The Politics of SERPs

NYT today has an overview of the ongoing JewWatch.com case. The case reveals the bind Google faces when asked to remove offensive search results, in this case, the first result for the word "Jew" is an anti-semitic site. I am sure that does not leave many "feeling lucky." The company,…

NYT today has an overview of the ongoing JewWatch.com case. The case reveals the bind Google faces when asked to remove offensive search results, in this case, the first result for the word “Jew” is an anti-semitic site. I am sure that does not leave many “feeling lucky.”

The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., said it had no plans to remove the site from the search results list because it trusts its automated program to rank Web sites accurately. The search engine has been listing “Jewwatch.com” as the first-ranked site for three years.

“We find this result offensive, but the objectivity of our ranking function prevents us from making any changes,” said David Krane, a spokesman for Google, adding that an exception is made only in cases where a site is illegal. Mr. Krane said the company has, for example, removed sites from its rankings that promote pedophilia, which is illegal.

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What Does Google Know Trademark Lawyers Don’t?

They must know something, because late last week they notified their advertisers that it was open season on trademark keyword buys (CNET story here). Yes, this is the long simmering issue that is still in the courts – trademark owners don't want third parties bidding on their trademarked terms (the…

They must know something, because late last week they notified their advertisers that it was open season on trademark keyword buys (CNET story here). Yes, this is the long simmering issue that is still in the courts – trademark owners don’t want third parties bidding on their trademarked terms (the most well-known case is Playboy).

In any case, this is a bold move, akin to “waving a red flag at the bull” as one source told CNET. But is it? At the end of the day, the law favors clarity and consistency, if it can. Seems to me this move forces clarity: It’s all or nothing. Google is, by its action, declaring what it thinks is the appropriate approach – let the market decide. LImiting *some* keywords forces the courts into a never ending cycle of litigation around where the boundaries w/r/t fair trademark use are.In the current political climate, such an approach will probably prove futile in the long run. Google is playing this move against what they believe is the end game, and they may not be far off in their estimation of the courts.

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More Open Source Search: Mozdex

Mozdex launched recently, it's an open source search engine that uses DMOZ as its seed corn. Cool: Every result has an "explain" button that shows the ranking code. Now that's interesting. It's a tad slow, and new so it's incomplete, but I hope takes off…and I hope Nutch will as…

mozlogoMozdex launched recently, it’s an open source search engine that uses DMOZ as its seed corn.

Cool: Every result has an “explain” button that shows the ranking code. Now that’s interesting.

It’s a tad slow, and new so it’s incomplete, but I hope takes off…and I hope Nutch will as well. (My 2.0 column on Nutch here…)

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Cramer: Google IPO Proves System Is Corrupt

A great Cramerian rant on why the Google IPO could be a "train wreck." Excerpts: And Google could be worth every penny, at least the pennies that the investment bankers are pitching it for, although it may not be worth what it ultimately ends up trading for. That’s because the…

traderwoesA great Cramerian rant on why the Google IPO could be a “train wreck.”

Excerpts:

And Google could be worth every penny, at least the pennies that the investment bankers are pitching it for, although it may not be worth what it ultimately ends up trading for. That’s because the disparity between where the bankers price the IPO and where it opens could be the largest gulf in the history of IPOs, in part because neither the government nor the industry has done a thing to fix a system that broke down and descended into corruption and stupidity during the dot-com heyday. Put simply, Google could end up being the biggest IPO, and the biggest IPO train wreck, in history….

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Findory Featured…

Newsearch engine Findory is profiled in this Seattle Times article. Like Topix, this engine creates personalized news pages based on your interests. Findory watches what your read and presents related stories. The founder, Greg Linden, cut his teeth in Amazon's personalization foundry……

findory Newsearch engine Findory is profiled in this Seattle Times article. Like Topix, this engine creates personalized news pages based on your interests. Findory watches what your read and presents related stories. The founder, Greg Linden, cut his teeth in Amazon’s personalization foundry…

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Microsoft: Fat around the Middle?

This BusinessWeek article, which I missed but an alert reader pointed me to, takes the thesis that MSFT is facing middle age with uncertainty. The piece runs down the threats: Linux, slow growth, bloated core product that hasn't had an update in years, anti-trust suits….then runs down how they are…

msftgatesThis BusinessWeek article, which I missed but an alert reader pointed me to, takes the thesis that MSFT is facing middle age with uncertainty.

The piece runs down the threats: Linux, slow growth, bloated core product that hasn’t had an update in years, anti-trust suits….then runs down how they are reacting.

So check this out: They keep a list.

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The Font of Tragedy

Our culture often counters success with the rebuke of pridefulness, the font of tragedy. News.com reports from a Stanford MBA panel, where a Google exec (Salar Kamangar) gave the reporter, search beat veteran Stefanie Olsen, the sense that he was "downplaying the looming threat of search competition from Microsoft, saying…

Our culture often counters success with the rebuke of pridefulness, the font of tragedy. News.com reports from a Stanford MBA panel, where a Google exec (Salar Kamangar) gave the reporter, search beat veteran Stefanie Olsen, the sense that he was “downplaying the looming threat of search competition from Microsoft, saying his company doesn’t expect to see a credible product from the software giant for years.”

I dunno if this was a misinterpretation, but…this reminds me of what Marc Andreesseen said lo so many years ago (the famous quote where Windows was dismissed as buggy device drivers…). Also, new Google recruit Anna Patterson dismissed MSFT’s search in this story a month ago. A trend? Probably not. But it’s not beyond many to call it so.

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I’ll Take Mesothelioma for $100

Lawyers lick their chops at the chance to prosecute a mesothelioma case. That's why the rare form of cancer caused by asbestos is a high-value keyword. Apparently the term has hit $100 a click, according to this UPI report….

Lawyers lick their chops at the chance to prosecute a mesothelioma case. That’s why the rare form of cancer caused by asbestos is a high-value keyword. Apparently the term has hit $100 a click, according to this UPI report.

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