back to article Antitrust nemesis accuses Google of 'WMD program'

Foundem – the UK-based vertical search engine that sparked antitrust investigations into Google on both sides of the Atlantic – has accused the web giant of demoting vertical search competitors with the latest major update to its famous search algorithms, an update officially aimed at reducing "webspam". In a document (PDF) …


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  1. Jaymax

    If I want to find a vertical search engine

    I imagine I'll google for 'vertical search engine'

    The last thing I want is one search engine pointing me to results on another search engine. If Google is pushing such nonsense down the results list, that's just good customer service.

    If a vertical search engine wants hits, maybe it should find channels to advertise itself directly to folks operating in that vertical - I suggest Google adwords, I hear it can be pretty effective at targetting, and you get your results showing right alongside ... ...


    Wanting your competitor to give you free advertising is just dumb.


    PS: Note to the big G: Can you feel the Googlelove? Well, kindly trot over to my prior post and taste some Googlehate+

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up


      Few things piss me off more than clicking on a promising-looking result only to find another fucking search engine pushing results that are nothing to do with what I clicked on. See, these spamming fuckers show one thing to Google, and another to us. So say, for example, I'm searching for "javascript DOM methods" and I click a result that appears to show a list of DOM methods, but when I click it all I see is a page full of "results" that are merely ads for javascript design services who have paid the spammer to push their results up. That's because the spam search engine has shown the Googlebot a page that matches the search terms, but what they serve up to me is a page of paid adverts. As far as I'm concerned, that's bait-and-switch tactics, and those that do it are as bad as the penis-pill pushers and deserve the same treatment.

      So while I generally don't think much of Google in some areas, they've done the right thing here, pushing these spamming fucks to the bottom.

      1. paulc


        if anyone doesn't believe these spamming tossers do this, then set your browser agent to pretend to be google and you'll see what they show google when google spiders them. then contrast this with the crud you get when you follow the link with your normal browser agent setting...

        It's almost like the rotten trick they used to do with white text on white background (or black on black) at the far end of the page consisting of hordes of words they want to be indexed on but are completely unrelated to the content they're actually showing you... Google stopped that by programming the search placement algorithm to ignore pages with such shenanigans going on...

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: correct

          On the subject of impersonating the googlebot, can anyone explain why the spider actually owns up to its true identity? It would seem to me that pretending to be a normal user would deliver search results that are more useful for the normal user. (Obviously you'd have to respect things like robots.txt, so you'd make a first pass posing as the spider and then use those results to direct a second anonymous pass sometime later.)

          1. M Gale

            Anonymizing the googlebot?

            Problem there is, the spammers would then probably start showing Google-ified results coming from anywhere in 1e100's IP range.

            Of course, Google could then offer incentives to their own employees to use their home connections for some distributed webcrawling. Beat that, spammers.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Still spam...

      I used the search engine I used (not always Google) as it would usually provide the relevant links in the first page UNLESS some other site has been trying to poison my search engine of choice's results.

      At this point I usually have thoughts about wanting the poisoning site to crawl into a corner and die before I move down the list ignoring the spam.

      And could you imagine the outcry if Google indexed Bing? (Or vice versa.... hang on, that sounds familiar....)

  2. NelsonHandella

    Yo Dawg...

    I heard you didn't like search in yo' search, so we're petitioning the DOJ to put search back in your search.

  3. DryBones

    Looks Like, Quacks Like...

    So that's why we always see advertisements for a rival phone book in the Yellow Pages... OH WAIT.

    Also, a quick Google of Foundem turned up their site as #1. And this little gem as #2, from 2009.

    Relevance? Someone being a wag? Lots of folks searching for dirt? You decide.

  4. DF118


    Whatever else this Panda update may or may not have done, it doesn't stop the shitty forum aggregation sites from spamming the search results for pretty much ANY tech query so I'd say fail all round on that front.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Foundem doesn't look that bad

    Their site seems tolerably well-made and useful; this is clearly not just a content aggregator. Now, that does not mean I want it to show up in every search about a commercial product, but at least they are really trying.

    Now, it is an old-age question: Your site does not show on Google because you are not famous, and you are not famous because it does not show up on Google... What to do? You advertise yourself, either by paying for ads, or by complaining loudly to the press that Google is being discriminatory.

    1. David Dawson

      Third option

      Abuse all of your customers so they write lots of forum posts saying to avoid Shoots up in the google rankings.

      Some gent over in the states seems to do this, I forget where the source was.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Fourth option

      Publish well-written content on your chosen subject. Google will index it and if the end-user, fed up with the usual dross, bothers to specify a detailed search query then you'll be at the top of the list.

      You are competing with millions of other sites. You should not expect there to be an easy way to position yourself in the top 0.000001% (or whatever the first page of search results corresponds to). If you can't understand this then you are simply too innumerate to use a computer.

  6. clean_state
    Thumb Up

    I agree

    Couldn't agree more. If I type a query on Google, I have already made my choice of search engine: Google. I don't care about other search engines and I do not want to see results from any other search engines. Actually, I think Google is currently too lenient. It should ban search engines from its results altogether, unless you are explicitely looking for "search egine".

  7. craigj


    Can't really blame them for trying...

    Opera showed us that if shout loudly enough, you can get your competitor to advertise your product freely alongside their own.

    Browser choice screen anyone?

  8. andy 45


    as opposed to Meatspam?

  9. Paul Shirley


    3 months since they last got some free publicity, now they're feeding on scraps. What's a company to do when no-one wants their product...

  10. Joe Harrison

    Can we also get rid of the stupid ads based on search terms

    The ones like "Buy cheap javascript DOM methods and save!"

  11. Inachu
    IT Angle

    I have seen those verticle search engines and 95% of the time they are spam

    If they showed an interesting link close to the subject of my search term then I click and then it brings me to a page that had nothing to do with my search term mixed in with other someone elses search term and the page was a complete mess looking as if a 5 year old built the page that I clicked on to get to.

  12. Jimbo 6

    What's that you say ?

    Google are developing WMDs ?

    Well if a bit of unsubstantiated accusation is good enough to invade a major oil produc^H^H^H^ repressive regime, then it's good enough to let Mountain View have it with both barrels !

    Let's lock 'n' load, people !!

  13. druck Silver badge

    Google Shopping Spam

    It's about time google also demoted the spam sites in the shopping section. Many of the results are of the form "£xxx from n stores", but when you go in to that page of results the legit sites are all twice as much and the one at the bottom that returned £xxx is nothing bug a bogus page not featuring the product at all.

  14. Goat Jam

    One Thing I've Noticed

    is that Google seem to be rolling out a new "Block this site from future results" feature.

    The timing is great because ExpertSexchange apparently have finally cottoned on to the fact that most techs are aware that they can scroll down the page to see what they're looking for and redesigned their pages to stop it.

    Now I have them blocked from my results I'll never have to see them again!

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      I haven't seen this feature yet

      but I hope they roll it out in Australia soon, because I've wanted the ability to block sites from appearing in my search results for years. For exactly the same reason as you - that fucking site e-e (I refuse to name them fully because it drives up their rankings)

      1. Goat Jam
        Thumb Up

        Block this site

        I think it is only on still, but I'm in Australia and you can still go there. I don't think it is on all their servers yet so it might not always appear but here's what you do.

        1) Do a google search for something, click one of the results.

        2) Click back on your browser

        Now, the result that you clicked before in the results list will have a "Block" link right next to the "Cache" link.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      still view the answers in my browser...

      ...was doing so only this morning.

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