I blogged a few days ago about Google's "Dissatisfied with results feature":http://teknision.blogspot.com/2005/08/dissatisfied-with-results.html
Well, we contacted Google about this and recieved this response:
// From the Google Team
Thank you for your note. We understand your concern that our search results have been manipulated through our new "Dissatisfied" search suggestion feature. Please be assured that this is not the case.
Our new suggestion feature offers alternative search queries when our algorithms notice you might receive a more useful set of results if your refine your search terms. This feature is entirely automated.
Although this feature is labeled with the term "Dissatisfied," it isn't directly related to the "Dissatisfied" link at the bottom of our search results pages. Based on feedback from helpful users such as yourself, we're actively considering changing these labels to help avoid any confusion. We appreciate your thoughtful feedback on this new feature.
Well I have considered this response and come up with the follwoing response back:
1/ The system is presenting links to a local competitor when you search for "Teknision" (our company). They compete in the same industry as we do, yet no other companies in our industry in this city or abroad appear via this feature.
This suggests to us that this listing was somehow planted there by them using some kind of mechanism on the Google site rather than being the result of an automated procedure. If it is truly automated, what is the criteria for this to happen? We have rarely seen this feature exposing itself across other searches we have done, so what constitutes it being invoked?
2/ If this feature is to appear more frequently in the future, it seems to us to be more harmful than good. In our case, the end user is searching for "Teknision" and 30 pages of qualified links about "Teknision" present themselves. However, 4 links down on page 1 of the results, alternative queries are being presented with inline results that override many pages of those qualified links. Those inline results are not actually related to the context of the search criteria, so again it seems as if the included query was planted rather than automated.
How is it that Google sees this as bringing value to the search experience? Would it not make more sense to present them with another link to suggested queries rather than place automated results inline?
3/ We would tend to think that most users would not be able to tell whether or not they are satisfied with the results of a search by the 4th listing within the results. Do you not think that including this feature so early in the results is degrading to the integrity of the search engine itself?
In conclusion, we are very appreciative of Google's offerings, but this feature seems to be out of line with the vision of the Google search engine as it has come to be known. So ultimately we are looking for an answer to what constitutes the invocation of the "Dissatisfied inline results" for a particular search word? What criteria exists to make this type of suggestion?
So the thing is, if the search was for "Flash Development, Teknision" i would be able to understand it as the term Flash Development could lead to a competitor. But when the search term is "Teknision" what does "Company XYZ" have to do with that?
If I am searching for info on a specific car like say a Mazda 3, it is likely that I am trying to find infomation on that car, suggesting to me that I should take a look at a Subaru WRX is not in context at all with my original search criteria, and feels like spam.
Also we tried doing a search for "Coke". If "Google's" response is correct, wouldn't it in turn list results for "Pepsi"? It doesn't. It makes me laugh becuase after years of "dissatisfaction" campaigns between the 2 companies, it doesn't produce one of these Google links.
So, I am just looking for a clear answer as to what causes these links to appear in a search.