How the Google algorithm is promoting mediocre 'factory'-produced content

In the latest of a series of in-depth articles about Google, the Financial Times today explores the unintended consequence that has led the search-engine giant’s search-algorithm to promote the creation of “mediocre content”.

The strict mathematical criteria which govern Google search rankings are leading shady companies like Demand Media to create content factories which play the system and then make money via Google ads, the FT reports:

‘The unintended consequence is that you get a lot of mediocre content getting a more prominent position than it should do,’says Shelby Bonnie, co-founder of Cnet, which now forms the heart of CBS‘s online division. ‘The risk is that, as Google has become more and more dominant, people have made a business out of gaming its system.”

Yesterday the FT reported on the unease some companies now feel about the huge power Google wields. Unlike just about any other medium in the past, Google not only makes money from the ads which appear next to its “content” but it also controls which shops people visit.

‘It really has massive control over so many companies,’says Mike Kwatinetz, a partner at Azure Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. ‘I know companies whose traffic dipped 50 per cent in a month. There are companies who know they’re in the penalty box, they’re trying to get out, they just don’t know how.”

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