Omnipotent Google?

Just read an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Adam Raff, who owns Foundem, an Internet tecnology firm. It came to my attention by way of Axandra’s newsletter, which comes to my inbox each Tuesday. If you aren’t getting it, you totally should. It’s just one way for me to keep current with all the SEO News, you see.

Anyway, Raff brought up some definite issues regarding Google’s dominance of the Internet. Let’s face it with 71% of the U. S. search market and 90% of Britain’s, Google is the 600-pound gorilla online. What Raff states is that when considering the “net neutrality” issue, “search neutrality” should also be considered.

“The F.C.C. needs to look beyond network neutrality and include “search neutrality”: the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.”

Does Google Have the Right?

Google has brought us a lot of great products, but what Raff insists is that Google has control over who see which results, and their stuff always comes up first. Example: Universal search. What shows up? YouTube videos, Google Maps, and so on. Plus, they have the ability to wipe sites off the search map, if they so desire.

Editor’s note: It has to be mentioned that Foundem is one such company that was penalized by Google and wiped out of search. Who knows why, but generally Google doesn’t do such things unless there is some black hat magic going on. I mean, you really have to be pissing Google off to be banned from results altogether. So, Raff’s conclusions aren’t totally unbiased.

But let’s think about it. Companies are at the mercy of Google. If we want to advertise in AdWords, we have to do it precisely as Google wants us to do it, or pffft!!!! Bad quality score. Your ad isn’t seen, and you pay $5 for a click that should cost 25 cents, if search customers see your ad at all.

Or what about Google AdSense? Sure, you can participate, until you do something that Google doesn’t like. They really hate it when you put any site with AdSense into a traffic exchange. You’re not doing anything to encourage clicks, but they see it as a no-no, and so… they pull your account — for life! Yep. Happened to me when I was a stone newbie, so I’m not totally without a beef against Google. Yet, it wasn’t so bad that it really hurt my business. If I wanted to use contextual advertising that badly, I could do it elsewhere, but that’s not the point…

How Googled Are We?

The point is: How much power have we given Google?

And… how much will they have when all is said and done?

You’ve heard of SkyNet, if you watched any of the Terminator movies, right? That’s a silly, extreme example, but should we be giving that much weight to any entity online or off? I mean, I use Google just as much as everyone else, and I really think their stuff is swell. I use much of it every day from Google docs to Analytics. They really have done a great deal to help, and as a business owner, I do appreciate it.

But some people think that Google is just getting too big for its britches. What do you think? Should Google be regulated?

What are your thoughts?

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