Google’s so called “Answer Box” has become increasingly annoying. Aside from just stealing from small publishers and then selling the links to big publishers they also propagate information that is flat out WRONG…ALL the time!
If Google is going to call something an “answer” it has a fiduciary and legal responsibility to make sure it’s correct and it does not.
Here is an article written by an attorney who was harmed by Google failing to perform their fiduciary duty with the answer box. He states,
“Any question typed into the search block is expected to bring content from trusted websites for answers to queries without a required click through.”
Precisely when Google does not ensure that they are giving proper credit to the primary sources they are ignoring their fiduciary responsibilities to deliver the “best” source. Not to mention again and again Google gives source link credit to terribly unreliable sites like Wetpaint.
I have been looking for some good examples to show this point. I found this one in the comments section.
“WHAT TIME DOES MCDONALDS START SERVING BREAKFAST?
The scraped answer doesn’t even answer the question. It’s about when McDonald’s STARTS serving breakfast, rather than when they stop.
“10:30 a.m. Why McDonald’s Doesn’t Serve Breakfast All Day. McDonald’s breakfast notoriously ends at 10:30 a.m. at most locations. After years of public outcry, the brand has started offering some items after midnight. CEO Don Thompson also said that the fast food giant was flirting with the idea of all-day breakfast.”
It’s coming from here: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-mcdonalds-breakfast-ends-at-1030-2013-8
Business Insider has a very close relationship with Google and Yahoo. I mean really…why not give the source link to oh I don’t know………..McDonalds?
BTW, I love all of these blog posts on how to “optimize” for the answer box. Yeah I’ll tell you how to “optimize”…PAY Google!!! You can “optimize” all day long but if you do not pay Google you will never be linked in Google’s new premiere real estate.
In fact I would suggest all this “advice” on how to optimize for the box is coming from Google specifically so they can swipe your info even easier.
Ok so here is a funny one where someone asks the meaning of “gag gifts”. Is this REALLY the best answer or is this site an advertiser?
I noticed a lot of these on celebrity net worths. They are really absurd because as you can see from the articles the numbers are based on NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. Not to mention the sites like Heavy.com here are sourcing another terribly unreliable source called Celebritynetworth.com and as you can see neither site is basing their numbers on anything. Yet people are walking away regurgitating this as “fact”.
It’s all smoke and mirrors. These sites think they can just use the word “reportedly” in lieu of an actual source and Google is supporting that. So for one Google is not even sourcing the primary source and for another the number is based on absolutely nothing.
Check out the PRIMO real estate Heavy.com is getting from Google for this baseless claim.
I saw this astute comment about concerns about the trajectory of the “answer box”
“I have been following the news about the answer boxes and I am starting to wonder if Google is maybe over-imposing itself. It is one thing to offer results to a question that someone may have but if the answer boxes expand then it will greatly hurt organic traffic. Not to mention Google is taking the information as snippets from inside website. I can see this becoming a major issue with webmasters… or it could be the prelude to a new way for Google to make money by having sites buy up the answer box space.”
Ding, ding, ding!! You got it! Google is selling this PRIMO real estate to the highest bidder and is not disclosing this. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure they are doing it the way Google does everything…with a wink and a nudge — for example a big advertiser bids really high on a search term and ta da! You are the answer in the answer box. This is fraud. It is illegal and we need to demand it stop.
My question is why is Google allowed to not disclose this STILL? These dumb boxes have been in “beta” long enough. There is obviously quid pro quo happening with them.
The definition of a monopoly is a company that uses its power to quell and oppress competition. That is exactly what Google is doing and it’s only getting worse.
Unfortunately the other search engines like Yahoo are following Google’s lead and creating their own “answer box” so going to the “competition” is not an option.
There is a reason that the quality of Google search results has been in steep decline. And I don’t think it’s because of “tweaks” to the algorithm. It’s because Google is selling the top search results to the highest bidder and we are all suffering as a result.
Of course the “totally unpaid volunteers” on the Google forums will say Google is a private company. It can do whatever it wants. Ummm no it can not. This behavior is illegal. They must disclose that these are ads not “answers”.
Google continues to get more and more brazen with their egregious abuse of power, especially stealing from small publishers.
If Google is stealing from you contact the folks at Fairsearch.org and click “report abuse” and contact your State Attorney General and report them. The answer box is clearly an advertisement and is paid whether directly or indirectly and therefore requires full disclosure.
Check out these egregious examples of Google’s complete reckless disregard for the truth in their Knowledge Graph.