Does Google have anything to fear from the blogosphere?
Not another paid links post (groan)
The whole paid links are evil for Google idea has been around for some time now. This isn’t a rehash of those. I want to pass comment on how lately that there’s been a lot of Google ill feeling going on, with an increasing number of prominent people speaking out against them. I say ill feeling as hate is too strong a word. Practically all of it is related to the whole paid links and nofollow thing.
What’s particularly interesting for me is how this whole thing seems to have grown legs and started to spread tentacles. It’s almost as if Google needs a new target and that, that target is the blogosphere. Not content with having made it’s SERP’s a tenuous we might kill you at any time place to inhabit, they now seem intent on saying to anyone in their index or who want’s traffic from them, ‘Do as you are told or we will kick your arse’. I won’t rehash any positions that have been expressed previously as these and variations on the theme can be read elsewhere.
History does repeat itself
I think its’s noteworthy to recall that there once was a time when I’d read at WMW and see accounts whereby people had been banned or penalised.
WMW had its constituents of Pro Google – Google is great, Google is great, Google is great brigade all chanting from on high like Sadaam Hussein in some pre Jihadic rant and they too had their opposing voice of anti Googles’, speaking of Google in terms of it being the great Satan and what not. All of which was handled in magnificent form by that omnipresent soother of words GoogleGuy. A curious beast who seldom put a foot wrong, often coming up with double entendre statements that neither denied or confirmed any number of theories. It was ok, a game, a fun one even that I played and enjoyed reding between the lines looking for inconsistencies and clues for what he was trying to debunk versus promote.
A little look at the state of play today and one might be forgiven for thinking that Mr GoogleGuy has been cloned and put out there in the field parroting similiar double speak crap designed to shroud and confuse. Ha! There’s a funny thought, can you imagine a FUD meeting and the discussions arising?
Let’s face facts – Words that could destabilise a multi-billion dollar cash cow are not just going to be left to the whims of one or two individuals playing some fun filled game of lead webmasters up the garden path. There is a strategic approach and right now it’s being executed with stone cold precision.
Has the blogosphere got any balls?
The thing is though, what, if anything can or will the blogosphere do about it? Will everyone just roll over? Will those A-listers getting heaps of nice monetisable Google traffic just keep quiet and say nothing? Or will they take the lead and address the issue for what it is – Which so happens to be a serious and concerted attack on a group of individuals and their right to monetise their works – Heck maybe that great opportunist Calacanis will see a crusadery angle and buy in, or is he too just waiting the Google $ for his Mahalo project?
Why is everyone so scared? Is it really about biting a hand that might feed you, or staving off an attack from something that might kill you? People like Michael Gray and Aaron Wall and John Andrews seem happy enough to tell it like it is, they aren’t too bothered, they don’t stand for the nonsense, why then should any of us?
Harsh – Far fetched a description even?
It’s debatable for sure, you’ve got to choose where to sit in one way or another and if you straddle the fence for too long you’ll be likely to get piles. My “not worth the screen pixels it inhabits maybe” opinion, is that in this instance on this topic, that Google has gone too far and is engaging in behaviour which is reasonable to label as arrogant bullying.
The Google of old would not have come out with guns blazing, nor would it have had the balls to tell people so forcefully, “yes we kicked your arse and we’ll kick it again too if you do that again”.
I was always taught to stand up to bullies. I was taught that if you succumb to their attacks, if you don’t get up there and hit them back smack right hard in the mouth, then they’ll keep on coming back at you, time after time. It might well hurt to do so too, but overtime they’ll get tired of fighting with you and either reconsider their position or move on to different pastures and pick on some easier target.
Maybe some at Google have read too much B F Skinner and decided that a positive reinforcement of the negatives inside the box that is the blogosphere might be one particular way to slay this threat to their income stream.
What is that I hear you say – Paid links are not a threat to their income stream, there really is enough to go around already – they really could have just quietly circumvented the effects without so much brouhaha? Perhaps so, or perhaps they decided that wackamole just isn’t a scalable solution.
Wackamole costs money
Maybe its the whole game of having to filter out the paid effect. Perhaps someone somewhere decided that spending a few million dollars each year on snitches and paid reviewers could be better spent on some big concerted “do it again or do what he did and we’ll kill you” approach. Yet, even if this were the case, they surely can’t be so naive as to think everyone would just say “Oh right, ok then Google, you’re the boss we’ll stop that right now and do what you tell us” Google has to realise that it has no right to a monopoly on making money.
It’s as if there is this obsession within them that seeks at all costs to clamp down hard on anyone who is visibly gaming them. Yet when you look at that whole ‘gaming’ word and look into what could be construed as gaming then you’ll appreciate that the ground becomes very shakey if not like quicksand itself. Where is the line drawn? When do the very creation of properly structured content that uses H tags and relevant keywords, that attracts links from other sites suddenly cross the line? Bah phooey.
Don’t do evil
The recent attack on sites that discuss blog monetisation are one very obvious example. A number of excellent blogs have had their visible PageRank reduced. Interestingly all of these blogs talk about how you can earn money from blogging or how you can best monetise your blog or website. Practically all of them simply observe and comment upon what works and what doesn’t. All of the ones to which I allude have written comprehensive well considered pieces that offer a perspective on how people might like to prosper with their blogs. The message from all is clear – hard work, quality, consistency – anyone who’d suggest that within the grand scheme of the idea of making money online, that these didn’t add considerable value would need to go and get their reality checker fixed. Yet for Google, if their Pagerank meter is adjudged to have any merit or meaning at all, it’s clear that to them at least all of the sites penalised in this way are of low merit or value.
Oh well, I’ve vented my spleen now, and said my bit. I’m kinda tired of railing against the machine, for a machine is what Google has become, a machine that has way too much power and influence that I as an individual can do very little about.
Damn, its 330pm, time to cook that Sunday lunch.
[poll=9]Posted on: 14th October 2007, by : Rob Watts