Tag Archives: google bias

Is Google showing favortism to their Venture companies in organic search results?

I just discussed Bustle.com starting a NEW news aggregating website called Romper.com with millions in Venture Capital from some major search engines/internet service providers and the very impressive profits they have already posted after 2 years online.

I have also talked extensively about The Inquisitr and how the site was started by someone from a TechCrunch which is owned by AOL. These big search engines like AOL and Google are pumping billions in to companies many of which rely exclusively on how well they rank in organic search results.

A site like Bustle which was originally a Google Venture and now a Venture of Time Warner and Facebook is a site that relies exclusively on how well it ranks period. It makes all its money on advertising. So is it really so absurd to suggest that Google is using their power to help these Venture companies rank at the top to ensure they are profitable?

I should clarify when I say “Google” I am actually referring to the oligarch cabal running Silicon Valley…Google, Facebook, Time Warner, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, etc since they are notorious for making agreements with one another that will benefit each other’s companies and prevent any real competition from emerging, and since the employees, especially executives and software engineers seem to flow in and out seamlessly from giant to giant and Venture capital overlaps.

They have all entered the Venture Capital biz and are funneling huge amounts of capital into companies which rely on how well they rank. So with millions of websites out there all competing for the same eyeballs do you think these executives may have struck some deals to protect one another at the expense of the rest? Of course.

I found this really great article on Google Venture companies and the apparent special treatment they are receiving from Google.

This quote is key:

“……money is actually the second most valuable thing that Google brings to the company. Websites owned by Google Ventures have direct access to Google. Quoting from an archived version of their own site “We provide unparalleled (and real) access to Google’s massive network of employees and alumni.” If that includes access to people that know how the algorithm works and how to optimize for it, that knowledge is virtually priceless.”

Right? And why in the world would we assume that Google is not using this massive power of the almighty algorithm to help the sites they are pouring millions in to?

In fact we just discussed that Google has a patent that would allow them to connect data from advertisers to their organic rank…data like how much they are spending on ads and what search terms they are trying to rank for. In other words the algorithm sets up a system that allows Google to favor the sites that will profit them the most leaving the best results at the bottom.

Check out this guy’s profileIhar Mahaniok used to work at Google doing among other things “Data analysis, ranking”. You think this guy knows something about Google’s “secret sauce” and getting a site to rank? Well now Ihar is working for a Venture capital firm Empire Angels. He also works as a Software Engineer at Facebook which is pretty interesting considering all of the NDA’s these guys sign especially a guy who would have the inside scoop on Google’s ranking algorithm.

Do you think he may be able to help the Venture capital sites owned by Facebook like Bustle and Romper rank well with Google? And don’t you think Google knows this?

These Silicon Valley Giants are all using their monopolistic power to extort money from people. After all Amazon was just found allegedly extorting money from people to increase their IMDB rankings.

People wonder why Google search results are declining in quality and why people can’t rely on any information they find online even from ‘reputable’ places like IMDB. This is why. Google is constantly “tweaking” their algorithm, tweaking it in a way that ensures they make more money with out any regard for the quality of the information they are delivering and the rest of the Silicon Valley Oligarchs are following their example and figuring out ways that they can use their credibility and power to extort money from the public.

What scares me most is the sheer volume of content being produced by content sweatshops on a daily basis. Bustle.com claims to have over 100 full-time staff on salary and over 27 million dollars to “aggregate” aka copy and paste content for years to come –content that will continue to clog the search engines at an exponential rate and prevent us from finding the meaningful information we are searching for.

Time to demand the Google monopoly and the Silicon Valley oligarchy that controls the gateway to all information be broken up so that internet search results can truly be “organic”.

‘Bustle.com’ spawns a new demon child ‘Romper.com’

The only reason I started noticing Bustle.com is because they kept showing up at the top of the organic search results out of nowhere a few years ago when they first started.

I looked them up and saw that they were brand new. I was perplexed at why Google was giving this site with no track record whatsoever so much precedence over better more relevant search results.

Then I saw that they were funded with a combination of Google Venture capital and Time Warner capital…so two search engines funding a D list celebrity tabloid site in the name of empowering women.

Here is a quote on the funding from Forbes,

“To fund its expansion, he’s raised $5 million more in venture funding from Social+Capital and Time Warner, existing investors, along with R&R Ventures, a fund run by Dick Parsons and Ron Lauder.”

Eventually Google dropped out, but only because they were angry that Goldberg got Time Warner involved behind their back. So now the primary money is from Time Warner and Facebook. Social Capital is a venture capital company owned by Chamath Palihapitiya from Facebook.

Do you think this tiny women’s website may have some pull in terms of their search rank? After all the behemoths of Silicon Valley have been caught making agreements with one another on multiple occasions.

In other words if you or I had the brilliant idea to start a website targeted at women’s issues do you think people would be throwing millions of dollars at us?

Why would these companies invest in an idea that is far from original and actually completely saturated since theoretically if you start a website you have to prove yourself to Google and other search engines and work your way up which takes years—unless you have a way to control your search rank.

If you have ever started a website you know no matter how great your content is you will be lucky to make $3 a day your first year and by year 4 or 5 you will be very lucky to make 5 figures a year.

But hey in July of 2014 this brand new site crossed 11 million monthly unique visitors after hitting 10 million in June and as of October 2015 was on target to bring in over $10 million in revenue after their 2nd full year in operation. Bustle is now pulling in 31.6 million unique views a month. Again if you have ever started a website you know how absurd and impossible these figures are, particularly in light of the very low quality of their content.

In fact in this BusinessInsider article in the comments section someone calls them out on lying about these statistics pointing readers to this site where you can see Bustle only has 10-15 million visitors a month with a 73% Bounce rate and only 1.05 seconds on the site and a very Slow load time: (2.478 Seconds), 73% of sites are faster.

“Looks like they are buying shady traffic according to Similiar Web. 45mm uniques is great, but not if it’s all paid for…” the reader claims.

I’m guessing this is why Bustle decided to disable any comments. They can’t have anyone calling them out on their lies publicly.

And have you noticed the obscene political bias of the site? Their love for Hillary Clinton is cringeworthy. Im no fan of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, but the Hillary love from Bustle coupled with their pervasiveness atop any Google search result is disconcerting for sure.

So Bustle is so amped up over their explosive growth they are now launching a demon spawn child called Romper.com (God help us!!)

Margaret Wheeler Johnson, Bustle’s managing editor claims, “We were reaching a huge number of millennial women at Bustle, and we realized that although the average age of first birth is twenty-six years old, there is no millennial-focussed parenting site.”

And yet strangely Romper appears to primarily cover D list tabloid reality show gossip just like its mom Bustle. Just what the world desperately needed–ANOTHER site to aggregate tabloid celebrity news. And the fact that the New Yorker has written an article gushing about this brilliant idea to start a website to aggregate news is also indicative of the inside connections the owners possess.

Check out some of the reviews from Bustle employees on Glassdoor.com,

“Low pay (started at $10/hr), emphasis on quantity over quality (article quota becomes overwhelming), no benefits, creatively draining

Advice to Management

Pay your writers better and allow your writers more time to produce quality articles rather than just pushing them to write clickbait.”

And another…

“Pay could be much better. Also article quotas could be a bit much; I would have appreciated more time to really perfect my articles instead of just churning out content as fast as possible.”

Both reviews from writers complain that Bustle is obsessed with quotas and pumping out content with little regard to quality.

My issue with these websites is not that they are horrible. Horrible websites will come and go constantly. My issue is how they are being subsidized and helped by serious inside connections.

How did Bustle go from a PageRank of 0 to 6 in 2 years? — especially since Google claims they no longer change PageRank. (No they no longer change PageRank for sites without inside connections. That way the riff raf aka public can never really compete).

Why are the content curators and internet providers allowed to also be content creators since they determine who lives and who dies in the website biz.

And when will we hear more of an outcry from the public about these so-called “venture” companies rising to the top of the organic search results with such low quality content while the small publishers busting their tails to bring the public the valuable content they are actually searching for are pushed farther and farther down in the ranks? We already know from the leaked FTC documents that Google created a special algorithm to promote it’s own interests. These interests must include Venture Companies.

The pattern I continue to notice again and again with sites like Bustle and The Inquisitr is that they were started by Venture Capital money by big very connected owners and investors, usually the search engines themselves all under the guise of some big social justice meme. Yet ALL end up just being tabloid content farms copying and pasting their content from other places.

There are a lot of issues here and laws that are being broken with regard to disclosures and I hope the public will start raising some hell and demanding this VC insider shell game stop.

If you still think Google is not using their God-like powers to help companies they invest in check out this story on Thumbtack–the site was caught buying spammy backlinks and penalized but the penalty was removed by their biggest investor, Google a mere 3 days later and yet spammy back links still pervade the site.

 

Is Google showing favoritism to their top advertisers?

Google makes 96% of their profits from Adwords and Adsense — selling advertising to publishers. Yes despite all of the fanfare around Google shopping, Google Play and Google travel, etc, their billions don’t come from those ventures.

Their revenue comes from selling advertising period.

Remember that in 2014 Google’s full year revenue was an astounding $66 billion, up 19% year to year….so Google made over 60 BILLION dollars from selling ads. (As a side note, interesting considering pay outs to publishers as in CPCs and CTRs have been crashing while Googles profits explode year after year–that’s what happens when you allow monopolies to emerge).

So is it really so far fetched to suggest that Google is abusing their enormous power and showing favoritism to the publishers paying them the most money?

As a small publisher that pays Google zero dollars to advertise I can tell you first hand that I have witnessed the big publishers out rank us again and again with our own content–both when they scrape their content directly from us and publish it weeks later and give us no credit and when they scrape the info from us and source us.

In fact I am writing this because yet AGAIN Wetpaint has outranked us with an article that we were ranked #1 with for some time (during which it received little search volume). Yes this certain term received enormous volume last night when “The Bachelor” premiered and suddenly despite being the primary source of the info Wetpaint was pushed to the #1 spot with an article that did a poor job of scraping all of the info we previously reported.

I have witnessed this phenomena again and again and again over the last 2 years. It’s like neither Wetpaint nor Google cares so long as the search term is not receiving that much volume, but as soon as the volume blows up Wetpaint or another top Google advertiser mysteriously becomes #1.

It’s almost as if it’s written in to the Google algorithm.

If a search term is getting low volume then Google allows the best source to be at the top (makes Google look legit, right?), but if a search term suddenly receives a surge in volume Google shuffles organic search results around to allow their top advertisers to enjoy that surge. After the surge ends everything shifts back to normal.

Well it might sound crazy if Google did not have a patent to facilitate such action.

Google denies that they base organic search results on who is paying them, but as usual their patents tell a different story.

I found this telling article.

“A patent was granted at the USPTO today that points to a different story.

As Matt Cutts noted in the not too distant past, just because Google has a patent on something doesn’t mean that they are currently using it. A patent was granted to Google today that seems to contradict that statement about site rankings and Google ads.

What if Google used information about the terms that a site was advertising on in search results to learn more about the site and what terms were important for it?

What if Google looked at the ads displayed on a site to better determine what it was about for purposes of search rankings?”

Yes what if Google looked at the advertising dollars plus the search terms a site wanted to rank for?

Intuitively this is what I have felt for some time because the quality of the content from sites like Wetpaint has been so poor—they get their facts wrong constantly and spend no time verifying anything. NTM they are not the first to publish stuff yet they outrank the sites who are.

From the Abstract of the patent:

“Systems and methods for improving search rankings using advertising data are disclosed.

In one embodiment, a search engine implements a method comprising receiving a search query, identifying a plurality of articles relevant the search query, determining advertising data associated with the search query, and ranking the articles based at least in part on the advertising data.”

“Advertising data” like advertising dollars and search terms.

The comments are great. Here is one..

“As I noted on G+, um, whoa. If Google is using (has used) paid search data to influence organic rankings, they may have finally opened search up to anti-trust claims. Not speaking as a lawyer, just someone who recognizes some major problems with this.

And of course, they’d also probably be violating all sorts of FTC disclosure regulations.

I simply can’t bring myself to believing that this is the case…”

And this one,

“Just having the patent registered, to my mind, is possible intent to use in future. Playing the constantly fluxing search engine guideline game is bad enough, without having cash influence a competitors result. I can’t say I blame a friend for leaving the SEO game – too many variables and it makes my head hurt.”

It sure is! Google would not spend time and money getting this patent unless they intended to use it.

Remember Google claims:

“Objectivity. We believe it is very important that the results users get from Google are produced with only their interests in mind. We do not accept money for search result ranking or inclusion. We do accept fees for advertising, but it does not influence how we generate our search results. The advertising is clearly marked and separated. This is similar to a newspaper, where the articles are independent of the advertising. Some of our competitors charge web sites for inclusion in their indices or for more frequent updating of pages. Inclusion and frequent updating in our index are open to all sites free of charge. We apply these principles to each of our products and services. We believe it is important for users to have access to the best available information and research, not just the information that someone pays for them to see.”

I can’t help but hear the phrase…”thou doth protest too much”.

What this statement means is ‘just because we can show favoritism to big advertisers don’t worry we won’t’. The question is why does Google get to hide behind this veil of secrecy in the first place?

Then there are countless claims like this from Adwords customers who claim Google reps hassle them to constantly to raise their bids, promising “more exposure”. (keep in mind the article is from Google shill Barry Schwartz, but the comments are telling.Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.59.56 AM

There are plenty of blogs out there that insist the Google pay to play theory is totally bogus, but you may want to take a closer look at who is writing those blog like this one by attorney Lee Rosen.

Rosen says,

“Cutting to the chase: buying ads from Google doesn’t improve organic ranking. It has no impact.”

Interestingly Lee’s son runs a “Google advertising business”.Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 12.05.43 AM

From his website,

“Since becoming a PPC manager and focusing on online advertising, I’ve not only gained professional ad certifications from Bing and become a Google Ads Certified Partner, but I’ve worked on developing a personalized PPC marketing system that we can quickly and easily implement to help quick start your business.”

So the son is even “certified” by Google!!! That appears to be how Google deals with the grey area of linking PPC to organic rank via “certified partners”…wink, wink, nudge, nudge. You need to hire a “certified partner” because they know the tricks.

You will find tons of blogs just like this by folks insisting Google is way above board–nothing to see here, move along, but again take a closer look at the writers and their vested interest in big G.

Google has crossed the line, but the FTC has shown their alliance with Google again and again. And before anyone can call for more regulation as the answer, I would point to how the FTC buried extensive evidence that Google was in fact a monopoly–discovered in Spring of 2015.

In fact regulation IS the problem. I would say this is an example of why we need to get rid of the FTC and other regulation agencies because they ALWAYS protect the monopolies and ignore the law.

Instead Google needs to be broken up in accordance with the law that already prohibits this behavior. I can only hope that some big guns out there with some big attorneys will find a creative way to force Google to stop this illegal and unethical behavior.

PS, don’t forget the Google whistleblower from 2014 and his/her claims about how Google was grossly abusing their monopoly power and was playing favorites with publishers even creating a “VIP list”. Google does not exactly have a rep for not being “evil”.

BTW: Here is a good article on the BIG problem with Google being the arbiter and disseminator of ALL the worlds information.

UPDATE 4/19/2016

Check out this guy selling do follow links on some of Googles biggest advertisers. He is doing it to this very day. This is allegedly highly unethical in Google’s eyes yet these big sites do it blatantly out in the open with no consequences.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.07.17 PM

See the rules only apply if you are not paying Google big bucks via Adwords.

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