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Old 07-05-2006   #1
Everyman
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Google tweaks my rank for selfish reasons

Google doesn't like www.wikipedia-watch.org and I'm beginning to suspect a conspiracy. This site is almost nine months old, and should be out of the so-called "sandbox."

I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Wikipedia critic Matthew White also mentioned it in the last paragraph of his June 25 entry. That was entirely his own observation -- I've never communicated with Matthew.

In a two-word search for "wikipedia watch" without the quotes and no hyphen, my home page comes up with the following rank in these engines:

MSN -- number 1
Yahoo -- number 1
Ask.com -- number 1
Dogpile -- number 3
Clusty -- number 1

How does Google fare? The average rank across 25 of the most-used Google IP addresses, as reported on my special Scroogle tool, is about 44. That means page five if you are set to 10 results per page. And look at all the junk on those first four pages!

That's for the home page, which reports a PageRank of 5 out of 10. The deeper pages all show a PageRank of zero! They are indexed, but they almost never show up in searches unless your search terms are very specific.

What about backlinks? The www.wikipedia-watch.org home page has 504 backlinks, according to this tool, which counts external backlinks reported by Yahoo. (Google only shows a sampling of backlinks, and for years has been worthless for backlink analysis). The hivemind.html subpage, with a PageRank of zero, has 139 backlinks all by itself.

Yes, I'm aware that Google-lovers and Wikipedia-lovers will jump on me through various blogs, talk pages, and IRC channels, and start snickering about my tin-foil hat. All I'm saying is that Google has hand-tweaked my wikipedia-watch site so that it performs poorly in the rankings.

It happened to me with my "out-of-touch executives" Googlebomb two years ago this month. All of a sudden, a month after it was mentioned in the New York Times, it vanished from the number one spot in Google to somewhere between 400 and 800. It happened overnight, and there wasn't even a Google update in progress. (By the way, that was such a successful Googlebomb that it is still number one in MSN and Yahoo, even though my links were taken down two years ago. All those bloggers talking about it has kept it at number one even without my links.)

Why would Google take action against www.wikipedia-watch.org when they haven't taken action against my two anti-Google sites, www.google-watch.org and www.scroogle.org?

Here's my theory: On my two anti-Google sites, there is almost no mention of Google AdWords and AdSense, except the occasional cartoon. I'm not an expert on ads, because I've never had an ad on any of my sites. I'm interested in Google's ad programs as part of the big picture of where the web is headed, but I'm not interested in them enough to experiment with ads myself, the way I experimented with my bio on Wikipedia.

Apparently Google doesn't feel threatened by those two sites. But they do feel threatened by the notion that Wikipedia could tighten up their operation and restrict bots from scraping their content.

Google makes tons of money from scraped spam sites that are generated automatically as "made for AdSense" pages. They love this spam, and couldn't survive without it. Over 95 percent of Google's total revenue comes from ads. If you don't think Google loves spam, check out their Domainpark ad program. This is custom-built for typosquatting spammers.

The scraping of Wikipedia has gone through the roof. Articles, talk pages, user pages, and user talk pages all get scraped. Try doing searches in any of the major engines on a unique username, and you will see a number of sites that specialize in scraping this user information. Some of the scrapers even scramble the words on the page, just so that they have some content to trigger some ad placement. This is all worthless spam, and almost all of it all carries AdSense.

Remember, my bio exists today because as soon as SlimVirgin and I agreed to delete it in October, a pro-Google blogger named Philipp Lenssen (Google loves this guy -- he even gets his blog in Google News!) complained to Jimmy Wales. Shortly after that, Canderson7 reverted SlimVirgin's deletion of my bio. Then the fights started. The original bio concentrated on two or three substandard links from Google-lovers who hated me, which was originally the major problem I had with it. A couple of these Google-lovers were experts at gaming Google, and their hate pages ranked well, but the content on those pages was not encyclopedic, to say the least. (That's one of the problems with Wikipedians -- they think it must be true if it shows up on page one of a Google search.)

Is it possible that www.wikipedia-watch.org is a bigger threat to Google than my two anti-Google sites? It sure looks that way.
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Old 07-05-2006   #2
dazzlindonna
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Other possibilities exist:

1. Google is a mess.
2. You are still in the sandbox (9 months isn't the longest I've seen).
3. The scrapers are hurting you in some way (see #1).
4. Endless other possibilities.
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Old 07-05-2006   #3
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Your scroogle tool is way behind on what Google Datacenter IP addresses exist out there.

I would have sent you a PM or email but you have turned off that functionality for contacting you in this forum.
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Old 07-06-2006   #4
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I'm more with DazzlinDonna, Daniel -- Google is a mess.

site:www.wikipedia-watch.org give me only one result from you.

www.wikipedia-watch.org gives me nothing, similar to what was happening with Amazon recently, http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060627-084900

it's weird, and shouldn't be happening. Not only would I expect you to rank well for the term, but I'd certainly expect to see more of your pages listed.

So are they coming after wikipedia-watch despite ignoring google watch and scroogle? Sure, could be. But honestly, it just feels like one of the many screw ups lots of people have been reporting recently. Plenty of those will have no conspiracy element, while others raise eyebrows (you, Amazon).
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Old 07-06-2006   #5
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I spent a couple minutes playing with the scraper3 and I noticed the former “**” feature has been taken away. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the history of the scraper3, the double asterisk used to allow a larger set of datacenters to be examined. Today it seems there are well over 150 datacenters that need to be included. BTW great list, g1smd.

As to what is actually going on, a few things to consider:

site:http://wikipedia-watch.org/ -site:www.wikipedia-watch.org

The above search at Google reveals a situation where there is a duplicate copy of the home page. This is never a good thing for rankings.

Also, 9 months is not impossibly long to be in the so-called sandbox.

Another thing - I used the scraper3 tool to run an allinanchor: search on the keyword– and it produces results consistent with the regular search results (what would be expected on a site without a penalty). Using the scraper3 averaging, it shows 40.8 for allin, and 41.1 for regular search. If the tool is to be trusted then IMO this is not an indication of a penalized site but rather a site that needs better linking.
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Old 07-08-2006   #6
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Hmmm. Just a few hours ago the wikipedia-watch.org ranking for the home page jumped up to number eight in a search for "wikipedia watch" without the quotes, on all the data centers I checked (more than 50 IP addresses). This is up from the previous range of around 37 to 51.

Not around number eight, but exactly number eight on each one.

Looks like someone at the Googleplex changed a flag bit on my domain. Or do we all believe in coincidences, and should we pretend that it came out of the sandbox not because I spoke up, but because it was ready to come out anyway?

Now I would hope that they start treating my subpages normally -- that is, they can start by letting them show up in the index. We shall see.

I think the Kinderstart people have a case, assuming they can get to the discovery phase. Then the big question would be whether a mere judge has the power to force Google to turn over information about ranking. I doubt that very much.
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Old 07-09-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Everyman
Looks like someone at the Googleplex changed a flag bit on my domain. Or do we all believe in coincidences, and should we pretend that it came out of the sandbox not because I spoke up, but because it was ready to come out anyway?
Do you really imagine that the people at Google are tweaking your domain specifically? I'm sorry, but it sounds more like wishful thinking than anything else.
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Old 07-11-2006   #8
Everyman
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Quote:
Do you really imagine that the people at Google are tweaking your domain specifically? I'm sorry, but it sounds more like wishful thinking than anything else.
Sorry, but I don't care what you think. I was about 45 for almost nine months. I complained about it on a forum where Google probably noticed my complaint. Several days later the same search was number one on 21 out of 24 different Class C IPs that I checked, and number 8 on the other three.

Thank you, Google. I'll interpret this as a glitch that shouldn't have happened, and got fixed when I brought it to your attention.

Enough said.
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