Duncan Riley> I’ll open in saying I’m not normally one for conspiracy theories, and most of them deserve nothing better that to lay unread and uncared for, but a continuation of bizarre behaviour has led me to the following question: Does Google punish its critics?
Long term readers may recall that The Blog Herald was dupmed from Google News. As I’ve written since, compared to a lot of the rubbish appearing on Google News these days, their proposition, that this site provided posts that were non-news related and therefore doesn’t qualify., just doesn’t hold up, particularly when you consider the number of blogs on Google News who basically don’t even try to provide news. The same also hold through for a lot of the commercial sites that are listed as well, there is far more “how to” and “guide” related stories on Google News than there ever was.
At the time I took it on the chin. Nick W’s Threadwatch had also been dumped for the same reason (and I’d note that the news coming out of Threadwatch is far better than what’s being provided on Google News any day). I didn’t give it much more of a thought, aside from the occasional critical post about Google News, until today, when my application to join Google’s Adsense RSS advertising trial was knocked back, and I also noticed that whilst traffic from other search engines was on the rise, month to date, my Google search traffic was off by about a half on the same time last month. Unrelated? maybe, but lets look at some facts. I’d posted here at the Blog Herald a couple of critical pieces aimed at Google in the time leading up to the removal from Google News, and I’ve done so since. I’ve also commented on other sites about Googles appalling lack of service in response to emails, particularly compared to their competition (I’ve still yet to receive a response to the offer, given when dumped from Google News, that I could provide an alternative “news only” feed). The same holds true for Threadwatch, although in a different tone and on different occasions. I’ve also noticed that all of the Blog Herald posts that were previously in Google News have also been removed. Machines, spiders, robots? well that’s who most people normally blame when things go astray at Google. Then there was the story that Google search results are moderated by humans, not machines. That’s right, knocked out of Google?, chances are its a human that did it, not a mysterious search algorhythm.
These events might all be unrelated, or they might not be, but the fact remains that real people are making real decisions that effect the web experience for us all, and not just on the occasional basis, but every second of every day. And real people, by their nature, are biased. 2 unrelated sites are dumped from Google News in a short period of time, both have been critical of Google, and yet many other blogs and sites are accepted with some pretty ordinary posts if compared to the requirement that all sites on Google News must only post News?
There has been a bit of press lately about the power of Google. Perhaps big brother has finally been articulated in fact, and big brother doesn’t like being criticised, speculated about, or questioned, unless of course its by a site that brings in millions in Adsense revenue for Google’s share holders? I may even suffer further for this post.
Food for thought.