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  • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Business Practices, , , , , , , , Debiasing, , Economic Incentives, , , , , , , , , , , Keywords, , , , , , , , , , , , , Replication, , , , Search Bias, Search Engine Bias, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Search Engine Bias 

    Does Google favour its own sites in search results? New study: Google less biased than Bing; http://eicker.at/SearchEngineBias

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Does Google favor its own sites in search results, as many critics have claimed? Not necessarily. New research suggests that claims that Google is ‘biased’ are overblown, and that Google’s primary competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, may actually be serving Microsoft-related results ‘far more’ often than Google links to its own services in search results. – In an analysis of a large, random sample of search queries, the study from Josh Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, found that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently, and far more prominently, than Google favors its own content. According to the findings, Google references its own content in its first results position in just 6.7% of queries, while Bing provides search result links to Microsoft content more than twice as often (14.3%). … The findings of the new study are in stark contrast with a study on search engine ‘bias’ released earlier this year. That study, conducted by Harvard professor Ben Edelman concluded that ‘by comparing results across multiple search engines, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.’ … So, what conclusions to draw? Wright says that ‘analysis finds that own-content bias is a relatively infrequent phenomenon’ – meaning that although Microsoft appears to favor its own sites more often than Google, it’s not really a major issue, at least in terms of ‘bias’ or ‘fairness’ of search results that the engines present. Reasonable conclusion: Google [and Bing, though less so] really are trying to deliver the best results possible, regardless of whether they come from their own services [local search, product search, etc] or not. … But just because a company has grown into a dominant position doesn’t mean they’re doing wrong, or that governments should intervene and force changes that may or may not be “beneficial” to users or customers.

      Edelman/Lockwood: “By comparing results between leading search engines, we identify patterns in their algorithmic search listings. We find that each search engine favors its own services in that each search engine links to its own services more often than other search engines do so. But some search engines promote their own services significantly more than others. We examine patterns in these differences, and we flag keywords where the problem is particularly widespread. Even excluding ‘rich results’ (whereby search engines feature their own images, videos, maps, etc.), we find that Google’s algorithmic search results link to Google’s own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to Google’s services. For selected keywords, biased results advance search engines’ interests at users’ expense: We demonstrate that lower-ranked listings for other sites sometimes manage to obtain more clicks than Google and Yahoo’s own-site listings, even when Google and Yahoo put their own links first. … Google typically claims that its results are ‘algorithmically-generated’, ‘objective’, and ‘never manipulated.’ Google asks the public to believe that algorithms rule, and that no bias results from its partnerships, growth aspirations, or related services. We are skeptical. For one, the economic incentives for bias are overpowering: Search engines can use biased results to expand into new sectors, to grant instant free traffic to their own new services, and to block competitors and would-be competitors. The incentive for bias is all the stronger because the lack of obvious benchmarks makes most bias would be difficult to uncover. That said, by comparing results across multiple search engine, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.”

      ICLE: “A new report released [PDF] by the International Center for Law und Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman und Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman und Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm – or call for antitrust action – arising from Google’s practices.Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing: In the replication of Edelman und Lockwood, Google refers to its own content in its first page of results when its rivals do not for only 7.9% of the queries, whereas Bing does so nearly twice as often (13.2%). – Again using Edelman und Lockwood’s own data, neither Bing nor Google demonstrates much bias when considering Microsoft or Google content, respectively, referred to on the first page of search results. – In our more robust analysis of a large, random sample of search queries we find that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently-and far more prominently-than Google favors its own content. – Google references own content in its first results position when no other engine does in just 6.7% of queries; Bing does so over twice as often (14.3%). – The results suggest that this so-called bias is an efficient business practice, as economists have long understood, and consistent with competition rather than the foreclosure of competition. One necessary condition of the anticompetitive theories of own-content bias raised by Google’s rivals is that the bias must be sufficient in magnitude to exclude rival search engines from achieving efficient scale. A corollary of this condition is that the bias must actually be directed toward Google’s rivals. That Google displays less own-content bias than its closest rival, and that such bias is nonetheless relatively infrequent, demonstrates that this condition is not met, suggesting that intervention aimed at ‘debiasing’ would likely harm, rather than help, consumers.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:38 on 3. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Encrypted Search, , , , , , , , , Keyword (Not Provided), Keywords, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Keyword (Not Provided) 

    Google SSL leads to not provided keywords for search traffic: more than 10% already; http://eicker.at/KeywordNotProvided

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 3. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Google’s new encrypted search for logged in users now appears to be blocking a much higher percentage of search terms than when it initially rolled out two weeks ago. In some cases, it might even be higher than the 10% or less figure that the company initially predicted might be impacted. … Google predicted that the change would impact 10% or less of searches… However, as of October 31, we have seen a very significant increase on the Not Provided figure here on Search Engine Land. It’s not just us, either. Looking at data from several websites across industries, we see a range of 7% to 14% of total organic keywords now being blocked.The figure is even more dramatic, however, when you consider it as a percentage of Google-driven keywords. In other words, the 12.87% figure above means that for ALL keywords from ANY search engine to Search Engine Land, 12.87% of them were blocked. … The rollout was supposed to take place over the course of several weeks. The process is still happening, and it seems as if it was suddenly enabled for more users on October 31.

      LM: “It’s not just Google Analytics that will be denied this data. By ‘enhancing’ their default user experience for signed in users, Google will be redirecting signed in users to https://www.google.com, thus encrypting the search results page. In analytics, you’ll still be able to see that these signed in users came from the organic search results, but instead of being able to see the actual keywords that they used, you’ll see all that data aggregated under (Not Provided.) … So far [October 20th], since this change launched, LunaMetrics has seen 1% of our keywords clumped into (Not Provided.) A client with substantially larger organic search volume has already seen almost 2% of their organic keywords represented as Not Provided. We shall see how far-reaching these changes actually are in a few weeks when they’re rolled out completely.

      Naylor: “The online SEO community was up in arms after Google announced that signed-in users would get the encrypted search results as standard on google.com, meaning that all the referring keyword data would be lost in any analytic package. – Short term, this is unlikely to cause a too much of an upset and most people are saying they are only seeing 2-3% of all searches coming through with the (not provided) keywords.

      Mark8t: “As the change gets rolled out worldwide, you will start to see an increasing number of ‘Keyword Not Provided’, so you will need to become more creative. I would strongly recommend if you have not already to get a Google Webmaster Account, as Google notes: You ‘can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic’. … In my view, although it may take more time, if you focus on content data, trends with keywords [as opposed to exact data] and other tools available, the impact will be somewhat lessened. The reality is, there is no point in crying over split milk, it’s done. Now it’s time to come up with creative solutions to keep moving forward.

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 11. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      LM: “Google SSL Search: Update on (not provided) keywords – Matt Cutts’ estimation that SSL search would only affect single-digit percentages of searchers is still holding true (in aggregate). But as you can see from the numbers above, the number of signed-in Google users that reach your site will vary greatly depending on your industry. The silver lining in this is at least we’re able to easily measure the effects of SSL search using Google Analytics and a couple of advanced segments.

  • Gerrit Eicker 17:15 on 8. July 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , Alterian, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Keyword Filtering, Keywords, , Meltwater, , , , Radian6, , , , , , , , , , , , Spiral 16, Sysomos, , , , ,   

    Social Media Monitoring Tools 

    Van Domelen: How to pick the right social media monitoring tool; http://j.mp/aQCdOt

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 06:49 on 12. June 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , AdWords Analyze Competition, Analyser, , , , , , , Keywords, , , , , ,   

    AdWords: Analyze Competition 

    Google adds more transparency to AdWords: Analyze Competition offers insights; http://j.mp/cBngIi (via @sengineland)

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 09:45 on 9. December 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Keywords, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google Search Reinvented 

    Google goes mobile: Goggles offers image keywording, localisation becomes key, search goes realtime; http://j.mp/6Mu61H

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:57 on 9. December 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “Mobile devices straddle the intersection of three significant industry trends: computing (or Moore’s Law), connectivity, and the cloud. Simply put: Phones get more powerful and less expensive all the time. They’re connected to the Internet more often, from more places. They tap into computational power that’s available in datacenters around the world. – These ‘Cs’ aren’t new: we’ve discussed them in isolation for over 40 years. But today’s smartphones – for the first time – combine all three into a personal, handheld experience. We’ve only begun to appreciate the impact of these converged devices, but we’re pretty sure about one thing: we’ve moved past the PC-only era, into a world where search is forever changed.

      TC: “This morning, Google launched its real-time search offering, which will work on both Android devices and iPhones immediately. Google says there are over a billion realtime documents a day that it will be looking at. This includes tweets, blog posts, and also information from sources like MySpace and Facebook. – Honestly, the push towards location-based search is not surprising at all, but it should be interesting to see if the new technology encroaches upon a space where companies like Yelp make their living. As we wrote earlier today, Goggles takes a huge leap forward in the field of visual search. Of course, rounding out Google’s offerings with real-time technology makes its mobile product significantly more powerful.”

      Google: “We’re introducing new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page. … Our real-time search enables you to discover breaking news the moment it’s happening, even if it’s not the popular news of the day, and even if you didn’t know about it beforehand. … Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day. … As we’ve written before, search is still an unsolved problem and we’re committed to making it faster and easier for people to access a greater diversity of information, delivered in real-time, from across the web. I’m tremendously excited about these significant new real-time search features.”

      VB: “Basically, when users search for something, the most recent news articles and posts on sites like Twitter will be immediately into your results, and those results will be updated immediately as new articles and tweets appear.”

      SEL: “I like this feature, because to me, ‘real time search’ means bringing back microblogged content, not news results, not freshly updated web pages and so on. … Currently, Google says there’s no plans for a dedicated standalone real time search page as you get for say Google News or Google Images. However, I can point you to a pseudo-page like this. Go here, and you’ll get a nice clean Google home page that is configured to search for real time information. … Google could have survived without a real time search component – in particular without the dedicated flow of microblogged updates – but it becomes a more complete and useful service with them. I’m glad to see the integration and am looking forward to see how it matures. – Still, in the long term for those trying to measure the search face-off between Google and Bing, it’s not real time search that’s the major battlefield. Instead, it’s personalized search that I think is far more important.

      NYT: “Real-time search will be rolled out to users over the next few days. It will also be available on Android and the iPhone. – Google Trends will also add “hot topics” from the real-time Web, Mr. Singhal said, plucking information about what people are talking about from Twitter, among other sites. – Finally, Google is striking real-time deals with both Facebook and MySpace. Updates from public pages on Facebook will appear in Google real-time search, as will any publicly posted comments on MySpace.”

      RWW: “Google launched its version of integrated real-time search, one of a number of impressive product demos given, at a press event this morning. It’s much better than what Bing and Yahoo! have done, but it’s still just the beginning of a full-scale engagement with the real-time web. … I certainly wasn’t watching for the change. A robot was doing that for me and let me know about the change in near real time. It was pretty awesome, but it wasn’t real time and the services I patched together to do it are all marginal enough that they often don’t work or are very late. Put real time at the center of the web and we’ll be able to automate all kinds of information monitoring. At first it will be a competitive advantage for those who use it strategically; then it will just change the game, become standard practice and require competitive knowledge workers to come up with something else that’s new.

      RWW: “At Google’s event today, the company announced not just a number of fantastic new features, including real-time search, but a new partnership as well: real-time search of public Facebook status updates. … Want your Facebook updates to stay out of Google? If that’s a concern, you needn’t worry. Only people who have changed their privacy settings to Public will have their content show up in Google. Facebook would like you to change that setting, but you don’t need to worry about your private content being sold to Google without your opting-in by changing your settings. … There is so much implicit real-time data online that few real-time search startups use only explicit data, like shared links, from social networks. … Google could try to revise its contract with users to allow indexing of click-streams, though, and TechCrunch reported last night that the company is trying to acquire Aardvark as we speak.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:27 on 26. September 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Keywords, , , , ,   

    ECJ: Trademarks in Advertising 

    ECJ: Brand owners do not have an absolute right of control over their trademarks for search keywords; http://j.mp/a3Sdf

     
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