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The Internet

Google Juice 360

mpawlo writes: "I guess it is time to start using them bookmarks again, since favourite search engine Google seems to be on the verge of Altavista doom and search engine chaos. BBC News reports of Google bombing (often referred to as 'Google juice' by the infamous Crackmonkey subscribers). 'The users have found a way to "bomb" Google to improve the rankings of particular webpages, and ensure a site is near the top of the results for particular search phrases.' There is also the sport of Google Whacking affecting your search results."
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Google Juice

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  • by kenthorvath ( 225950 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:09AM (#3156039)
    Step 1: www.google.com

    Step 2: "autistic paraplegic donkey porn"

    Step 3: I'm feeling lucky

    Step 4: Google Whack

    • Since googlewhacking requires that you find just one page on the web that has two English words:

      1. Obtain dictionary in electronic form.
      2. Separate the words from the definitions
      3. Publish to web page
      4. Publish to another web page
      5. If feeling particularly cruel, publish to additional web pages.
      6. Wait for hate mail
  • There is also the sport of Google Whacking affecting your search results

    SPORT??? Since when was THAT a sport??? That's disgusting!

    • If "That" ever does become a sport, I'll be like a superstar and shit.
    • If you, and some of the other guys, get together with your girlfriends and have the girlfriends google whack. See who does it the fastest, with the best result. You can assign a point system and bet on the results! You can even form teams!
  • I pointed out one.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross@nOspaM.yahoo.ca> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:12AM (#3156064)
    I sent Google a link about sex and Javascript. I was searching for Javascript debuggers and got something ELSE. Here is a link to the old picture. http://www.devspace.com/Articles/Article_2002_01_2 1.html

    However I think they are starting to do something since doing this search again yields proper results.
  • by Stephen ( 20676 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:16AM (#3156088) Homepage
    Really this proves how good the Google search algorithm is, because Googlebombing needs a coordinated effort from several popular sites. (The Google algorithm ensures that simply setting up several sites yourself doesn't help, unless other people point to them).

    Of course, as I'm all of the top three Stephen Turners [google.com] already, I don't need to do this. :-)

    • Slashdot bombing (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SanLouBlues ( 245548 )
      You have most likely inadvertently taken advantage of Slashdot to boost yourself up in the rankings. Merely being an active commentor puts your homepage link all over ... And loads of people link to slashdot. It isn't on the same scale as the blog tactic in the story, but it still can jack a "Matt Burke" (or any other non-famous name) to the top in about 50 posts.
      • by wiredog ( 43288 )
        My sig at another site, which contains "Reunite Gondwanaland", is the third link returned from google. And the fourth link [kuro5hin.org], too.
    • Given just the example regarding the redirection of "talentless hack" to the guy's friends site clearly demonstrates that this is an abuse and degrades the value of Google as a search engine, versus being some sort of great democratic benefit. When I use Google to find search results, I'm looking based on content and relevance, not "How many online friends got together and Google bombed". Online, with manipulable systems like that, democracy doesn't work, and that was the whole problem with META tags which this is basically recreating. Even worse is that it doesn't even just have to be democracy: Many Blogger sites themselves have high rankings as a whole, and with some machination someone can individually set up thousands of sites and programmatically set-up Google bombs. Clearly Google will have to filter this out.

      Google is like scientific measurements : If the process is affected by the measurement then it's tainted.

    • Lucky you. My name is John Lewis... just try and find me on Google. It's like a needle in a haystack, that includes a major department store in the UK.
    • Exactly.

      The Blogs are great and their increasing popularity is exactly the thing that Google needs to keep improving it's search results.

      Blogging is the constant posting of your thoughts about news items and websites. Usually it's a lot of hot air, and many times as not, they are posting links to OTHER Blog posts about blogging which has this navel-gazing affect of increasing how boring the blog is (I digress...). But in general there's some good stuff out there.

      The thousands and thousands of blogs out there are constantly adding fresh links into the net. This is GREAT for Google, because as we all know Google relies on the links between pages as its "intelligence" about the web. Without blogs, Google would be relying more and more on three year old vanity pages on Geocities with links that are the oldest, most stale links possible. Blogs keep the links fresh and the results on Google accurate.

      This is a good thing, even if there's some colusion once in a while.

      -Russ

  • You can make some sites to point to the good one,
    but very good sites are links in hundreds of
    places. This only works with very weird titles.

    OverLord
  • googlewhacking (Score:2, Informative)

    by skunkeh ( 410004 )
    But google whacking DOES NOT affect your search results - the whole idea of google whacking is to find terms that don't occur on google and stick them on a web page (which removes them from the pool since once google indexes your page the terms will be in google's database). Because you are only dealing with a single occurence of obscure terms this will have no effect on serious search results at all - unlike google bombing which can affect the order of results.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:20AM (#3156106)
    The users have found a way to "bomb" Google to improve the rankings of particular webpages, and ensure a site is near the top of the results for particular search phrases.

    Well, yes, but it's not easy. The article describes several dozen to several hundred bloggers [blogger.com] working together to drive a certain word or phrase toward a certain URL. In other words, it takes a large, concerted effort to deceive Google's engine, and this fact alone provides reassurance that Google is working according to plan.

    Somewhere else, on this site, Scientology has been accused of using their large network of sites and members to do the same thing, driving searches for "Scientology" and related words to their own sites rather than those of debunkers. Again, this takes a large and concerted effort, which is a virtue of Google rather than a vice.

    Is Google on the verge of breaking because such a thing is possible? Of course not. But there are people powering the search engine on the back end, making improvements constantly in response to issues like this. And their cross-linking approach to ranking pages, while not perfect, remains the most reliable way yet found to judge a match's relevance.

    If it works correctly 99% of the time, and Google is constantly working on the last 1%, that still makes it better than anything else out there.
    • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@k[ ]stead.org ['eir' in gap]> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:33AM (#3156180) Homepage

      1. Write a perl script using an automatic comment generator to post comments to all your favoirte weblogs and blogs (Not as hard to generate seemingly relavant comments as you think!)
      2. Add Script to crontab
      3. Wait.

      As you can see, it's not that hard to spam the web with links to your site. Don't even count automated newsgroup posting, whch all gets indexed because of google groups.

      • by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:02AM (#3156333) Homepage
        Sounds to me like the fix for weblog bombing of Google *may* be a fairly easy thing.

        Google could use the same method of rating that they do now to raise the importance of pages to also demote weblogs in importance. A way may be found to determine if a page is a Weblog and take it out of the equation.

        Slashdot could be considered a weblog. Any page that allows a user to post a message with links embedded in it is a Weblog is it not?

        Let Google's Deja worry about the Weblogs and then the user can opt to include the extra results or not.
        • A way may be found to determine if a page is a Weblog and take it out of the equation.

          Or better yet, how about a way to piggyback off the weblog's own way of rating the post [slashdot.org]? I.e. pick up and use the "Score" on a post here at Slashdot to decide how to rank it? It seems like a no-brainer.

    • Right, so if in every post I make to Slashdot I linked to Scientology Home Page [xenu.net] or Bunch of Nutcases [scientology.org]. Then those search strings could potentially rise higher up since they are links coming from an 'important site' like Slashdot. It's really an interesting idea if you have an agenda to push.
    • If this is the case, then wouldn't it be arguable that some of the cases mentioned in the article, esp. Daniel Pearl, may not have been "Attacks" at all, but current events? I'm sure a lot of people were linking to Daniel Pearl stories not all that long ago.
    • Over a year ago, Wired News ran a story [wired.com] about how searching on "dumb motherfucker' returned a George Bush site back as #1. This did not require massive coordination; it was one person with a page that linked the words to the Bush site.

      • Yes, but what's the real significance? People aren't likely to go to Google and search for "dumb motherfucker" and laugh to see "George W. Bush" displayed, unless they're told to try it. They're going to search for "George W. Bush", and doing so spectacularly fails to produce a single result titled "dumb motherfucker".

        It was a glitch, and a funny one, but it wasn't even remotely exploitable.
    • Yes, the Scientology Google ranking is well covered here: Operating Thetan [operatingthetan.com]

      Big thanks to the Beckamn Institute at the University of Illinois for creating the VisIT [uiuc.edu] software for the graphic demonstrations.
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:20AM (#3156110) Journal

    What they are reporting as a problem may not be. Google is raising sites in the rankings if large numbers of bloggers link to them--but they only do that if they like the link for some reason. What we have are lots of individuals (who many people respect at least enough to read occasionally) all saying, in effect, I find this interesting, and you might too.

    We don't have some advertising hack sitting behind a desk on Madison Ave. saying "Make it so" and pushing a site to the top of Google. The only ways X-10 or mulesex.com or whatever could benifit from this are 1) as a joke, or 2) because they posted something that a wide variety of people liked.

    This is how Google is supposed to work. So, where's the problem?

    -- MarkusQ

    • I guess we would start to see problems if the advertising executives discover they can pay the bloggers a few tens of dollars each to put their company at the top of the ranking...
      • I guess we would start to see problems if the advertising executives discover they can pay the bloggers a few tens of dollars each to put their company at the top of the ranking...

        And how much would it cost to reach and negotiate with each J. Random Blogger? The transaction cost would be an order of magnitude higher, and so you are looking at more like hundreds of thousands of dollars to move one site up in the rankings.

        So, you might suppose, why not do something in bulk? Negotiate with ISPs (say) to link to your site from all of their free web pages or something. But then you are going to have the same pattern as regular webvertizements, and be easy to filter.

        I'm not worried about Google keeping up with this sort of stuff; they've faced worse.

        -- MarkusQ

    • We don't have some advertising hack sitting behind a desk on Madison Ave. saying "Make it so" and pushing a site to the top of Google.

      Well, actually we do. There are networks of advertisers who run this software that generates pages with links that push up the Google rating for whoever is paying for those words. I've seen people use this to push their e-commerce affiliate sites higher in the Google ranks. One of them got his site to come back as the first return for "etoys" -- higher than the actual etoys.com site!

  • by bmooney28 ( 537716 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:22AM (#3156117) Homepage
    before I start using bookmarks as religiously as I had done before... Besides, the Google team seems to respond to new ideas (good or bad) like white blood cells responding to an infection... Companies have been attempting to boost their rankings on Google for years... yet, for the most part, they have been unsuccessful. I doubt seriously that this is by chance...
  • Another article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot@@@tossed...org> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:24AM (#3156124) Homepage
    Here is a link [www.uber.nu] that lets you actually know what the exploit is. Note that you need a lot of people and a lot of time to this.

    You can't simply go to www.google.com/bomb and drag a slider to move a URL up the listings. You have to actually have a concentrated effort. They talk about getting a webpage such as Geocities and getting your friends to do the same. It seems to me mass posting to bulletin boards would do the trick, unfortunately. There is even marketing software out there which posts your 'press releases' to hundreds of bulletin boards automatically.

    • Re:Another article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MadAhab ( 40080 ) <slasherNO@SPAMahab.com> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:34AM (#3156540) Homepage Journal
      Nevertheless, this is the way google is supposed to work; it finds content on the web. If the content is BBSpam'd press releases, then the folks running the boards will figure out how improve the quality of their sites by bitchslapping spam out of their house. You can't blame Google for accurately finding crap. If a bunch of people with popular sites want to goof on their friend, they can. If they do it to an annoying degree, their sites will become less popular, fewer people will link to them, and they will lose their ability to influence rankings. Otherwise, google is just correctly reflecting the fact that a lot of people want to say that so-and-so is a talentless hack.

      It should be noted that direct links as advertisements could get a rebound under Google. Why pay for a link that bounds through another domain when you could have, say, Slashdot provide a direct link to your site and therefore give you a Google boost? Does anyone know if the link from a site gets you any Google boost if it clicks through, say, a redirect through doubleclick?

    • And what's the optimal ratio of praise to links? (I take it that positive text on the page next to the link is helpful?) Should we offer space in each others' sigs? Can we bargain that space for agreements to mod each other up when possible?

      Satan, lead the way!
      ____
  • Corante article (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZigMonty ( 524212 ) <slashdot@zOOOigm ... minus threevowe> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:24AM (#3156130)
    The BBC article is very short on details. I read the Corante article [corante.com] a while ago and it has some good info on Google Bombing (first use, effect, etc). Guess what? I used google to find it again [google.com]. And it was the first link on the page. Seems to be working OK to me.

    If this really does start to get out of control, Google will adjust their techniques to work around the problem. I hope.

    • I read the Corante article [corante.com] a while ago and it has some good info on Google Bombing (first use, effect, etc).

      But it fails to mention the "dumb motherfucker" -> George Bush search hit perpetrated by the Hugh Disk site. It helped expose [wired.com] the potential flaw in Google's ranking algorithm.

      I'm a bit surprised that when people picked up on this six months later it's considered clever and original.

  • Google only value page A's vote for page B
    if page A itself is highly ranked. So if some
    site (IP block) is found (either by human or
    clever AI) guilty of blogging, then its rank can be lowered or set to 0 permanently.
  • Seriously, I don't know how I'd ever find anything without Google. I'm one of those people who think the usefulness of Google is part of what lowered the outrageous prices of domain names. Well, that and the tanking economy, I guess.

    Anyway, could Google add something like Slashdot's moderation system? Not only would sites be ranked as they currently are, but users could rate whether or not those rankings made sense.

    Furthermore, users could also rate which users tended to give fair ratings. This would be a way to prevent a business from ubermodding their own web site.

    I even seem to faintly remember Google bringing up the idea also. Wasn't this discussed before?

    Of course, I shudder to think of the new heights karma-whoring could reach, on the new Google. ;)

    Adam
  • by Shanoyu ( 975 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:28AM (#3156161)
    Perhaps the best solution, if things get too far out of hand, is to use the input of people who would be pissed off about crappy listings. That is to say, give users a free user account which could be used to give input on whats crap and whats not, then the Google admins could simply remove all the crap that rose to the top because enough users clicked a link that said, "This is crap!" Using this in conjunction with google's already strong engine would probably solve any problems, imho.
    • This is still prone to abuse. What spammers mark all pages they don't like as crap?
    • by Carmody ( 128723 ) <slashdot@dougs h a w . c om> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:36AM (#3156203) Homepage Journal
      That is to say, give users a free user account which could be used to give input on whats crap and whats not

      For the sake of the discussion, let us call the users who are giving input "moderators."

      As another poster mentioned, this system opens up a NEW can of worms, as spammers, idiots, and conservatives will use the system to call certain sites "crap", not because they are not relevant, but because they want the sites' listing to go down.

      So then people would demand that the "moderators" were overseen, perhaps by a system of "meta-moderators", and you see where I am going with this.

      • But they aren't moderators. What I am extrapolating is a system of organised whining, nothing like slashdot at all. All of the input, lets call them downvotes, (no upvotes allowed with this sorry) is simply a suggestion which is viewed by the google administration, so they can be easily pointed to that which is irrelevant. It wouldn't actually bestow any sort of actual power to the google user, just the ability to complain about specifics.
      • The new Google Toolbar [google.com] has a "Vote for this Page" and a "Vote against this page" buttons.

        If you find results that have been bombed, vote against them.

        Unfortunately, the Toolbar requires Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP and Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5 or later, so I'll probably get flamed for this post.

    • The Google Toolbar [google.com] has a "Vote this site" button that you can click, and it sends the results back to Yours Truly.

      It is a toolbar plugin for IE, so I guess we might have to scratch a large portion of the users here.

      Darcy
  • by geirt ( 55254 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:28AM (#3156162)

    ... on slashdot ! [slashdot.org]

  • Bad perhaps (Score:5, Informative)

    by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mike@b[ ]iste.us ['apt' in gap]> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:31AM (#3156172) Homepage Journal
    But the end of Google? I sincerely doubt it. Altavista and the others have been driven by greed since day one (ever look at license prices for Altavista for an Intranet in the late 90's?)

    Google has always seemed to be driven by a happy medium of civic duty and profit. Take their text ads - I love them - unobstrusive, get the point across, and NOT in teh main search results - they are clearly marked. So I expect that the geniuses @ Google will attack this problem and come up with a solution. SO yelling about Google's demise seems VERY premature.

    • Re:Bad perhaps (Score:3, Interesting)

      by big.ears ( 136789 )
      Google has always seemed to be driven by a happy medium of civic duty and profit.

      I'm not trying to harass you personally, but this statement assumes that Google is making a profit. Are they really bringing in enough money with the adwords to fund their operation, or are they still operating on VC Baby Fat? If they are profitable, why are they trying to sell this corny $15,000 "Corporate Google" device? As the parent post said, Altavista tried that 5 years ago when they realized they needed more profits--it didn't help them much.

      If they are making money, I ask: How is Google able to maintain the entire Deja usenet archives without ads when Deja wasn't able to maintain it profitably WITH ads in the .com advertising heydey? How are they able to cache the entire web supported on only adwords when every other search engine is losing money just caching their index? How are they able to be the grep of the web supported by tiny classified ads, while /. is not yet profitable supported by big ugly ads. Something doesn't add up.

      Google's ultimate downfall will come about because of financial reasons, not because their search results go to pot. Once the money well runs dry (after they sell the ping-pong tables at HQ), they will start trying all sorts of crazy schemes to stay afloat. Like becoming a portal. Like offering a personal google device. Like selling big ugly adds. Like offering premium subscriptions. Hopefully, they can sidestep the pitfalls experienced by their failed predecessors, but I bet that within a year, Google will look very different than it does today.
  • Google is the best search engine going. They are a business, and have done a very good job at putting advertisements in without alienating the core community they started with. Their site is the easiest to work with. It is the fastest, most comprehensive system out there. If people have figured out how to manipulate that, I am sure they will manipulate other search engines as well. As with anything else, buyer beware. Don't just take the first hit on Google to stand as the end-all-be-all of what you were looking for.

  • Not our precious Google! Looks like the search for alternatives [slashdot.org] may be even more vital. Does anyone know if the method discussed in the article would work with search engines using recently discussed technology [slashdot.org]? In either case, the search goes on for a more utopic search engine.
  • The majority of websites that google catalogues are websites created by individuals, sites that tend to endorse the same types of social relationships that people hold in the offline world... albiet with even more emphasis on purveyors of porn and bizarre photographs.

    That said, is it any wonder that bombing websites are out there and screwing up the search engines? They are just like the telemarketers of the real world. An insignificant handful of individuals when quantity concerened, tainting the reputation of a beautiful system of communication.
  • Oh, great, now someone's going to set up a bunch of web sites containing that 9MB "words" file and get them spidered by Google! More noise in the search engine results... It'll all end in tears I tell you!
  • Yesterday's news (Score:2, Informative)

    I read all this stuff a couple of days ago, following links from this Panopticon Story [slashdot.org]. Slashdot, read thyself.
  • by toothless joe ( 555389 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:41AM (#3156236)
    In addition to other spam prevention methods, google uses complex matrix/vector filtering to ignore link circles. Basically, if (say) the same 100 different sites link to the same set of 20 other sites, and no one else links to them, Google will map them out and realize that they are all working in a concerted effort. That way if a spammer sets up 100 ostensibly independent sites and then links them all to his e-commerce sites, google will realize what he is doing and penalize his rankings for it. The only way that a spammer can 'bomb' google is if he gets a large array of other sites (for instance weblogs) that have significant traffic and link to other, different sites, as well as the ones that the spammer is trying to promote. The long-and-short of it is that a group of bloggers could bomb google with a large effort, but the average spammer would have to set up an incredibly complex web of interwoven pages that garner significant traffic to fool google. Even if large groups of spammers formed a cabal to promote their varied interests, it would likely be discovered by humans working at google. So, I'd put away that violin.
  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:46AM (#3156254) Homepage
    From the following from google's site, it seems that not only is the number of pages that link to another page taken into account, but the rank of the pages doing the linking. If this is done using 100 weblogs to try to boost the ratings, I highly doubt that would have the same effect as a link from some highly reputable website, etc.

    From my own experience, a properly worded search + feeling lucky is about 90% accurate in finding what I'm looking for.



    Taken from: http://www.google.com/technology/index.html



    PageRank Explained



    PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."



    Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

  • The folks at Google have always proven to be extreemly innovative. They will find a solution to the problem that nobody else has even considered...
  • Two points - If hundred of blog sites have put this up, then the chance is that if you are seraching for a term then the blog thing is actually what you are looking for. Also, I expect that this will only last until it gets to the top of the list and then the pages get replaces and it all goes away
  • by lowy ( 91366 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:49AM (#3156279) Homepage
    Net analysis site Corante has explored the workings of Google bombs in depth.

    Here [corante.com] is the Corante article.

  • Oh, thanks BBC for ruining the fun we webloggers try to have.

    Anyway, it's time to start our own bombs.. repeat after me..

    Idiot [gwbush.com] - troll forum [slashdot.org] - Evil empire [microsoft.com] - gay pr0n [cowboyneal.org]
  • Speak your voice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If a bunch of people get together and decide something is important, then through that community effort it becomes important. Google is our Global Brain [santafe.edu]. The best solution is for all of use to speak our voice on on a blog. That way google's results better match with what is important to us as a community.
    -----
    Virtual Personalities, inc. Verbots.com - start the dialog(sm). [verbots.com]
  • by alexjohns ( 53323 ) <almuric AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @09:59AM (#3156321) Journal
    We've been talking about this on weblogs for a couple of months now. It's not as bad as it appears.

    Imagine you're the patriarch of a clan, and everyone in your clan has a homepage. All of your descendants' home pages have links to your home page, since you're the head dude. Your home page only has one word on it - say it's 'thrombosis'. Since Google bases the relevance of its search results on how many links there are to any page, any search for 'thrombosis' will likely show your home page as the number one search result, because you've got the word on your web page and dozens of links to your home page on other sites.

    Once you think about how Google's rankings work, you can easily figure out how to game the system. That's why Dave Winer (token head of all webloggers) is usually the first result of a search on 'Dave'.

    As far as googlewhacking is concerned, it's not as easy as it looks. Try 'parrhesia verboten'. I stopped once I found that one, proving to myself that it can be done. :)

    • Once you think about how Google's rankings work, you can easily figure out how to game the system. That's why Dave Winer (token head of all webloggers) is usually the first result of a search on 'Dave'.

      Oh the irony. The second link for "Dave" does indeed go to Dave Whiner's "scripting news" site, but the topmost article on that page says that "google bombing" is just a phantasy...

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:06AM (#3156345) Homepage
    Mmmm...Google my precious...musn't let the nasty bloggers get it, no, not my Google precious, no...
  • The Wheel Turns... (Score:3, Informative)

    by tiltowait ( 306189 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:07AM (#3156355) Homepage Journal
    There will *always* be a cycical contest between hackers and security, and search engine spammers and opitmizers are no exception.

    It should be emphasized that these spamming vulnerabilities of search engines are almost entirely due to their automated nature. Efforts to present search results not just based on author-presented data, such as the frequency, positioning, and proximity of search terms, but with also somehow computing more objective data based on the source domain of the indexed file, how often searchers choose the link, and especially a sophisticated type of citation analysis that charts authoritative pages and hubs by counting the number of links pointing to a page, do hold promise for offering more relevant search results (Brin & Page, 1998; Chakrabarti, et. al., 1999; Notess, 1999). It is reasonable to assume, however, that no matter how sophisticated the spamming countermeasures adopted by automated indexes become, new ways of fooling the machines could be crafted. Some amount of human editorial power therefore seems necessary.

    - From a paper [tk421.net] I wrote back when Google seemed impervious to spamming (early 1999).
  • Funny thing. Search for "Google" at MSN, google.com is the first site listed but only because it is a MS internet keyword. The first returned site is... http://search.msn.com

    Yes, I think they fudged those results.. Maybe MS thinks you mistyped Google and really meant to type MSN. Search for MSN on Google and http://search.msn.com is the first returned.

    I dont't use Lycos and after messing around there today I remember why. Too many moving things, flash crap flying across the screen. Why would someone use this place on a regular basis?
    • If you have cable, take a moment to flip to MTV (aka the Flashy, Shiny Thing Network). Anyway, look at what's actually on the screen. There's always something moving / flashing / pulsing or whatever. They never keep a camera angle for more than, say, 15 seconds. The talking heads keep yapping about nothing.

      If people watch and grow accustomed to that kind of thing, then their attention span probably will drop to something just short of a goldfish. Now, try looking at the layout of any of the more popular sites. You've got different departments competing with each other for your clicks, so they do what they must. If it has to flash / fly / cry out "click me!" so be it. They're drowning. At any rate, take a look at the serene simplicity that is google. It's dead by comparison. Where are all the flashy, attention-keeping buttons / banners / ads? They don't need them. They're focused on one thing: providing a service to the world, and turning a nice profit while they're at it.

      Well, that was a nice incoherent rant.
  • Google already filters the link so that multiple links from the same sight don't drive up the link count. Someone trying to get people to set-up Geocities account that link to their sight would most like distribute a html file with instructions on how to use it as a Geocities homepage. It would be a simple (though compute intensive) task to do a diff against current pages that link to a sight before adding a new page. If it is exactly (or nearly exactly) the same, it doesn't get added.

    Summed up, only add unique pages from unique sites.

  • How is this bad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The article says it's an "exploit" when hundreds of sites link to a page, pushing it to the top of the search listings. But...isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

    It used to be, you needed deep pockets and/or a high-profile publication to effectively publicize your ideas. Now, a couple hundred like-minded people with no budget can do it. That's good! Maybe the BBC is sour about it, but that's the kind of social change some of us have been hoping the Internet would bring.

  • Big deal. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 )
    They're getting friends to link to their sites in order to get their pages listed higher in search engines. Isn't that how Google works? What's so bad about this?

    - A.P.
  • I don't mind ads at all, but my god, can we maybe integrate them into the design of the page a little better? The HP ad on this page looks like it was inadvertantly inserted by MS Frontpage and the paperclip gone mad. Why don't you make the text flow around it or something.
  • by sigmond ( 88934 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:20AM (#3156448)
    This does _nothing_ to undermind the relevance of Google's rankings. When you perform a search on Google and the first "hit" is one that has been juiced in this way you are getting a hit that a larger number of individual sites, all of which are respected by other sites, agree is important to the subject. That is the beauty of Google.

    Yes, this effect can be choreographed, but the result is the same. All of the sites choreographed to achieve this result are voting that site A is relevant to subject B. If the sites involved consistently show bad judgment their ranking in Google are likely to decline and therefore their contribution to the Google ranking for subject B will lessen.

    The fact that a large number of highly ranked blogs can drive a URL up the Google pop-chart is evidence of both the respect blogs are given and the power of Google's algorithms to find such non-corporate backed content.
  • how is this new? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WildBeast ( 189336 )
    This trick was well known among SE users for at least 6 months now. Many people took advantage of it, especiall adult websites.
  • A few months back, I did a Google search for "javascript string manipulation", and was rewarded with a dozen hits all along the lines of:
    "Hot Teen Javascript String Manipulation"
    "Live XXX Javascript String Manipulation"
    "Upskirt Javascript String Manipulation"
    "Sizzling Javascript String Manipulation"
    etc. They were all using some sort of cgi to generate the links. It took Google a month or so to remove them.

    Thought it might be a prelude to something like this.

    Personally, I care very little about the bloggers bombing certain keywords. They likely have something to say on the topic. The thing I fear is the stupid sex sites, online casinos, and mlm scams diluting my search results.
  • by anser ( 224618 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @10:30AM (#3156516) Homepage
    The value of a search engine lies in its ability to return usable results when you are actually looking for something. Most of the "exploits" people are discussing don't affect Google's usefulness as a search engine. (When is the last time you searched for "talentless hack" or, for that matter, "david gallagher"? Only someone already participating in the prank, or curious about it, would even know it existed.) And "Googlewhacking" is the most harmless of all - the only search results it can "affect" are its own, as listed winning word pairs lose their uniqueness at the next crawl. So what?

    Google folks are not stupid. If the integrity of searches that people really make is affected, they will change the code.

    In the meantime, is it really necessary to squelch every last bit of fun on the Net?
  • It's a little depressing that even a well-designed search engine like Google, with its complex algorithms, _still_ cannot do what the veriest simpleton can do at a glance, which is to tell if a printed page treats with a subject of interest or not. It's also significant that Google, in its attempt to imitate this very basic human faculty, resorts to tricks that nobody _ever_ has to do when quickly evaluating a webpage (e.g. chasing links.)

    hyacinthus.
  • There's no need to manually Google Whack anymore.

    Check out this project on Freshmeat: http://freshmeat.net/projects/googlewhacker/ [freshmeat.net]

    MONOLINUX :: Imagine There's No Windows. It's Easy If You Try. [monolinux.com]
  • Let me get this straight. A large number of people who run webpages that some people read for some reason, all link to a source because they think its good. Then google assumes it's good. Isn't this more or less how things are supposed to work? If my and a bunch of my friends think Joe's webpage is a good place to find out about a talentless hack, great. Ok, Google is getting manipulated a bit, but I still don't think we have a serious problem.
  • by rnd() ( 118781 )
    Now maybe I'll make some money from my sig...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @11:09AM (#3156725)
    If you type "Free Porn", then you can whack your google all you want!
  • A warning to those considering using Google's page ranking service (which tracks your surfing habits, which isn't a problem since it is very upfront about it.) Overall, it works pretty well and it has found several pages of genuine interest to me that I would not have found otherwise. Also, I have no reason to think that they're doing anthing sinister with the information (and I don't care.)

    However, since I like slashdot so much (I assume that is why) it's been serving up advertisements for other projects that link to SourceForge whenever I run google searches; for example, the white supremacist publication the Free Occident [freeoccident.org], which is powered by SourceForge.

    Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks Google should try and filter hate speech from search results. Likewise, I don't think that the Free Occident should somehow be prevented from using SourceForge's software - open source means open, Voltaire was right, etc. However, I think google should draw the line at serving advertisements for articles about how "If you hear about a 100-million-dollar swindle, then you know that it has to be a Jew." [freeoccident.org]

    I've dumped a copy of the html for the search result in my journal - paste the Extrans into an html file to see it in close-to original format. It appears from the first version in my journal that the ad appears ABOVE the search results - this is not the case.

    Free Occident is a web log, but I find it far more worrisome that they've purchased an ad on google than if they were trying to blog some search term, like "White Power," or even "Occident."

    Yes, I'm Jewish.
  • Another method (Score:4, Insightful)

    by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @11:55AM (#3157073)
    I discovered this yesterday in my searching. It appears that if you have a class C of IP addresses, lots of domains or subdomains, you can flood search results like this [google.com]. Notice as you browse the results, the domains in many of the listings:


    www.office-supplies-st0res.com/ (66.33.85.157)
    office-storage.1nf0-office-equip.c om/ (66.33.85.74)
    pens-pencil.search-office-supplies. com/ (66.33.85.74)
    buy-furniture.furniture-sh0p-search .com/ (66.33.85.93)
    printer-toner.supplies-1nfo-office. com/ (66.33.85.99)
    office-product.office-supplies-sh0p .com/ (66.33.34.105)
    office-computers.supplies-1nfo-off ice.com/ (66.33.85.117)
    calculators.supplies-1nfo-office.c om/ (66.33.85.155)
    discount-office.supplies-1nfo-offi ce.com/ (66.33.85.95)


    If you look at the HTML source code (after clicking on one of these results from google.com), you can see it is obviously a deliberate measure to track it's referring URL and search keyword, and logs the results to bizrate.com. Stuff like this makes me furious, especially if you take into account the potential long-term costs. Google's spider has to waste traffic by going through these sites, searchers like me have to skip through a bunch of garbage results, resulting in more traffic. Sure, maybe a few kilobytes of data, but IMO, it contributes to the expenditures of search engines, eventually resulting in more ads, etc... Maybe i'm exaggerating a tad, but it's wasteful to say the least.
  • by Tazzy531 ( 456079 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @12:25PM (#3157337) Homepage
    1) Google is the company with the highest number of Phd graduates. I'm sure they can find an algorithm to cancel out this affect

    2) Whenever you do a search, unless it is very specific, you automatically know not to trust the first couple results. It's a fact with all search engines. What makes google even better is that it shows you the text that links to it. So you can tell if it is a relevant link or not.

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish. You can tune a filesystem, but you can't tuna fish. -- from the tunefs(8) man page

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