"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." - William Gibson
Not only do they monetize via AdWords, but Google has 6 listings in the "organic" search results.
Any Google search engineer care to have a public debate as to the legitimacy of that search result set?
If an SEO gets half of the search results (for anything other than his own brand) he is an overt spammer. If Google eats half of the search results with duplicating nepotism across their own house "brands" then it is legitimate.
Making the above even worse, smaller niche brands are regularly disappeared from Google's index. Google has the ability to redirect search intent to one that is easier to monetize & more along a path they approve of. I was searching for a post John Andrews (webmaster of johnon.com) wrote about Google censorship & what did Google do? They used their power over the dictionary to change the words I searched for on the fly & then promoted their ebooks offering yet again.
Note that listings 1 & 2 promote the exact same book. Google just lists the content they scraped into multiple categories that deserve to be showcased multiple times. How many ways did Google screw up the above search result?
- they auto-corrected the search query to an unwanted alternate search
- in spite of auto-correction, they still allowed their other verticals to be inserted in the results inline right near the top (when rare longtail searches are auto-corrected, one would expect them to be more adverse to embedding such an aggressive self-promotion in the search results)
- they associate content hosted by them as being about their brand simply because they host it (even though that piece of content has no relation to them outside of them scraping it)
- they list it not once but twice, right at the top of the results (even though it is duplicate content available elsewhere & both pages are the same on Google, with the exception of one promoting a recent version of the book & the other page promoting a decade older version of the exact same book)
As a publisher you are *required* to keep spending more money on deeper editorial to avoid being labeled as spam or tripping some arbitrary "algorithmic" threshold. And as you do so, Google is humping you from the backside to ensure your profit margins stay low, scraping whatever they can within the limits of the law & operating the types of websites that would be considered spam if anyone else ran them. Once regulatory pressures or public opinion catch on to Google's parasitic behavior, they buy a brand & leverage its content to legitimize their (often) illegitimate enterprise. :)
Oh, and how about a quote from the Censored Screams book: "censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but, unlike charity, it should end there."
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