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Google’s Evil Ways Show Clear Need For Congressional Regulation, DOJ Investigation

Google, the world’s largest search engine, has recently been manipulating its search algorithms again, and this time it has opted to remove or lower the PageRank of some well-established websites and blogs.

Take my blog, for instance. Just last week it had a PageRank of 5, now it has a 2. Google supplied no explanation for this when asked, but my guess would be that it has something to do with my refusing to put AdSense ads on my Blogger blog. Blogger is owned by Google, and Google has asked me to place AdSense ads on my blog. They even offered to customize them.

I’m not the only small businessperson who has been angry with Google. There are legions of us. The reason for this is that Google is often arrogant in its practices, which is not the best practice approach. From time to time, it uses what appear to be evil practices, in spite of its do no evil motto, which is obviously a pack of lies. Here is one aspect of a small business angry with Google, and a sample of how Google responded:

Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway operator, will file suit Wednesday against Google because the company’s search engine provides links to a Web site that offers instructions on how to sabotage railway systems, Deutsche Bahn said Tuesday. Lawsuits against Yahoo and AltaVista also are being prepared.

Deutsche Bahn recently sent letters to all three U.S. search engine operators asking them to remove the hyperlinks to the online copies of two articles from the German-language left-wing extremist publication, Radikal, which has been outlawed in Germany. The articles detail how to cut power on parts of the railway system.

“We wrote Google and told them that there is illegal content on their pages and that they are linking to pages with illegal content. They have not answered us, so we will file a lawsuit against Google in Germany tomorrow,” said Christian Schreyer, head of the legal department for media and competition law at Deutsche Bahn in Berlin.

Google not only offers a hyperlink, but also has the Web pages with the articles in question in cache, allowing a user to view them on the Google Web site, Schreyer noted.

I wrote Google, as well, but they have not responded. You would think that a company seeking to influence members of Congress would quickly respond to someone who has friends in Congress and friends who work for Members on the Hill, especially when I have said previously that perhaps Google should be regulated by Congress. Perhaps Google is too busy plotting how it can hurt more small businesses by hurting their PageRank, and as a result, their profits and their businesses. Others have noted that ill will against Google is on the rise.

I was wondering how long it would take for this to happen. The acceptability of Google’s politics and public persona could only insulate it from the requisite corporate suspicion for only so long.

In today’s New York Times, Gary Rivlin writes of growing distrust of Google: “instead of embracing Google as one of their own, many in Silicon Valley are skittish about its size and power. They fret that the very strengths that made Google a search-engine phenomenon are distancing it from the entrepreneurial culture that produced it – and even transforming it into a threat.”

How much of the “grousing” is merely bad sportsmanship? More than a bit, I think. After all, “Just as Microsoft has been seen over the years as an aggressive, deep-pocketed competitor for talent, Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley complain that virtually every time they try to recruit a well-regarded computer programmer, that person is already contemplating an offer from Google.”

Since Google is able to spend such a large amount of its capital, perhaps it should be paying me and everyone else to put our information in their search engine at all as they are profiting from it, and without this information it would be completely worthless as a company. Let’s get real; even libraries have to pay for the books that you and I can check out for free. Google gets all of its information free of charge, and it gets to use PageRank algorithm ranking methods to extort dollars from small businesses to buy their AdSense ads. After all, if we don’t buy the AdSense ads, it can destroy our businesses by dropping our PageRank to zero any time it desires. This is a large concern of many small businesses.

Google has a long history of failing to respond to business concerns that aren’t their own. Let’s take a look at who else is not happy with Google and why, for some samples of Google’s behavior.

A writers’ group representing more than 8,000 authors is suing Google for “massive copyright infringement” over its fledgling programme of digitising library books.

The Authors Guild has issued legal proceedings in a New York court claiming damages and demanding the search engine stops uploading the contents of library books.

Google Print launched last October, enables people to search the contents of books online and, according to Google, makes it easier to find relevant books.

Good spin on Google’s part, but the reality is that Google can and may blacklist certain books at any time it wishes if it does not like them, and it can increase search rankings for books it prefers. Isn’t this a little too much authority for what is supposed to be a search engine there to benefit the public? But Google is not really a search engine existing to benefit the public; it’s an advertising company disguised as a search engine, and while its slogan says it’s not evil, there are too many people displeased with Google for it not to be. Good people and entities are generally helpful, whereas Google, as a company, appears to have harmed some, or at least upset them, for its own benefit, while simply ignoring others when they have demonstrated a valid concern.

Publishers had concerns with Google, so they sued, according to the Washington Post:

Five major publishers sued Google Inc. yesterday, alleging that the search engine’s plans to scan millions of library books so they can be viewed on the Internet is a blatant violation of copyright law.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the publishers asked a federal judge to block Google from resuming its scanning of books on Nov. 1. Google had stopped digitizing books while it sought a compromise with publishers.

“If they are allowed to unilaterally change the copyright law and copy anything unless somebody tells you ‘no,’ it will be impossible for people in the intellectual property community to operate,” said Patricia Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers. “They keep talking about doing this because it is going to be good for the world. That has never been a principle in law. They ‘do no evil’ except they are stealing people’s property.”

In a statement yesterday, Google defended its approach, saying the scanning of millions of library books from the collections of Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library and Oxford University is legal. The search engine said its program will make library books more widely available to readers online.

The reality is that Google can, and likely will, use these books that it is obtaining free of charge to make money by selling more AdSense ads, or perhaps it is doing this in an attempt to get into the book selling business. This, of course, does not benefit the world as much as it benefits Google, in spite of what kind of spin Google may attempt to use to cover up that reality.

There are others who are unhappy with Google, as well, according to this report from Reuters:

A parental advice Internet site has sued Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research), charging it unfairly deprived the company of customers by downgrading its search-result ranking without reason or warning.

The civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, on Friday by KinderStart.com seeks financial damages along with information on how Google ranks Internet sites when users conduct a Web-based search.

Google could not immediately be reached for comment but the company aggressively defends the secrecy of its patented search ranking system and asserts its right to adapt it to give customers what it determines to be the best results.

KinderStart charges that Google without warning in March 2005 penalized the site in its search rankings, sparking a “cataclysmic” 70 percent fall in its audience — and a resulting 80 percent decline in revenue.

At its height, KinderStart counted 10 million page views per month, the lawsuit said. Web site page views are a basic way of measuring audience and are used to set advertising rates.

“Google does not generally inform Web sites that they have been penalized nor does it explain in detail why the Web site was penalized,” the lawsuit said.

It is this sort of arrogance that has caused Google’s approval rating and stock to drop. There’s more to this story:

The lawsuit notes that rival search systems from Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) MSN and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) feature Kinderstart.com at the top of their rankings when the name “Kinderstart” is typed in.

The complaint accuses Google, as the dominant provider of Web searches, of violating KinderStart’s constitutional right to free speech by blocking search engine results showing Web site content and other communications.

KinderStart contends that once a company has been penalized, it is difficult to contact Google to regain good standing and impossible to get a report on whether or why the search leader took such action.

I contacted Jason Shellen, one of Blogger’s founders, who works at Google, to ask him why my blog’s Google search engine ranking had been dropped and asked him to restore my Blogger blog’s ranking. He did not respond. My business has suffered. What do you think? Should I join the long list of folks who have decided to sue Google? After all, it is clear that Google is using unfair trade practices to hurt my business via blacklisting or algorithm methods. AdSense buyers are not suffering. Google is obviously giving them an unfair advantage. So why isn’t the DOJ investigating Google?

On top of the many moves Google has made to cause ill will toward it, it has yet to refine its pay-per-click system to filter out click fraud, which is why I have never purchased those ads from them.

At a time when Google is seeking influence in Washington, it’s making small businesses all across America angry, it’s making publishers and writers angry, and I’m sure it will make anyone else angry whom it feels it can take unfair advantage of in order to make a profit. Google needs to be regulated by an act of Congress. Its arrogance and manipulative methods clearly are not always in the public’s best interest, and Google far too often causes damage or loss where it is clearly not warranted.

Why anyone would want to hold stock in a company that manipulates and takes advantage of others so boldly is beyond me. Microsoft has not even stepped on as many toes as has Google in its rise to dominate the software market. Perhaps Google should follow Apple’s lead and value its customers and other stakeholders, and create something that is actually new and innovative instead of stealing everyone’s content and ideas to make billions of dollars from it.

Do no evil? Google is perhaps the most evil, dishonest, and out of touch company under the sun. Congress should regulate this obtrusive behemoth before it’s too late as it has damaged far too many innocent stakeholders already. The only entity that knows who Google will step on next is Google, and those toes need to be locked down before they hurt anyone else. Google may not like this outlook, but if it removed it’s head from its behind, it may actually see that many hold this view, and the sentiment is strong and growing.

The DOJ investigated Microsoft when it used questionable practices, so why aren’t they investigating Google on the same basis? Businesses are suffering here and many want answers, but they are not getting them from Google, the biggest search engine monopoly in the world.

About Mr. Real Estate

  • Wow!

    I’m glad Mr Real Estate has stepped up to say what many, many, many disgruntled Goggle-affiliates have been scared to – because of the PageRank gun held to their heads. Way to go, Mr Real Estate.

    You make great points! A company making billions off others’ content ought to share much more of its wealth. And it certainly is turning into far worse than any other “evil empire” previously seen – I won’t say who.

    I certainly believe it’s only a matter of time before the DOJ steps in. I can’t wait.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Kari2065 wrote:

    In reference to your comment about Google being worse than Microsoft, I find the comparison utterly ridiculous, espeicially when Microsoft is constantly buying, up and coming companies, to keep competition at bay. In addition to this, I believe that there are much more important things that need regulating than a company such as Google. Take the oil companies that keep inflating gas prices and have some of the highest profits ever?? Hmm.. but then there are maybe too many in Congress that would lose out financially if that were to happen, so god forbid. Lastly, there is no other area that is in desperate need of regulation than the real estate industry!!! Corruption and greed and dishonesty has prevailed in this industry which only caters to the Agent and brokers. NAR (national association of relators) is a good example of this when they manipulate a buyers opportunites for seeing potential houses, as well as, using boycotting tactics to make selling difficult for those agents, or for sale by owners, that try to provide minimal costs in real estate transactions.

    (1) The real estate industry is one of the most regulated insutries in the U.S. It is reguated at the Federal level (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and state levels. There are also laws against price fixing, and anti-trust laws. You may want to note that all real estate commissions are negotiable. You may also want to further research the topic, as your assertions are false.

    (2) The reason that fixed commodity goods, such as oil, gold and real estate are high is due to the fact that the dollar’s value is extraordinarily low, showing a lack of faith in U.S. currency, making equities appear to be poor investments and fixed investments appearing to be better choices, however, you may notice that amateur flippers are less in number in the current market, and you may also have noticed that prices have levelled off. They won’t drop, unless there’s an unforeseen catastrophe of some sort. The 1970s created a similar situation, where gas prices and real estate were both high. What occurred in the 1980s was a more stable housing market and lower gasoline prices. Markets can only take so much heat, and both real estate and gasoline, as well as oil, are dependent upon the free market. All of these commodities are regulated.

    Supply and demand tends to regulate commodity markets well. When one understand how these markets work, and how easily available capital is, it makes it easier for one to capitalize on those markets.

    Speaking of markets, Google stock was rated a sell, and one can see why, as it has yet to click-fraud proof its ads and it has yet to prove its true value is worth its current share price. Google is the only company I know of that creates new products without creating a profit strategy. How that is good for shareholders is beyong my understanding.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Google’s Webmaster Guidelines is a great place to find out what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your site.

    Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

    If you follow those guidelines, you’ll do fine. What you need to work on, is earning high-quality inbound links from reputable websites. Right now, you’re not doing so well in that respect.

    Thanks for the tip.

    I’m ashamed to be associated with a site that would publish an article like this one. Please refrain from writing articles like this in the future. Stick to topics you understand.

    That is of no concern to me. If Google does not want to receive criticism it can learn to make its stakeholders, including opinion leaders, happy. Google is the only company I know of that does business using autoresponders, unless I contact someone I know who works there. Great way to build those relationships its going to need to maintain its overvalued share price. I’m being sarcastic, of course.

    Google slips up from time to time. When they do I write about it. When Google took Blogcritics out of Google news, who do you think connected the publisher to them to get it straightened out? Take a wild guess.

    Again, if Google is going to accept regulation from China as a cost of doing business, why should they not accept regulation from the U.S. government as a cost of doing business? I could write an entire essay on that one, but I won’t as long as Google doesn’t step out of line.

    I am not the only person in the blogosphere or World Wide Web who has expressed displeasure with Google, but I probably am the most adamant in driving my point home. If Google doesn’t like it, they can shape up, especially when they’re contradicting themselves with their business relationship with Communist China.

    When you burn your supporters as a business, you lose business and business referrals, and often you lose share price. Google has been experiencing that for a reason. If it doesn’t recognize it, it will just lose more.

    However, any company that gives $50,000 bonuses probably isn’t hurting, but if those employees want to keep getting such lucrative bonuses, they will find a way to please Google supporters who have expressed displeasure as of late.

    Google customized AdSense ads for my blog because they wanted me to put them on there. I took them off because the ads were crappy and it made my blog take longer to load. If Google is contacting me to make a profit from their text ads, I seriously doubt that my links make a difference.

    Maybe I should make a blog about Google’s missteps. There are a lot of them that go unnoticed.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Great post, Mr. Real Estate. The sooner Congress steps in, the better.

    See, there are others who are not pleased with Google. Google, what are you doing as a big-picture strategy to keep those of us who have expressed discontent with you happy?

    By the way, I have’t e-mailed this link to my media list, but I can at any time, and given all these comments, it’ll get covered, and I am not wrong in my assertions. Let’s re-examine the facts:

    (1) Google allowed the government of Communist China to regulate it as part of the cost of doing business in China, while simultaneously seeking favors from the U.S. Congress.

    (2) Google has hurt businesses numerous times as a result of changing algorithms and/or punishing sites by removing them from Google (we’ve read about it in the news and in various publications since 2004, when they did the first infamous algorithm change). Some of these sites Google has requested that their text ads be placed on.

    (3) Google has been rated as a sell, primarily because of click-fraud that’s unenforceable and because Google has created numerous items not designed to make a profit.

    (4) Google has made numerous stakeholders unhappy, from AdSense affiliates to opinon leaders, without doing anything to try to re-build, or smooth over those relationships.

    (5) While expanding globally, Google is losing its big picture perspective.

    (6) In the meantime, Google is getting sued by a number of industries, and it could have avoided those lawsuits completely simply by partnering with various stakeholders in those industries (Amazon.com used this strategy successfully; Google did not and got sued).

    These aras are of concern to a number of people. Google should address them, and they should take action to avoid future missteps. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

  • Wow!

    “Speaking of markets, Google stock was rated a sell, and one can see why, as it has yet to click-fraud proof its ads and it has yet to prove its true value is worth its current share price. Google is the only company I know of that creates new products without creating a profit strategy. How that is good for shareholders is beyong my understanding.”

    I echo the sentiment, but I’ll fix the facts. You’ll be surprised how many bubble-era analysts still rate it a buy, with P/E projections stretching over a 100 at their projected target price. However, that’s clearly Wall Street profiteering at play. GOOG stock has oscillated $475->$330->$390->$330->$424 (in 2 months!) and it’s on its way back down. There is no intrinsic value changes at play here, just hedge funds managers making money while Joe Blo mutual funds and Joe Blo think it’s a great time to get in on the stock.

    I’m no Google basher, more like an ex-fan. The fact is the rules change when a company’s dominance in the market changes. Goog needs to play nicer, or it will be made to – in transparency, business rules and so many other aspects. It’s a done deed just waiting to happen.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    I’m glad Mr Real Estate has stepped up to say what many, many, many disgruntled Goggle-affiliates have been scared to – because of the PageRank gun held to their heads. Way to go, Mr Real Estate.

    You make great points! A company making billions off others’ content ought to share much more of its wealth. And it certainly is turning into far worse than any other “evil empire” previously seen – I won’t say who.

    I certainly believe it’s only a matter of time before the DOJ steps in. I can’t wait.

    Google has shot itself in the foot with its PageRank “gun” as you call it.

    Google has the power to make or break a business through various means. If such means are misused or abused, it can have highly detrimental effects on the U.S. economy. Therefore, the government has a great interest in regulating Google.

    Also, if Google is going to allow China to regulate it as a cost of doing business there, it has no argument as to why the U.S. government should not regulate it.

    When a company attains a certain size, a certain level of influence, it will be scrutinized. Microsoft was and so will Google. It would be easy to argue that Google has a monopoly in search, especially if ranking drops cause the major loss in business that has occurred for companies who have lost ranking in Google, or companies who have had their blog or website removed from Google.

    This post has more comments than any of my other posts. Looks like there may be some validity to what I’ve said.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    I’m going to write an article demanding that the government come pull the weeds in my lawn, since they are clearly a conspiracy that only government can deal with.

    Dave

    LOL. I’ll stick with paying my lawn guys for that, I think.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    The irony with this post is that its making Google money from the AdSense ads in the post.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Kari2065 wrote:

    Mr. Real Estate.. I would presume to say that what you are really upset about is that your profits from this blog are not as high as you wish and that, that is the real reason that Google is the target of your irritations :)!

    If you go back and read the post and some of the comments, my displeasure with Google is that Google de-listed my blog without telling me why, or without giving me prior warning, or without telling me it was de-listed.

    When a police officer pulls you over, he has to tell you why he’s giving you a ticket. Google could have at least had the courtesy why it was de-listing my blog, or warning me that it planned to do so, and telling me why it planned to do so.

    It’s called disclosure. Everyone but Google has to provide it.

  • http://www.ryanclarkholiday.com ryan

    GOOG stock has oscillated $475->$330->$390->$330->$424 (in 2 months!)

    Wrong. Google peaked at 416 about a week ago and hasn’t been higher anytime in the last two months.

    That aside, a stock being a sell is no indication of a companies prowess. First, when was the last time stock analysts were right about anything? Second, when they do rate, they are primiarily short term. Google’s up 30% in the last month, you’d have to be an idiot not to take some off the table right now. Just like you should have when it was at 475, and you should have bought again at 330 (which I executed flawlessly I might add) Google is overbought and due for a pullback, anyone with a brain knows that, but it doesn’t mean the company isn’t fantastic.

    ———–
    My PageRank should be a 10 24/7 366 days a year and Google should applaud me on top of that for being so openly endorsing of them over the years, until they took my blog out of Google, and started contradicting thmselves. Google needs to stop contradicting itself.
    ———–

    You should stop acting insane. YOU ARE NOBODY. You wouldn’t be posting here, begging for traffic, if you were some sort of internet powerhouse. You website looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word, it offers no real value to anyone, anywhere. Of course its page rank is low, it’s a piece of shit. For the love of God, shut up. I can see why you like the web, it gives you a chance to act like the person you aren’t in reality–you know important.

  • http://www.ryanclarkholiday.com ryan

    ————–
    When a police officer pulls you over, he has to tell you why he’s giving you a ticket. Google could have at least had the courtesy why it was de-listing my blog, or warning me that it planned to do so, and telling me why it planned to do so.

    It’s called disclosure. Everyone but Google has to provide it.
    —————

    HAHAHAHAHAH.

    Since when does Wal-Mart have to tell you they don’t want to sell your brand of soda anymore? All they have to do is stop buying. Since when does does library have to inform you when they stop stocking your book?

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    GOOG stock has oscillated $475->$330->$390->$330->$424 (in 2 months!)

    Wrong. Google peaked at 416 about a week ago and hasn’t been higher anytime in the last two months.

    That aside, a stock being a sell is no indication of a companies prowess. First, when was the last time stock analysts were right about anything? Second, when they do rate, they are primiarily short term. Google’s up 30% in the last month, you’d have to be an idiot not to take some off the table right now. Just like you should have when it was at 475, and you should have bought again at 330 (which I executed flawlessly I might add) Google is overbought and due for a pullback, anyone with a brain knows that, but it doesn’t mean the company isn’t fantastic.

    Oh, I don’t know, they seemed pretty accurate before the dot-com bubble of the 1990s. I agree that Google is overbought. Will it maintain its long-term value? That remains to be seen.

    You should stop acting insane. YOU ARE NOBODY. You wouldn’t be posting here, begging for traffic, if you were some sort of internet powerhouse. You website looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word, it offers no real value to anyone, anywhere. Of course its page rank is low, it’s a piece of shit. For the love of God, shut up. I can see why you like the web, it gives you a chance to act like the person you aren’t in reality–you know important.

    But ryan, if I did that, it would take months to get my PR back. ;)

    My PageRank is a 5 for my website and blog. I am paid to give real estate blogging seminars. Your personal attacks are not only not accurate, they’re also unwarranted. But I welcome them, as they help me boost my PR. ;)

    Keep feeding me, ryan. =)

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Google is a private business providing the best service it can to both web sites and web users. It has to set some criteria for filtering out junk websites and so long as you follow their posted guidelines they aren’t going to screw you over. It’s as simple as that and it doesn’t require government intervention.

    Dave

  • Wow!

    How many Walmart’s account directly or indirectly account for over 50% of a small business’ sales? Rules change when companies get big – when they impact a a large # of other businesses directly, they need to get more transparent.

    Take another same-scale-as-Google example, Ebay. They raised their listing prices, clients hammered them over it, and they had to back down. Posts like these are part of the same system in play. They reflect client discontent, and it’s a matter of time before Google directly feels the pain, or someone makes them feel it. It’s all good – it’s capitalism.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    When a police officer pulls you over, he has to tell you why he’s giving you a ticket. Google could have at least had the courtesy why it was de-listing my blog, or warning me that it planned to do so, and telling me why it planned to do so.

    It’s called disclosure. Everyone but Google has to provide it.

    —————

    HAHAHAHAHAH.

    Since when does Wal-Mart have to tell you they don’t want to sell your brand of soda anymore? All they have to do is stop buying. Since when does does library have to inform you when they stop stocking your book?

    Wal-Mart is not a public search engine. Google is. This is something that will be debated in this century. Are search engines there to help the public, or are they there to make a profit? Also, eve Wal-Mart would send you a letter. Google did no such thing.

    If companies do something I dislike, I write about it, and I boycott them. I don’t buy anything to boycott from Google, but I’ll never buy their text ads or anything else they sell if their customer service and user service level is this poor. If their stockholders are going to personally attack me for my views, I’m definitely not throwing my money down that rabbit hole.

    Why pay for poor service from Google when I can get leads that close more quickly by advertising in a local real estate publication without worrying about my competitors clicking my text ad budget until its $0, and without worrying about losing a potential customer to Google Real Estate. These are things I’ll be bringing up in a real estate panel i’ll be serving on later this year.

    Why should Google not be regulated when it is accepting regulation from Communist China’s government? You will find that this precedent will open the door for unhappy businesses to seek Google regulation from the U.S. government.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Dave Nalle wrote:

    Dave Nalle
    Comments: Google is a private business providing the best service it can to both web sites and web users. It has to set some criteria for filtering out junk websites and so long as you follow their posted guidelines they aren’t going to screw you over. It’s as simple as that and it doesn’t require government intervention.

    Dave

    Yes, and the customers and users have the right to decide what a junk website is. Neither my blog or website are junk. If they were, I would not be sought out as a real estate blogging expert for books and panels (and I typically require payment to speak and do panels). If I don’t like how Google’s system treated me, I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to be nice about the poor treatment I got from Google.

    In 2004 a number of people were upset with Google for changing its algorithms. They changed as a result.

    The two biggest things Google is doing that negatively effects the real estate industry are as follows:

    (1) Click fraud for text ads.

    (2) Google Real Estate – This is a detriment to its text ad clients.

    These are things I will be talking about in the future. Google would be wise to have focus groups for the industries it effects. It can avoid a lot of unhappy users and customers by implementing them, and even Wal-Mart has surveys and focus groups. When’s the last time you got one from Google as a user or text ad client?

    Personally, I’ve never seen one.

  • http://www.ryanclarkholiday.com ryan

    Google is not a “public” search engine. It is a search engine. The public–aside from stock–has no ownership of the company whatsoever.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Wow wrote:

    How many Walmart’s account directly or indirectly account for over 50% of a small business’ sales? Rules change when companies get big – when they impact a a large # of other businesses directly, they need to get more transparent.

    This is a very good point. Yes, Google should become more transparent and less secretive. Google is a public company, it is not the Order of Skull and Bones, or another secret fraternal organization. Google needs to implement better customer and user service measures. Even Microsoft has surveys. I’ve never, ever seen one from Google.

    Take another same-scale-as-Google example, Ebay. They raised their listing prices, clients hammered them over it, and they had to back down. Posts like these are part of the same system in play. They reflect client discontent, and it’s a matter of time before Google directly feels the pain, or someone makes them feel it. It’s all good – it’s capitalism.

    Finally, someone who makes sense.

    Google was great in its early stages. Now it is becoming a dinosaur that is out of touch with the Amrican public. The American people can get the same thing in search from MSN, without the large number of SPAM or useless blogs that clog Google, even as they de-listed a blog that was not a SPAM blog.

    Messages are important to companies. Google’s message appears to be this:

    “We accept regulation as a cost of doing business (i.e., China), and we see no reason to communicate with the end-user or our customers to improve his or her experience.”

    Google would be wise to hire a new PR person. One that understands government relations, public affairs, customer and end-user communication. It ignores many of these areas, as is shown through its lack of communication/action consistency. The longer it ignores them the more of a tower of babel it will become, and the more likely its credibility as a company, or a search engine, will likely decline.

    Google would be smart to listen to criticsm, rather than blast those who provide it. Positive change has never been bad for a company. GM can tell you, though, that refusing to change is not a good thing for any business, long-term.

    Wal-Mart managers, who decide what good are placed in Wal-Mart stores, are very kind, and are also much, much more reachable than anyone at Google. E-Bay is more reachable than Google.

    Again, Google is not God, it is a public search engine, and as such it should remember than when it effects the businesses who depend on it, it is effecting the public, including but not limited to the customers and end-users.

    If Google is going to accept regulation from Chia, there is nothing stopping the U.S. government from regulating it, regarding small business customers and end-users.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    ryan wrote:

    : Google is not a “public” search engine. It is a search engine. The public–aside from stock–has no ownership of the company whatsoever.

    Funny. It’s on the Internet, which is owned by the U.S. government and is regulated by ICANN, which was created by the U.S. government. I guess you’re saying that the government is a company, then. It’s not, but if you want to inerpret it as such, that’s your choice to do so.

    The public if effected by decisions Google makes, therefore Google is a public search engine. Google is also a public company regulated in part by government entities, but not yet by Congress, although it has allowed itself to be regulated by Communist China.

    I have said it once, and I’ll say it again, if it did not want to have to deal with these issues, Google should have remained private, rather than going public.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Consider me late to the game, but John you seem like it’s your right to have a Blogger account and not be pushed around.

    Well guess what, if you sign up for a free Blogger account, they own you. Mine didn’t last six months in Blogger before I registered my own domain and purchased my own web space. I am now in the hands of 5i.net, but I’m a paying customer and can cancel my service. If I leave Blogger, Google won’t give two shits.

    Read No. 10 in Top Ten Design Mistakes In Blogs and get your own domain/server, John.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Consider me late to the game, but John you seem like it’s your right to have a Blogger account and not be pushed around.

    Well guess what, if you sign up for a free Blogger account, they own you. Mine didn’t last six months in Blogger before I registered my own domain and purchased my own web space. I am now in the hands of 5i.net, but I’m a paying customer and can cancel my service. If I leave Blogger, Google won’t give two shits.

    Read No. 10 in Top Ten Design Mistakes In Blogs and get your own domain/server, John.

    Good point. I was a paying Blogger customer until they discontinued the service. I find it ironic that I get this message from Blogger after writing this post:

    Error
    We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.

    I’ll likely use my hundredacres.com domain for my blog if/when I switch. What blogging software do you use?

    The last time I was going to leave Blogger, Jason Shellen at Google talked me out of it. The host company I was going to switch to went out of business and we lost the Hundred Acres blog in the process.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I say go with WordPress. It’s served me well along with others. If you’re disillusioned by free services, then Movable Type is just as powerful. BC is powered by Movable type.

    It can be a little tricky to set up but WP is well documented when it comes to getting it all ready, plus depending on the web server host you go with, they can be helpful in making sure you get set up with all the components you need (PHP, MySQL).

    By the way, three times as many people found my site through MSN’s search than Google, for what it’s worth.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’d throw in my vote for WordPress too. I’m not using it right now for my personall blog because I don’t want to have to convert all the custom scripts, but I’ve used it for several blogs I’ve set up for others and it does a great job.

    dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Oh, and for compatibility certainty, wordpress.com offers its own low cost blog hosting service. Might want to check into that.

    Dave

  • Pizzdolph

    Mr. Real Estate: “Google was great in its early stages. Now it is becoming a dinosaur that is out of touch with the Amrican public. The American people can get the same thing in search from MSN, without the large number of SPAM or useless blogs that clog Google, even as they de-listed a blog that was not a SPAM blog.”

    Personally, I like google. I live in an area of the USA where you almost have to pipe the sunshine in. You wont find any high speed internet services around here, it’s dialup or nothing! So what’s that got to do with it? Well, with google I don’t have to wait ten minutes for the home page to load from all those animations and ad’s like you see on MSN, netscape, yahoo and so forth. Little things like that mean a lot to some people. I’m sure you probably have T-1 or whatever so its no big deal for you.

    With google, you can go anywhere find anything! The only other place that can compare with google, is this place google hasn’t forgotten the American people, maybe you have? I’m just not interested in Real Estate, I’m into Aviation. Since “Aviation” begins with an “A” and is probably more interesting and popular than Real Estate (which starts with an “R”) it should rank higher, perhaps?

    Oh, and I found this site using google, too. Now I can come here and spew my BS opinons!

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    On the topic of WordPress, I’d like to qualify Mr Nalle’s words a little.

    WordPress is indeed one of the best blogging systems currently available. There are other options around that are as good or even a little better but, in terms of having availoable a TRULY GOOD blogging system, that’s another matter entirely.

    I’ve spent a large part of the last few months researching blog platforms and my current view is that the ideal blogging system still has not been built.

    I do have a pretty good overview of what such a platform should be able to do to incorporate newer technologies and make the whole blogging process a lot more up to date and less clunky and have even written to various people and companies on the subject.

    To my intense disappointment and frustration, none of my mail has even been acknowledged let alone dealt with.

    By all means, sign up with WordPress and you’ll be fine. However, unless they have an extraordinary secret development programme running that nobody knows about, the recently introduced WP v2 is going to be somewhat obsolete, possibly as soon as this year.

    Damned Evolution!

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Pzzdolph wrote:

    Personally, I like google. I live in an area of the USA where you almost have to pipe the sunshine in. You wont find any high speed internet services around here, it’s dialup or nothing! So what’s that got to do with it? Well, with google I don’t have to wait ten minutes for the home page to load from all those animations and ad’s like you see on MSN, netscape, yahoo and so forth. Little things like that mean a lot to some people. I’m sure you probably have T-1 or whatever so its no big deal for you.

    With google, you can go anywhere find anything! The only other place that can compare with google, is this place google hasn’t forgotten the American people, maybe you have? I’m just not interested in Real Estate, I’m into Aviation. Since “Aviation” begins with an “A” and is probably more interesting and popular than Real Estate (which starts with an “R”) it should rank higher, perhaps?

    Oh, and I found this site using google, too. Now I can come here and spew my BS opinons!

    Well, I’m not completely down on Google, I was just mad that they de-listed my blog for something that an “SEO expert” did (and that I paid to improve my Google ranking). Google should be de-listing the so-called expert, not me and my blog. Google has no ability to do due diligence, though, as its completely automated, so it will, at times, de-list someone even if they are innocent. Personally, I think that’s completely stupid. This is why the real estate industry will never be completely automated, as a mistake like this one on Google’s part would have heavy penalties. SEO “experts” have all kinds of SPAM pages, and Google never tracks them down when their bad advice ruins the PageRank of someone else’s site. This is something Google needs to change.

    Also, you may want to note that Google took this site out of Google news at one point, and it took us forever to get it back in. It got back in because of my contact.

    Google isn’t perfect. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it is, and when they punish me for something that an “SEO expert” that I hired did, I’m not going to let Google live peacefully until they de-list the right person, and I am not the person they needed to punish by de-listing my blog.

    If Google is going to de-list sites of folks who are not guilty of abusing their system, I say regulate them. After all, Communist China has proposed to regulate them and they are bending over backwards to accomodate them.

    Why don’t we de-list Google from the stock exchanges its on without giving them a heads up and see how they feel about it. I don’t think they’d be too happy.

    Google has a lot to do to re-earn trust from a lot of people. Turning a blind-eye isn’t going to cut it.

    I applaud Google’s success as much as the next capitalist, but when one business hurts my business or any other business without reason, well, I don’t applaud that all. There are a number of businesses who feel this way about Google, and there are enough of them to form a PAC to regulate Google.

    Google would be smart to buy a clue, in my opinion.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Christopher Rose wrote:

    On the topic of WordPress, I’d like to qualify Mr Nalle’s words a little.

    WordPress is indeed one of the best blogging systems currently available. There are other options around that are as good or even a little better but, in terms of having availoable a TRULY GOOD blogging system, that’s another matter entirely.

    I’ve spent a large part of the last few months researching blog platforms and my current view is that the ideal blogging system still has not been built.

    I do have a pretty good overview of what such a platform should be able to do to incorporate newer technologies and make the whole blogging process a lot more up to date and less clunky and have even written to various people and companies on the subject.

    To my intense disappointment and frustration, none of my mail has even been acknowledged let alone dealt with.

    By all means, sign up with WordPress and you’ll be fine. However, unless they have an extraordinary secret development programme running that nobody knows about, the recently introduced WP v2 is going to be somewhat obsolete, possibly as soon as this year.

    Damned Evolution!

    We used WordPress for Hundred Acres, a now defunct real estate Web magazine, and it worked really well. Perhaps I should use something else if WordPress is going to be obsolete. I have a lot of concerns about moving my blog, though. If I do move it, I want to be able to move the entire thing without losing it.

  • Neo

    Quit complaining you big babies. Got nothing better to do with your time than promote censorship and get more of everyones rights taken away. Let’s all move for restrictive freedom! Quit the bitchen, and enjoy the freedoms you still have. -Neo

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Neo wrote:

    Quit complaining you big babies. Got nothing better to do with your time than promote censorship and get more of everyones rights taken away. Let’s all move for restrictive freedom! Quit the bitchen, and enjoy the freedoms you still have. -Neo

    Hmmm…could this perhaps be an anonymous threat from Google to take away more of our freedoms?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    WordPress isn’t going to be obsolete, and I’m not sure that’s exactly what Christopher was getting at. 2.0 has some bugs in it – I just upgraded to it from 1.5 – but it’s definitely an overall improvement. And there’s still constant and ongoing development, including a multi-blog hosting system that’s in beta which is pretty impressive. WordPress is produced by a consortium of programmers as a non-profit exercise, so it’s not likely to go belly up anytime soon.

    dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Dave: WordPress IS obsolete! I mean in the sense that it can’t cope with many of the new technologies that are now coming through like AJAX, never mind Flash.

    It is one of the best 5 blogging platforms around today but in terms of being either truly good or user friendly, it is totally lacking.

    The fact that it is open source (I think that’s what you mean by a “consortium of programmers”) is totally irrelevant.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    What are your thoughts on TypePad? It’s owned by Moveable Type. Is the quality the same? Similar? It looks easy to use.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Haven’t used it, can’t comment on the quality of it, but isn’t it $50/yr minimum for a license? I don’t even spend that much on TotalFark.

  • VinnyQ

    ask me how I found your blog, Mr. Real Estate.

    I found your blog through finance.google.com.

    Maybe it’s irrelevant.

    But I like to point out your first case with the German national railway … that’s a joke right?

    Instead of going after the people who actually created and hosted the site, they’re going after Google? Google does nothing more than to “crawl” and “index” the site for searching. They are in no way responsible for *any* sites that are out there on the web, they just categorized them. Sueing them is like suing the Public Library for carrying book on how to make bombs.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    VinnyQ wrote:

    ask me how I found your blog, Mr. Real Estate.

    I found your blog through finance.google.com.

    You actually found this article, which is a part of Blogcritics, at Google Finance. Blogcritics is not owned by me, I am but one of many contributors.

    But I like to point out your first case with the German national railway … that’s a joke right?

    No, it’s not a joke. They have filed a lawsuit against Google.

    Instead of going after the people who actually created and hosted the site, they’re going after Google? Google does nothing more than to “crawl” and “index” the site for searching. They are in no way responsible for *any* sites that are out there on the web, they just categorized them. Sueing them is like suing the Public Library for carrying book on how to make bombs.

    Well, I do see your point, but Google does index those sites, and since Google has shown that it can ban sites it wishes to, it can easily be argued that Google can also remove questionable content upon the request of a corporate entity. Libraries do ban books, and there are some books some libraries won’t carry for various reasons. The difference between Google and a public library, though, is that Google is a public company which profits, where, a public library is a public institution that never profits. Shares of my local library are not for sale, nor are they traded on any stock exchange, whereas, shares of Google are. It may not seem like there is a difference between the two, but there is.

  • Disinterested Observer

    I can’t believe that anyone would complain about that nonsense blog you call a business site. I think you head is a little too inflated because some business organization nominated you for an award.

    In all honesty, the site is ugly…the font is ungodly large, plastered with CAPITAL LETTERS, and links go for lines and lines. It looks like the personal sites of preteens from seven years ago or Homer Simpson’s flying toaster business. I’m not being critical for the sake of attacking you, I’m giving you my honest evaluation of the site, and unfortunately for you, your site is an assault on the eyes.

    Also, the site really doesn’t have anything at all to do with you. It has lots to do with properties that have been sold, but not much to do with you. The first link on Google for John Mudd is, in fact, the site you -link to- when you sign your name every post. That seems like a much more accurate way to rank “John Mudd” than to link to a blog where you make posts about real estate. In fact, I wouldn’t even expect that blog to show up reasonably high as it isn’t really about -you-.

    Google’s primary responsibility is providing relevant, useful search results. Your real estate blog is just plain and simple -not relevant- to the search query John Mudd. I might be able to empathize if you suddenly lost rank on “inside real estate” or something that is actually related to the topic or content of your site, but complaining that your name no longer links to the spot you want it to is just nonsense.

  • http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com Mr. Real Estate

    Disinterest Observer wrote:

    I can’t believe that anyone would complain about that nonsense blog you call a business site. I think you head is a little too inflated because some business organization nominated you for an award.

    Perhaps you’re confused. My blog is separate from my business site, but it is integrated into my business site. And for the record, I have written posts like this one long before I ever got any business recognition. You can see all my posts by clicking the appropriate link in this article.

    In all honesty, the site is ugly…the font is ungodly large, plastered with CAPITAL LETTERS, and links go for lines and lines. It looks like the personal sites of preteens from seven years ago or Homer Simpson’s flying toaster business. I’m not being critical for the sake of attacking you, I’m giving you my honest evaluation of the site, and unfortunately for you, your site is an assault on the eyes.

    If my website or blog are so ugly, then why do you feel the need to bash them? If they were such horrible sites no one would ever visit them, and neither the site nor the blog would have ever won any awards, and both have.

    Also, the site really doesn’t have anything at all to do with you. It has lots to do with properties that have been sold, but not much to do with you. The first link on Google for John Mudd is, in fact, the site you -link to- when you sign your name every post. That seems like a much more accurate way to rank “John Mudd” than to link to a blog where you make posts about real estate. In fact, I wouldn’t even expect that blog to show up reasonably high as it isn’t really about -you-.

    That makes sense, but then it doesn’t. My website comes up first for my name because Google local search changed the name it indexes my site under when I joined Google’s local search. I gave them no permission for that, nor did I like it when they did that. My site’s relevance has more to do with the real estate I sell in the locations I sell it than me, personally. If I switched companies it would take a while for Google to change it in the main index, whereas the Google local would take 5 minutes or less. The press releases about me on the back pages of the Google search are all about me and only about me, so they should be more prominent in the search, but they’re not.

    Google’s primary responsibility is providing relevant, useful search results. Your real estate blog is just plain and simple -not relevant- to the search query John Mudd. I might be able to empathize if you suddenly lost rank on “inside real estate” or something that is actually related to the topic or content of your site, but complaining that your name no longer links to the spot you want it to is just nonsense.

    Google changes its algorithm so often that it ruins the quality of its searches. Yesterday I tried finding out how to remove some malware that made the Frazoo search engine appear anytime I logged into my local MLS. All I could find in Google was SPAM making Frazoo appear higher in Google. Google has flaws. I’m not going to sit here and pretend they don’t, and I’m not going to support them when their flaws force me to lose potential business.

    I thank Google for removing the real estate search from Google Real Estate from its main search index. Google Real Estate should be separate, and it should be similar to Google Finance, which I absolutely love.

    Flaming me and my site is against comments policy, by the way.

  • Allister

    This article is stupid.

  • Dr. James

    I think it has some good points, although it may be a little bit extreme.

  • GoogleLoverBoy

    Hang in there Mr. Real, no matter how much they flame you.

    “When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.”

    Jonathan Swift

    Then again maybe their aren’t dunces, just SEO’s making $$$ off the Google On/Off Racket?

    What does SEO stand for?