Did Google Scare Customers Away From A Restaurant?

from the gotta-blame-Google dept

Everyone loves to find reasons to blame Google. E-Media Tidbits points us to the a recent story of a restaurant owner who blames Google for hurting his business. The story is a bit convoluted. Apparently, an employee at the restaurant had a brother who was accused of murder. The restaurant employee then supposedly helped his brother escape prison and was arrested. The local news coverage of the event included a mention that the guy worked at the restaurant (and a quote from the owner's wife about how he was a good employee). The problem, then, is that people searching for the name of the restaurant on Google then found the top story to be about this murder case -- and even if they knew it wasn't directly related to the restaurant, just the connection of the restaurant to a murder case turned off potential patrons. Of course, it seems again like the blame is misplaced. It's not Google's fault that this the most relevant website or that people didn't bother to realize this shouldn't impact the restaurant itself. It seems like the big problem is that the restaurant itself did little to nothing to make sure it had a decent presence in Google. In fact, E-Media Tidbits points out that within just a day of this new article appearing it has become the top result for the search, rather than the earlier article about the murder case. It's easy to blame Google for things, but that doesn't mean it's the right place to put that blame.

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  • identicon
    a, 7 Mar 2007 @ 6:52am

    The blame actually resides with the wife who made the comments to a reporter. As most people wouldn't, she didn't realize that her quotes and the fact that her business would be mentioned in a murder story, would reflect poorly on her business.

    She didn't know when to fold them. Google just made her mistake bigger.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Casper, 7 Mar 2007 @ 7:10am

    That's not Googles fault..

    Google is the only thing around that reports EXACTLY what it finds. If only the media would do the same. It's not Googles fault there was a murder connected with the restaurant... even if it didn't happen in it. If anyone read the actual story they would know this, it's not like Google is the one speaking without thinking. If anything, he should be going after the wife or the reporters for including the name of the business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, 7 Mar 2007 @ 7:53am

    Someone is going to make a lot of $$ printing shirts that say

    BLAME GOOGLE

    on the front.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    struan robertson, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:04am

    Google scare customers away from restaurant

    this is the most trivial unremarable story I have read in a long time...honestly, reading such rubbish makes one loose the will to live...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    comboman, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:12am

    Google use to provide relevant results

    It's not Google's fault that this the most relevant website

    If people are searching for the name of a restaurant and Google thinks the most relevant site is a news item that mentions the restaurant deep in the text, then that IS Google's fault. It is clearly NOT the most relevant website for those search words. Google ranked it higher than the restaurant's official website based on page rank criteria that obviously have nothing to do with relevance (but probably have something to do with Adwords). Google's search results have been getting poorer over the last few years; unfortunately, no one else's seem to be any better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:24am

      Re: Google use to provide relevant results

      Google DIDN'T rank the story above the restaruant's offical website. Because the restaurant doesn't HAVE an official website.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        UQ, 29 Mar 2007 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: Google use to provide relevant results

        The restaurant does have an official website that was fully functional at the time the article was written.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:43am

      Re: Google use to provide relevant results

      My god how stupid can people get. Google doesn't think it is a search engine that uses various algorithms to select what people are looking for. Since people obviously clicked on the murder story a lot then the algorithms would push the rank of the story up more thus moving it to the front of the line. It is not like people sit in a center somewhere deciding what gets posted first in a search. Since this restaurant had no web page of its own how did the guy ever expect to even appear in a Google search. This is obviously someone trying to make a buck off a big corporation.

      As for as Adwords playing into it I rally really doubt. I don't even see Adwords in my search results,(thanks to Firefox and a fabulous extension known as Adblock Plus), and I almost always get what I am looking for on the first page. I search for very random items that most search engines give me a lot of BS stuff that has nothing to do with what I typed in.

      Google is the most reliable search engine I have found. There may be better out there but I haven't seen it yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        UQ, 29 Mar 2007 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: Google use to provide relevant results

        For the last time the restaurant does have a web site!!! Algorithms or otherwise the final product is company responsibility!! And the final product in this case was an article that barely mentions the restaurant in an obscure corner of its text and not the restaurants official web site appearing as the #1 site in terms of relevance on a search whose keyword was the Restaurant’s name!! They need better algorithms Obviously!!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2007 @ 9:00am

      Re: Google use to provide relevant results

      "If people are searching for the name of a restaurant and Google thinks the most relevant site is a news item that mentions the restaurant deep in the text, then that IS Google's fault. It is clearly NOT the most relevant website for those search words."

      What he said!

      "Google's search results have been getting poorer over the last few years; unfortunately, no one else's seem to be any better."

      Try Clusty-- it's my current favorite, and still pretty good. Searching on "ceritano's restaurant" without quotes, the way most people would type it in, the top result is a page offering gift certificates. The murder story is at #2, and the article linked above is at #8, and another copy appears at #5. (With quotes, though, they're #1, #5, and #2 respectively.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kilroy, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:58am

    The blame is all over on this one...on the wife for talking to the press, the reporter for dragging the resturaunt into it (for no real reason other than a sound bite) and the resturaunt for not having a website to start with. If the resturaunt had a website and Google ranked the news article higher than the resturaunt... then Google would be partially to blame due to a poor ranking system, but, since thats not the case, Google has nothing to do with it.

    However, as someone who ran a resturaunt for 5 years, I can tell you that the success of most resturaunts is repeat business (which should be unaffected by Google) and most "new customers" learn of your business through word of mouth, not Google.

    AND if sales were down 30% because of the loose association with a double murder, then its probably due to media coverage other than the internet.

    Point in case, a resturaunt that does not have a website is (IMHO) not likely to have a strong grasp on the way the internet/Google works anyway and are probably just looking to scapegoat somebody for their loss in sales.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2007 @ 8:59am

    ROFL

    Novel idea but:

    If the employee had not helped his brother escape from prison, perhaps there wouldn't have been any reason to google anything?

    Just maybe...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Soytinly, 7 Mar 2007 @ 9:08am

    Nitch the Google T Shirt

    I bet the William Morva Is An A****** T Shirt idea mentioned in the article takes off now. In fact, the Ceritano's should recant thier opinion of the guy and sell them from the restaurant.

    It wouldn't be a lie..The A****** did kill two people of authority.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AC, 7 Mar 2007 @ 9:21am

    The story is a bit convoluted. Apparently, an employee at the restaurant had a brother who was accused of murder. The restaurant employee then supposedly helped his brother escape prison and was arrested.

    I'll say it's convoluted! Sounds like a plot for a bad Fox TV show. Oh wait...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 7 Mar 2007 @ 9:27am

    It's the readers...

    That doesn't speak very highly of the people that didn't go to that resturaunt based soley on that one article. Perhaps if the article was about bad health conditions then yes it would make perfect sense the potential customers didn't go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JJ, 7 Mar 2007 @ 9:33am

    It may not be Google's fault, but it does show fau

    Google has made it harder and harder for legitamate websites to have a presence on their search engine. People now have to jump through tons of SEO hoops and get hundreds of people to link to them before they can move up the ladder. It is extremely difficult for a small restaurant to get above a 4 page rank, while a newspaper can get a 7 easily.

    Basically this allows news articles (that get linked to a lot) move up the Google pagerank ladder faster than the site people are actually searching for.

    Google is not to blame for anything, but their search engine rankings are seriously flawed. Perhaps the sites that don't try so hard are the ones who deserve to be on top. After all, they generally, are the most relevant result.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    James Dennis, 7 Mar 2007 @ 10:23am

    Technology and Misplaced blame

    This is another case where someone is not satisifed until blame is assigned to someone or something other than themselves.

    Increasingly, we see examples where people want to blame websites and large corporations for social problems that have existed for centuries.

    For example; There are many that want to blame "Myspace" for the actions of child molesters. They claim that Myspace should provide security and make it so children cannot be harmed. While the intent of protecting children is a necessary and human thing to do, the blame shouldn't be placed on Myspace. For a moment, let's compare apples to apples. So many times, we have heard examples where children have been abducted from playgrounds all across the country. Should we blame playgrounds and say that swings and merry-go-rounds lend itself to child molestation? No, we don't. Is it practical to assign a police officer to every playground 24 hours a day? No, it is not. The real problem lies in the actions of underage patrons of Myspace and their parents. Children lie about their ages and parents do not pay enough attention to what their children are doing. If Myspace is responsible for children lying and parents not parenting, what was the excuse for child abductions pre-internet?

    Myspace is no different and Google is no different. These are merely tools used to socialize and do business and productivity and ease of use also have their price. Every decision made or not made has it's pros and cons and with this in mind, we must weigh if the pros outweigh the cons.

    In summary, we cannot blame Google and Myspace for societies social problems and certainly should not misplace blame. Our brains are wired to protect itself emotionally and physically. I can understand why it is easier to blame others and not yourself. But this doesn't mean this is right. When we decide to examine the root causes and become less defensive about our own inequities, we will see that the blame lies within all of us. So, if we read an article about murder and associate that murder to where someone's second cousin's uncle's father worked, we are to blame for being prejudice and lacking perspective.

    Note to restaurant owner: Deep pockets do not imply guilty. If you plan to hold Google liable you must also blame all other forms of media whether it be radio, t.v., or newspaper. Considering your wife is the one who associated the restaurant's name with the murder, you are indeed at fault. Own up to your family's mistake and quit trying to blame Google or the world for your own inequitities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2009 @ 8:08am

    hi

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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