I read an interesting article this morning that, while not directly blogging related, seemed to best fit as blogged here. As bloggers, our jobs often overlap with Search Engine Optimization, web promotion, advertising, and the ilk.
Needless to say, the story from the Technology Liberation Front alarmed me. The story is that a Senator from South Carolina has introduced an amendment to legislation that would illegalize Google’s “sponsored links” program where advertisers have the opportunity to buy prominent positions in search results.
The comparison in the article seems to be geared at accusing Google of playing both sides of the fence in the net neutrality debate. Google wants broadband and telecom companies to not be able to discriminate, however the connection is made that Google does the same thing by offering special consideration to those who pay for higher placement.
Let me go on record right now and say this is magna-crap. It’s an apples and oranges comparison.
Broadband/Telecom: Customers who choose not to, or cannot afford to pay for service simply don’t get service. The argument is that this is discriminatory against the poor and I’m neither here to support or contradict that argument. That’s for another blog, another day.
Google: Customers who choose not to, or can’t afford to pay for sponsored placements, don’t get them. But yet, they are not necessarily excluded from SERPs. And they are not necessarily excluded from te benefits of good SEO practices that could place them near the top of the results. In other words, there is equal opporunity to be indexed by Google.
With Broadband, service is either on, or it’s not on. But you can pay for extra services, such as fiber, static IP addresses, etc. That’s the real comparison. With Google, it’s neither on nor off, but you can pay for sponsored placements.
So what’s with the smoke and mirrors?