Google Eats the World

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Google Eats the World

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:26 pm

Welcome to the (Don’t Be) Evil Empire: Google Eats the World
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 14:21
By Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch | News Analysis

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Finally, journalists have started criticizing in earnest the leviathans of Silicon Valley, notably Google, now the world’s third-largest company in market value. The new round of discussion began even before the revelations that the tech giants were routinely sharing our data with the National Security Agency, or maybe merging with it. Simultaneously another set of journalists, apparently unaware that the weather has changed, is still sneering at San Francisco, my hometown, for not lying down and loving Silicon Valley’s looming presence.
The criticism of Silicon Valley is long overdue and some of the critiques are both thoughtful and scathing. The New Yorker, for example, has explored how start-ups are undermining the purpose of education at Stanford University,addressed the Valley’s messianic delusions and political meddling, and considered Apple’s massive tax avoidance.
The New York Times recently published an opinion piece that startled me, especially when I checked the byline. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the fugitive in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, focused on The New Digital Age, a book by top Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen that to him exemplifies the melding of the technology corporation and the state. It is, he claimed, a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of our leading “witch doctors who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the twenty-first century.” He added, “This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley.”
What do the U.S. government and Silicon Valley already have in common? Above all, they want to remain opaque while making the rest of us entirely transparent through the capture of our data. What is arising is simply a new form of government, involving vast entities with the reach and power of government and little accountability to anyone.
Google, the company with the motto “Don’t be evil,” is rapidly becoming an empire. Not an empire of territory, as was Rome or the Soviet Union, but an empire controlling our access to data and our data itself. Antitrust lawsuits proliferating around the company demonstrate its quest for monopoly control over information in the information age. Its search engine has become indispensable for most of us, and as Google critic and media professor Siva Vaidhyanathan puts it in his 2012 book The Googlization of Everything, “[W]e now allow Google to determine what is important, relevant, and true on the Web and in the world. We trust and believe that Google acts in our best interest. But we have surrendered control over the values, methods, and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem.” And that’s just the search engine.
About three-quarters of a billion people use Gmail, which conveniently gives Google access to the content of their communications (scanned in such a way that they can target ads at you). Google tried and failed to claim proprietary control of digital versions of every book ever published; librarians and publishers fought back on that one. As the New York Times reported last fall, Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, summed the situation up this way: “Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors’ rights, and our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues.”
The nonprofit Consumer Watchdog wrote to the attorney general on June 12th urging him “to block Google’s just announced $1 billion acquisition of Waze, developers of a mobile mapping application, on antitrust grounds... Google already dominates the online mapping business with Google Maps. The Internet giant was able to muscle its way to dominance by unfairly favoring its own service ahead of such competitors as Mapquest in its online search results. Now with the proposed Waze acquisition, the Internet giant would remove the most viable competitor to Google Maps in the mobile space. Moreover it will allow Google access to even more data about online activity in a way that will increase its dominant position on the Internet.”
The company seems to be cornering the online mapping business, seems in fact to be cornering so many things that eventually they may have us cornered.
In Europe, there’s an antitrust lawsuit over Google’s Android phone apps. In many ways, you can map Google’s rise by the litter of antitrust lawsuits it crushed en route. By the way, Google bought Motorola. You know it owns YouTube, right? That makes Google possessor of the second and third most visited Websites on earth. (Facebook is first, and two more of the top six are also in Silicon Valley.)
Imagine that it’s 1913 and the post office, the phone company, the public library, printing houses, the U.S. Geological Survey mapping operations, movie houses, and all atlases are largely controlled by a secretive corporation unaccountable to the public. Jump a century and see that in the online world that’s more or less where we are. A New York venture capitalist wrote that Google is trying to take over “the entire fucking Internet” and asked the question of the day: “Who will stop Google?”
The Tipping Point
We ask that question all the time in San Francisco, because here Google isn’t just on our computers, it’s on our streets. I wrote earlier this year about “the Google bus” -- the armadas of private Wi-Fi-equipped luxury buses that run through our streets and use our public bus stops, often blocking city buses and public transit passengers while they load or unload the employees taking the long ride down the peninsula to their corporation of choice. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Genentech run some of the bigger fleets, and those mostly unmarked white buses have become a symbol of the transformation of the city.
Carl Nolte, the old native son who writes a column for the (dying) San Francisco Chronicle, said this month of the future inhabitants of 22,000 high-priced apartments under construction, “These new apartment dwellers will all be new San Franciscans, with different values. In a couple of years we'll think of the progressive politicians, circa 2012, as quaint antiques, like the old waterfront Commies your grandfather used to worry about. This is already a high-tech city, an expensive city, a city where middle-class families can't afford to live. It is a city where the African American population has dropped precipitously, where the Latino Mission District is gentrifying more every day. You think it's expensive here now? Just you wait. These are the good old days, but it won't last. We are at a tipping point.”
Mr. Nolte, you can tell, doesn’t particularly like this. A guy named Ilan Greenberg at the New Republic popped up to tell us that we must like it -- or face his ridicule. He writes, “Ironically, the anti-gentrifiers themselves undermine San Francisco’s liberal ethos. Opposed to newcomers? Wary of people whose values you don't understand? Critical of young people for not living up to an older generation’s ideals? It all sounds very reactionary and close-minded.” The problem is that we understand Silicon Valley’s values all too well, and a lot of us don’t like them.
Adding newcomers might not be so bad if it didn’t mean subtracting a lot of those of us who are already here. By us I mean everyone who doesn’t work for a gigantic technology corporation or one of the smaller companies hoping to become a global monolith. Greenberg (who is, incidentally, writing for a publication quietly bought up by a Facebook billionaire) sneers at us for defending middle-class people, but “middle class” is just a word for those of us who get paid decently for our work. People at various income levels in a diversity of fields here in San Francisco are being replaced by those who work in one field and get paid extremely well. Small, alternative, and nonprofit institutions are also struggling and going down. It’s like watching a meadow being plowed under for, say, Monsanto genetically modified soybeans.
Speaking of meadows, one of Silicon Valley’s billionaires, Napster founder and Spotify billionaire Sean Parker, just threw himself a $10 million wedding on environmentally sensitive land in Big Sur. In the course of building a massive fantasy set for the event, “including grading, change in use from campground to private event, construction of multiple structures including a gateway and arch, an artificial pond, a stone bridge, multiple event platforms with elevated floors, rock walls, artificially created ruins of cottages and castle walls,” he reportedly did significant environmental damage and violated regulations.
Apparently paying $2.5 million in fines after the fact didn’t bother him. Napster and Spotify are, incidentally, online technologies that have reduced musicians’ profits from their recordings to almost nothing. There are tremendously wealthy musicians, of course, but a lot of them are at best, yes, middle class. Thanks to Parker, maybe a little less so.
Teachers, civil servants, bus drivers, librarians, firefighters -- consider them representatives of the middle class under siege, as well as the people who keep a city viable and diverse. Friends of mine -- a painter, a poet, a filmmaker, a photographer, all of whom have contributed to San Francisco’s culture -- have been evicted so that more affluent people may replace them. There’s a widespread tendency to think that defending culture means defending privileged white people, but that assumes that people of color and poor people aren’t artists. Here, they are.
Everyone here understands that if a musician -- hip-hop or symphony -- can’t afford a home, neither can a janitor and her family. And competition for those apartments is fierce, so fierce that these days no one I know can find a rental on the open market. I couldn’t when I moved in 2011; neither could a physician friend earlier this year. The tech kids come in and offer a year in cash up front or raise the asking price or both, and the housing supply continues to wither, while rents skyrocket. So while Greenberg might like you to think that we’re selfishly not offering a seat at the table, it’s more like old people and working families and people whose careers were shaped by idealism are objecting to being thrown under the, well, bus.
Like Gandhi, Only With Guns
Enough minions of Silicon Valley’s mighty corporations could arrive to create a monoculture. In some parts of town, it already is the dominant culture. A guy who made a fortune in the dot-com boom and moved to the Mission District (the partly Latino, formerly blue-collar eye of the housing hurricane) got locals’ attention recently with a blog post titled “Douchebags Like You are Ruining San Francisco.” In it, he described the churlish and sometimes predatory behavior of the very young and very wealthy toward the elderly, the poor, and the nonwhite.
He wrote, “You’re on MUNI [the city bus system] and watch a 20-something guy reluctantly give up his seat to an elderly woman and then say loudly to his friends, ‘I don’t know why old people ride MUNI. If I were old I’d just take Uber.’” Yeah, I had to look it up, too: Uber.com, a limousine taxi service you access via a smartphone app. A friend of mine overheard a young techie in line to buy coffee say to someone on his phone that he was working on an app that would be “like Food Not Bombs, to distribute food, only for profit.” Saying you're going to be like a group dedicated to free food, only for profit, is about as deranged as saying you're going to be like Gandhi, only with guns.
“An influx of techies will mean more patrons for the arts,” trilled an article at the Silicon Valley news site Pando, but as of yet those notable patrons have not made an appearance. As a local alternative weekly reported, “The tech world in general is notoriously uncharitable: According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, only four of 2011's 50 most generous U.S. donors worked in tech, despite the fact that 13 of Forbes 50 Richest Americans in 2012 had made some or all of their fortunes in tech.” Medici in their machinations, they are not Medici-style patrons. There is no noticeable trickle-down in the Bay Area, no significant benevolence toward the needy or good causes or culture from the new tech fortunes.
Instead, we get San Francisco newcomer, Facebook CEO, and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg pursuing his own interest with ruthless disregard for life on Earth. This year, Zuckerberg formed a politically active nonprofit, FWD.us, that sought to influence the immigration debate to make it easier for Silicon Valley corporations to import tech workers. There has been no ideology involved, only expediency, in how FWD.us pursued its ends. It decided to put its massive financial clout to work giving politicians whatever they wanted in hopes that this would lead to an advantageous quid pro quo arrangement. Toward that end, the group began running ads in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline (that will bring particularly carbon-dirty tar sands from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast) to support a Republican senator and other ads in favor of drilling in Alaska’s pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to support an Alaskan Democrat.
The takeaway message seemed to be that nothing is off limits in pursuing self-interest, and that the actual meaning and consequences of these climate-impacting projects was not of concern at least to that 29-year-old who's also the 25th richest person in the United States. (To give credit where it’s due: Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk, Paypal cofounder and electric car mogul, quit FWD.us.) Zuckerberg and his Valley associates were pushing things they didn’t care about and demonstrating that they didn’t care about much except what makes their corporations run and their profits rise. Here, where the Sierra Club was founded in 1892 and many are environmentally minded, this didn’t go over well. Protests ensued at Facebook headquarters and on Facebook itself.
Rising hostility to the tech surge in San Francisco is met with fury and bewilderment by many Silicon Valley employees. They tend to sound like Bush-era strategists dumbfounded that the Iraqis didn’t welcome their invasion with flowers.
Here’s something else you should know about Silicon Valley: according to Mother Jones, 89% of the founding teams of these companies are all male; 82% are all white (the other 18% Asian/Pacific Islander); and women there make 49 cents to the male dollar. Silicon Valley female powerhouses like Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg get a lot of attention because they’re unusual, black swans in a lake full of white swans. As Catherine Bracy, on whose research Mother Jones based its charts, put it, “The current research I’ve seen shows that wealth creation from the tech industry is extremely unequally distributed, and current venture capital is going overwhelmingly to a small, homogeneous elite.” That’s what’s encroaching on San Francisco.
The Pando article chastises us this way: “San Francisco can become a world capital. First it needs to get over itself.” But maybe we don’t want to be a world capital or more like New York and Tokyo. The logic of more-is-better seems unassailable to San Francisco’s detractors, but inside their more is a lot of less: less diversity, less affordability, less culture, less continuity, less community, less equitable distribution of wealth. What’s called wealth in these calculations is for the few; for the many, it’s impoverishment.
The Armada of the .0001%
If Google represents the global menace of Silicon Valley, and Zuckerberg represents its amorality, then Oracle CEO Larry Ellison might best represent its crassness. The fifth richest man in the world, he spent hundreds of millions of dollars to win the America's Cup yacht race a few years back. The winner gets to choose the next venue for the race and the type of boat to be used. So for this summer’s races, Ellison chose San Francisco Bay and a giant catamaran that appears to be exceptionally unstable. Last month, an Olympic-medal-winning sailor drowned when a boat he was training on capsized in San Francisco Bay, pinning him under its sail.
Part of Ellison’s strategy for winning again evidently involves making the boats so expensive that almost no one can compete. A race that once had seven to 15 competitors now has four, and one may drop out. Business Insider headlined a piece, “Larry Ellison Has Completely Screwed Up The America's Cup.” It went on to say, “Each team, with the exception of New Zealand's, is backed by an individual billionaire, and each has spent between $65 million and $100 million so far.” In typical Silicon Valley-fashion, Ellison also figured out how to stick San Francisco for a significant part of the tab and in the process even caused the eviction of a few dozen small businesses, though in the end the city did not give him a valuable stretch of waterfront he wanted.
Here’s what San Francisco is now: a front row seat on the most powerful corporations on Earth and the people who run them. So we know what you may not yet: they are not your friends and their vision is not your vision, but your data is their data, and your communications are in their hands, and they seem to be rising to become an arm of or a part-owner of the government or a law unto themselves, and no one has yet figured out what we can do about it.
Copyright 2013 Rebecca Solnit
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby coffin_dodger » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:03 am

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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby divideandconquer » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:18 pm

I know Google is evil, yet I can't stop using it as a search engine. I've tried others, including Startpage and the results aren't as good, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's not as anonymous as it advertises. I also use Duck Duck Go https://duckduckgo.com/ and Carrot2 http://search.carrot2.org/stable/search and others...

I believe it doesn't really matter all that much. If "they" target you, "they'll" track you no matter what search engine you use.
'I see clearly that man in this world deceives himself by admiring and esteeming things which are not, and neither sees nor esteems the things which are.' — St. Catherine of Genoa
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby slimmouse » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:58 pm

divideandconquer » 26 Jun 2013 17:18 wrote:I know Google is evil, yet I can't stop using it as a search engine. I've tried others, including Startpage and the results aren't as good, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's not as anonymous as it advertises. I also use Duck Duck Go https://duckduckgo.com/ and Carrot2 http://search.carrot2.org/stable/search and others...

I believe it doesn't really matter all that much. If "they" target you, "they'll" track you no matter what search engine you use.


Sounds to me like we need to reach the stage where knowing who to target becomes way too much of a problem to deal with.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby elfismiles » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:55 pm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSZ56_n0Cyw


Gov't Bureau 'Creating a Google Earth on Every Financial Transaction,' Senator Warns
July 16, 2013 - 4:18 PM / By Craig Bannister

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to create a "Google Earth" of every financial transaction of every American, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) warned today in a Senate speech opposing confirmation of Richard Cordray as CFPB director.

"This bill (creating the CFPB) was supposed to be about regulating Wall Street. Instead, it's creating a Google Earth on every financial transaction. That's right: the government will be able to see every detail of your finances. Your permission - not needed," Sen. Enzi said.

"They can look right down to the tiny details of the time and place where you pulled cash out of an ATM," Enzi warned.

And, there's nothing you can do about, since Americans don't have the ability to "opt out" or prohibit the government from collecting their personal financial data, Enzi said:

"You can't tell 'em to stay out of your records. It's not possible. If your data is being collected, you do not have the option to opt out. Nor, does the CFPD need any kind of permission from you to gather your personal information."

Enzi called for greater congressional oversight authority to ensure the CFPB does not abuse its power, but Republican still dropped plans to filibuster the nomination, caving to threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to change the filibuster rules.


http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/craig-ban ... on-senator
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby peartreed » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:04 pm

It is worthwhile to remember that Google is constituted by two words: Go Ogle. It is an impudent probe of our public, personal and private postings. A socially invasive scouring of our information. A public pervert. We all need to become protesting prudes.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby lucky » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:34 pm

Whats the deal with scoogle or Gibiru as search engines? they work.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby MayDay » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:14 pm

Yelp, Facebook and Google partner with ALEC
...At an ALEC meeting in Chicago last week, Yelp’s director of public policy, Luther Lowe, delivered a presentation to ALEC’s civil justice task force urging the group to consider adopting model legislation on strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. If approved, the anti-SLAPP policy would have to be ratified by ALEC’s communications and technology task force, which includes representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo...

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/16/tech_gi ... with_alec/
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby cptmarginal » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:58 pm

Google is still my go-to search engine for just about everything, entirely because of the immensely helpful autocomplete suggestions
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Lord Balto » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:40 am

I just received this email from someone at a website I link to in a small section on Asian arts and crafts. The names have been redacted:

We have recently received a notification from Google stating that our website, http://www.xxx.xxx (a site within the umbrella of our xxx Stores brand) has "unnatural" links pointing towards it. Now we're trying to clean things up.


We noticed the following pages link to our website from your domain:


http://xxx.xxx/
http://xxx.xxx/home.htm



We believe this link was placed as part of a linkbuilding program we paid for a while ago. The link anchor text is "xxx.xxx" and it appears in your "Outside Links" section.


I want you to know this isn't a reflection on your website at all, but if you're able to remove the links, we would be very grateful. We don't know for sure if your link is one of the ones Google takes issue with, but we'd rather be safe than sorry.


Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your reply.


My reply was as follows:

Mxxx Bxxxxx:

So, Google is now policing the internet?

There is nothing "unnatural" about this link. It is simply part of a section of my home page that points to sites that sell interesting items with a Japanese or Eastern flavor. It was not part of any "program" and I have no connection with any such "program."

You may wish to speak with the clowns at Google about just exactly which links pointing to your site are "unnatural," and while you are at it, you may want to ask them what exactly that term even means. What are you afraid of? Did Google threaten you with some kind of retribution if you didn't "clean up your site"?

These are the guys who claim that their motto is "Don't be evil"?

S F


My message to the Federal Trade Commission was as follows:

Ladies/Gentlemen:

I recently received the following email from a website in regard to a simple list of sources for Asian arts and crafts on my website. Apparently, the website owner is so afraid of Google Corp. that they are asking anyone who links to their site to remove those links. What bothers me is that this could conceivably be construed as an attempt by Google to monopolize internet advertising and even common linking behavior so as to make them the only source of "legitimate" advertising. You may want to make it clear to Google that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. And by the way, the referenced link is not "outdated" as the email suggests.

Regards,

S F


The sad thing is, if you read Google's terms of service, the website owner is not responsible for who links to them if they have no control over them. I would suspect that this has to do, not with Google's ethics, but with a previous slap on the wrist by the federal authorities.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby justdrew » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:52 am

they admitted to doing a "link building program" aka spiking their pagerank and they got bit by it, it reduces the likelihood that they'll come up in the top general results. google can handle their search system however they want. in this, they are lightly punishing sites that have been seen to participate in spreading "fake" links to make their site look more popular. It's not a perfect system, but SOME system has to determine the order of results provided.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Lord Balto » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:46 am

justdrew » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:52 am wrote:they admitted to doing a "link building program" aka spiking their pagerank and they got bit by it, it reduces the likelihood that they'll come up in the top general results. google can handle their search system however they want. in this, they are lightly punishing sites that have been seen to participate in spreading "fake" links to make their site look more popular. It's not a perfect system, but SOME system has to determine the order of results provided.


And what democratically elected entity would that be?

My complaint is that corporations, who themselves think that they should not be regulated by anyone, have decided that they should get to regulate everyone else. Keep in mind that if Google can manipulate advertising related page rank, they can manipulate informational page rank as well. Google decides Rigorous Intuition is too anticorporate for their taste, Rigorous Intuition disappears from the first 20 pages of results.

Just a link to a story about Google getting their comeuppance in India, if our overlords at Google are still allowing non-Google links:

http://www.zdnet.com/google-faces-5b-antitrust-fine-in-india-but-this-time-it-cant-settle-7000027131/

For those interested in reading further, the Google Watch thread at Reddit:
http://www.reddit.com/r/googlewatch
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Lord Balto » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:02 pm

Lord Balto » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:46 am wrote:
justdrew » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:52 am wrote:they admitted to doing a "link building program" aka spiking their pagerank and they got bit by it, it reduces the likelihood that they'll come up in the top general results. google can handle their search system however they want. in this, they are lightly punishing sites that have been seen to participate in spreading "fake" links to make their site look more popular. It's not a perfect system, but SOME system has to determine the order of results provided.


And what democratically elected entity would that be?

My complaint is that corporations, who themselves think that they should not be regulated by anyone, have decided that they should get to regulate everyone else. Keep in mind that if Google can manipulate advertising related page rank, they can manipulate informational page rank as well. Google decides Rigorous Intuition is too anticorporate for their taste, Rigorous Intuition disappears from the first 20 pages of results.

Just a link to a story about Google getting their comeuppance in India, if our overlords at Google are still allowing non-Google links:

http://www.zdnet.com/google-faces-5b-antitrust-fine-in-india-but-this-time-it-cant-settle-7000027131/

For those interested in reading further, the Google Watch thread at Reddit:
http://www.reddit.com/r/googlewatch


Follow up: Google basically destroyed this guy's business:

Thanks for getting back to me! Also, we're glad to hear that our assumptions were wrong and the link is not "unnatural." I did not mean to come off as accusatory, again in my e-mail I tried to clarify in saying that I "don't know for sure if your link is one of the ones Google takes issue with, but we'd rather be safe than sorry". I certainly meant no offense by it, and I'm very sorry if any is taken.

To fill you in a little more on what's going on, Google has been manually penalizing websites for the past two years or so that it suspects to have a "spammy" link profile. The definition of "spammy" here, of course, is at Google's discretion... it's not so much that they are policing the internet per se, but they are strongly policing which results show up for any given Google search. And since Google is by far the most prominent and popular search engine and site index... yeah, essentially, they are "policing the internet."

In February of 2012, Google sent us this message to our dashboard in Webmaster Tools (Image below, I can transcribe it and send you text if you prefer):

We ignored this, because we thought it was ridiculous to go and "clean up" links to our site. Especially because we had so many links that were completely outside of our control. The business itself had engaged in some dubious linkbuilding practices in 2008/2009, using software to 'write' articles with links back to the site which would then be published into various automated article 'directories.' These links gamed Google's search algorithm, but never impacted user experience for humans (we never did pop up ads, site-hacking, Google paid banner ads, or anything so heinous and intrusive). After a year or so though, we noticed that our site rankings plummeted, and our search traffic hit rock bottom. We went from a successful small business designing, importing, and retailing unique Indonesian and Japanese furniture into a bottom-tier website. We tried to re-coup the loss by opening a physical location, but the overhead and competition was steep - and local interest was minimal, surprising for X000 X000. We filled a niche online, but offline, we were just a novelty.

I am actually working with a number of sites that have been penalized, and have been trying to clean up their backlink profiles. Some attempts are successful, but most are not. As you can imagine, with the first few sites I worked on, I was rather conservative in my attempts to remove only the most glaringly obvious paid or unnatural links. We certainly didn't want to remove valuable links that were legitimate endorsements of our site. However, as more and more of our requests were denied, our efforts at removing and "disavowing" (a process by which a webmaster can essentially point the finger at a site linking to his domain, in the case that the links are unable to be removed - sort of "witch hunt-y" in my opinion) our inbound links grew to be more... all-encompassing.

When your request at reinclusion is denied, Google will give you 1-3 'example' links that they view to be spam. We have been surprised by many of the revealed example links. As a result, our process has evolved to be much more rigorous, to the detriment of our own link profile, but hopefully to the point that our penalties are removed and we are allowed to build our sites up again (in a manner more in keeping with Google's 'guidelines').

Unfortunately, we have no way of contacting Google during this process, and our 'reviewers' are anonymous, so we can't defend links that we feel Google indicates in error. It's ugly business, that is for certain. "Don't Be Evil" seems more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast rule, but I suppose that's what happens when you control 90% of all internet search traffic and your company grows to a multi-billion-dollar behemoth.

Webmasters and online businessmen like us get washed up in the middle.

If you are interested in learning more about what Google considers an "unnatural link," you can read their official post about it here. To sum it up, essentially "Any link used with intent to manipulate search is considered 'spam.' 'Intent to Manipulate Search' is defined at our discretion and is subject to change."

Thanks again Steve, I hope this has been informative and useful to you. Sorry for the length of this email, but it's a very complex issue that we've become quite well-versed in and distilling it into a few paragraphs is problematic but I am sure you get the gist.


This is precisely why monopolies are illegal. Whatever Google's interest in keeping their page ranking system honest, it does not extend to what used to be called, in Usenet days, the "death penalty."

Unfortunately, we have no way of contacting Google during this process, and our 'reviewers' are anonymous....
This reminds me of the McCarthy Era in the U.S., where one could accuse one's neighbors of being "Communists" on the flimsiest of grounds and thus ruin their lives. That this is being done to improve Google's bottom line is, how shall I put it? EVIL. And this from a company that claims their motto is "Don't be evil."
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby jakell » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:09 am



Thanks a lot for this. I like the proxy option for each link, very handy for accessing a certain nautically flavoured site. I usually open up Opera to do this, but this works in any browser.
" Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism"
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Spiro C. Thiery » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:55 am

youtube video
Seeing the world through rose-colored latex.
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