30 October 2007

Boycotting a Certain Search Engine

I am boycotting this search engine, which means I have decided to quit using their services in protest of their corporate practices.

To begin the purge of this search engine from my life, I have:
  • Removed it as an option for search in my FireFox browser,
  • Removed any of their existing advertisements on my blogs and websites,
  • Removed their analytics from my blogs and websites.
I still need to:
  • Remove my sitemaps from their site.
  • Transfer blogs from Blogger to their own domain.
  • Stop using their webmail.
I know there will be more because this search engine has insidiously crept into every part of my life.

Why Boycott?

I disagree with what this search engine did with their latest version of their Page Rank algorithm. This update appeared to penalize bloggers for being members of advertising networks, monetizing their blogs with text links, and being "do follow" blogs.

Somehow, the algorithm appeared to unfairly target the rankings of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms, whose principals make their living from optimizing web pages, writing articles about SEO, and through their websites and blogs.

All over the blogosphere, page ranks are dropping. It is like being left out of the yellow pages or having the telephone company change your business phone number without telling you. Why? This search engine decided it did not want to

Page Rank

Back in the 1990s, Apostolos Gerasoulis, a mathematician, developed the algorithm that powers Ask.com, based upon the work of John Kleinberg, an American mathematician. The Ask.com algorithm is a mathematically precise approach of counting only those links stemming from pages concerning the topic of the search request. Which means the processing is dependent on the search phrase and has to be determined anew for each search query.

On the other hand, the algorithm that powers the boycotted search engine is based on the premise that counting the number of links referring to a document determines the importance of the document. Therefore, the degree of networking is determined independently from the current search request.

The founders of the boycotted search engine developed and patented the algorithm for Page Rank. Since then, they have used their position foist many other practices on webmasters and marketers, such as these listed below.
  • Claiming your blogs and websites,
  • Submitting a site map so the search bots know which pages to index,
  • Having only certain links pointing to your site, and
  • Making every link a "no follow" link.
They also offered free tools for us to use, which seem like a good idea at the time, but just allowed the search engine more access:
  • Free web analytics to track your traffic.
  • Free web mail, which appears to use behavioral targeting to serve advertisements based on the content of your emails.
  • Mapping and other applications to help you put more information within their reach.
  • Blog templates with "no follow" and "no index" metatags in the header and "no follow" tags on every link and comment.
In my mind, the boycotted search engine has stepped over the line of ethical behavior by attempting to dictate what I may or may not do on my blogs and websites. I have allowed this to happen. For me, this stops now.


Anonymous said...

If you think it's the best thing to do, good luck in your effort.

I suspect it's a pretty big task to boycott Google, seeing how they are "owning" more and more of the Web. It's almost like leaving the country!

Susan Demeter said...

Something is definitely going on with PR these last few months one of our blogs went from 4 to 0 to 4 and now 2!!! Weird!

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying, but why boycott when you can still make so much money with Adsense?

CyberCelt said...

@owen-I am purging my life of Google. They have grown into many areas of my life, but I will do it.

@sue-They are playing with your Page Rank.

@lisa-You are joking, right? I make more with TLA in one month than I made with AS in 3 years.

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