I believe Google will eventually find ways to trust Google accounts more the same way they trust domains more as they age. The tags surely can be abused, but so can links. Just like link anchor text, the tagging could be used by Google to help understand the aboutness of a page or site.
It would take a good bit of knowledge to create a variety of random Google accounts that had regular and unique search habbits over time. Google does not need to try to stop all search spammers, they only need to make search spamming so complex or expensive that most people would just rather put in the effort to create something of high quality.
Yahoo! added a rich get richer factor into their algorithms, adding blogs to their news search. In an interview with Forbes.com Joff Redfern, a director in Yahoo! Search, stated blog rankings may be due in part to the number of My Yahoo! subscribers:
"If we've got more people subscribed to a blog, there is presumably more credibility to its reputation," says Redfern.
You gotta wonder how many fake accounts are getting set up as I type this.
Do any SEO websites sell search behavior or established user accounts yet? If not I wonder how long until they hit the market and how long until those services are claimed on many sites :)
People will avoid certain types of information they need:
An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it.
How do you get people to find information they do not want to find?
Mooers Second Law of Documentation:
In the same manner that color samples provide a test for the detection of color blindness in a person, the descriptor technique provides a means for the detection of the "word-bound" or "idea-blind" person. Such detection is important because a word-bound person may not be able to provide idea-based (word-independent) retrieval service of the kind which is most congenial and most desired by the non-word-bound part of the population. - source
The concept sure highlights the need for writing to the audience the way they speak and think.
Business 2.0 recently posted an article about the looming mobile search wars:
According to the Pierz Group, Americans spent nearly $2 billion on directory assistance from their mobile phones last year -- at an average of $1.25 a call -- which suggests a healthy demand for information on the go. And that's just a fraction of the overall mobile search market. Providing instantaneous answers to a wide range of queries is what will make mobile search invaluable. And whoever figures that out is golden.
SearchBistro recently posted a 22 page PDF titled General Guidelines on Random-Query Evaluation that was last revised on December 31, 2003. In addition to posting the Random-Query Evaluation PDF, Henk van Ess has recently posted:
If it's a machine-generated, no added value affiliates, it's Spam. If it provides some unique values, for example, customer feedback, local information, it should be rated on the merit scale even if it has some affiliates. Similarly, if the game site allows you to download a game, without being intrusive (i.e. install a spyware without notice), it should be rated on the merit scale, instead of Spam.
For some plural queries, such as Newspapers in Scotland, the best results may be lists of related sites. Reviewers must also check some links on the page to ensure the page is functional.
One step down from Useful. Relevant results may satisfy only one important facet of a query, whereas Useful results are expected to be more broad and thorough.
Results that would have been Vital if a more common interpretation did not overshadow it are considered relevant.
Not Relevant results are related to the topic but do not help users.
If a person searching for Real Estate finds a San Diego Real Estate website that would probably not be relevant since most people searching for that do not live in or want to move specifically to San Diego.
As the San Diego example is too narrow geographically other sites could also be too narrow in other non location based ways, such as being outdated or too specific to a subset idea of the query.
Is not a useful page. Irrelevant.
Usually occurs when text matching algorithms do not account for some terms that can have multiple meanings.
Pages or sites that often do not hold merit on any query.
Example Offensive sites: spyware, unrequested porn, AdSense scraper and other keyword net type sites, etc.
Vital to Offensive are in order of quality. The higher the better. Erronious through Unrated are cast as non votes. When in doubt between rating values raters are expected to rate at the lower of the two rating values.
Why this is Important:
By learning how and what they want evaluators to look for it makes it easier to understand how to deliver what the search engines want.
This post was a quick review of General Guidelines on Random-Query Evaluation. If you are heavily interested in SEO it is well worth your time to read the original document, which lists many more examples and is in far greater detail than this post.
With how relatively low the wages are for these positions ($10 - $20 an hour) you have to wonder:
why it took so long for this information to come out
if some of these people are using the information they gained from participating in other ways
if these people know anything about Google's business model, and how much THEY could be making on a per click basis if they created well cited content that fit Google's guidelines.
and a far off tangent! what would happen if Google's business model made self employment too profitable to where they could not afford to pay workers
It is fairly easy to understand many of the concepts of it (like attenuating a possitive trust score or offsetting the effects of link spam with a negative trust score), but it is even easier to understand them if you visualize the concept of trust attenuation.
Most sites are not exceptionally compelling, so there are usually not many legitimate hubs in any industry, but many sites are glorified link farms which will not pass any positive trust value.
For a while I helped promote many directories, but many of the new ones on the market have little to no legitimate value, and some of the links from them may even have negative value.
I just wrote an article called TrustRank & the Company You Keep, in which I made this graphic explaining the concept of AntiTrust (yet another SEO phrase I made up hehehe).
The red X's represent things that should be, but are not there.
Yes, I know, the drop shadow is too dark, my web designer friend already yelled at me for that. Other than that, I hope the image clearly demonstrates the concept I was trying to get across.
Other than drop shadow remarks, please leave comments on the article and image below.
You guys as you say find inspiration in Orion's theories, even if they have not been proved, and it gives you the motivation to improve your content. This is sufficient enough to see the use of them.
The problem of the ideas as a whole as they do not take into account the big picture but focus down on a very specific are which is the content on the page, when what you should be looking at is the content you share with your peers, and how this all links in together. Starting to look at the various different dimensions your content has in relation to the rest of the world around it may tell you some more. Demo's I've seen do include the use of clustering but in the sense of topic classification. Each site or even each part will belong to 1 or many different spheres of belonging if you like. I've seen demo's that spit out the "topic sphere" if you like and enable the user to visually manipulate this or textually manipulate this to get the results they want.
Never forget the big picture!
I think Xan's point is valid in that by following rules or focusing on specific things sometimes we miss out on the big picture or create artificial machine identifiable patterns. With that being said I find lots of the stuff Orion posts interesting.
Off topic, but Orion the Hunter is my favorite constellation. I have been exploring the universe a bit recently, watching some Cosmos :)