Google Goes After Content Firms

Google is apparently increasing its efforts against low-quality content firms that seem to monopolize its search results, with a humorous, if low-key announcement about the release of a new Google Chrome extension that allows users to block results from low-quality content firms [1].  Even after looking at Google’s description of content farms (sites with a large amount of low-quality product) it’s hard to tell what exactly they mean.  I do my best to include high quality information and quirky personal analysis, and I’m not really big on advertising.

Nonetheless, other people who have examined Google’s efforts have somewhat mixed opinions about those efforts.  Bloomberg, for example, reports that Google’s efforts to get rid of advertising driven low-quality sites are hindered by the efforts of Google to profit from advertising income [2].  It would seem as if those who pay money to Google (not me) wish to receive a return on that investment (which includes a high place on search engines) along with correspondingly lower cost-per-response (for churches) or increased return-on-investment for for-profit companies.  What this means to people like myself with high-content but low-merchandise blogs is unclear.

While I am in favor of having the users themselves provide information on the quality nature of the websites they reach through Google search results, I am concerned that such actions may lead users of web browsers to merely use the recommendation as another form of targeted internet sabotage where people seek to “block” and therefore lower the search results of their competitors to boost their own site.  This could get ugly and ferocious very quickly.  How Google chooses to deal with that moral hazard appears very unclear.

It should be noted as well that I am not merely an impartial person, but as someone with a blog site whose statistics I pay a fair amount of attention to and for whom a substantial portion of my own views come through Google searches (between 1/3 and 1/2 on a daily basis), mostly for material on the Church of God (especially Cogwa) or quirky biblical, historical and literature-related entries, I clearly have a personal stock in the matter as well.  Any changes (including Facebook’s recent changes to reduce the circle of friends that one’s news feeds get spread to) that affect getting my personal word out is something I pay very close attention to and subject to a fair amount of scrutiny.

I’m not sure, though, whether I would really have anything to worry about.  After all, while I wholeheartedly recommend products (including books) I have not profited from any of my reviews personally, even if I know of at least one case where a book review of mine from this blog has been used to promote the sales of the book [3].  Despite being a writer with a bit too much free time on my hands (for now), I imagine that my own prolific efforts as a writer cannot compete with firms who can hire or acquire content from many people to pump out large amounts of “hits” to their commercially driven sites.  If any of those content farms are using my own blog entries, it is without my permission and without paying me for it.  I don’t appreciate either aspect of that situation either.

[1] http://chrome.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-chrome-extension-block-sites-from.html

[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/blogs/paul-kedrosky/2011/02/google_goes_after_content_firms_again.html

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/book-review-shocked-by-the-bible/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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