Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 12:12:38 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search  (Read 4277 times)

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,408
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« on: February 13, 2011, 01:00:31 PM »
This is an article about how large retailer J.C.Penney used a large scale of spam and link farms to promote themselves to the top of search page results.

Quote
TO understand the strategy that kept J. C. Penney in the pole position for so many searches, you need to know how Web sites rise to the top of Google’s results. We’re talking, to be clear, about the “organic” results — in other words, the ones that are not paid advertisements. In deriving organic results, Google’s algorithm takes into account dozens of criteria, many of which the company will not discuss.

...

To Mr. Stevens, S.E.O. is a game, and if you’re not paying black hats, you are losing to rivals with fewer compunctions.

WHY did Google fail to catch a campaign that had been under way for months? One, no less, that benefited a company that Google had already taken action against three times? And one that relied on a collection of Web sites that were not exactly hiding their spamminess?

...

Here’s another hypothesis, this one for the conspiracy-minded. Last year, Advertising Age obtained a Google document that listed some of its largest advertisers, including AT&T, eBay and yes, J. C. Penney. The company, this document said, spent $2.46 million a month on paid Google search ads — the kind you see next to organic results.

Is it possible that Google was willing to countenance an extensive black-hat campaign because it helped one of its larger advertisers? It’s the sort of question that European Union officials are now studying in an investigation of possible antitrust abuses by Google.



from slashdot discussion

mahesh2k

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,417
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 01:08:04 PM »
That's manual slap from google spam team to JCP. I think marketing SEO team hired by JCP during Christmas event spammed the web with links, ads and redirection.

JCP looks to me violated these guidelines.

-Bad redirects.
-URL Anchor Deception.
-Doorway pages.

So it's obvious that they violated rules of google guidelines and hence penalized. The company used tricks which are detected even by manual intervention by google spam team.

housetier

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 1,321
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 05:42:00 PM »
I think many many search results are gamed. I have turned back to asking friends instead of google. There I have the trust thing and experience thing, and also get an opinion.

It's a mess.

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,408
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 05:50:07 PM »
Search engines provide us with an absolutely amazing ability to location information quickly, and the positive impacts of this are almost too large to contemplate.  Easily one of the most important things that have happened in my lifetime.

My concern is simply that most of us now unconsciously treat the results returned by search engines as the "objective" simple results of "searching" for what we have asked.  When the reality is so much more complicated, and made worse by the fact that we have adopted a single company (google) as a synonym for search, as if this one company provides us with a complete and objective answer to every search.

There is no perfect answer to this problem of people accepting the top 5 search results for any search as being the definitive answer to every question.

The ramifications of there being such an astronomical (financial, political, cultural) advantage for showing up at the top of the (one true?) search engine has been largely unexplored.  Even if everyone was trying their best to prevent the manipulation by bad actors, my concern is the inherent distorting nature of such a system.

We have to remind ourselves that there is so much more to life and the internet than the pages that come up at the top of google search results.

Much as watching tv/cable news can give us a very convincing but fundamentally distorted and myopic view of the world, so does depending on one search engines and one set of scoring rules give us a distorted and manipulated view of the world wide web.

In fact one wonders about the possibility of an eventual revolt against these "top of the page" high ranked results.  With all of the financial incentive to get yourself to the top of the search results, I wonder if we won't eventually see alternative search engines whose entire purpose in life is to return results that explicitly exclude these seo-optimized top performers, and instead let us live in a calmer reality of a less aggressively seo'd web.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 05:57:49 PM by mouser »

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 09:14:07 PM »
Quote
My concern is simply that most of us now unconsciously treat the results returned by search engines as the "objective" simple results of "searching" for what we have asked.  When the reality is so much more complicated, and made worse by the fact that we have adopted a single company (google) as a synonym for search, as if this one company provides us with a complete and objective answer to every search.

This is why competition is important. Even though the 2nd best would just as be spammed, the 3rd or 4th best may not - or they may have a better search algorithmn.

Quote
There is no perfect answer to this problem of people accepting the top 5 search results for any search as being the definitive answer to every question.

It's not perfect but everyone has mostly gone past this issue by now thanks to Digg/Stumbleupon/Reddit/AllTop/Twitter Trends/etc.

Even Delicious is a better search engine nowadays despite the obvious key of being abused.

Quote
We have to remind ourselves that there is so much more to life and the internet than the pages that come up at the top of google search results.

Which is why everyone's jumping in and out of the latest buzzword innovation derived from the concepts of a Semantic Web.

J-Mac

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 2,913
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 10:53:15 PM »
This is one reason I have been using Twitter more lately for searches. Mouser, I gave up on trusting top results a long time ago. It's often just too apparent that the results aren't reflective of reality. And as far as "…the possibility of an eventual revolt against these "top of the page" high ranked results...", How do we revolt?! I don’t even want to try to list all the alternative search engines I have tried in a quest to get away from this kind of fraud! There just aren't any worth using presently - at least IMO.

Thank you.

Jim

Paul Keith

  • Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 11:21:49 PM »
Quote
How do we revolt?! I don’t even want to try to list all the alternative search engines I have tried in a quest to get away from this kind of fraud! There just aren't any worth using presently - at least IMO.

The Revolution will not be Televised.  :P

On the flip side, if you're an avid bookmark addict, Diigo's Chrome Extension shows if you have bookmarks relevant to your search.

There's also a realtime Twitter search result for Firefox that integrates into Google searches.

...and of course there's DuckDuckGo and the ever changing search engine Yippy.

Of course true revolution comes from social not web service. Not sure if there's a Facebook Page for that.

Edit: Forgot about this: https://chrome.googl...jbckmoknagndlhjbeohb

Now this is more like a true revolution. Too bad the rest of the internet/browser users suffer.

Edit #2:

Actually I was thinking about this but I got reminded by that link from another blog:

https://chrome.googl...djlojjamonklladcijim
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 02:29:51 AM by Paul Keith »

nudone

  • Cody's Creator
  • Columnist
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 4,117
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2011, 02:49:10 AM »
I must say I'd forgotten about Wolfram|Alpha, and I admit it's still not something I'll be using any time soon. This Guardian article was published over the weekend: http://www.guardian....pha-interview-google

It does make me believe that, one day, Wolfram|Alpha could be the true meaning of search on the internet. Well, that is, if you are searching for a "factual answer".

housetier

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 1,321
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Newspaper Article: The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 08:12:27 AM »
I go to wolfram alpha for all things math and numbers. And for converting too.