To Google, you’re not a customer. You’re a product. The personal information Google culls from you is used to bring in revenue and profits from advertisers. Google can also use the search engine to damage competitors. How?
Marginalizing Apple’s Media
All of today’s modern technology companies have their online followers and detractors. These are made up of traditional media with an online presence, and many thousands of websites, including Mac360.
Media being what it is, creating or promoting or simply displaying controversy is part of the game. The Android Fandroids have their online sites of comfort, and Apple’s customers can choose many dozens of sites which display app reviews, product reviews, stock and product analysis, and more.
How do internet users find those websites and their information? For the most part, it’s Google, and this is one area of combat where Apple is weak. Google has within its power the ability to remove the pro-Apple websites from search engine results.
This site, among others, has been somewhat critical of Google’s policies, tactics, and strategies in recent years; especially so since Android arrived on the scene to compete with the iPhone.
What has Google done to marginalize websites which prefer Apple’s products at the expense of Google’s products? In just the past two years or so, search engine referral traffic from Google to Mac360 has dropped almost 95-percent.
Other Mac and Apple sites have experienced dramatic traffic drops in recent years, too, despite the fact that Apple has more customers than ever, now numbering into the hundreds of millions. Why is it that visitor traffic to these Apple-oriented websites has gone down during this period instead of increasing to match the growing user base?
Google controls most of the world’s search engine referral traffic. Websites with content that doesn’t match Google’s arbitrary standards are punished by lower rankings, which usually results in much less visitor referral traffic to those sites.
We believe that’s been the case at Mac360, but other websites have suffered a similar form of punishment at the hands of Google’s arbitrary and capricious tactics.
Here’s another example. For the most part, websites rely upon advertising for revenue to pay for servers, bandwidth, and writers. As visitor traffic to those sites diminishes because of Google’s arbitrary changes to search results, revenue to those sites drops accordingly.
Among those arbitrary standards that Google can employ to diminish the online presence of sites which are critical of Google and good at promoting Apple’s products is the number of ads per page. Google doesn’t specify a number, but sites with too many advertisements are punished with lower search engine ranking, which results in lower referral traffic from Google. Remove the non-Google AdSense ads and ranking could improve. But Google improves more because they have their own advertising business.
That enables Google’s search engine results to feed Google’s AdSense advertising business, albeit indirectly. Sites which have non-Google advertisements, could easily receive lower rankings, and less traffic from search engine results. That means Google can exert undue pressure upon websites which are critical of the company’s tactics by reducing traffic to those sites, which reduces revenue to those sites.
Will Google acknowledge such tactics? Of course not. Google says search engine results are part of their proprietary algorithms. It’s math, not a vendetta, they’ll say. Yet, at a time of online prosperity, a growing number of Apple oriented sites have been damaged by recent adjustments to Google’s search engine processes.
For example, the popular MacDailyNews has had Google Page Rank reduced to the same as Mac360, though that site has perhaps 20 times the visitor numbers. For all intents and purposes, AppleMatters
is no longer in business. Other Apple or Mac-oriented sites have suffered a similar fate in the past couple of years– a huge reduction in traffic referred by Google’s search engine results.
It’s a clever, discrete way that Google can slowly marginalize criticism of the company, and reduce the impact of competitors, specifically Apple-oriented websites. If this is the case then can it be argued that Google is abusing its monopoly position to diminish and marginalize competitors? It wouldn’t be the first time Google has been accused of that behavior. It’s not likely to be the last time, either.
How can you stop Google from remaking the web in its own image? Remember, to Google, you’re not a customer. You’re Google’s product. The company culls your personal information and essentially sells it to the highest bidder. That’s why so many of Google’s online products are free, and why the company sells smartphones and tablets at near the manufacturing cost– it’s an easy way for you to give up private information.
Apple’s business model is somewhat different. ‘Build it, and they will come‘ is a great line but easily applied to Apple’s hardware and software products. It must rankle Google’s executives no end that Apple’s customers love both the company and their products, while so many speak ill of Google’s tactics and growing list of privacy issues, and apparent monopoly abuse.
Just as Microsoft’s heavy handed tactics and inept products bred hundreds of millions of customers who hated the company’s products, Google seems bent to follow a similar path. Just as we became Microsoft Free and dropped Office for Mac to no ill effects, so it can be with Google. Google Free, anyone?