Who Do Google Users Hate? Google Won't Tell Us

Jeff Bercovici wants Google to come clean with data about who gets blocked by the people using its new search-blocker:

There's a serious debate going on around which data-driven mass-producers of content deserve the derogatory label "content farms" and which don't, and a little transparency from Google could put an end to it. Demand Media, for instance, insists that its vast trove of eHow articles, however stupid they can sometimes be, are useful to consumers, and says it's not the kind of operator Google was targeting with recent changes to its algorithm. Traffic data since the changes went into effect offer equivocal support for Demand's claims.

But even if Demand's traffic holds up, all that tells you is whether Google's engineers consider Demand a content farm. It doesn't tell you if internet users consider it a content farm.

Unfortunately, Google apparently doesn't plan to share the data on who gets blocked with the general public.  One hopes that at least Google will use this data, when they tweak their search algorithms. Me, I'm just pleased to learn that I'll finally be able to block eHow.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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