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  • http://www.iMilly.com/ Milly

    MediaPost’s coverage (free sub required) includes :-

    “Unlike most other search engines, Dogpile integrates its sponsored pay-per-click links into its searches, marking them with a “sponsored by” tag. Other major search engines separate sponsored links, placing them off to the side of the natural results. Brian Bowman, vice president of marketing and product management for Infospace, said Dogpile’s algorithm is able to distinguish between searches done by browsers looking to buy something and those just looking for some information, and based on that, serves more or fewer sponsored links.”

    Oh crap, their algorithm just skips the keywords which don’t pay.

    So a search on ‘battelle’ produces (a first page of) 20 results, with only number 3 being an advert. But a search on ‘computer’ produces (a first page of) 20 results, with only numbers 4 and 10 NOT being an advert. Searching ‘spyware’ shows actual results at 4, 10 and 16, while all the other 17 are adverts.

    Yes, that’s right, 17 or 18 of 20 so-called “Web Search Results” are just adverts duplicitously disguised as results. Sure, they have a “Sponsored by:” tag (as if that nomenclature isn’t itself duplicitous spin for “advert”), but they’re interspersed and sequentially numbered with the real results: a shabby old trick, long since abandoned by engines with even a modicum of integrity. Only 2 or 3 are, as claimed, “the best results from the Internet’s top search engines”; all the rest are payola con tricks.

    Why don’t search pundits treat Dogpile with the scorn, if not disgust, they deserve?

    SearchEngineWatch even awarded them first place for meta-engines earlier this year, without a word about this deceptive practice. Shame on them.

    And even you, John, have said no more on this site (I don’t think) than “I’m not a huge fan of how they list paid results”. I know many search pundits are more concerned with the business side than the user experience, but even so, tacit or near-tacit acceptance of this chicanery affects your credibility too.

    What about it, John? How about using your visibility to start a real discussion about this?

    Milly

  • http://www.iMilly.com/ Milly

    P.S. I tried to include some helpful URLs to the searches and award I mentioned above, but your comment spam system (apparently) consequently rejected the message.

    Fair enough, but … the rejection message is wrong, saying only: “I have enabled a feature that requires that you answer a simple question before submitting a comment. You may have mistyped the answer”. (That wasn’t the problem: only removing the URLs worked).

    I guess you should mention the limits on URLs too? Or make the rejection message more accurate?

  • Nils Rooijmans

    anybody know if dogpile shares revenue with the underlying SE’s? Or is this just a parasite?

  • http://www.iMilly.com/ Milly

    Dogpile pay to licence results from the SEs. They are just a parasite on misled users.

    How misled? From Dogpile:-

    “The specific ranking and mixture of sponsored and non-sponsored results will generally depend on the nature of your search. For example, if you are searching for commercial purposes, such as looking for information and prices on digital cameras and search for the term “digital camera prices”, the results will generally include more sponsored results and include commercial Web pages containing information on businesses offering cameras for sale. If, on the other hand, you are searching for non-commercial purposes, such as academic or general research purposes and search for the term “digital camera technology”, the results will weighted more toward articles, information and other non-commercial results.”

    So let’s compare searches on “digital camera prices” and “digital camera technology”. The first produces real results at places 4, 10 and 16: all the rest (17) so-called ‘sponsored links’. The second produces real results at places 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18: all the rest (14) so-called ‘sponsored links’.

    So even their own example of “weighted more toward articles, information and other non-commercial results” contains 70% adverts masquerading as results.

    Of course there’s no explanation of “sponsored by” on the results page itself, nor is that phrase hyperlinked or tooltipped to an explanation. Most people know the phrase from TV, where a program might be ‘sponsored by’, say, a chocolate bar. It’s a weird spin even there, but at least it’s obvious that the chocolate bar reference is an adjunct to the actual TV program. Here the advert *replaces* the program, and is designed to look as much like the program as possible. At best they’re infomercials, wrongly described as sponsorship.

    Why do Google, Yahoo, etc allow their results to be used to give credence to such unscrupulous tactics? For money, of course. Shame on them, too.

    I wonder what John’s new book has to say about Dogpile, and the shabby practice generally? Something less wishy-washy than “I’m not a huge fan of how they list paid results”, I hope.

  • ivo

    It is not fair for the people who pay for those sponsored links.
    I beleive this is not what they wanted – mixing them with regular search results.
    Hey dogpile when I pay for sponsored links I want the people who click on them to have more reliable way to distinct that it is a payed link , not just a little text below the link -” Ad by google” ???.

    By the way is there a way to say to google that I want my sponsored links to be displayed only on google.com and no where else?