• http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/ foremski

    I totally agree. But if Google uses humans to penalize sites or prioritize content it won;t be able to claim that the news was selected by algorithm. This would count as “editorializing” and thus might get Google into a position where it has to defend such editorial decisions. It won’t be able to hide behind the algorithm. But clearly, it’s algorithm can’t keep up with the spammers.

  • max

    I agree Google Trends is assisting publishers who put out garbage in order to make money from ads. But, really if you think about it, this is what goes on in the mainstream media every day as well. The media knows what sensational topics are, like shark attacks and hurricanes for instance, and they blatantly switch gears to another story if it’s more likely to get viewers. Sure, everyone wants to know about Anna Nichole Smith until someone get’s their leg bitten off by a shark somewhere. It’s as though the media executives keep an updated top ten list of most sensational general subject matters and base their entire news reporting efforts around them. Their bottom line is making money and selling ads. Hot topics get more viewers, more commercial advertising impressions, and generate more money. That’s why skeptics now refer to what used to be principled journalists as the “drive by media”. They’re not digging for new stories based on any principles other than generating advertising revenue. Unfortunately this “money over matter” mentality is driving 99% of all media today, and it’s the same thing as web publishers using the Google Trends top ten list to generate garbage “news”. Sorry to say, the symbiotic relationship between news and consumerism is here to stay unless our society’s values change (for the better).

  • Peter

    But you didn’t click on an Adsense link, Danny ;)

    Given Google have argued that Adsense IS content, they may say that this problem is caused by their advertisers on the content network not being on the ball.

  • sillystupidman

    I know this is an old article, but I feel like responding anyway.

    Frankly, I fail to see how this is Google polluting the web. It seems like you’re postulating that Google is encouraging sites that use AdSense to write about topics that are trending in order for Google to make more money, but I don’t see any evidence presented here indicating so.

    The way I’m understanding the situation, it’s more or less what max said earlier. Sites publish articles about whatever is trending in the hopes of getting more ad revenue, regardless of whether or not it fits with the site’s intended goals. It just so happens that these sites are using AdSense. Quite honestly, I don’t see how it’s Google’s fault that these sites are choosing to devalue themselves in the hopes of more revenue, and I don’t see how this is newsworthy or shocking in the least.

    Now, if you’re arguing that Google News prioritizes pages which are using AdSense, you may have something interesting, but I don’t see any real evidence of that here.