Today, I had a neat idea. I wanted to see if there was a such thing a type of dresser that is made up of modular, stackable sections. The dresser has a top, a bottom and one or more frames in between. Each section holds a one, two or three drawers. It’s a novel concept, but I never seen anything like that.
So, I searched Google for modular dresser drawers. The top result was exactly what I was looking for. Google seemed to have captured a very relevant result:
However, when I clicked the link, I was severely disappointed. The top two results were parked domains, full of advertisements. Even their Sponsored Links are not very relevant either. It would be nice if Google was able to detect these leeches accurately. However, Google will probably do nothing about it. They even cater to these keepers of misinformation by offering Google AdSense for [Parked] Domains:
AdSense® for domains allows domain name registrars and large domain name holders to unlock the value in their parked page inventory. AdSense for domains delivers targeted, conceptually related advertisements to parked domain pages by using Google’s semantic technology to analyze and understand the meaning of the domain names. Our program uses ads from the Google AdWords™ network, which is comprised of thousands of advertisers worldwide and is growing larger everyday. Google AdSense for domains targets web sites in over 25 languages, and has fully localized segmentation technology in over 10 languages.
It not like the Google needs another way to acquire more money. However, this type of practice is going to have consequences. If I keep getting parked domains as top relevant results, I certainly have no use for Google. So, start looking at some other search engines, I first start with AltaVista. Before I started using Google exclusively, I used AltaVista. I was surprised that they still existed in some form. The results of the same query to AltaVista yielded something interesting:
After taking a close look, I realized that even though the first few results are Sponsored Links, it turns out that they were the more relevant than Google’s result. The second (and most importantly to me) is that I did not find any parked domains on the first page of the results. I was very impressed.
So, how did others search engines do in my very unscientific test?
The results on Ask.com seem to have some relevence, but some of the results on the bottom of the first page point to dead links. Not a good thing, in my opinion, because that tells me that Ask does not check back often to see if the result is still relevant. Ask.com also has Sponsored Links on the top and the bottom, with some sponsored links repeated. Very annoying, indeed! On top of that, it was hard to tell the difference between a Sponsored Link from a standard result because the Sponsored Links only had a single text element telling me that it was a Sponsored Link. There was no background contrast, no boundaries, and no distinguishing text colors. The most positive thing about the results from Ask.com, there were no parked domains in the results.
On Microsoft Live, the results were about the same as Ask.com, but it was even harder to tell between a Sponsored Link and a standard result in the main content area. I had to look very hard. The first Sponsored Link in the right sidebar seemed to point to another search site. A little weird, but I can work with that. Again, to my surprise, there were no parked domains on the first page of the results.
On Yahoo, the results very familiar, almost like Google. The standard results are numbered, while Sponsored Links are bulleted. As with the others, the results are mostly relevant. But again, there are no parked domains on Yahoo’s first page of my results.
Of the major search providers, why does Google allow these shenanigans? Are they trying to be different, or are they seriously behind in this area? From my perspective, they are seriously annoying me as one of their customers. I have been using Google since it was located at google.stanford.edu, and I had been quite satisfied. However, they are slowly getting on my bad side. So, listen up Google, before you become irrelevant yourselves.