petard for this one -- you can't come up with some system and then be scandalized to find that people are going to try and abuse it. Insurance companies, public aid programs, and computer voting companies could tell you that!

Bad move (1, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648028)

I just tried looking up stuff from bmw.de. I got nada from Google.

Bad move Google.

Better move:

In "advanced search" have several options for "cheating" web sites:
1a) mark with black flag, useful to help boycotters
1b) do not mark
2a) filter out
2b) move to bottom of ranking
2c) filter out all but - very useful for boycotters
2d) do not adjust rankings

The default should be either 1a with 2b.

In the future, further refine the searches by types of evil - if I want to find every web site engaging in a certain type of cheating, Google should make it easy to do so.

Google's new motto should be:
"We don't do evil, but we do help you find it."

Why? SE Cloaking / Stealth is slimy (5, Informative)

Saeger (456549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648031)

So, Google delisted bmw.de for doing something that "Search Engine Optimizers" call SE cloaking or SE stealth. This is where you show the search engine crawler one keyword-loaded thing, but then show the normal user another thing; usually this is done by looking at the HTTP_User_Agent server-side, but in this case bmw.de was doing it with client-side javascript redirects.

IMO, they and many others deserve to be delisted for attempting to game the system. The only SE tactic more disgusting is spamming blogs for free pagerank boosts.

The best legit means to increase your rank is simply to have quality content that people WANT to link to, and which is intelligently marked up (e.g. use header tags for important stuff; not sliced up images that semantically mean nothing).

this is sure to make google's share price tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14648034)

that's fine, google flexed its muscle, and the people will flex theirs with massive SELLS across the board.

When will they hit Gamasutra with the same thing? (1)

inio (26835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648037)

When are they going to de-list Gamasutra for doing the same thing? Search engines get to see their articles, but they use a javascript redirect to send real browsers to the sign-in/registration page.

well, they DID break the law! (0, Troll)

tkjtkj (577219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648042)

yes .. the "dont do things that might decrease google's profits" law .. Were this action by google untainted by 'self-interest' , then maybe it has a point .. And while they're about it, why NOT punish the 2billion of us who might have need to have BMW come up fast? I mean, we're only peons in google's game of world domination! Did anyone see any ref ANYWHERE to any requirement that any site not use any materials at hand to 'up' their search standing?? ive never seen such a thing! and who would MAKE such a rule? Google 's job is to search and report what it finds, not to act as the earth's police! Ive communicated with google on other matters, to find it totally disregarding legitimate user-privacy concerns. So who polices google itself?? Time to trim this monster before its out of control ..or is it already?

The makings of a "getting old" joke (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648045)

You know your getting old when:
You can remember when google indexed the web just like it was.

Now they just publish "Google Information for Webmasters" and delist anyone who doesn't abide by their guidelines. The times they are a changing.

Google (1)

peterfa (941523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14648048)

It is their search engine. Nobody owns their search engine except for Google Inc.

Now people have manipulated Google so that their sites are favored above others. Everyone knows that when you search for "The worst President Ever" on Google [google.com] you find George Bush's biography. I've never thought of it as immoral, but silly. Google does have a right to protect their search engine and keep it producing the fast and accurate results. When one manipulates Google, they damage Google's reputation. If Google does nothing, it is fair to say they don't have a reliable search engine when it's manipulated, but if they do fix the problem, it's fair to say they are a reliable search engine.

another search to try are "French Military Victories" (click on "I'm Feeling Lucky")

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