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Sad to see Demand Media getting crushed in the market.

The Google Panda Update was handled horribly by Google, which crushed hundreds of good companies without warning. Google has to take more responsibility for how they deploy big changes.

There's no reason Google couldn't have had a "discussion period" (say 30-60 days), where they showed the Panda results at panda.google.com and had an open debate on if they were better or not.

Also, google should have a "search ombudsman" that discusses specific search results and trends in an open and honest way.

Google has not been a good citizen in the search space this year in my opinion. Of course, we lost half our traffic overnight and laid off 300 freelancers due to Panda--so i am not objective on this issue.
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38 comments
 
Yeah man its crappy that they are trying to remove all the spammy content from the search engines. I am sure black hat seos like me and you will find a way to beat them every time though Jason.
 
"Sad to see Demand Media getting crushed in the market."

That's way down on my list of sad things.
 
Surely Google's priority here is the searchER not the searchEE?

If the search yields useful results, why am I, as a searcher, going to give 2 rats about which company is getting my ad dollars?

I understand the frustration, but I'm not sure Google should have to consider people who are building their business around Google's results algorithms.
 
If the content quality is any good, then they shouldnt have any problems in the end. Guess we will find out.
 
I'll go along with your ombudsman idea.

For a long time, I've said Google needs what newspapers call a Public Editor...no reason this position couldn't accomodate both goals.
 
+Jason Calacanis Same thing with google+, Im just getting back from suspension and I would have been happy to change my user name if there was a warning. This act first and ask questions later mentality is not good!
 
Why should I as a google user be sad?? Googles priority should be the user, not some content farm.
 
+Max Sperando I sympathize. But let's note that we now know Google used bots for this purge, sacrificing some portion of accuracy in judgment for greater speed and lower cost. Of course, either way there was no escaping a certain percentage of errors...human editors screw up, every day.

My guess is Google deliberately erred on the side of expedience, guessing (accurately) pretty much any G+ users they did offend would get over their pique, eventually. Thus, I believe the more serious miscalculation was in not pre-allocating more resources for the inevitable review process.

If you think about it, all of the above is typical Google behavior. In particular, do your remember the customer service fiasco that was created by the Nexus One sales? Again, Google thought it could be handled with bots. Bottom line: it's not as though they went out of their way to be jerks, on this occasion. :-)
 
I, for one, am happy to see the swill normally produced by Demand get the hammering it has needed for quite some time now. Making money from excellent content? Great. Making money from subpar content? Not so great.
 
Google's Personal Blocklist? Where? - UPDate... got it. Chrome extension. Very cool.
 
Chrome Extension is a separate add-on and doesn't work with all of Google's search options. The link I gave you allows for manual editing of your blocklist.
 
+Allen cross, why can't I see "blocked sites" at the bottom of the page?
 
+mandana massiha: Just to be clear, in your browswer the bottom of that page doesn't look like this?:

http://goo.gl/3osOc

Which browser are you using? If using Chrome, go install the extension (http://goo.gl/saroa).

FYI: depicted example shows the view in Firefox but it looks pretty much the same in Chrome.
 
+Allen cross, no, I don't see it. I'm using safari on an iPad. Maybe that's why. Thank you for the screenshot.
 
Mandana: Sorry - I've just learned Safari does not support this feature, even on a standard Mac. No idea why, but I'll look into that for future reference.
 
I love the ombudsman idea. Matt cutts is probably the unofficial one but there should be someone that there only job is discussing the search results with website owners

I really wish I had the balls to short demand media. Demand media might be a great company but no publicly traded company should ever depend on only one company for a majority of their revenue. This is why zynga needs g+ to succeed.
 
+Joe McMackin Exactly. Demand was is less a real business than an unintended feature of Google.
 
I think what +Jason Calacanis is saying here is that Google could have presented a cut off date and warning statement. In both scenarios, this could have been easily handled without much expense. After all, they "Do no evil".
When google was updating their small business application services, I received multiple emails stating that the conversion was going to take place. They could have easily activated a Bot to do the same for all of the Google plus accounts with improper names and terms issues. I would have happily updated my profile if I was given a warning and time limit. Instead they just hit the power switch and pissed a bunch of people off without any apologies.
 
+Max Sperando Yes, but -- as alluded to in my earlier comments -- it's pretty clear Google saw the risk/reward matrix as favorable. Unlike your "business apps" example, a temporary suspension on G+ should result in no lost business or customer service issues. etc...at least, not in Google's way of looking at the matter. After all, they had previously insisted that businesses should stay clear until further notice. Fair warning, there.

Again, this is not to say I agree with the overall logic nor am I saying they chose the best course of action. But I do believe their choices were reasonable; any resulting damage should prove to be minimal. Ok, so some users get hacked off -- what else is new? There's always somebody whining about Google for a perceived shortcoming in one of their free services. In Google's view, the risk posed by a few more complaints was trivial.

Meanwhile, I will again point out that basic customer service has never been their strong suit. ;-)
 
My heart bleeds for spam-giants like Demand Media. Since Panda I'm more likely to find what I'm looking for when I search Google. Sorry, Jason, but I don't see why I should have to wade through a fathom of useless but high-ranking trash just so Demand Media can keep raking it in.
 
Clearly Google doesn't want any competition in the video search biz.
 
To block a site I had to first go there from a search result- the option to block the site appeared when I returned to my search results.
 
+John Humphrey If you use the direct link to your search settings page (see my prev. comments), you can add new 'sites to your blocklist manually.

And that comes in handy, for a bunch of reasons. For example, Google provides no "block" hot-links for many news results.
 
Eggs in one basket, blah blah blah.. guess you missed that lesson, but guess you've learned it as of recent.. sorry for your misfortune and best wishes for a quick recovery!!!..
 
DS is probably suffering more internally because of the way they treat their freelancers, and their history of shutting down critics. Translation, they have a major PR problem.
 
Yo are right Jason, you are not being objective.. what do you think the largest group of feedback to Google was from given the increased competition in your space? It was all the competitors trying to stick it in the back to their competitor. That data-set of feedback would not have had very much value to anyone.
 
I barely noticed that those articles were gone. Take from that what you will.
 
I am not at a loss over sites that worry more about SEO than actual content. Most of the crap is useless anyway. The real good content usually isn't on those kinds of sites.
 
+Allen Cross Hehe. I'm tired, even as just a Google user, much less someone who makes their living online, of seeing Demand's lackluster content (and I know they're not the only one) rising to the top.

When/if they have good content, fine... but more often than not it's dozens of posts all saying pretty much the exact same thing, and most of them not saying it very well at all.

This Panda update has been a pain for sure, but for myself and the sites I tend to, it's come back around and even brought some better results, ranking-wise, in some cases. If Demand makes the changes it needs to, then their traffic should come back. If not... c'est la vie. :)
 
it's not google's job to keep your rankings consistent, it's their job to report good earnings. if you're pissed, you're over-reliant on search traffic. this is no different from dumping all your money in one asset and then being pissed when it tanks. surprises happen, which is why smart investors diversify. am i right, +Jason Calacanis ?
 
This stock is getting crushed because the lock up is over. Blame the people who put the deal together. The employees are pricing the stock now, I agree with their valuation. A lot of tech stocks trade like penny stocks these days.
 
A true Act of Evil™ as outlined in thier birth pledge. They are slipping.
 
+Allen Cross You are very correct and make some good points. I have to admit, I live and breathe customer experience and good customer service. My ethics prevent me from leaving a bad taste in peoples mouths. At the end of the day, I believe that the success of a company has a direct correlation with their business culture. I'm in no way hating on Google, I just think that there is a great marketing opportunity for them to make some improvement and stay closer to their company ethics. The fact is that Google is a large organization with multiple moving parts. It is extremely difficult to get everyone on the same page while surging forward at a remarkable pace. Granted, you're bound to end up pissing some people off along the way. But when your actions affect millions of people, it is hardly something to take lightly, which is why they hire people to account for these potential pitfalls. I deal with such issues on a smaller scale, and I try to think of all potential possibilities before I start flipping switches.
 
+Max Sperando No arguments, there. And I think -- finally! -- Google is beginning to wake up to these realities. Nothing like watching Apple's astonishing success comeback to make a CEO reconsider his stubbornly idealistic resistance to frivolous evil things like UI/UX, marketing, or CS.

I just hope Larry & Sergey don't over-correct for past misjudgments, deciding that the current situation calls for something akin to martial law. They could end up steering Google down exactly the same Jobsian path of corporate paranoia and personal control-freakery. :fingers crossed:
 
Why do they owe that to anyone? If your business is parasitic then you are always at the mercy of the host. So you need to diversify your hosts to survive.
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