Busy, Busy, Busy


I’ve been doing the research required to launch a new business that has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet, and I’ve been gathering the material needed to launch a new blog devoted solely to words.

In that short amount of time, Google agreed to buy DoubleClick for 3.1 Billion, which immediately prompted antitrust scrutiny,

Matt Cutts decided to spread some FUD with regard to paid links and the TW crowd, myself included, piled on to point out the hypocrisy. Matt surprised me by implying that the FTC wants disclosure for paid links. Simply isn’ so folks and Matt is stretching the truth.

Google’s quality guidelines are more concerned with the machine-readable aspect of disclosing paid links/posts, but the Federal Trade Commission has said that human-readable disclosure is important too:

This is FUD, plain and simple. Shame on you Matt.


  1. Matt and the truth when it comes to Google are seldom on converging paths – and do I detect a hint of desperation creeping into his attempts to baffle us with bullshit?

    Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  2. I have yet to see anyone show that Matt Cutts has lied about anything. As far as the FTC internal memo goes, I would agree that his interpretation is unrealistic but it is no less valid than anyone else’s interpretation. Until the FTC makes a public ruling, everyone’s guess on what they want for disclosure is equally valid.

    But the SEO community has been consistently spamming search results through link anchor text for years. Everyone should have expected Google to start circling the wagons and drafting citizens into a vigilante group eventually. The problem is well beyond their resources to handle.

    All Google needs to do to fix the problem is stop passing link anchor text and just focus on relevance.

  3. DG

    My point about Matt stretching the truth is in regard to disclosure for paid links. I simply haven’t seen anything that mentions paid links put out by the FTC. They seem to be concerned with paid reviews.

    Matt knew exactly what he was doing when he mentioned the FTC in the same post with paid link disclosure.

    >>The problem is well beyond their resources to handle.

    Agreed. And they are largely responsible for the problem and I don’t mean Adsense although Adsense has played a large role in cluttering up the web by paying people to do so.

  4. Michael I agree – I don’t think that Mr Cutts has told outright lies either. He just doesn’t always tell the complete unspun story and that can sometimes do as much damage as telling outright porkies.

  5. DG – I think the problem they’re facing now had it’s birth at the moment the Google twins began to develop an algorithm that had some basis in links.

    Blind Freddy could have seen back then that under that algo links would become something that would be bought and sold. Instead they seemed to live in a dreamland where natural linkage was all that would ever occur.

    Oh well – they’re the PhDs – I’m sure they can figure out a better way of fixing the problem rather than resorting to the vigilante option if they really cared about those who give them the sites and content to fill their search pages.

  6. DG


    That’s part of the problem. Academics aren’t always well-versed in practicality. The citation-based system was a reflection of their academic surroundings.

    My thoughts about the continued viability of a citation based ranking system are expressed here

    They did anticipate to a limited (and naive) extent the impact commercial links would have on their algorithm.

    At worst, you can have manipulation in the form of buying advertisements (links) on important sites. But, this seems well under control since it costs money. From, Bringing Order To The Web -1998

    Well under control? ; )

  7. Academics aren’t always well-versed in practicality

    And there is the problem that Google faces – they’re simply not in touch with the real world.

  8. Kirby

    “Not in touch”

    Sure they are, and much more so than when they started. That’s part of the problem. Academia is often idealistic, which is why their link based algo has problems. It wasn’t supposed to be so easily gamed. Now they have to take measures to make their algo more reality based. The fact that they have mastered the use of FUD as a tool shows that they are very much in touch.

  9. FUD is a sign of being in touch with the real world?

    Silly me – I thought it was a sign of absolute desperation.

  10. Kirby

    No, it’s simply a tool used on a daily basis to manipulate. Ask any politician or media editor.

    It may seem like a primitive tool, but all it took were basic tools like a hammer and chisel in the hands of someone skilled to create an artistic masterpiece.

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