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Google Search Rankings Investigated By Texas Attorney General


Atasas

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SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc.'s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas' attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet's dominant search engine.

The antitrust inquiry disclosed by Google late Friday is just the latest sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as it enters its adolescence. Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage 12 years ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world's most influential businesses with annual revenue approaching $30 billion.

A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed the investigation, but declined further comment.

The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its search results to stifle competition.

The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because Google's search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the U.S. and handles even more volume in some parts of the world.

That dominance means a website ranking high on the first page of Google's results will likely attract more traffic and generate more revenue, either from ads or merchandise sales.

On the flip side, being buried in the back pages of the results, or even at the bottom of the first page, can be financially devastating and, in extreme cases, has been blamed for ruining some Internet companies.

European regulators already have been investigating complaints alleging that Google has been favoring its own services in its results instead of rival websites.

Several lawsuits filed in the U.S. also have alleged Google's search formula is biased. Google believes Abbott is the first state attorney general to open an antitrust review into the issue.

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"We look forward to answering (Abbott's) questions because we're confident that Google operates in the best interests of our users," Don Harrison, Google's deputy general counsel, wrote in a Friday blog post.

Harrison said that Abbott has asked Google for information about several companies, including: Foundem, an online shopping comparison site in Britain; SourceTool, which runs an e-commerce site catering to businesses; and MyTriggers, another shopping comparison site.

All of those companies offer features that Google includes in its search engine or in other parts of its website. Foundem, SourceTool and MyTriggers have previously filed lawsuits or regulatory complaints against Google.

"Given that not every website can be at the top of the results, or even appear on the first page of our results, it's unsurprising that some less relevant, lower quality websites will be unhappy with their ranking," Harrison wrote.

Google says its closely guarded search formula strives to recommend websites that are most likely to satisfy the needs of each user's request. If it didn't keep its users happy, Google argues that people would become disgruntled and switch to other search engines offered by Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ask.com.

Regulators and lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe also have been looking into Google's privacy practices and its acquisitions as the company tries to fortify its power.

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You know.. I don't care to much for some of the methods.. but its how they do things.. everyone here knows that ... or should by now..

BUT.. this sounds like BS.. smells like a BS.. Looks like BS..Yes please insert long term for abbreviation.. "I smell uhhsh!^.."

Hi, I own a website and services and a company.. Billions of places advertise on my page and I do as well... ( You know that little line on the page usually separating add from result.. ).. and I am going offer my services in the results.. as they rank ( by hit ) and by the PERCENTAGE that people use and search for them... and your gonna f!@#$%^ sue me... using Anti-Trust laws on the note of monopolization... I wonder what sort of ANti-Trust Laws could be addressed everywhere... I also wonder what it would be if you didn't have to have a ton of money to make the law work for you.. Not by bribes.. or corruption.. but simply what the system is built upon.. Legal Services are money and they don't want the problem if its not going to give them any.. I mean really is it 'justice' anymore?

Hmmm... I wonder how many website have been established for over ten years... are bound by professionalism.. bound by law by being Incorporated... that are out there to be used.. and how many are not.. I mean would you want a result to give you a Mom and Pop Shop who is just going to throw their hands up and say.. 'Well thats the way the cookie crumbles..' .. or 'We don't have to do any - f!@#$^ - thing...'.. I wonder how many of them use something like Domain Samurai.. use proper host and DNS Providers to even get their rankings and names out there in the search engines.. I mean how many do you think even know how to alter something on the website they have paid to have made... Paid to have hosted.. How many of them have even sat down with a consultant to get the marketing exposure for themselves and services.. REAL IMPORTANT.. how many small business are actually capable of handling the WORK LOAD regardless of what service it may be.. How many are even financially able to.. EVEN with loans? A guru would know.. A guru would have it done.. This isn't one of those things were you put your web address on your ads and business cards.. and sit back and wonder WTH... no hits?.. This isn't instant gratification.. Its a long term investment.. You have to actively do things to get it there because of the shear number and time other sites and services have existed.. Old site new services is still going to get a rapid take off..

Now on one side of the thing I could say that I see the point.. you simply can't get around the way a list is formed.. you won't have a screen big enough.. and no flashy lights and letters... Its like driving down a street.. strip mall after strip mall.. the sign become meaningless..unless you see something everyone is talking about.. and reputable to be competent in offering the services.. OR is the latest new trend.. BUT how do you get around it..

How many billions of dollars are spent each year on merchandising, demographic and market research.. marketing itself... ridiculous..

I have a better idea.. start a 'Stimulus Program' for business startup sites offered for free by Google.. after an assessment of the site and business has been made..and found to be reputable and operating within the limits of the law for a period of I dunno 3/6 months / a year... Let them do a partnership program with points/credits accrued with joint advertising for other fresh business as a stipulation.. which demographically and from a marketing stand point of view... ( probably from keywords pertaining to the main site, or cookies From Google for the User... ) pertains to it... Oh wait...hmm that would flip it all wouldn't it.. instead of getting a penny per 1 million click or w/e.. maybe give something in return... A special section on the Search Page of results.. which list these businesses and these businesses ONLY.. as an extension of good faith and doing their part as well.. Huge company with the mentality of a leach isn't very becoming.. even if you don't see that.. Something to think about.. I wonder how that would impact their marketing and ads.. and impact their profitability as well.. I mean that is like HUGE.. ( not the Special Section Idea ) In other words that is a huge outlet to their exposure.. It is simply on every page..

Just an opinion.. but really if it that much of a problem.. They will have to go after every search engine out there.. including OpenDNS which is more prone to list results which use their DNS Servers.. not as financial gain.. but simple because its readily available information.. and the number they have are their own through their system.. Go after all of that... ridiculous.. to not do something on a broader cope.. en-cumbersome of them all.. No reason to single Google out on that point.. and/or make it pay for the mistakes of business owner or their experience with running that business or bringing themselves/presenting themselves in the marketplace..

I just feel sometimes the answer can just be like right there in front of you.. and I doubt someone is going to make a law.. That Coke has to sell Pepsi... and vice versa.. because one or more gains more market share.. The point does still remain that the richer will get richer.. and the poor just float.... If something is going t be done to help business and raise the standard of living for everyone to have better lives and success.. There should be an initiative.. but don't repeat the same cyclic behavior.. that got it all there to begin with...

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One way to win back from Google if you feel that you have been cheated is to have your members, or in the case of Alex Jones, your listeners type into Google whatever term you want that would pull other people to your site. Whatever you ask them to type into the search in Google, if you have enough people, that will become the top trend and THAT is how things really take off and fly.

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