I met Elizabeth van Couvering while working on the book. She’s published a paper titled Is Relevance Relevant? Market, Science, and War: Discourses of Search Engine Quality.
For your Friday reading pleasure. From the abstract:
Fairness and representativeness, core elements of the journalists’ definition of quality media content, are not key determiners of search engine quality in the minds of search engine producers. Rather, alternative standards of quality, such as customer satisfaction and relevance, mean that tactics to silence or promote certain websites or site owners (such as blacklisting, whitelisting, and index “cleaning”) are seen as unproblematic.