Google should close down "evil" Performics business

Summary:Google's recent acquisition of ad network Doubleclick means it is also owner of Doubleclick's Performics, a leader in search engine optimization (SEO) services. Google is in constant battle with SEO companies because they go beyond its basic SEO rules and trick its algorithms into a higher rank for a web site.

Google's recent acquisition of ad network Doubleclick means it is also owner of Doubleclick's Performics, a leader in search engine optimization (SEO) services. Google is in constant battle with SEO companies because they go beyond its basic SEO rules and trick its algorithms into a higher rank for a web site.

This pollutes its search index with what are essentially paid inclusions, and also takes away revenue from GOOG's text ad links business.

This is why the influential Danny Sullivan, from SearchEngineLand recently called upon Google to sell Performics as soon as possible.

In his post Open Letter To Google: Do The Right Thing, Divest Yourself Of Performics, he writes:

Conflict of interest? You bet. And worse from an image perspective, the purchase puts Google in the paid inclusion business, something it dissed as evil back in 2004, when it went public...

It just doesn't feel right. To me, it's the same thing as if the New York Times owned a PR company, where much of that company's main work focused on getting articles to show up in the New York Times. It's a conflict that will hurt Google's trust...

He points to Google's 2004 IPO filing and the "Don't be evil" section:

Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating...

Our search results will be objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them...

Mr Sullivan says Performics should be sold as quickly as possible. But if Google sells Performics it will essentially be allowing it continue its work of polluting its search index with paid results.

I disagree. Google should close Performics, forgo the $70m in revenues, and employ the workers in doing good instead of engaging in actions it defines as "evil," imho.

Topics: Google, Browser

About

In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to make a living as a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leadi... Full Bio

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