Saturday, June 11, 2011

Worthless content on the Internet

What Demand Media has shown is that there is a lot of money to be made from making or creating junk content on the Internet. Well, I guess some will try to correct me and say that there was a market for that stuff until Google started doing something about it. 

I'd say that they are mistaken. Demand Media and Huffington Post (now a part of America Online) as well as (a New York Times company) show that there is considerable playing space to play in this area. 

You could even argue that this article is actually a junk article that adds nothing to the conversation about junk articles but who is to judge? Where do we put the bar on creative content online? Here is a dilemma because raise the bar too high and you leave out a lot of bloggers and amateurs that make up the web and your search index suffers in quantity as well as quality. Drop the bar too low and we have online sales of prescription medicine from pharmacies purportedly 100% self-certified that would pass the savings back to you. Black hat search engine optimization from seemingly legitimate companies like brings the question of how much can search engines like Google police themselves. It is their playground after all, right? So, obviously they should have the right to suspend anyone's access into the playground that they like? These are difficult questions that cannot be answered very easily. 

Google has repeatedly warned its employees and shareholders over the last few years, their market share in search could crumble if someone else comes up with another brilliant piece of technology (something as revolutionary as Back Rub that would drastically cut the cost of crawling the web and ranking search results while delivering better results. Self-regulation seems to be working just fine for Google but what if another company comes along and usurps Google from its pole position? Can we say with certitude that this new company will "do no evil" like Google? 

I am not calling for government regulations on the search market. I just want to see that the government is equipped in order to handle the situation if it ever needs to in the future. I believe that this capability alone will keep any future king of search in check. We just need to make sure we bake in the incentives correctly. 

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