A journal that focuses on Flash Platform development, and a little bit about what I am up to on any given day.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Dissatisfied with results?

Google has recently been experimenting with a new feature:

"Dissatisfied with Results"

Here is a link to a small discussion I found on search engine watch about the issue:

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050805-110030

The feature allows you to make a search, and If you are dissatisfied with the results you get back, you can fill out a form that allows you to describe why you are dissatisfied, as well as enter a link to the content you think should be listed there.

Try doing a Google search, and look to the bottom of the first page for the link to the form.

Dissatisfied? Help us improve

By doing this, a new set of links appear when someone does a search that are inserted, and they are inserted right on the front page, about 3 or 4 links down.

Google to me has always been genious in the way they have built their web applications, but I would say that this is the first time I have ever seen them publicly deploy a feature this precarious. Let me explain why:

1/ Users will have the ability to force results into a search. Before this was achieved by Google AdWords, which are unintrusive. AdWords are also sponsored, so the party that recommends the content, has to pay for it's placement in the search.

This dissatisfied mechanism allows a third party to insert it's own results unsponsored into a set of results free of charge. This means that your results are no longer neutral, they are subject to other's opinions, and more than that, they may lead you off course easier, as another may purposely plant results meant to steer you away from what you are looking for.

2/ Most people that are dissatisfied with a search, would not know the url of the content they would be searching for, that is why they would be doing a search in the first place. Therefore, the only people that would take advantage of this feature will be spammers.

A competitor of ours has already leveraged this new feature to insert it's own links inline into a search for Teknision. When you do a search on Teknision you get about 30+ pages of related links about our company, but now compeitition is free to come in and override qualified links with their own suggestion.

3/ By presenting the Dissatisfied feature a few links down on the main search page inline, you are degrading the integrity of your own system. Putting the word dissatisfied right in the results suggest to the user that the search engine has not found the right content.

Google should present the Dissatisfied feature as a link, not inline results at the top of the search. By adding this feature this way, they begin to breakdown the neutrality of their system that everyone has grown to love, and instead replace it with a digital battleground that will annoy a large amount of current customers they have for functionality such as Google AdWords.

6 Comments:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Here's some useful info on feature search page
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