I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago discussing content farms—essentially quick, crappy pages companies will post with minimal information about highly searched subjects, then add their own spam messages, just so that these pages rank high very quickly—and that they would be targeted by some of the search engines in order to cut down on the growing mass of garbage clogging the internet. I’m not sure why, but I just had a vision of Google acting like a giant garbage disposal tearing up the content farms and sending them down the drain. Huh, violent thoughts. I must be spending too much time around Dean (our COO).
Now there’s a follow-up. Google is asking folks who use their Chrome browser if they’d like to participate in a little experiment. What might that be? It would be an extension that not only blocks certain sites from search results—content farm sites—but allows you to create a personal list of blocked sites. Google is going one step further, too, in that Chrome then sends the list of sites you’ve blocked back to them.
It’s a step in the right direction. Then, too, new search engines like Blekko have already been designed to remove content farms from their rankings. But this does raise a few questions. We already know that the internet can be manipulated, so how will Google stop this from happening and curb any temptation companies might have to sabotage the search engine results of their competitors? The intent of Chrome is absolutely worthwhile, but there will be those who will try to steer its usage for their own means.
Actually, I’ll even pose the same question to Google itself. Who will monitor the results of their efforts when it comes to blocking some of Google’s competitors from search engine results? Do you see the potential monster here? And it’s not unheard of for Google to go out of its way to try and make a competitor look bad. I suspect each company will be keeping the others honest, though. It could happen.