Google is not the objective librarian of the internet

As I’ve said before, I love internet marketing and have been doing it for a really, really long time now.

I started banging code on my first website in the late 90’s (no GUI’s there kids) and published my first site on Geocities (yes, break through the cob webs and close your mouth, it’s what we had, and it was awesomesauce.) It allowed me to plan my wedding with my family, namely my mother, who was in Saudi Arabia at the time. The gifts of technology!

DoubleClick 2000
Good God, the internet was ugly back then wasn’t it?

I rode the dotcom boom, slide, re-org and resurgence, working for one of the many divisions of DoubleClick, the internet banner ad behemoth. I remember when that little upstart, Google, rolled out in 98 and DoubleClick, well, we thought we were the Titanic of the internet, unstoppable.

Needless to say, DoubleClick was the Titanic and the iceberg of Search, quickly put banner advertising right under the water.

Google BetaSince Google finalized its purchase of DoubleClick in 2009, I, through my company 401(k), can boast that I too, am an owner of Google.

And that’s where my love hate relationship with Google exists. I can only say that I love how my Google stock has grown, and grown, and grown.

As an SEO, I hate Google. I hate that they have [successfully, I might add] billed themselves as the objective librarian of the internet, when, in fact, they are a publicly owned for-profit company (AdWords being the cash cow) that has to answer to their stock holders ((funny, that’s me too)) and we in the internet marketing industry are witness to how they are now manipulating organic results to force e-commerce businesses to rely on the paid Google services, AdWords, Merchant Services, etc. So when I caught this article by Charles Seife, I knew I wasn’t the only one is wary of the search giant.

“Consider the case of Google. (One of the founders of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki, is presently married to Sergei Brin, the founder of Google.) When it first launched, Google billed itself as a faithful servant of the consumer, a company devoted only to building the best tool to help us satisfy our cravings for information on the web. And Google’s search engine did just that. But as we now know, the fundamental purpose of the company wasn’t to help us search, but to hoard information. Every search query entered into its computers is stored indefinitely. Joined with information gleaned from cookies that Google plants in our browsers, along with personally identifiable data that dribbles from our computer hardware and from our networks, and with the amazing volumes of information that we always seem willing to share with perfect strangers—even corporate ones—that data store has become Google’s real asset. By parceling out that information to help advertisers target you, with or without your consent, Google makes more than $10 billion every quarter.” – Charles Seife, 23andMe Is Terrifying, but Not for the Reasons the FDA Thinks.

I have experienced the evolution of SEO from keywords and meta tags, through link building, to social media. And while good SEO and good internet marketing strives to maximize these key algorithm queues, it’s the manipulators that always seem to result in our industry getting the smackdown of the Deweys, Pandas, Penguins, or Hummingbirds.

But the true beauty about the internet that has stayed constant through all this change, is that it’s about change. Not just because Google makes algorithm updates or because MSN becomes Bing, or that Yahoo still shakes it small fist to get heard, but because the END USERs change.

We the public  have changed how we use the internet from just straight search for information, to verification of that info, to validation of the source, and now into interaction. And that my friend, is the absolute beauty of SEO and internet marketing.