Google search results way less than perfect

Though Google seemed fantastic when it appeared, lately become something of a behemoth, with fingers in many pies, and evidently no longer focused on delivering excellent search results. - I've lately contacted them, re some sites that have pages with near identical content, just differing in place names ("your review of tiddlyplace here" etc - and no reviews or anything as yet). These appear in results for some small Hong Kong places for which there are few real pages; can rank quite highly, yet they're worthless (without the reviews or whatever). Much discussion of Google problems at Webmasterworld forum, but not much in main media. Now, a piece about Google problems on investor site Motley Fool -

How Google Is Killing the Internet, with some comments that should be food for thought for people who've perhaps thought of Google as nigh on saintly ("do no evil" as motto!) includes:

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent) ...

I noticed that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) insiders are continuing to drop shares on the public at a rate that boggles the mind. Here's just a brief peek at the latest tallies. I bring it up only because I occasionally entertain the thought that Google has, in fact, destroyed the Internet. Well, not the physical Internet, mind you. Just the whole "looking for data" part of it that's key to Google's (alleged) information-based mission. The part that's held the key (so far) to its financial success. Any of you try searching lately? Notice the astounding lack of quality across the board, even at revamped competitors like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and IAC/InterActiveCorp's (Nasdaq: IACI) Ask.com? I feel your pain. I, too, have spent hours stuck in the revolving door of link farms, splogs, and scraper sites. These sites look like they contain content, but when you see the results page, often it's not there (because of tricks like keyword stuffing and cloaking). If it is there, it's often recycled material from other providers, compiled by an automated process.

The jokers who create these sites have one goal: Trying to get you to click on a Google AdSense link. Of course, such sites run contrary to Google's terms of service, but that hasn't stopped zillions of them from popping up. In fact, a search on "adsense ready web site" will give you a glimpse of the often-sleazy, bigger-than-a-cottage, scraper-site industry that's sprung up to try to capitalize on the phenomenon. How Google killed the golden goose. There are multiple problems here, all of which will be costly (if not impossible) for Google to eradicate. The first issue is good old-fashioned thievery. ... Whether or not you believe that the junk sites out there peddling AdSense ads are honest commerce or capitalizing on large-scale click fraud, there's little doubt in my mind that we've got Google to thank for it. There's simply no reason for people to set up these sites if they can't skim dough via third-hand revenue sharing enabled by Google's business model. With Yahoo! and others set to get in on the same gig, I don't think we'll see this trend abate. ... what makes you think Google wants to stop it? With AdSense providing so much of Google's revenue, I don't think Big Goo is in any hurry to flip over the rock and show everyone out there what's underneath. And that's where those stock sales come back in. Why do insiders continue to drop all those billions if the sky's the limit? Diversification? Ha! Go ahead, pull the other one. ...

That's not much of a concern for the press out there, which is blissfully unaware of its prime position as Most Likely to Be Head Dupe in Google's hype machine. All the newsroom knows is that Google is prime headline fodder, and more importantly, it's not Microsoft, so everything it does must be worthy of ink. ...

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