Google Claims They Solved the 'All Press Is Good Press' Issue

By Alexis C. Madrigal

In a startling article this past weekend, The New York Times revealed that a small company, DecorMyEyes, was using negative attention -- and the links it generates -- to drive up its search engine ranking.

Today, Google says that they've tweaked their algorithm to eliminate the problem. But, they are refusing to give out any details about how they might have done so. They ruled out simple positive or negative sentiment analysis and specifically blocking DecorMyEyes, leaving me wondering how Google could have done what they say they have.

Any ideas out there?

* Instead, in the last few days we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience. The algorithm we incorporated into our search rankings represents an initial solution to this issue, and Google users are now getting a better experience as a result. We can't say for sure that no one will ever find a loophole in our ranking algorithms in the future. We know that people will keep trying: attempts to game Google's ranking, like the ones mentioned in the article, go on 24 hours a day, every single day. That's why we cannot reveal the details of our solution--the underlying signals, data sources, and how we combined them to improve our rankings--beyond what we've already said. We can say with reasonable confidence that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google. And we will continue to work hard towards a better search.

Read the full story at Google Blog.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/google-claims-they-solved-the-all-press-is-good-press-issue/67311/