TOS, GoogleGuy and AutoLink

19 comments

This has been bothering me.

Back when GoogleGuy made his request for the Threadwatch link analysis tool not to scrape Google because it would violate Google's TOS against automated queries, how is that different from our request that Google not put automated or semi-automated links on our sites? Presuming we altered our site TOS to prohibit this? I don't see a whole lot of difference.

Many commentators say that because the user is initiating the Autolinks it is somehow okay. But in the case of the TW link analysis tool isn't that being initiated by the user, from the users computer?

I do not see a practical difference between Google very politely asking use to respect their TOS and we as webmasters, very politely asking Google to respect our TOS. Can somebody explain the difference?

Comments

:)

I was just playing Jill it's nothing personal :)

Gee, I'm honored

Quote:
When I do post my objectives are to a. Piss of Jill and/or raise hell

????

meta tag solution? Maybe.

I say we push for a meta tag that disables the autolink or something similar that they would obey. I mean we have a googlebot nocache meta tag that is respected. Maybe even a line in the robot.txt file that flags the site's pages as a non autolink participants instead of forbidden directories that shouldn't be crawled.

Though I don't use IE or the new bar I know that the bar sends a query off and recieves an xml file in return with all the juice. I'm sure someone could make a Gbar hack that alters the xml dealing with the autolinking IF there is anything in the xml responce in the first place that has to deal with autolink.

*permission to flame me granted since 1. I don't keep up on the gbar 2. I'm only guessing as to how the autolink info is triggered 3. When I do post my objectives are to a. Piss of Jill and/or raise hell b. Help others by giving advice on stuff I know. So this speculation stuff is not my forte and I usualy just shut my mouth and read but it's just an idea. yes, no. Like I said I'm a bit out of my element :)

yep

fair assessment

Might makes right?

First, I agree with NFFC on this. Google had the courtesy to ask that we not scrape and I think it reasonable and proper to respect that.

It helps to occupy the moral high ground. ;)

Second, it sounds like what everybody is saying, is that there is not difference between Google's request not to scrape and our request to Google not to Autolink - except for power. It appears that Google thinks that their power gives them the right to do what they want. Might makes right. Is that a fair assessment?

It's about leading or following

To take the view that they do something worse than us is just shortsighted.

Is it wrong to scrape someone's site when they specifically ask you not to?

Yes.

Is it wrong to overwrite a webmasters site with your own content.

Yes.

I think we should do what is right from our own heart, taking our cue from companies that may not have the interests of the www as a whole as their core concern is a very dangerous game.

imho

There is no difference

I agree with Brad.

And it peeves me that GG reads these forums and doesn't respond to all of our concerns, yet is quick to participate when we talk about scraping them and mentions legal liability to arouse FUD.

robots.txt

Quote:
Unfortunately, though I tend to agree with you Brad, I think Google would likely turn round and say "Well you can use robots.txt to stop our spiders indexing your site".

As far as the link tool, we could also say "...then you can ban our IPs". It's our responsibility to take actions to prevent them from doing something (spider, autolink), but it's not their responsibility to prevent us from doing something (scraping)? That's crap.

Robots.txt Files

Sure, you can create a robots.txt file that prevents Googlebot from visiting and indexing your pages. Then again, G may just write you like they did me and provide instructions on how to let Googlebot visit all my pages and files. You can view the letter.

Unfortunately, though I tend to agree with you Brad, I think Google would likely turn round and say "Well you can use robots.txt to stop our spiders indexing your site".

And isn't our point the same? We want a method to turn off AutoLink, as we can turn off indexing ;)

robots.txt

Unfortunately, though I tend to agree with you Brad, I think Google would likely turn round and say "Well you can use robots.txt to stop our spiders indexing your site".

Hardly the same thing still, but I reckon they'ed be likely to take the black and white approach to it when it suits them.

[edited - Whoops wrong name]

Clicking on adwords should enhance the user experience

If I created a toolbar which automated the opening of all adsense ads then I'm sure that would enhance the users experience. Ofcourse they were already going to do this so it's just helping them to find what they want...

What would enhance the user experience even more is if my toolbar "preloaded" the destination pages so that the page loaded instantly when the user clicked on an ad ;)

The adwords program may struggle to survive if a toolbar like that was ever released onto any significant number of computers.

but...

Quote:
Google isn't particularly worried by a bunch of webmasters up in arms

the user giveth and the user can taketh away

Dear Webmasters, We at Goo

Dear Webmasters,

We at Google are going to send our spiders and bots to your websites and scan all of your content, as frequently as often as we think is required, with no regard for you whatsoever. Oh yeah and we'll also keep a copy on file on our servers, don't ask us why. We will then aggregate, analyze, prioritize, display the content in a way that we feel is most appropriate, and will also allow us to generate the most profit. Please don't do the same to us, it's against our TOS. Thanks.

The difference...

Is that everyone who cares about the autolink thing is shit scared of Google but Google isn't particularly worried by a bunch of webmasters up in arms (however influential they may be, and however misguided Google is in this case).

the difference...

An auto-scraper is far less damaging to google than what autolink is to the web in general. It is the difference of a fly on a hippo and a boot on a mouse.

If I had G's servers...

...I'd be ok with the waste of bandwidth scrapers and such would cause, but I don't, so I don't want my bandwidth wasted on users who are going to be swept away from my site by Google.

well

I can tell you what GoogleGuy would say if he were here.....

"The Google TOS is designed to protect all our customers by preventing scraping tools using excessive bandwidth and causing problems to individual customers. The Toolbar doesn't increase the bandwidth usage or costs to the websites and therefore the same argument doesn't apply"

and we'd all say.......

*slow sly smile* There is no

*slow sly smile* There is no difference. That's genius.