Free Press vs Free ‘Net

Last week a piece was written in the New York Times, which suggested heavily that Google and it’s algorithm needs to be taken in hand, and monitored. Using examples like financial incentives, handling 60%+ of the web queries worldwide and how Google can break small business owners with a shift in ranking; having the government decide what Google can, and can’t change within the algorithm was pressed. Make the algo public, let the government decide what tweaks can or can’t be made, and to determine in the end, what’s relevant for users.

Needless to say, it wasn’t taken too lightly. Danny Sullivan wrote an entertaining response, using the verbage from the article nearly word for word, replacign Wall Street Journal for Google. It’s an entertaining article to read, I suggest taking the time. One of the more enjoyable points for me, he compares in the end, the WSJ to Google, and at one point even has a comparison of the business’ bias in transparency concerns.

Google will list EVERY site that applies for “coverage” unlike the New York Times, which regularly ignores potential stories

If Google blocks a site for violating its guidelines, it alerts many of them. The New York Times alerts no one

Google provides an entire Google Webmaster Central area with tools and tips to encourage people to show up better in Google; the New York Times offers nothing even remotely similar

Google constantly speaks at search marketing and other events to answer questions about how they list sites and how to improve coverage; I’m pretty sure the New York Times devotes far less effort in this area

Google is constantly giving interviews about its algorithm, along with providing regular videos about its process or blogging about important changes, such as when site speed was introduced as a factor earlier this year.

June 2007, Google allowed New York Times reporter Saul Hansell into one of its search quality meetings, where some of the core foundations of the algorithms are discussed.

Who’s article rings of more truth to you?