Search Engines Accused Of Deceptive Practices

from the who-the-hell-cares? dept

A “consumer watchdog” group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission saying something needs to be done about search engines who aren’t clear about how pay-for-placement affects their search results. My response is who the hell cares? I’d really rather the government didn’t waste their time and money on this one. If people don’t find the right results from search engines, then they can move on to a better search engine. I don’t care if the results that pop up or paid for or not – just so long as I find the info I’m looking for.

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Comments on “Search Engines Accused Of Deceptive Practices”

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The Captain says:

Re: Re: No!

How much harm does this do? In the immediate sense…perhaps not much (at least not much that can be quantified like hack attacks of net scams)
BUT, the harm it does do is hard to see and even harder to counter.

Basically it comes to this…I have pertinent and accurate information about subject A and I’m a non-commercial website (maybe a hobby site etc.) and big commercial company X has a website with info on subject A but not much, and other subject as well…..but, company X can afford to PAY search engines to SEEM more relevant than I am (which they aren’t).

Now, in the present, this can steal hits from MY site all because I can’t afford to pay a search engine…BUT in the future…what if company X doesn’t agree with what I post on MY site…all they have to do is shell out more cash to shove my listing lower and boom, my message doesn’t get out…which is contrary to the principles that make the internet great (and screwed up too…no one is perfect).

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No!

Hmm… I don’t think they’re paying to force you lower. If they pay once they’re above you. How do they pay more to force your site to be lower?

Anyway, as I said, if this becomes a real problem, then people will go to sites that area lot clearer about their policies – such as Google. I don’t see any reason that the gov’t needs to get involved in this.

The Captain says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No!

How can they pay to force you lower?

If all things being equal, they pay to get top slot and I get second because of it…where I SHOULD be first…I’m ALREADY lower.

HOWEVER, what if they pay for top slots on 20 pages (By maybe paying for 20 different pages maybe linking to the same info)? That forces my site, which is next on the list to be pushed on the next page…and most people do NOT go to the next page.

Thing is, its all well and good to say that people will just switch to search engines that are clearer with their policies…problem is NOTHING makes these search engines BE clear on those policies…and if they aren’t clear…a LOT of people WILL be fooled. In this case, what they do NOT know (and what the search engines have NO obligation to tell them…and its in their advantage NOT to tell them) will hurt them in the long run.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No!

Okay. I understand that to some extent… but I’m still not convinced as to why this is such a horrible thing that the gov’t needs to get involved in.

Besides, I think you are assuming consumers are a lot dumber than I think they really are. Why is Google so popular these days? Because the results are so much better than other search engines. People (consumers!) figured this out and went with it.

The Captain says:

Re: Re: Re:4 No!

Maybe I am assuming that consumers are a lot dumber than they really are…but I’m a cynic and I see plenty to tell me they ARE dumb (However, this is just my opinion).

A person is smart and rational, people as a whole are dumb and very affected by “trends” and tend to ignore issues such as this very thing.

And as we move on towards the future, we are increasingly in a comsumer/marketting oriented society that discourages critical and independant thought (again, this is only my opinion)…where advertising accounts for a HUGE amount of the noise and “info” (I use the term loosely here) that tries to guide us on a daily basis.

Ignoring this issue just gives them one more way to do it. Shut out the little guy and give big companies more power.

Now REASONABLY, its not like you guys in the US need to hold IMMEDIATE congressional hearings on the matter and mobilize the FBI…but it would be nice if there was some kind of threat to those engines that would insure compliance…because I have yet to see a big company do something against its commercial interest just because it was “ethical” or “good for the people”.

(BTW, thanks for replying on my comments, I think its pretty cool of you and makes the discussion here more pleasant than many other sites)

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