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Searchwiki Goes Mainstream
Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:29 AM
Looks like Google just opened up a new battlefield for businesses, as well as a new avenue for spam. As the saying goes 'Business is War'. Whose to stop someone from creating dozens or 100s of google accounts and putting positive/negative comments on your own site or competitors? Or even to influence ranking, if Google uses the SearchWiki promotions as an indicator.
Is there anyone else besides me that think this is a very bad idea?
Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:03 AM
I suspect Google has the intelligence to identify this sort of behavior. Or at least a lot of it. It'd have to be something similar to the intelligence they use to identify click fraud on Google ads, wouldn't it?
So far, they're not using it as a factor in ranking. But I read that they're not ruling it out: Google not ruling out using SearchWiki data in ranking: www.huomah.com/News/Latest/Google-Search-Wiki.html
I think if they could control the spam, it could certainly capture user behavior nicely, thereby bringing something a little more human than backlinks to the ranking criteria table. But can they control the spam? And at what cost? And what else haven't I thought of 'cos I'm writing this at 2am?! ;-)
Glenn (Twitter: @divinewrite)
Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:19 AM
Of course I could be completely paranoid Either way...I'm interested to see what Google will do with this experiment.
I think content really will come into play here. The possibility of it being harder to practise blackhat methods is also very much there. It all goes back to what the user wants.
Edited by Leila, 21 November 2008 - 10:40 AM.
Posted 21 November 2008 - 11:19 AM
Yes I'm sure they do, however, for the skilled and resourceful, there are ways to make it very difficult to discern whether actions done on Google's SearchWiki are legit, this is largely due to the fact that creating a Google account is easy and doesn't confirm your identity. Of course if you try to create dozens of Google accounts at your house don't be surprised if all your actions are flagged and removed. What I'm afraid of is the former, I'll bet the blackhats are salivating over the implications of this new feature.
If they said that then you can probably bet that they're already working on incorporating it into their ranking algorithmns, likely see some ranking fluctuations as they test it over the course of next year.
Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:29 PM
The idea that a Google account is a nice one I guess. But hardly foolproof. Remember that story from a couple of weeks ago where a half dozen researchers in the Univ of California system infiltrated the Storm network? They estimated that they had one million infected home computers under their control.
Would it be child's play for them to install a little script to have a few (hundred? thousand?) of them sign up for a Google account, log in every day to look like real people, then post positive or negative stuff about certain sites to SearchWiki? You bet it would!
Could it become a factor? Sure, I guess. In fact I'd say it probably will in time. But I hope Google treat such recommendations much like they do sites linking to yours now. In other words, don't give too much credit or blame based upon SearchWiki info.
Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:52 AM
Matt Cutts says on twitter that he reserves the right to spam review sites with a lot of demotions. I wonder if there is an automated mechanism in place to remove a website or if its just human reviewed.
Posted 24 November 2008 - 05:41 AM
Say you're working for a largish organisation. Wouldn't it be too easy to circulate an email to all employees saying, please promote our company listing, and demote all our competitors.
Posted 24 November 2008 - 07:40 AM
The point you raise though is a valid one. I fully expect to start seeing posts on every SEO forum trying to form a several hundred people army set up to have everybody comment on everybody elses site. Well, every forum 'cept this one I'd imagine.
I suspect we'll also start seeing such commenting services offered at places like elance, rent a coder, etc too. I'm quite sure Google expects this sort of thing to happen too.
Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:51 AM
If this were my tool, I'd go looking first at all the SEO companies moving their sites up in the listings and writing good comments about themselves and then I'd go knock 'em down a few pegs for trying to cheat. (Well only if I were so inclined to be evil, of course!)
Posted 24 November 2008 - 10:01 AM
IF over time enough people use it then it could be difficult to manipulate, atleast for mid-high searched for keywords. As there will be power in the masses. Comments however could easily ruin a business's rep, whether it be deserved or not. Since there's no way to validate a business transaction with this system. I forsee people getting sued for making false and defamatory statements and Google should definiately post a note somewhere on the page to address this. If enough users do use it, then the comment spam is just going to make Google look bad and the comments less trustworthy as a source of information. As for myself, after looking at a bunch of comments I'm already turned off from looking at more of them.
Also the fact that Google says they're going to use their 'team' to look at comments with a high number of thumbs down in the same breath as they're going to use their 'team' to look at pages/sites with a high number of demotions leads me to believe they're both going to be handled by a program, and not by a human. Maybe a similar system like what Craigslist uses to handle spam?
I guess whether we'll continue to see SearchWiki has a lot to do with how Google users cope with it, they're certainly not going to keep the feature if they're losing revenue over it. I personally think it's useless and just adds clutter to their previously clean n tidy search pages. It bugs me a little seeing those extra buttons on every listing, even if they're greyed out, they still stick out and distract me. If I wanted to use it, an opt-in would be nice, or a toggle link somewhere would do. If it aint vital, don't add it!
Perhaps the additional clutter on the organics will turn more eyes over to the PPC ads? hmm I wonder if this is another reason for SearchWiki.
Edited by don h, 24 November 2008 - 10:12 AM.
Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:55 AM
Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:54 AM
Posted 29 November 2008 - 09:30 AM
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