Death Penalty, Investigations? Sounds like the FBI. . .

BMW HQ in Munich, GermanyActually it is Google. Those were words used by the BBC to describe Google’s current investigation and sentencing of BMW. No trial, no jury - just death… Sorry guys!

Evidently Google has their secret police who are investigating you and the companies you use. Here is the quote from the BBC today:

Investigations by Google found that BMW’s German website influenced search results to ensure top ranking when users searched for "used car".

Google decided the properly penalty would be the ‘death penalty’. I am certain Brin and Sergy oppose the state sentencing criminals to death, but on the web they seem to support it. Here is the quote:

Google has now reduced BMW’s page rank to zero, ensuring the company no longer appears at the top.

What does BMW say? Well they were not allowed to present evidence, confront their accuser or defend themselves. The BBC asked them for a comment on their sentence and they admitted using ‘doorway pages’ to increase search rankings, but denied any attempt to mislead users. I guess that Google assumes everyone is gaming their system - i.e. they are the only search engine in town. Hm… Do no evil? Death? Secret police? Investigations? More from ZD here. More from Geek News here. More here.  Finally, more from Publishing 2.0 - they understand what I am talking about.

Update: Brian IM’d me that he was worried Google would zap our pagerank for writting this post. WOW! He was seriously concerned. Are you concerned too?


6 Responses to “Death Penalty, Investigations? Sounds like the FBI. . .”

  1. Publishing 2.0 » Google Orwellian Said:

    […] Google controls a huge percentage of the traffic flow on the Internet — and it has annoited itself judge, jury, and executioner for anyone who violates its “quality guidelines.” As Alexander Muse puts it: No trial, no jury - just death… Sorry guys! […]

  2. Brian Oberkirch Said:

    Be nice to the Google & the Google will be nice to you.

  3. Alexander Muse Said:

    Live in fear my friend…

  4. J. Botter Said:

    I wrote a post covering the “scandal” as well. The only difference is that I don’t really care if Google zaps my PageRank. :-)

  5. Ugo Cei Said:

    Aren’t you going just a bit over the top here? BMW very obviously violated the rules that Google defined and prominently published for webmasters to follow if they want to be included in Google’s index. These rules are meant to ensure good index quality, which is the only thing people are interested in when they do a search. BMW (or rather their hired SEO company) obvioulsy knew the rules and consciously violated them, not because they don’t want to be in Google’s index. On the contrary, they very much wanted to be there, and in a high ranking position too!

    The talk about “secret police” seems silly. Google employs people who look after guidelines violations and acts on webspam notices. There’s nothing secret here.

    And talking about “death penalty” is even sillier. is not dead. They just have to fix their error and ask for reinclusion. It has happened before, like with which got zapped and now is back with a PR of 9!

    And no, Google won’t zap this post just because you’re criticizing them. Do a search for “google big brother” on Google and see what kind of site comes up first in the results.

  6. Alexander Muse Said:

    My question is very simple, was Lord Acton right? Does Google have too much power?

  7. Ugo Cei Said:

    I mostly agree with Lord Acton but I don’t think Google has that much real power, after all. It has influence on some things, but I don’t think BMW’s sales were much influenced by this episode. BTW, has been resurrected just three days after its “death penalty”. Hmmm, where I heard this story before? ;)

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