Weekly SEO news: 3 April 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at what Google could do if they were an evil company.

In the news: Google starts selling TV ads, Google might buy DoubleClick, BusinessWeek thinks that Google might be too powerful and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. What Google could do if they were evil

You probably know Google's informal company motto "Don't be evil". Google is a very successful company that knows a lot about its advertisers and users. In addition, Google has a market share that would allow them do certain things.

What could Google do if they were evil? Note that the following is only hypothetical:

Google could favor its own products and websites

Google could prefer websites from its own services in the search results: websites that run Google ads, websites that use Google's payment service, Blogger sites, Google Base, etc.

All websites that pay Google in some way could be preferred in the search results while others are downranked.

Google could punish websites at discretion

If Google doesn't like your website or if someone tells Google that you're a bad boy then Google can ban your website from the search results without any reason given.

You can find a lot of articles on the web that discuss the problem that Google removed web sites from the index. The main problem with these removals is that Google usually doesn't explain why a web site has been removed so that webmasters often are complete and utterly at Google's mercy.

Google could use your data against you

Most Google products now use a single account. That means that Google knows a lot about you if you use their services: your address, your credit card number, the web pages that you visit, the web sites that you own, how much you earn with your web site (if you use Google's analytics product), etc.

Google could sell this information to other companies, the government or any other person that pays for it. If one of your web sites causes a problem with Google, they could ban all of your sites. There's a lot that Google could do with the information they have about you.

Google could force webmasters to advertise

Google could decide that web sites that advertise on Google get better rankings in the search results. They could also decide that companies with big wallets don't get high rankings so that they have to advertise more.

Companies that use Google's analytics software to track their sales tell Google how much they earn. That allows Google to raise the advertising costs based on the revenue of the company.

Google could do most of the things above and it would be very difficult to prove that they actually do it because Google doesn't reveal the ranking algorithm. Maybe you know the saying "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Let's hope that Google can resist the temptations of their power.

2. Search engine news of the week

Google testing TV ads in California

"Google is conducting a small scale test of television advertisements in the Northern California town of Concord (east of San Francsicso), and there are additional that Google is close to signing a deal with Dish Network, a satellite television provider, to supply advertising to its television subscribers."

Google joins race to buy DoubleClick

"The bidding is part of a bigger battle as four of the biggest Internet players vie for the lucrative business of brokering online advertisements, according to The Journal, and the contest reflects concern about the increasing power of Google."

Search engine newslets

  • Anti-Google campaign in London tube.
  • Web ad spend overtakes newspapers.
  • Google adds a "Maps" navigation link to Google UK.
  • Top 100 alternative search engines.
  • Nokia might be working on a mobile search engine.
  • YellowPages.com releases a mobile search tool.
  • WebFetch is a new meta search engine for the UK.
  • Yahoo releases Yahoo Underground.
  • Google displays fewer ads.
  • Some Yahoo search results include automatic spelling correction.
  • ZoomInfo search engine makes business information free.
  • Snake slithering through Googleplex.
3. Articles of the week
Is Google too powerful?

"As the Web giant tears through media, software, and telecom, rivals fear its growing influence. Now they're fighting back

It's the year 2014, and Googlezon, a fearsomely powerful combination of search engine Google Inc. and online store Amazon.com Inc., has crushed traditional media to bits."

First semantic search engine?

"Business search company ZoomInfo announced today the launch of what it’s calling the first-ever semantic search engine. But is it really?"

Google makes a foray into TV advertising

"If there were any doubts about the scope of Google's ambitions in the advertising world, one of its recent job postings should dispel them: it seeks a 'head of national TV sales' to help build 'a world-class national TV advertising sales team.'"

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