Recently I tried to do a search for a company I had done a story on back in January of this year.
When I typed the search term, Bidzirk into the Google search bar in Safari ... I noticed something incredible. My article, which used to be ranked pretty high (30 days ago) under that search, now shows nothing ... the article isn't even ranked any more. Instead ... it has been replaced with eBay auction results from Bidzirk. And I say "replaced" as in it's obvious there is something afoot that is actually pushing my article out.
One of the things I like about using Blogger BLOGs (which is run by Google) is the almost immediate and long term search results that it provides for my articles.
One page of omitted results turned up a website called CSENTRY.COM a subsidary of CONVERSEON.COM.
On Converseon / CSentry I found the following:
Search Engine Reputation Management (SERMA™)
Converseon’s SERMA is the first service designed specifically to help companies manage and protect their corporate and brand reputation in search engines.
With more than 600 million searches conducted daily, search engines have become a primary information resource to consumers, businesses, investors, media, regulators, employees and other key constituents. How a company is portrayed in search engines can have a powerful impact on its reputation and brand.
SERMA fuses together a unique combination of cutting edge public relations and reputation management approaches with innovative content management strategies and advanced search marketing services to “push” damaging, malicious, erroneous and negative search listings off the “visibility cliff.” It accomplishes this by displacing these listings with other optimized company and third party content.
SERMA also provides a solid foundation for broader search marketing initiatives to increase rankings and traffic.
For reputation and brand-aware corporations, SERMA is a critically important service to help build, protect and manage reputations in a networked environment. For a confidential discussion and analysis.
SERMA has been designed to be fully compliant with Google and Inktomi TOS (no cloaking, spamming, doorway pages or similar)
If needed, the SERMA team can provide clients with legal capabilities that are very well-versed on online trademark infringement/protest-compliant site issues. It is important to note; however, that most “protest/complaint sites” fall under fair use.
Did you get that? Apparently Converseon makes software or has a system that essentially censors the internet for companies. Dell appears to be one client of theirs.
WOW! I didn't know that someone other than Google or the content author could legally do that. It seems to me nothing short of censorship and a completely blatant threat to constitutional rights.
What about paid searches? Could someone's competition pay less to this company and have their competitor's results removed? What does this say about the integrity of search engine results if they can be bought in this manner?
Compare this to:
Going to a library with a Sharpie© and marking out items in the Reader's Guide or Card Catalog
I'm amazed that there has been relatively no mention of this in the press ... I couldn't find anything in Google about software that removes Google search engine results.
This has some VERY serious implications for the upcoming midterm elections as this is suppose to be the Year Of The Blogger. Will politicians use software like this to omit search results that speak badly of them, expose them for a criminal act, or lie in their campaign?
Let's discuss this in the comments ... shall we?