May 18, 2004

Google Ethics Committee

The Google Ethics Committee story has been popular recently (note I'm linked there :-)). Here's something adapted from part of an e-mail I wrote, elaborating on what I think was meant by the phrases used:

"We change PageRank[tm] when we find that spammers are abusing it, but we don't change it often."

By "change PageRank", he's undoubtedly referring to very deep changes to the algorithmic calculations, not specific site censorship. That is, an example of a deep change is what Google did some months ago, during the "Florida Update" spam-fighting upheaval. There was a complicated change to the display scoring system. Roughly, rules were added such that if a site had too many links with just one term, *and* that term was on a spammish terms dictionary, then either (it was unclear, maybe changed) those links wouldn't count for page rank calculation, or the site was marked as a spam site. I believe that's what he's referencing to in the phrase "when we find that spammers are abusing it".

In contrast, the suppression blacklist happens after all the PageRank calculations, and it's just a technically trivial tossing of a URL.

I have no doubt that they've been offered money by some sites to boost those sites' PageRank (and I assume have refused). Similar to the following, revealed last year (oh, tell me again how Big Bloggerdom is a meritocracy).

Adam Curry's Weblog

Taking a stand on rss
Time to come clean on an investment I made a year and a half ago. At the time, UserLand software had released a Mac OSX version of Radio and I was totally digging the built in news aggregator. I came up with a cunning plan: I asked Userland if I could purchase a pre-installed feed on their aggregator, which supports RSS xml feeds. I paid $10,000 for a one year license. To date I've been delighted with my purchase and although I haven't checked recently, I'm pretty sure Userland still has me in the defaults.


So I'm invoking an age olde american tradition of letting my wallet do the talking. I will again invest $10k in aggregator default placements this year, but I will spread it around, to all developers who adhere to RSS2.0. Include (N)echo and you're out of luck."

[(N)echo was a previous name for the rival format now known as "Atom"]

[See also]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on May 18, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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