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An Interesting Note in Google's 10K: No Favored Nation Status for AOL

By - March 18, 2006

Shark-TmThanks to Bear Stearn’s Robert Peck, for doing the work, in the summary of the 10K he finds:

Google also stated that they have substantially completed negotiations with Time Warner and AOL and expect the investment to close in 2Q06. One of the prior elements in the agreement, “making AOL content more accessible to Google web crawlers”, was removed, likely due to concerns that Google would give AOL’s content preferential treatment in its search results. AOL represented 9% of revenues in 05, down from 12% of revenues in 04.



So, it seems, Google and AOL have quietly dropped one of the most controversial elements of the deal. Remember the hubbub (I made a shark jumping comment, you may recall)?

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  • http://www.webmetricsguru.com Marshall Sponder

    That’s good news to hear John! I was wondering what was going to happen to Google’s search results if they compromise their brand by diluting it with AOL’s rich media content.

    It’s probably not in AOL’s interest either – to lessen on of the main features that makes Google more attractive, still, to searchers.

    It’s almost like trying to copy a winning formula – trying to find out how the old violins were made 300 years ago – that had a special sound. Everyone tried to figure it out (I don’t know it has been figured out).

    Google somehow, managed to stuble onto something that works – they have to protect that or else they’re going to end up like Yahoo- a Las Vegas online search engine with something for everyone – but a little to much for anyone.

  • SorenG

    I don’t think Google ever said they were going to change their system to show AOL content more, only that they were going to help AOL (through various kinds of guidance I think) get higher rankings. While it is nice that they no longer say this, I am not so sure if this “extra help” is not going to happen anyway. Businesses working together tend to help each other as they can. So is Google really not going to give AOL some extra help to get higher rankings, or are they going to do so but simply not mention it publicly? And will we ever know?

  • http://joeduck.blogspot.com Joe Hunkins

    As one of those who ranted a lot about that provision I’m happy to see it’s not getting formalized in the final agreement. AOL partnering is not very “cool” as we move into the new web, but this is no shark jump by Google.

  • JG

    I agree with SorenG. Were not there all those assurances to you, John, from Marissa Mayer directly, that the Google algorithm would remain pure? Didn’t she say that this AOL preferred treatment was really only about teaching AOL how to design good, clean, search crawler/indexer/retriever-friendly pages, just like Google does with other large clients?

    So if that’s all true, why remove the statement? Why not instead leave the statement, and clarify exactly what “helping AOL” means? By removing it, it makes it look extremely suspicious, that the initial deal wasn’t really only about search-engine friendly website design.

    This might not be a Googalian jump the shark anymore, but it now makes it look like they were seriously considering doing so, at one time. What does that portend, when they face their next crisis?

  • anon y mous

    I recently spoke with some people inside AOL and they were complaining to me about how Google would not give them any SEO tips at all.

  • http://www.computer-poster.com hyafeng

    that is a good news, but recent,the google index is not stable, quite different in just a few minutes.