Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How Search Engines Corrupt

I think this is classic and certainly funny enough to post.

Lee Gomes wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal a little while ago about how he tried writing for a website and became disgusted with the whole process of creating "original content." He describes the process by which sites plagiarize and manipulate content to get good search placement, which leads to the phenomenon of there being tons of articles on any given subject that aren't very good. By the end of the article he lets loose this description of search engines:
In fact, search engines are more likea TV camera crew let loose in the middle of a crowd of rowdy fans after a game. Seeing the camera, everyone acts boorishly and jostles to get in front. The act of observing something changes it.

Having great search engines is better than not having them, or having bad ones, but Gomes' insights provides a sobering counter to an unflinching devotion to the technological magnificance and social utlity of search technology.

But it's to be expected that no matter what area we are talking about, people will seek to exploit whatever they can to make a buck. Ah, free enterprise!
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