The Google Search Scam

In yesterday’s post about Outskirts Press on the Inc. Magazine Fast 5000, I listed “scam” in the tags and categories since that posting discussed #1 Inc 500 company Ambit Energy; and I wanted to refer to my posting today about Ambit Energy and, more specifically, what I refer to as the Google Search Engine Scam (officially called “Google Suggest”).

Certainly you’ve seen this relatively new functionality of Google, whereby Google tries to anticipate a search term and offers suggestions even before you finish typing.  Convenient, yes?  Well, no. The reality is that Google now ends up penalizing real content (and, ironically, “real content” is Google’s whole M.O.) by pairing logical, relevant results with the car-accident-gawking illogical results derived from human curiosity. 

For example, since I wanted to compose a blog about Ambit Energy in my last posting, I searched for Ambit Energy on Google. And here’s what Google Suggest offered to me even before I finished typing:

ambit scam outskirts press scam

The #1 fastest-growing, cover-story-leading company featured in Inc. Magazine and probably hundreds of other magazine and newspaper articles receives a slap in the face by having “ambit energy scam” appear on the list of Google Suggestions immediately below the actual term I was searching for.   Well, gosh, thank you Google.  I didn’t even know I was looking for a scam until you told me I was.  And gosh, thank you so much, Google; you list it #2 in the suggestion drop down, so it MUST be important.

How silly did I feel believing any of this? Was the Outskirts Press CEO really susceptible to Google voodoo logic to believe a “scam” just because Google suggested it?   It felt like a visit to the carnival side show hypnotist, who whispers suggestions into your sub-conscious. Snap out of it.  

Let’s consider this: Is “ambit energy scam” more relevant, valuable (or impartial) than the 3rd suggestion “ambit energy reviews?”  Of course not.   Is it more relevant than “ambit energy rates” or “ambit energy phone number?”  Absolutely not.

Here’s the unfortunate, Big Brother-esque reality: Google now rewards the human being’s natural inclination toward controversy by improving the Suggestion Rank of suggested terms based upon nothing more than the illogical number of times someone clicks on it. And, like it or loathe it, human beings are fascinated with negative, controversial things.   That means Google’s suggestion algorithm flies in the very face of Google’s mission, which is to display the most relevant results first.   Instead, what Google now displays are results people didn’t actually search for OR care about (or even have in their mind) but which appeal to our basic, morbid curiosity.   

And therefore, instead of valuable, relevant content, Google delivers the rantings of a few kooks and/or the carefully crafted blogs of unscrupulous competitors.    Neither is what the Google user was searching for.

And that, as Spock would say, is very illogical, Captain. More on this next time…