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#1 Guest_Phil_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 10:42 AM

No matter how much some people say that PageRank doesn't matter so much, it does matter. It isn't the most important factor in the rankings at Google but it is important just the same. The best way of increasing a page's PageRank is by getting some inbound links to it, and the higher the linking pages' PR, the more the recipient page's PR is increased. So an inbound link from a high PR page is a very good thing to have. Google have created their system so that having a higher PR is beneficial to rankings.

Is it any wonder that people wishing to advertise on other sites' pages would prefer to advertise on pages with a high PR? And is it any wonder that people would be willing to pay more to advertise on high PR pages? That's the system that Google created.

So up stepped Robert Massa of SearchKing and the PR Ad Network. He decided to price the advertising according a page's PR. Anything wrong with that? Of course not. Website owners are pleased to get more money for ads on their higher PR pages, advertisers are happy to pay more for ads on higher PR pages and the potential customers really don't care one way or the other. It's not immoral, unethical or wrong in any sense. It attempts to deceive nobody and it doesn't attempt to manipulate PR. But Google don't see it that way.

For daring to operate on the basis of PR, Google have given his site a zero pagerank (PR0). They've penalised him without any just cause. His operation does not infringe any of Google's rules but, nevertheless, they have punished him. Why? Presumably because they just don't like it, and that's tantamount to censorship - and damned unscrupulous! There is no excuse whatsoever for penalising the operation. The penalty is immoral and unethical.

In this week's newsletter, Jill put forward a different take on it but she was talking more about the wisdom of Robert Massa's operation and how he should have known the potential harm it could do to many sites on his network. I don't disagree with those views at all. But for Google to penalise a site merely because they don't like, is totally unscrupulous and abhorrent.

Phil.

#2 ricka

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 11:01 AM

The best way of increasing a page's PageRank is by getting some inbound links to it, and the higher the linking pages' PR, the more the recipient page's PR is increased.

Does it follow that incoming links from pages with low PR lower your PR?

#3 Guest_Phil_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 11:07 AM

Does it follow that incoming links from pages with low PR lower your PR?

Definitely not. All inbound links increase PR - assuming that Google has the linking pages in its index.

Phil.

#4 ricka

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 11:40 AM

But certainly links from low PR sites don't help much, right? You'd have to get a s**tload of them to make a difference.

#5 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 11:43 AM

This is true. But the PR in many of those low PR sites will increase over time, and an increase will be passed on to you, so don't ignore them.

I should have included in the previous post that inbounds from PR0 sites don't increase PR.

Phil.

#6 JeffQ

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 11:50 AM

I should have included in the previous post that inbounds from PR0 sites don't increase PR.


How can you tell if a site has been assigned the PRO status from Google? Is PRO status necessarily applied to the whole site?

Thanks,

Jeff

#7 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 12:02 PM

How can you tell if a site has been assigned the PRO status from Google? Is PRO status necessarily applied to the whole site?

If you have the google toolbar installed, a PR0 page is shown as all white in the PageRank bar. I believe that a PR0 penalty is applied throughout the domain but others may correct me on that.

PhilC

#8 Diane

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 01:30 PM

I finally got ready to install the google toolbar, found the link, and when I got there, all the info on specs said WINDOWS. I use a MAC. Anyone know if the toolbar works in the MAC environment?

Diane

#9 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 01:36 PM

Not to stir the s***, but this is quoted directly from the Googletoolbar TOS:

Personal Use Only 
Google Toolbar is made available to you for your personal, non-commercial use only (at home or at work). You may not modify, copy, publish, license, create derivative works from or sell any information or software associated with Google Toolbar, without first obtaining written permission from Google by contacting toolbar-feedback@google.com or any third party licensor who make its software available through or in conjunction with the Google Toolbar. Furthermore, you may not use Google Toolbar in any manner that could damage, disable, overburden, or impair Google's search services (e.g., you may not use the Google Toolbar in an automated manner), nor may you use Google Toolbar in any manner that could interfere with any other party's use and enjoyment of Google's search services.


Also, from Google's TOS:

You may not use the Google Search Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales.

Legally, I believe that Pagerank is part of the Search Services. Selling links is not a problem, that has always been done. Selling PR is shaky ground.


This is not censorship - Google is protecting its patent, copyright, and potential misuse of a public service.

#10 Advisor

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 01:40 PM

I finally got ready to install the google toolbar, found the link, and when I got there, all the info on specs said WINDOWS. I use a MAC. Anyone know if the toolbar works in the MAC environment?

Diane


I don't believe it works for a Mac. :(

#11 Diane

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 01:47 PM

Thanks Jill,

At least now I can remove that task from my TO DO list :(

Every little bit helps!

Diane

#12 LoneRegister

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 01:52 PM

Bottom line is that it's Google's game - and they can play it anyway they wish.

If you think they really care about any particular website - you are pretty much wrong.

What they care about is providing pertinent results to their users. That is their perceived value and service. If they don't provide this, or they loose this value in their search results. They are dead.

So - the bottom line for them is that the gentleman selling high PR advertising was jeopardizing their results. Jill was spot on with this. Google also was nice enough to warn him. He ignored it.

The users he sold to got caught. But - does not being informed save you from the law? No. I say that this is also the case. However - each individual client does have the right to Sue this businessman under something like his failure to do what he promoted. However, he'd probably win with a simple statement of "The rules changed" sorry.

Anyway - any system developed will be taken advantage of. Google's just moving the target as people get savy and take advantage of their system. They will continue to do so as they improve and design.

#13 ricka

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:02 PM

I don't believe it works for a Mac. :(


It doesn't work on a Mac, but if your Mac can run Virtual PC (which any G3 or higher can), you can install it in IE within Virtual PC. Better yet, buy a cheap PC (I just got a decent one with monitor for $60).

#14 ricka

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:05 PM

This is true. But the PR in many of those low PR sites will increase over time, and an increase will be passed on to you, so don't ignore them.

Although if you have to get them my linking back, you may be loosing more PR than you gain, and risking linking to a site which may, without your knowing it, get a PR0.

#15 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:15 PM

Although if you have to get them my linking back, you may be loosing more PR than you gain, and risking linking to a site which may, without your knowing it, get a PR0.

You will indeed lose PR by exchanging links with lower PR sites. There's nothing you can do about linking to a site that later gets the PR0 penalty, except remove the link when it happens. If you allow that to be a consideration, you won't link to any site.

#16 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:23 PM

Bottom line is that it's Google's game - and they can play it anyway they wish.

Only within the law (I'm not suggesting that what they did is illegal).

If you think they really care about any particular website - you are pretty much wrong.

I didn't suggest they did.

So - the bottom line for them is that the gentleman selling high PR advertising was jeopardizing their results. Jill was spot on with this.  Google also was nice enough to warn him.  He ignored it.

No he wasn't. From what I've understood, he wasn't selling links. He was selling advertising space and pricing it according to the page's PR - sort of like charging more for advertising in a publication that has a greater readership - standard stuff.

Also, from what I've read, he wasn't contacted by Google so they didn't warn him. If you know otherwise, please show me where to look. I'd appreciate it.

#17 Advisor

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:27 PM

This is true. But the PR in many of those low PR sites will increase over time, and an increase will be passed on to you, so don't ignore them.

Although if you have to get them my linking back, you may be loosing more PR than you gain, and risking linking to a site which may, without your knowing it, get a PR0.


And therein lies the problem with even thinking about, looking at, or worrying about PageRank.

Just find sites that you like, and link to them. And if there's sites out there that seem like they'd be willing to link to yours because it's a good fit, then make them aware of yours and tell them that a link to you might fit nicely with the other links they have.

Don't let PageRank considerations change the way you would normally link, if PageRank didn't exist (or if you never heard of it).

Seriously. You and your site will be much better off.

Jill

#18 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:29 PM

he wasn't contacted by Google so they didn't warn him


Why should they contact him?
What makes him so special?

I would think the TOS speak for themselves, the impetus was on him and he failed. He "bit the hand that feeds."

sort of like charging more for advertising in a publication that has a greater readership - standard stuff.

Except he didn't own the magazine, the product, or the subscribership.

#19 Black_Knight

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:31 PM

SEO Guy has already answered the whole issue with the quote from Google's Toolbar TOS

[quote]Personal Use Only
Google Toolbar is made available to you for your personal, non-commercial use only (My note: You may not use the toolbar in any commercial manner, e.g. determining prices)

Searchking broke the contract by which they installed and used the Toolbar. They got caught and indeed courted the wrath of Google by deliberately and openly flaunting their abuse of the toolbar and the breaking of the TOS. Personally, I think Searchking have only escaped a heavy law suit by nature of how complex the PR system may be for a law court to fully understand, and that a suit would be a risk that Google don't need to take.

One would hope that Searchking have since had the decency to uninstall the Toolbar that they no longer have permission to use (broken TOS), but somehow I doubt it.

#20 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:36 PM

Thank you Ammon,

My thoughts exactly; the PR penalty is the least of his worries.
If he keeps this up, there could be wider (legal) implications.

#21 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:36 PM

SEO Guy,

The first quote you gave is interesting andt warrants some thinking about. I don't have any legal knowledge worth speaking of but I'd guess that Google's TOS doesn't apply.

Google have published certain information, including search results and approximate pagerank values. They can legally prevent certain things from happening to the information, such as copying their material, but I doubt that they could legally prevent a person from using their published search results and their published PR figures in any way that the person wants to - as long as it is legal. I doubt that their TOS would come to their rescue if it were taken to court. Perhaps Bill has some views on it.

#22 chris

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:39 PM

It's all law on here isn't it?! For the record, I don't see anything in Google's terms and conditions that prevents Bob from doing what he did.

Seen as Google sent a legal email to Amazon Lite for just looking like them, I think if Google believed they had strong legal grounds that we'd have seen the same thing don't you?

Why should they contact him?


Because it would have stopped him doing what Google so clearly didn't want him to do, without negatively hurting lots of innocent sites maybe? You know, that little thing called fairness? Unless of course they're *SO* important that stooping to email is below them? Whether you believe Bob was right or wrong, I really can't understand anybody who thinks those sites should suffer for the sake of a single email. Google had lots of paths open to them, they appear to have chosen one that hurts innocent sites - why?

What makes him so special?


Absolutely nothing. Yet he would appear to have warranted unique and special action from Google.

#23 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:45 PM

Searchking broke the contract by which they installed and used the Toolbar.

How do you know that? I assume he had the toolbar installed but we don't know it. Are you saying that it's ok to do what he did as long as he doesn't install the toolbar? Personally, I think that what he did makes good sense all round and it really isn't any of Google's business.

I'd like Bill to come in on the TOS because, to me, they shouldn't hold up in court. As far as using PR as a criteria for anything is concerned, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Google. They publish the numbers. Once that is done, how people use them is not Google's concern.

#24 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:46 PM

He didn't need Google to contact him, he was warned by many in the business and by an employee of Google's on another board.

PageRank is a trademarked and patented technology. Nobody else has a right to it. If you can read the TOS and honestly see nothing wrong, then maybe you should be a re-seller of the pradnetwork - do you feel confident enough of your assessment of the TOS to do that?

The "singled out" was because of his manipulation of Pagerank (= SPAM)
not a personal vendetta.

#25 Black_Knight

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 02:49 PM

Why should they contact him?


Because it would have stopped him doing what Google so clearly didn't want him to do, without negatively hurting lots of innocent sites maybe? You know, that little thing called fairness? Unless of course they're *SO* important that stooping to email is below them? Whether you believe Bob was right or wrong, I really can't understand anybody who thinks those sites should suffer for the sake of a single email. Google had lots of paths open to them, they appear to have chosen one that hurts innocent sites - why?


See the second note I made in Red on the Google TOS above Chris, and explain your use of the word 'innocent' to me please. Unless the site showing the Ad had no toolbar of their own, and hadn't used it to check their own PR, they are not innocent, they too have broken the TOS.

I am an innocent site, in that I didn't try to abuse PR with a not-so-subtly titled 'PR Ad Network' - I haven't suffered at all. Seems fair to me.

At least this has all answered how much spying the toolbar can do. After all, Google might have chosen to show a toolbar PR of 10 on the sites (not an actual PR, used in calculations, just a toolbar one to be shown) to make the PR Ad Network pay out big bucks and fail. There are many ways in which SearchKing have gotten off very lightly - and their getting lots of free mentions and PR (of the other, non-pagerank sense) in all the discussion. Not a bad deal really - now they just need a product that doesn't unfairly exploit the work of others without permission.

Google could have sent an email, but then, SearchKing was actually supposed to contact them even before putting the service live, and didn't. Seems fair.

#26 chris

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:08 PM

If you can read the TOS and honestly see nothing wrong, then maybe you should be a re-seller of the pradnetwork - do you feel confident enough of your assessment of the TOS to do that?


If I wanted to be a re-seller of the pradnetwork then I would feel confident of that assessment of the TOS. The fact is I have better things to do with my time than to simply join things to prove points.

The "singled out" was because of his manipulation of Pagerank (= SPAM) 
not a personal vendetta.


You know what? I wrote a whole document on PageRank and manipulation, Google even helped me out with a section and it was linked from the PR Ad Network. Yet it's perfectly okay, no PR 0. Whether its a personal vendetta or not, it does appear to have had special attention.

explain your use of the word 'innocent' to me please


I'm talking about the sites hosted by SearchKing who did not participate in the PR Ad Network.

I am an innocent site, in that I didn't try to abuse PR with a not-so-subtly titled 'PR Ad Network' - I haven't suffered at all. Seems fair to me.


Glad to hear it. Nor did the sites I'm talking about. Only difference is - they suffered.

SearchKing have gotten off very lightly


Yes, SearchKing have only been knocked down to PR 4 - why is that?

Google could have sent an email, but then, SearchKing was actually supposed to contact them even before putting the service live, and didn't. Seems fair.


Even if that is true, and I personally have problems reading that in to the TOS. Then assuming it is a manually applied penalty..

Dear BK, your neighbour was supposed to contact me before cutting his lawn this morning. As you know, it's a bit breezy down our street and the clippings blow in to my pond. I can't have this happening again. You've got grass outside your house and you live next door to him so I'm going to concrete over both of your gardens. I don't really care that its a little bit harsh, let's face it - then no-one else in the street is going to cut their grass without first telling me.

#27 cre8pc

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:13 PM

It's time for Google to slow down and seriously consider the ramifications of it's processes. Whether legal or not, it wasn't just Google's rights that came into play in this scenerio. Some sort of compromise or discussion should have occured between Bob and Google to work out a resolution that would have put have both companies in good light, instead of bad.

Kim

#28 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:23 PM

Gotta disagree with you there, Kim. Someone should slow down, I'd say that it's Bob. Google is simply protecting the integrity of it's technology and results. I do not fault them for that at all.

My personal opinion: I think what Bob did is akin to stealing content and artwork from someone else's site and selling to others.

#29 cre8pc

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:37 PM

Point taken.

What I'm really referring to (in my own head) is how crazy things are getting with PR overall. Every forum has a thread on it and new people are very confused by it. The very idea of being pulled down because you link to a PR0 site, or they link to yours, just doesn't sit right with me. The theory behind link weight was (I thought) that a link had value because the person thought the page worthy to link to. That was the foundation. (Which when link farms came along that premise went flying out the window.)

Nowadays the link process is a popularity contest fueled by a threat of a dreaded PR0. All the hype makes for great public awareness of Google. Who needs to pay for advertising when you've got webmasters sacrificing goats to please you?

Bob took a risk. Sure, he should have checked with Google first. That still doesn't change my feeling that he and Google should have resolved this without effecting sites that had no say in Bob's decision. If, in fact, Google simply slapped a manual PR penalization and walked away from the entire issue doesn't impress me.

That's not what customer service is about.

Kim

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:42 PM

If, in fact, Google simply slapped a manual PR penalization and walked away from the entire issue doesn't impress me.

It's not google's issue...and Bob isn't their customer.

(Was he giving them a percentage of the money he made off the ads that were built off of THEIR intricately designed system?)

J

#31 LoneRegister

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:47 PM

We all have a stake in our rankings on Google. Many of us live by getting and acheiving good rankings on Google and other Search engines.

That is why so many are crying foul.

The problem is - Google doesn't share, and probably never will, their total algorithm for ranking sites. And they, have, and will continue to change that formula at their whim.

They don't necessarily owe us anything. They provide a service to their customers. Not SEO's and website developers. We can pay for Ad words or keyword select - but other than that - they are under zero obligation to deliver our sites in any way shape or form.

I don't see that there is anything illegal about them assigning a PR0 to a site for any reason. I'd hate to think that they would do it for spite or anger - and I certainly would rail against it happening to my site. But - I am not sure there would be much anyone could do.

I DO find it interesting that Searchking went to PR4 only.. weird.

Hot issue - very hot. Our jobs as SEO's is to manipulate our pages to rank high for correct results. Yet - we have to tread a fine line. Keep it "honest" or risk the might wrath of the "Search Engine!"

I am Search Engine - hear me roar!!

#32 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:51 PM

The very idea of being pulled down because you link to a PR0 site

Therein lies the misconception. I am sure I have some "bad" links throughout all my sites. I don't know - I don't have the time to check. But I don't think it makes a large penalty because of the quality of links that are put in place from the marketing of the site. If you build links the right way, (i.e., for the visitor's benefit, common sense, more and better information), then I believe you should not have to worry.

However, that said, one real bad site link could carry a lot of weight, just as one very good site link can help boost your PR.

I agree there is too much emphasis on PR, who knows if the high PR link strategy even works? That is not the criteria I use most of the time when determining links. I have many well-ranking sites that not only have very few links, some of those are high ranking with only a PR of 3-4.

Is PageRank speculation too much "sound and fury signifying nothing"? I think so.

#33 Black_Knight

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:53 PM

Google could have sent an email, but then, SearchKing was actually supposed to contact them even before putting the service live, and didn't. Seems fair.


Even if that is true, and I personally have problems reading that in to the TOS. Then assuming it is a manually applied penalty..

Dear BK, your neighbour was supposed to contact me before cutting his lawn this morning. As you know, it's a bit breezy down our street and the clippings blow in to my pond. I can't have this happening again. You've got grass outside your house and you live next door to him so I'm going to concrete over both of your gardens. I don't really care that its a little bit harsh, let's face it - then no-one else in the street is going to cut their grass without first telling me.


Dear Chris, since you are my landlord, and I only have access to the grass at all by following the terms by which you have granted me accomodation and land for free (as Google own the toolbar and provide it for free, and as Google 'own' the intellectual property of PR and only show it for free as a service, having no obligation to do so) you are fully within your rights to do so...

Of course, with the issue we are discussing, we're not discussing cutting grass (maintenance of landlords property, nor accidents such as wind). The situation is more like the following:

You are the landlord of a property that you have allowed my neighbour to use for free, but not for commercial use. Unfortunately, my neighbour has decided to abuse the conditions of the tenancy, and is sub-letting the property to others for money. My neighbour (and his tenants, and the company he founded - the receptionist of which had no knowledge of what the boss was doing) are in breach of contract and will be evicted. Sadly, that includes the tenants he sub-let to and it affects all personnel that the Neighbour employed in order to run the 'business' based on abusing free tenancy. Sadly, this also tarnishes the reputation of the neighbour, and so may also affect others who have business dealings with that neighbour, even if they are tenants in other properties that he has the rights to let.

I am unaffected, since I have no tenacy agreement with the neighbour and have not abused the property you have granted me free use of.

Still fair. If you get something for free but subject to TOS or conditions of use, ignoring the conditions is breach of contract. The moral of the story is, never sublet a free property.

What SearchKing should have done is to create their own analysis of PageRank by crawling the web themselves, building their own page ranking system that was independant of Google. They didn't do that. There is where they were wrong.

#34 SEO Guy

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 03:59 PM

I am unaffected, since I have no tenacy agreement with the neighbour and have not abused the property you have granted me free use of. 

Still fair. If you get something for free but subject to TOS or conditions of use, ignoring the conditions is breach of contract. The moral of the story is, never sublet a free property.


Damn, you're good!

#35 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:15 PM

PageRank is a trademarked and patented technology.  Nobody else has a right to it.  If you can read the TOS and honestly see nothing wrong, then maybe you should be a re-seller of the pradnetwork - do you feel confident enough of your assessment of the TOS to do that?

Nobody is arguing that PageRank isn't a trademarked and patented technology, and nobody is arguing that anybody other than Google has a right to it. We aren't even talking about the Pagerank technology.

Google publish data (PR numbers). Once they are published, anybody has a right to use them in any way they see fit, as long as it is legal. Google has no right to say what their published data can be and cannot used for. It's out of their hands.

#36 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:23 PM

Gotta disagree with you there, Kim.  Someone should slow down, I'd say that it's Bob.  Google is simply protecting the integrity of it's technology and results.  I do not fault them for that at all.

Gotta disagree with you there Matt :( PageRank's integrity isn't under threat in this case. It's not about PR manipulation - it's about placing ads on page's with existing PR and not about trying improve a page's PR.

My personal opinion:  I think what Bob did is akin to stealing content and artwork from someone else's site and selling to others.

I respect everyboy's opinions but I honestly don't see your logic in that particular one. All Bob does is make good use of published data. What's wrong with that?

#37 LoneRegister

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:26 PM

Phil,

it's not that there is anything wrong with it. It's that Google felt it would compromise the PR formula.

Which it would have.

However - the cat is out of the bag and I think others will be offering links from their site for $$ now if they have a high enough PR.

Though - they may not state it that way anywhere for the record.

#38 cre8pc

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:31 PM

Isn't anyone who uses a search engine a "customer" in the sense that you want to offer something that they want to use over and over again?

We don't know, (or I don't know) if Bob uses their Google Ads program to advertise his own business, but if he does, he's a Google customer.

Bad press for Google is what I'm referring to. Same as LookSmart and what they did and how it turned people against them who didn't agree with their tactics.

I don't have a personal stake in whether or not Google gets a bad rap or Bob does, but if I was in either of their shoes I'd be doing whatever I could to set the record straight and heal any damage that occurred.

Personally I look forward to the day I have the willpower to remove my Google Toolbar and end this nonsense for my own self. It ought to be wonderfully liberating!

Kim

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:45 PM

it's not that there is anything wrong with it.  It's that Google felt it would compromise the PR formula.

Which it would have.

Kevin,

I don't accept for one moment that Google felt it would compromise their formula. If it attempted to manipulate PR, then ok, but it doesn't. All we can assume is that they simply didn't like ads being placed according to PR criteria.

I maintain that, once Google have published the numbers, it is not their concern what people do with them. They have no rights in the matter as long as the numbers are used legally. What they did was knowingly and intentionally harm somebody's business, and I think that Bob Massa would have a good legal case. But the legal bit is just my opinion. I'd still like Bill to come in on it.

#40 sanity

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 04:50 PM

What SearchKing should have done is to create their own analysis of PageRank by crawling the web themselves, building their own page ranking system that was independant of Google.  They didn't do that.  There is where they were wrong.

Ammon you've hit the nail on the head!



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