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Old 05-13-2005   #49
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Search Engine Land
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It's generally considered unwise to take sides unless all the facts are available; When You Assume, You Make An Ass Out Of You ... as for me, I'll reserve judgement
Hence the problem. We know WebPosition has been banned from Google for a very long time. We don't know exactly why. We have some pretty good guesses. If Google would disclose properly, then we wouldn't have to guess.

That's what I'm saying. I never suggested that Google must carry any particular site's listings. I have no problem with it deciding what it will and will not carry. I've said that already in this thread and elsewhere. It's Google's "ink," so to speak. Like a newspaper, they can do what they want.

However, if it is going to censor its results, it ought to disclose that, in my opinion. That's already in keeping with the disclosure of censorship Google itself VOLUNTARILY does in response to US laws under the DMCA. Go back and read the earlier articles I noted in this thread for more about it. But censorship it does in response to French laws, German laws? Not disclosed. Censorship in pulling sites for whatever reason it wants to? Not disclosed.

You as a searcher have no idea that there's something that would have been listed in the top results if not for Google's action. If you as a searcher would like to reach the official WebPosition web site via Google, rather than some WebPosition reseller, you cannot do it.

That's what this is about to me. Not that Google can't control its listings. That if it -- or any other search engine is going to pull something from those listings -- that ought to be disclosed. And make no mistake, for WebPosition not to rank well for its own name for two, if not three years or longer, that's a manual penalty Google has created.

As also said by others, Google has no problem -- none at all -- taking ads from WebPosition resellers. Do a search and you'll see them. Google love to talk about the relevancy of its ads. So it's OK for users to see relevant ads about WebPosition but not the relevant official web site for WebPosition itself?

Also interesting, if you go into the second page of results, you get the official page for WebPosition from the WebTrends web site -- which owns WebPosition. So it's OK to list that page but not the actual dedicated web site for the product? More like, there's no way Google will ban the WebTrends web site, but it will drag its heels in restoring WebPosition.

The banning of that site is archaic. It's a left over policy. WordPress spend all of a few hours having its page face a penalty for stuffing hundreds of thousands of spam pages into Google. WhenU was back after like 40 days after cloaking. Two or three years of a vendetta against WebPosition's site?

Consider this. Until earlier this month, WebPosition was owned by WebTrends, in turn owned by NetIQ, a publicly listed company in the US. Now it's owned by Francisco Partners, another publicly listed company. The purchase was announced March 28 and concluded May 3.

Now you're an investor wondering about this sale. You decide to research some of the products. You turn to your trusted research tool, Google. You do a search for one of the products you've heard about, WebPosition. And you can't find the official site about it?

That's relevancy? That's serving the user? That's organizing the web's information? And that's defending Google because it somehow stopped all the other resellers showing up in its editorial results as well as the ads Google itself accepted?

I submit that google is more of a medium than a service due to its massive reach and influence. There should be equal access to the media without arbitrary censorship.
Ultimately, this will be up to each individual country. Broadcast media in the US are regulated historically to my knowledge because there was limited access to the airwaves. The government wanted to ensure those with that access worked to the benefit of the public.

There's no limited access on the web. There are plenty of search engines people can use, large and small. No one is forced to use Google. Nevertheless, we could see some governments decide that major search engines should be treated like utilities and try to force them to fall under tighter regulation.

Regardless of whether that happens, they do operate under existing laws. As noted above, they already have to censor in various countries in response to this. In addition, they may have the freedom to self-censor whatever they want.

FYI, we had another thread on this topic already that will be of interest: Google Censorship.
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