Google Whoring Out Search (Beta)

43 comments

This is a disgusted rant post, but a well deserved one. In the WSJ's article about the upcoming GBuy [Sub Req] they stated that Google is looking to put GBuy merchant notification in the SERPs. Not only that, but they are also going to start doing free payment processing and even give consumers rebates for signing up. Talk about uncompetitive business practices! That shit is pretty bad.

I don't know how the journal got this quote

Chris Mario, a Damascus, Md., resident, says he "would 100% use Google payments" because he likes the company's technology. He says he uses PayPal now but would prefer using an independent third-party payment service when making some online purchases, as opposed to the PayPal unit of eBay, which runs auction and other e-commerce Web sites.

but merchants that feel eBay is a bigger threat to their business margins than Google need to get a clue.

To be honest, little GBuy notifications in the SERPs probably wouldn't piss me off by themselves, but Google is rolling this shit out in the middle of a "bad data push" (their words, not mine) that still needs cleaned up.

Not only is there still that bad data push (and Google not even showing some of the most authoritative sites on the WWW), but Google's current algorithms are so biased toward preventing SERP manipulation that they are flat out irrelevant.

I search for stuff like "credit rating" + "auto loan" and am seeing home mortgage pages at the top of the SERPs. This is like the original Become.com Affinity Index Rank stuff:

Sorry, but what a poor algo! It seems to be so 'authority-centric' -- ranking seems to have little to do with page topic, just the phrase being on an authority site is enough for that page to rank.

I could see how they would call this spam-proof, but it is also going to be user-proof too, who would use this?

The SERPs are full of off topic trash (wrong page from an authority site or just the home page of a site that has a relevant subpage) and spam and Google's basic search operators don't even work. Lame. Aren't you embarrassed about this Google?

Why not clean up the current mess before adding more shit to the SERPs?

I wasn't on the WWW when Altavista went to shit, but is this the beginning of the end for Google?

Comments

They claim other people

They claim other people can't manipulate their search result rankings, but to me the current search results are a tribute to search spammers. They are not only full of subdomain spam, etc., but they are also so irrelevant that they show that Google IS letting spam techniques control their SERPs.

Spammers may not have 100% direct control of the SERPs, but IMHO if you let them guide your algorithms to the point of being irrelevant that is far worse Google.

At the present time .. the

At the present time .. the SERPS are a joke .. The spam prevention methods are a joke .. the fraud filters are a joke..

Do you really need an auto loan?

I think if you have something good to sell, then you would be happy about this news, because you could easily cut through the random MFA pages w/ your GBuy rating.

Cmon G ..

I feel sad, I rememeber Matt asking me how hard the spammers where finding it to spam google back at WMW New Orleans.. and to be honest Most where finding it pretty dam tough ... ask the question today and most spammers will be busting a gut to get there Millions of G$ into Gbuy lol .. you just made it so so easy for the spammers, and while you keep on playing build the portfolio of cool and fun stuff Yahoo is catching YA arse in the Search Game .. hmmmm MicroSoft buys Yahoo And well I think we can guess what will happen then :(

DaveN

pjbrunet

Buy my guide on how to Make Money From Google ... ;) click to ADD G$ to DaveN's Gbuy account ..

DaveN

You sound like you're trying

You sound like you're trying to game the system, and you're upset that you might lost some traffic

I don't have any competitive sites in the auto loan market (I may have one shit blog that was written at $1 a post by an outsourced worker, but I surely own no real sites in that market).

My point is more along with DaveN's. It is a joke to spam em now, and on top of being full of spam they also have a bunch of off topic shit in the SERPs.

age matters

Any of us with really old domains (such as ...cough cough... edu domains before edu was regulated ...cough cough...) love the new Google. Old academics retire into consulting, and it seems old academic webmasters retire into SEO these days. Good thing the site: command doesn't really work, eh?

It's really a long term filter for seo clients IMHO. There's certainly plenty of work to do to get a client site competitive, but if they want to actually compete they need to be more serious than many are. Perhaps the most important aspect is that the value must be there.... and because of the way G is handling things, the value is definitely there. It is unquestionably worth it to sit at the top of the SERPs.

So the only real question is the one Aaron raised: will the users stay on an increasingly poor Google search engine?

for me this bias towards

for me this bias towards 'authority' domains has simply cut out the poor/newbie spammers and left the door wide open for the pros. (I still think the small legit webmaster can build up in their niche)
You can still succeed as a spammer as long as your pockets are deep enough and when you do succeed you can take possy 1-10 where you'd normally expect every 13 year old spammer to be sitting.

maybe G is looking to sweat it out till we give up? My bet is we'll kill every 'authority' domain and Google will not know where to start their crawl or what to trust.

uncompetitive

If you shop at WalMart or buy Microsoft products you're already fueling uncompetitive practices.

However, little GBuy notifications probably WOULD piss me off as I've never bought anything from eBay or any other online auction site and have no intention to start any time soon so I hope they have a way to disable such annoying shit.

Dealing with real merchants is bad enough, I won't hassle with some little 2-bit schmuck running auctions out of his garage, just not gonna happen.

what do they mean by

what do they mean by 'notifications' ? a little icon or something, that would subtly encourage searchers to click on site results which use GBuy?

GBuy...

Let's say I'm selling original drawings and I'm using GBuy to collect the payment. It shouldn't be too hard for Google to figure out that I'm a real artist and people are happy with my paintings (no chargebacks or whatever.) Of course they will implement some kind of "feedback" system. Paypal knows how many happy customers I have. Anyone spamming the SERPs w/ affiliate links won't have a chance against people w/ actual products that will have a data trail that Google can analyze.

You can probably say the same about shoes. I think w/ GBuy influenced rankings, we won't need 100,000 affiliates selling the same Zappos.com shoes on 100 bazillion pages. Those affiliates don't share customer relationship analytics w/ Google, so can they be trusted? Not as much as someone that is willing to share sales information w/ Google.

Am I missing something?

Uhhh..

I think w/ GBuy influenced rankings, we won't need 100,000 affiliates selling the same Zappos.com shoes on 100 bazillion pages.

Unless you are Zappos.com.

Who died and made you Adam Smith?

Ha

Google can't even secure half the software they put on the market and I'm supposed to be confident enough to trust them for merchant processing? I don't think you guys realize the shitstorm these guys are walking into. If they think search spammers are bad, wait till they get a hold of crooks constantly trying to scam their system.

To encourage somebody to

To encourage somebody to visit a merchant on the basis that they are unable to get a proper credit card processing account seems dumb to me, real dumb.

Shitstorm

I've been in ecommerce since the beginning and I know what kind of fraud Gbuy will attract.

It won't be pretty.

Adam Smith

Why have an affiliate program in the first place? To reach more customers. If you're Zappos.com, wouldn't you rather sell more shoes yourself, direct? If I'm understanding this correctly, the rankings will be influenced by actual sales. Spammers probably can't fake the sales so they'll be ranked way lower, especially if Google knows what your business is. In this case Zappos would already have a record of selling more shoes than anyone, so they wouldn't need an army of affiliates always working to get high listings. It would be easy to get high listings, just by proving yourself w/ sales.

If I'm searching for a Picasso print and Google can tell me who has a good record of selling more Picasso prints than anyone in the world, I'd like to see that result at the top. What I don't want to see is 100,000,000 random generated pages that have never sold anything to anyone.

On the other hand, informative websites are useful too, so sales obviously can't be weighted too heavily. But using sales history/feedback to weight results I think is a good idea. I noticed Yahoo has that "Mindshare" thing (or whatever it's called) so you can view your SERPs w/ a slidebar that will switch the focus from "Research" to "Shopping". Google could do the same thing and the shopping results could easily be weighted w/ GBuy data. Pretty cool.

independent

"an independent third-party payment service"

Yeah, I almost commented about that. Why is Google an independent third party service and eBay not? I got the impression this person might do a lot of stuff on eBay itself, so would prefer to have a payment system that eBay doesn't run to buy or sell on eBay. Of course, eBay's not going to be GBuy enabled :)

whatever

goes wrong won't be g$$gs fault. The spinners in viral are probably working OT on this project.

"As a computer scientist, I can assure you our system has the utmost in integrity...."

they can probably recycle a few.

If you're Zappos.com,

If you're Zappos.com, wouldn't you rather sell more shoes yourself, direct?

That statement assumes that Zappos is as smart and aggressive at marketing as their top affiliate marketers are. They may be in that case (although I doubt it), but in most cases merchants are not as good at marketing as their top affiliates.

Affiliates can teach a business how to market if the business can attract the right types of affiliates. Although I only have a few serious affiliates I know I have learned a bunch from my top affiliates. And I have learned a great deal from affiliates that are not converting well. I think you just have to have an affiliate program to realize the potential value of an extended sales team that only gets paid if they convert.

And the whole pureness of results angle is bullshit at first glance. If Google wanted to clean up the web they would start by taking a hard look at their AdSense partners, not by adding this garbage to the SERPs.

PJ I'm pretty sure the

PJ

I'm pretty sure the really smart people at Zappos don't look at their affiliates as bleeding profit but reducing their overall cost of acquiring targeted traffic. If you look at all the sites that send affiliate sales to Zappos, many of them exist in areas where Zappos ordinarily wouldn't. Something as generic and necessary as a shoe can generate sales across hundreds of thousands of topics. What would that cost Zappos to market to? A lot. Affiliates do that leg work and Zappos sees revenue they would have never known about. Think about that. Somebody has likely sold a pair of shoes off a midget fetish site. If you are Zappos, you are happy you didn't have to do that directly.

sorry, can't help it,

sorry, can't help it, but...

Think about that. Somebody has likely sold a pair of shoes off a midget fetish site.

are you outing your own sites scoreboard ;)

Aaron..

...back up off my fishing spots!

Why have an affiliate

Why have an affiliate program in the first place? To reach more customers. If you're Zappos.com, wouldn't you rather sell more shoes yourself, direct?

Sure you would, but you can't be everything to everybody. That's the beauty of affiliate programs, you get a couple of thousand salespeople talking in different voices, stressing different things. And Zappos was a great example to use as shoe blogs are pretty big right now, with some folks even making money -- and Zappos making more.

Oops, Missed scoreboard's first comment, put so much better than mine.

I'm not of the mind

...that G keeps their SERP's like this just to generate more $ via ad clicks ... but I do often wonder if they really even realize how bad these SERP's currently are.

We all see: The on topic auth pages dominating the SERP's way beyond their value to surfers; the off topic auth pages that should not be there at all; the mom and pop sites gone away (collateral damage in the war against spam), and the ultra talented spammers' sites that continue to find their way through the cracks in the algo. Ugh, some algo.

But what I fear is that G thinks we're all just advocating a loosening of the algo so we can run amok. I fear that they think simply that they've rid the SERP's of spam, at no particularly significant cost. *Sigh.*

G's vision of great SERP's seems nearly synonymous with the world we othewise live in: Global brands, lots of ads.

So much for a Web where the little guy has a voice.

Ah well, at least there are still the bloggers. Burp. Oh, excuse me. Hehe.

Well said;

"Google can't even secure half the software they put on the market and I'm supposed to be confident enough to trust them for merchant processing?"

That and with the SERPs to get uglier and more spammy with affiliate merchant sites for every conceivable object on Earth for sale I fear for Google down the road.
Yahoo and eBay were smart to hook up. If MSFT takes Yahoo the search race becomes a real one.

No commment. :-)

No commment. :-)

Just a whole new ballgame

Paypal took their lumps over many years and still has a lot of issues with fraud. They have had class action lawsuits and so on from trying to combat it. They've had to ban industries and countries from their system.

I just think it's naive to think that Google will step in and be succesful with this. There is much more fraud in this arena and having a bad search result is not the same as having some ladies checking account wiped out.

This is a company that has trouble giving good customer service to $50,000/month clients. How are they going to handle the little old lady who can't figure out why her card was charged $8? This is the company that can't handle most of their click fraud and they are going to walk into the den of the most advanced criminals on the planet. I just think they are way too optimistic about this.

More fun for all of us

Just another opportunity for us.
If only 5% "get it" in the beginning, the early take will be huge.

Anyone heard of Goog ramping up...

...a call center or two for support of GBuy?

Fraud is an issue taken seriously at PayPal and PayPal has many call centers world wide.

I think we will see GBuy scale back in promise considerably to probably just be mainly an AdSense/AdWords monetary medium.

SB

Aaron, I drew a different

Aaron, I drew a different interpretation from the WSJ article. The article that I read from the WSJ at
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB115136840690491346-E4glfTR5gPZj_GXxCSFVLL_JMog_20070627.html?mod=blogs
said

Consumers who search for items like "shoes" or "strollers" on Google's search site will see text ads with a symbol or icon designating advertisers that accept GBuy payments.

I believe the WSJ is talking about ads, not SERPs.

Are you saying that users

Are you saying that users will just be shown nothing but ads when they search for commercial queries? Am I confused on that or on the following

SERPs = Search Engine Results Pages = organic + ads (last I knew? or have I been screwing up that acronym for years?)

thanks for the reply Matt

So now you gotta sell stuff,

So now you gotta sell stuff, and! share your profit with G to rank in the serps? what happened to the rest of the internet that is not just about sales and money?

A search engine is only as strong as its serps, we saw that with AV, I think it is time for a new search engine to step in, the market is clearly opening up.

Hi by the way, im new here! :)

Hey Matt - welcome back to

Hey Matt - welcome back to the land of the workers. I wonder if your post here stuffs up Shoe's competition?

:)

The whoring didn't just start

Maybe it's getting worse, in your perception, but the whoring started in earnest many years ago. Their job is to make money.

Can you honestly picture a board meeting of a major international company where the multi-billionaire board members sit around and talk about the "integrity of search". Does Pepsi worry about the "integrity of their bottled sugar water"? Hell no.

Really, this means you should be buying more shares of their stock. Now you can see how motivated they are.

diversify, diversify, diversify

Got to completely agree with sootles comments. At the end of the day, Google has shareholders, and it has a responsibility to those shareholders.

Google as a commercial enterprise has to look after itself, and diversifying itself into other avenues within the online arena, is one way of living on well after its reign at the top of the search engines ends.

Seems to me you have it back

Seems to me you have it back to front. The GBUY icon would only be on adwords adverts. Not in serps.

If Google can make a better

If Google can make a better product than Paypal I will use it.

If Google can make a better ...

that would be a first

IMHO if you let them guide

Quote:
IMHO if you let them guide your algorithms to the point of being irrelevant

When you place more emphasis on combating spam than on increasing relevance, this is bound to happend eventually.

Chris_D, I'm still

Chris_D, I'm still officially on vacation for a few more days. Trying to hack around on a router right now, for example.

Aaron, I've always thought of SERPs as the results on the left-hand side, but I take your point. I just wanted to make sure people knew that the article said that ads might have the icon, not the organic search results. That wouldn't be anything new, since we've shown "click-to-call" icons by ads before, e.g. http://www.yardley.ca/blog/index.php/archives/2005/11/23/google-tests-out-click-to-call-adwords/

I understand that there were

I understand that there were click to call buttons in the past, but that was essentially a different ad type with users asking for a different type of ad. IMHO this would likely be Google driving up CTR on ads where they got to double dip in another point of the rev stream, which I take as being different than click to call for example.

And I know some of the locally targeted ads will say California near their listings as well, but this GBuy stuff just feels different than the other ad tweaks...like shady even if the intent is not.

Also as the network gets more and more efficient it is going to push ads or business models that are factually incorrect, mislead consumers, or have lots of hidden costs. The efficiency has to come from somewhere.

Pushed back roll out

This got pushed back until tomorrow.... Matt I heard some senior Googlteers were annoyed at the release date leak..... http://www.smart-keywords.com/2006/06/gbuy-or-gpal-or-gpc.htm

This should be good for the stock price at least....

not in the organic

I definitely did NOT read the WSJ article to mean icons or flags or whatever would be anywhere but associated with ads. Not in the regular unpaid organic search results. There was an earlier report from a financial analyst that suggested that might happen, but I think he's way off the mark (I did a post saying this here, http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060612-100806). I just don't see Google making that type of mixing. We'll know soon enough, of course -- but it's not a can of worms I think they'd open.

Matt, back away from the keyboard. Slowly work your hands down to the power switch. Shut the computer off. Walk carefully out of whatever room the computer is in and shut the door. Prop a chair up against it, maybe move a couch in front of it. Find those remaining books you have to read AND GET BACK TO YOUR VACATION! If the Cuttletts see you out, you're going to roll these comments, http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/vacating/#comments, into quadruple digits.

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