A Trawl Through a Little Bit of Fishtory

May 26th

Once Upon a Time in a Galaxy Far Far Away...

from The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention", a study which explains in great detail the distractions and risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on the web [Page, 98]. It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media [Bagdikian 83], we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.

a few years later:

It looks bad, coming days after the recent song-and-dance at the Google Factory Tour about how much energy is supposedly expended on core search and ads. Here's a personalized home page, but don't worry, we're not a portal, Google said.

Funny, this type of inattention is exactly what made people get turned off from the portals of the past, when they lost focus on search quality. Yahoo seems to have fixed this redirect hijacking problem, but Google is still struggling with it?

Danny Sullivan, on Google's hijacking of their own site. Danny rarely sounds ticked off, but that post hints at more than a little disappointment in Google.

Published: May 26, 2005

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