There’s a famous saying that if you put enough chimpanzees in front of enough typewriters eventually you’ll end up with the works of William Shakespeare. However it’s seem the largest collection PHD’s in the world at Google are having a really hard time identifying paid links and have to resort to a bit of bluffing, and creating FUD to acomplish their goals.
Now if you stopped by Matt Cutt’s blog you’ll notice 1,2,3 posts on paid links. I say anytime someone writes three times in row all about one subject there was some thought put into the plan. Feel free to read them all but the one you really want to make sure you read is the one on Hidden links (no really go read it).
As I commented on Matt’s blog this is actually another example of Google’s hypocrisy. The webmaster guidelines clearly say the litmus test is “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”. Adding machine readable “no follow” tags or redirecting through blocked redirect script seems to be for the search engines and not the users. However Matt says that isn’t really the intent and spirit of guidelines. The guidelines seemed pretty clear to me, but then again I’m not a PHD.
While there are a lot of things I really admire about Google as an employer it’s implementations like this that make me believe Google does treat it’s employees like children. At SES this week I had lunch with some Googlers from different offices. They were talking about their SAT scores and what colleges they went to. It was an impressive list of schools to be sure but this pseudo campus like workplace atmosphere they built might just be creating a work force that is out of touch with the real world.
Looking at over 5,000 years of recorded human history there are few things that haven’t changed. One is that the uneven distribution of resources that creates a scarcity for some and an abundance for others, results in commerce. People will buy, sell, trade, barter, beg or even steal to get these resources. Google created a page rank based economy and smart people got into the market of selling it. Google didn’t like that took it away and legal battles ensued. To further control this artificial economy Google adjusted the publicly displayed page rank and the market went down the toilet.
Google built an algorthym that placed value on links, so is it any wonder that an economy built upon selling those links sprouted up? Google also places value on trusted and authoritative domains such as “.edu” TLD’s. Looking at the SERP’s for [buy viagra] and [buy cialis] it’s pretty clear it’s in place. Is it a shock to anyone that there is a market for links and pages on “.edu” sites.
What really amazes me is as smart as all those PHD’s have to be, they can’t seem to figure out these markets are going to spring up, and plan for it. What’s even more amazing is the first line of defense is a scare tactic to create fear, uncertainty and doubt. Let’s be honest if they had a way to deal with it quickly, easily and efficiently they’d just do it, and stop the alpha male posturing.
Lastly if you’re one of those people who think Google is in to make the world better, let’s remember Google is a for profit company. Their interest in keeping the organic side clean and spam free, is really governed by their need to maintain a spot people are willing to visit for them to put paid advertisements on.
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