Google, Yahoo!, Pandoras Box And The Lottery

In the fall of 1990, the musical group Snap had a monster number one hit record called, "I've Got The Power."

Nowadays, a search engine and a directory (AKA) Google and Yahoo!--number one and number two respectively, have "the power," and we handed it to them on a silver platter.

The aforementioned search engine and directory are the two biggest players in the multi billion dollar pay-for-search industry.

Our stubborn and foolish reliance on search engines have helped to open up a "Pandora's Box" of greed, arrogance and theft.

Yahoo! Express is a perfect example of all three of those evils! Check out their terms:

"Please keep in mind that payment does not automatically guarantee inclusion in the directory, site placement, or site commentary. As with all sites suggested to us, final judgement remains solely with Yahoo! editors. Yahoo! Express Guarantees All Yahoo! Express submissions will be evaluated within seven business days. You will receive an email response within seven business days, stating whether your entry is accepted or declined. (If your entry is denied, you will be told why.) The Cost of Yahoo! Express Yahoo! Express requires a US $299.00 non-refundable, recurring annual fee per submission, or US $600.00 non-refundable, recurring annual fee for submissions offering adult content and/or services. Yahoo! Express does not guarantee a listing in the Yahoo! directory, nor does it guarantee the type of placement or description that your site will receive if accepted. Please read our Yahoo! Express Terms of Service to review the terms and conditions of Yahoo! Express."

I mean, think about this for a second. You pay $300 to $600 to get listed in their directory, and they tell you they can't guarantee your website will be listed. And by the way, if your website is rejected, we'll just keep your money!

Why does Yahoo! do that? Because like "lambs going to slaughter," we allow them to!

Here's another example of greed, arrogance and theft? Check out this statement from Google:

"We are exposed to the risk of fraudulent clicks on our ads. We have regularly paid refunds related to fraudulent clicks and expect to do so in the future. If we are unable to stop this fraudulent activity, these refunds may increase. If we find new evidence of past fraudulent clicks, we may have to issue refunds retroactively of amounts previously paid to our Google Network members."

Now, I don't know about you, but I for one refuse to believe that bunch of poppycock about Google being powerless to stop click fraud. The problem is, there's no incentive for them to stop it. It really doesn't matter to Google how many times someone fraudulently clicks on your ad. Why should it? It doesn't affect their pocketbook. They still get their money either way!

And they don't even have to worry about processing an avalanche of refunds, because many of their advertisers don't even know how to analyze their log files. Therefore, they have no idea how much money they're losing. So, they just keep right on replenishing their pay-per-click accounts, foolishly hoping to catch "lightning in a bottle!"

Why isn't Google doing more to prevent click fraud? I don't know exactly, but I have a couple of theories. First of all, Google's advertisers haven't expressed the necessary outrage to effect change. Secondly, I believe Google has looked at the bottom line and determined, it's actually a lot more cost effective to issue a few refunds than to develop the technology to eliminate click fraud.

Otherwise, Google would have stepped up to the plate like a true leader and said something similar to this ficticious statement:

"Nothing is more important to us than our customers. They helped make us who we are today, and we will not let them down. We are determined to meet and defeat click fraud head on--no matter how how long it takes or how much it ultimately costs!"

By not issuing the above statement or something along those lines, Google revealed its true colors!

In my article, "The Truth About Search Engines: Playing A Game You Can't Win," I compared the odds of getting a high ranking in the search engines akin to winning the lottery. This is what I wrote:

"If you go strictly by the numbers, Yahoo!, MSN and Google are the "Big 3" of search engines and directories. Between them, they index millions and millions of pages in their directories. Although Google claims to index over 4 billion.

However, that's a subject for another day. The point is, out of all those millions and millions of pages, there's room for only a very few websites at the top of the results pages.

That means, if you go strictly by the number of indexed web pages in their directories, you have a better chance of winning the lottery, than getting high enough in the results pages to where it's going to make a significant difference in your traffic. That's not my opinion, it's a fact!"

After that article was published, you should have seen some of the e-mails I received from angry SEO experts, telling me I didn't know what I was talking about, and writing something like that was reprehensible and irresponsible journalism!

Irresponsible journalism. Really? As the saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding." So, I'm going to let my readers do the math:

According to a recent study by Inktomi and NEC Research, there are currently over two billion websites on the Internet. Google, Yahoo and MSN are considered the "Big 3" of search engines and directories. In other words, those three generate the majority of traffic.

Now, we all know the top 10 is considered prime real estate, with regard to the search engines. Studies have shown that if you're website is listed outside of the top 10 spots, there's a significant drop-off in traffic. Unfortunately, there are only a total of thirty top 10 spots among the "Big 3."

Are you still with me so far? There are only thirty available top 10 spots, and an estimated two billion websites on the Internet. You do the math! Thirty and two billion sure sound like lottery odds to me. What do you think?

About The Author

Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be reached at mailto:

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