Friday, January 24, 2003

Kevin Drum talks about an interesting dispute between Google and a company called SearchKing that was using Google page ranks to track down premium web space and re-sell it to advertisers. It sounds like the Google people went, "Damn, why didn't we think of that?" and promptly punished SearchKing by manually lowering its own page ranks in the Google database. Read Kevin's whole piece to get more details. He brings up the valid point that what Google is doing is similar to the kind of monopolistic methods phone companies, railroads, and others practiced in the past: using their advantage in the market place to permanently cripple their competitors. But this case also brings up the issue of trust. I use Google all the time. It is the only search engine I use. Part of the reason I use it is because I have put my trust in their ability to honestly rank pages. If Google is in the habit of manually tweaking the ranks in order to diminish the net presence of sites they don't like then they are violating my trust in their service. It's a bad business strategy guys: by doing this you are opening the doors to some enterprising search engine company that can advertise itself as presenting unbiased links. If they can provide a similar technical ability to that of Google, and Google persists in this kind of punishment of people they don't like, then I will have to start taking my business elsewhere.

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