In Yahoo Harms Trust in Search Engine, Dan Gillmor references a WSJ.com article that I cannot read (because I don't want their lame "free" registration) and claims that allowing companies to pay to make sure they're included in Yahoo! Search "makes it impossible for users to know whether companies are paying to be included in the results."
Dan, it's called "paid inclusion" and it's been around for quite a while. But you don't live and breathe search like John Battelle does, so I'll cut you some slack here.
Anyway, as a user, do I really care if the company paid or not?
If it was "paid rank" I might, but it's not.
Let's go back in a time a bit. Back to a time when the Yahoo! Directory was the way to find stuff on-line. It became so popular that everyone submitted their sites. The result, of course, was that there were too many submissions to handle in a timely fashion. It seems that around then someone got the idea that you could offer a priority queue for folks willing to pony up some extra cash.
Did that make users trust the Yahoo! directory any less? Beats me. But I suspect it had a very small impact.
Think about it this way. When you fly on an airline, you have the opportunity to pay more (Business Class, First Class) to eliminate some of the waiting and hassle. But you know what? When the plane gets to the other airport, and you're in the terminal, nobody knows if you arrived in First Class or not. I best most people don't care either.
Welcome to capitalism.
[Remember, these are my personal views and not those of my employer.]
Posted by jzawodn at March 01, 2004 11:47 PM