• http://www.planetc1.com/ chiropractic

    My RSS reader ticked on a Sunday with an SEL post, I think that’s a first. It seems lately that more experts in particular fields are somehow also taken as experts in fields they have little (or zero) knowledge in. Following the search industry, it’s apparent many “experts” have something to say, which is increasing proving to be a misdirection away from the wisdom and expertise shared by knowledgeable veterans in the field.

  • Kalena

    Wowzee. A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing it seems. Good for you for calling out this ignorant tripe. Kind of reminds me of the Gene Marks incident. Very tempting to turn this guy into a Dumbass of the Week too

  • http://www.search-marketing-answers.com/blog alanbleiweiss


    All I can say is it’s sad that this kind of article got into TechCrunch. If he had labeled his article “Baseless Personal Rant To Blow Off Steam” maybe MAYBE it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

    The biggest problem is that this hack is actually teaching in a prestigious academic environment. The saving grace there as with for anyone reading, there will hopefully be enough people such as yourself – with a mind of their own and who are willing to do the legwork either through real research and sourcing or experience or both.

    Thanks for the willingness to plow through that nonsense and even more for providing such a high quality and well thought-out breakdown analysis.

  • http://www.realicity.com Realicity in Minnesota

    Obviously this guy has never read a single Search Engine Land or SEOmoz post and has no idea what a finely tuned search campaign can provide. Anyone can write, Anyone can blog, not everyone can comprehend search.

  • http://www.rightbraindesign-ny.com/ catherine_wachs

    I, too flagged this over the weekend. How can this guy be a teacher at Wharton? He should take some marketing courses there.

  • sourceview

    well, I certainly am not going to defend a computer science guy from speaking out of his narrow area of expertise, but there is some truth here, if you don’t personalize it. Google algorithms seem to foster an oversupply of “adsense” sites (sold on eBay for 99 cents plus hosting costs. The deceit and subterfuge lie at the door of these website owners. The noise in a search now really drowns out a lot of the utility of search.

    And in discussions with my colleagues, we have started using more sophisticated boolean queries, removing sites from our search that use ads by google or sponsored links and being more specific about type of website.

    As an empiricist I really do like to see some actual data, competently sampled, with a reasonable attempt at analysis, something absent in 99% of Internet blogs.

  • David Szetela

    Wow. Clemons’ article was breathtakingly incorrect in so many ways. Here’s my rewrite of his point #3:

    3. Advertising will continue to succeed for three reasons:

    There are three reasons why people in advertising should feel that their industry is recession-proof:

    * Consumers trust advertising.
    * Consumers want to view advertising.
    * Consumers need advertising.

    Advertising will be a thriving, necessary industry long after the “need” for experts in “Operations and Information Management” has passed.

  • tommyofroguestar

    It sounds like he may have just had a bad experience, possibly wasted a lot of money by not doing his keyword research in the past. It’s like the companies who hire shady “SEO’s” who throw out a lot of buzzwords to gain someones business and then get mad at the whole SEO industry because they didn’t do their due diligence in finding the right company. So after a few failed adwords campaigns he just get’s mad at the whole of Google and starts spouting off things that don’t even make sense. Good article though, gave me a good chuckle

  • mlvlvr

    I’ve stopped following TechCrunch on Twitter. There’s only so much noise you can tolerate. Still, I think MA has something to offer.

  • drj53x

    I deal with a lot of online advertising as a user, and Clemon’s main point seems right on target: people don’t trust advertising – and by extension the search engines that carry it. The main problem is indeed misdirection – being directed to sites that are not unique and/or do not actually have what I seek.

    If I search for an item and many of the (non-paid) sites on Google’s first page are bogus (no real info about what I’m searching for, out of stock for 6 months) I have been misdirected. If I get 10 sites that are just fronts for the same merchandise at the same cost (or the same price + high shipping charge) I’ve been misdirected. If I am looking for a hotel room and many of the sites returned by Google tell me there are no rooms available or that the cheapest room is $150 when in fact rooms are available for $89, I’ve been misdirected. Whether this is due to Google’s direct collusion or the machinations of evil merchants, doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve been led to believe that the information I want (the lowest price on an HDMI cable or a hotel room) is a few clicks away, only to find that I have to go to page after page after page (viewing ad after ad) to find it. And the more pages (and ads) I have to view, the more money Google makes. Makes it hard to believe the search engines are innocent victims of shady merchants and advertisers.

  • http://www.adenwatts.com adenwatts

    Thanks for taking the time to do this review. I followed the TechCrunch tweet and read the article. If it wasn’t written by a Wharton Professor, I would have quickly dismissed most of it; but, because the author had such a fancy title, it was more difficult than it should have been. Thanks for your perspective.

  • AnilVT

    Danny, I’m your fan – couldn’t have responded to this trash better. Keep Going!!
    Eric Clemons is one of the tribe which hides behind their research ‘rock’ and fail to understand or learn what’s practical in the current world. Don’t worry folks,
    Eric would come out of his Jurassic era cave to see the light some day sooner rather than later :)

  • rvaposter


    Yeah that line about Google’s business being based on misdirection made a leaden clunk when I read it as well.

    However, I think there is tension between Google’s search and advertising functions. If Google was doing a perfect job of divining my search desires, what would be the need for advertising? Look at the local business listings that come up on top of regular search listings for some searches. I have had clients say “if I’m there, why do I need to advertise?” which I think is a valid point.

    So those advertisers go away. Google needs more revenue, drops those local listings, and advertisers come back. Where do they draw the line between providing good organic results and wanting advertisers to pay to fill in the gaps?

    I think if you extrapolate this example it reveals an inherent flaw in what Google is doing.

  • http://www.97thfloor.com/blog Chris Bennett


    Awesome, Awesome post. There are so many people out there that hear one little tid bit of info and try and turn it into an expert report or study. It is shallow content and stoked to see you call it as you see it.

    p.s. My captcha is asking me to type in “Hymen” maybe I should take a second look at the premium member account :)

  • Engago team

    @Danny Sullivan
    Do you ever click on ads?

    What about the Natural Born Clickers?