Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Software That Can Remove Your Exposing Dell For Selling Crappy Computers From Google Search Results



Recently I tried to do a search for a company I had done a story on back in January of this year.

You Gotta Be Berserk To Use An eBay Listing Company


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.

Notes:

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?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Either way, you should definitely get a hold of Google and Yahoo Search about this.

Anonymous said...

er...it's a private company. card catalogs are public.

blogdog said...

You may have something here. This is Yahoo TOS:

You may not:

disrupt the normal flow of dialogue, cause a screen to "scroll" faster than other users of the Service are able to type, or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users' ability to engage in real time exchanges;

interfere with or disrupt the Service or servers or networks connected to the Service, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to the Service;

intentionally or unintentionally violate any applicable local, state, national or international law, including, but not limited to, regulations promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, any rules of any national or other securities exchange, including, without limitation, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, and any regulations having the force of law;

provide material support or resources (or to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources) to any organization(s) designated by the United States government as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act;

collect or store personal data about other users in connection with the prohibited conduct and activities set forth in paragraphs above.

And Google TOS:

The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales. You may not take the results from a Google search and reformat and display them, or mirror the Google home page or results pages on your Web site. You may not "meta-search" Google. If you want to make commercial use of the Google Services, you must enter into an agreement with Google to do so in advance.

You may not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system without express permission in advance from Google. Note that "sending automated queries" includes, among other things:

using any software which sends queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage "ranks" on Google for various queries; "meta-searching" Google; and performing "offline" searches on Google.

... upon receipt of a request by the site owner or a third party in the second instance, Google would consider on a case-by-case basis requests to remove the link to that site from its indices.

However, if the operator of the site does not take steps to prevent it, the automatic facilities used to create the indices are likely to find that site and index it again in a relatively short amount of time.

Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you.

fixyourthinking said...

The internet is public and actually my search results are my property. What if I had paid for a search ranking and this company was paid to remove my search.

This has very serious implications for the credibility and integrity of Google searches. (And unimaginable consequences for the upcoming election)

Anonymous said...

First, only the government can censor. Any private organization, such as google, cannot affect your constitutional rights. They don't give them, so they can't take them away.

Second, though you definitely have a point in bringing up this software, it sounds a LOT like whining that you only noticed it when your article 'disappeared'. In looking at the search results for bizdirk, it's not surprising that the top links are for the company, how they're doing business and significant stories on them - ie major court cases. Bloggers probably shouldn't be on the front page of google unless there's nothing else available. If you search for 'bidzirk jackwhispers', guess what? It's the first hit. That's not surprising either.

In other words, point out the evilness of the software without all the whining about yourself.

fixyourthinking said...

If only the government can censor ... then why is Apple even bothering about going after the bloggers who leaked trade secrets?

Corporate censorship of this type is very suspicious ...

As to going after because of me? How else would I have noticed it?

Further ... who would search with the term "jackwhispers" appended?

If you note ... I say that my search for the article is VERY prevalent ... just a very short time ago it was on several watchdog sites, and very high in Google ranks. It doesn't just disappear like that!

Anonymous said...

I am amazied that the discovery of this company comes as such a surprise to you! The existence of these companies has been known for some time, sure it hasn't been on the front page of any major newspaper, but then not all items can fit on a single sheet of broadsheet.

A Google search hit can mean a big difference on any companies bottom line and thus this niche market had to be created.

The only part of this that I find a bit surprising is their offer of legal help when/if someone goes after their clients for using the service. That seems to me to imply that their techniques to "push down" negative reports is skating very close to the edge of the law.

Anonymous said...

I just entered Bidzirk into the Google window of Safari and it returned Bidzirk.com as the first listing. 8:21 AM PDT

fixyourthinking said...

As it should be ... I'm not even expecting to be on the first page, 2nd page, 3rd page ... but a site does NOT disappear TOTALLY from Google ranks or cache in 30 days PERIOD! I also regularly discuss the article and regularly submit it to Google for crawling.

fixyourthinking said...

I'm aware of SEO's (Search Engine Optimizers)

But this is NOT an SEO ... this is tampering and manipulation of Google and Google cache.

I would be very surprised if a method of removal as thorough as this is not "skating the edge of the law" or at least breaking the terms of service as BLOGDOG posted above.

Thanks for your comments though ... I'm hoping to understand this.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see that your article is the #4 item using Yahoo. As Google has become more popular, I have noticed that it's search results are deteriorating. Too many people have figured out how to game it.
Using Google, that article cannot be found if Bidzirk is part of the search.

fixyourthinking said...

And thus ... my point. Blogger BLOGs get automatic inclusion and i would say somewhat preferential treatment in Google searches ... so it's obvious there is a direct attack BY BIDZIRK on this article. You can find a page that places the entire text of my article on a CSENTRY.COM "censor and javascript error page" ... it seems to be what is called a "doorway or gateway page".

Anonymous said...

I searched for "bidzirk problems" and your page was the second link. Here's the deal: I'm not impressed with you whining about dropping down when a lot of people like bidzirk. Big deal. If I want to find a critique, your page is easy to find. Learn how to search smarter.

fixyourthinking said...

Now ... yes ... I have replaced the article in search engines by resubmitting it over the past week. I have also done THIS story which has actually gotten a little press. 5 VERY LARGE websites are reporting on my ruling now. Several of them have linked to the article (which places it higher in searches) over the past week. The ruling was just made public on May 5 and just commented on since May 15. Further, a recent case against Apple even used the ruling as part of their case.

You're late to the game with your troll comment.

I agree ... a lot of people do like Bidzirk. I don't like how the majority of eBay dropoffs operate - as Bidzirk did with me. I don't like that I gave Bidzirk <$25,000+ of inventory and they got me >$4000 that I had to split 4 ways and do over 200+ personal hours worth of labor for.

Interesting ... that you don't have any comprehension or insight into the reasoning of why "the search" terms are becoming visible again. Tell us who you really are "anonymous troll'!

Anonymous said...

"Jack" - can you please explain what a "Gateway page" what is a "Doorway page" and what is CSENTRY.COM.

Also, can you explain the whole "net neutrality" thing? I am getting the impression that it is being attacked by companies, which must mean that "net neutrality" is good. But I don't really understand it.

Isn't this another battle in the struggle to control the internet vs. leave it as a cacaphonic, level playing field that was its beauty in the first place?

cblake said...

As an auto consumer advocate for over a decade now, I feel the question of corporate manipulation of the search engines is an important one.

For seven years I have followed Toyota's engine oil sludge debacle online. After helping to expose the matter publicly back in late 2000, I corresponded with hundreds of affected Toyota sludge victims. Thousands of Toyota owner postings were made and this activity continued for several years. Experts in the field detailed critical information and consumer advocates posted essential information.

So, where is this information now? Two of the most active sites were hacked in 2004. This resulted in the sites going down permanently. However, you could still get to the information using the "cache" links in a Google search.

Gradually, these links have disappeared. Even earlier this year you could still pull up some of the most important information from an old cartrackers.com site. Not so now.

POOF!! All evidence of YEARS of documentation are now GONE! But how????

Ahhhh....new software at Google! New companies that help sanitize what is being said about companies online! New "Consumer-Generated Media" executives onine! All in the effort to MANIPULATE what is being recorded online?

Clearly, something is amiss! Are we being not-so-subtly manipulated into believing that the hype about Toyota quality is accurate? I believe that we are! There is enough evidence of cache removal to make one highly suspicious. There are also "Toyota-protectors" out there ready to discredit and defame anyone who tries to organize similarly-affected Toyota owners.

If the buying public only knew...what would they think? How many of us have experienced this phenomenon firsthand?

Let's keep the dialogue about this going! We should NOT allow corporations to manipulate what we read! We must have access to ALL the information in order to make informed decisions on our own.

We must EXPOSE the companies that choose to operate this way...

cblake@erols.com
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

cblake said...

I feel that removal of historically significant consumer information is unconscionable. I think that we need to link together to do something about it. Otherwise, our search for important consumer information is tainted...sheer propaganda placed by the unethical company!

The gravity of this situation grows with each we allow it to take place. Don't be afraid to speak up. Don't be afraid to organize to correct the situation. Otherwise, we have no real freedom of speech!

Charlene Blake
cblake@erols.com
Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

If you do a google search now using the key words "Toyota Sludge," you do find important facts. However, little would you know that over 15,000 postings have been made in the matter!

silverfox said...

Comments by Charlene Blake are completely false!
It's just fantasy to accuse hackers or a manufacturer of destroying the sites she refers to.
The sites in question are (1) Cartrackers, and (2) Complaint Station.
They both ran out of sponsors and were cancelled due to lack of money to continue.
Main reason for no sponsorship dollars was because both sites were dominated by small groups
of posters who continually disrupted the sites with bickering, foul language, and mainly harping continually on the same problems.
Naturally, the general public lost any interest in participating in these two sites, and they were closed by their owners through lack of public interest.
Be very careful about anything Charlene Blake posts, as she is one of thos individuals who caused the demise of these sites by way of abusing them.
Truth be told, her posts comprised the lion's share of the 15,000 posts she mentions in her insane comments, above!

Anonymous said...

It would do you well to double check on the company from time-to-time.

It seems to me that griping about a drop-off eBay company - that no longer deals in drop-off business - is just going to waste your breath. The company pulled away from consignment drop-off almost a year ago.

fixyourthinking said...

The article that you commented on is over a year old and bidzirk is still an eBay trade assistant and still solicits for dropoffs.

This is from their website (current as of 6/24/08):

So just drop your vehicle off at our location and we'll handle it from there. The only thing left for you to do is collect the check... is it sells.


They also currently employ 3 (or more) search engine reputation management schemes to appear higher in searches than THIS site and to get rid of the rip off report I filed against them.

So, I don't know why you made this irrelevant comment and what evidence you had to back it up.

fixyourthinking said...

Make that 2 years old

Anonymous said...

First, only the government can censor. Any private organization, such as google, cannot affect your constitutional rights. They don't give them, so they can't take them away.

Rights ... according to the constitution are God given not government given ... that means that anyone that violates my rights has ... well ... violated my rights because I was born with them.