Google Blogoscoped


Snap's Separation of Organic Results and Ads  (View post)

Sam Davyson [PersonRank 10]

Sunday, May 21, 2006
16 years ago4,545 views

"So while on the surface it might seem counter-intuitive or even a little deceptive to combine paid and organic listings, we think it turns out to be far better for both the user and, where there are paid listings, for the advertiser as well."

And perhaps also works out well for too?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

If this works for Snap then it works for snap. However I see that sponsered ad's are placed right on top of the search – this is kinda hidden even for me.. so when I get returns that hardly meet what I am searching for, this will turn me away from using snap for search.

Utills [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I believe over time Snap themselves will lose out. If you look at your example for a second it means that whereas in Google the top results are established and reputable products such as Windows Defender (Top results for Google), in snap it happens to be a site that is probably not upto par with the best tools out there, charges for its service and is not in the best interest of the user.

Currently a search for [Via gra] (Philipps spam blocker does not allow the full word) on snap returns a good set of results, containing official pages from major pharmacutical companies. I'm betting that give a few months and these results will become diluted with the sponsered results, which more often than not are far poorer for relevance and interest than organic non-over-SEO'd sites.

I believe the best approach is one that Yahoo first touched upon. They released a slider that was polarised between Research and Shopping or something like that. There needs to be a clear difference between the marketplace search and the library search. In the marketplace, where products may be on sale for a fee or in the open source world may even be given away free, a person is out looking to purchase or acquire something. However, in the library environment all the searcher wishes to do is get an answer to the query. Ok...sure there are blurred boundaries between the two but that is encapsulated within the slider concept.

I believe the art of library searching has been nearly perfected by Google and its major rivals, but the art of devising an algorithm to judge what the best product is within a given market has yet to be perfected. Just think of Froogle and you can understand how difficult it is to use the organic approach to the marketplace search.

alek [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Ditto what Sam said – I'll shorten that quote by saying "we think it turns out to be far better for ... the advertiser [and us]"

BTW, this approach would be basically in violation of the Adsense TOS since while the advocate blending (i.e. they approach that line might close IMHO), you still have the "ads by google" displayed.

Elias KAI [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

yep right alek
+ Google used in the past as trial to list in the bottom some ads, but turned it down after a while.

Like yahoo beta search , searchers need to differentiate the free information or research from an ad regarding this subject

imagine a TV full of ADS no programs, who will watch it ?

Milly [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Utills, if you want to see how bad it *might* get, just try Dogpile, a so-called meta-search engine, mixing organic results (licensed from the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN) with bought adverts :-

Of the default 20 numbered results for [spyware], ONLY numbers 6 and 14 are NOT adverts masquerading as results. Yep, organic results are diluted down to 10%! You get similar ratios for many, many searches.

(Why do more reputable engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN allow their results to be used to give credence to such shabby tactics? For money, of course. Shame on them, too).

As for the slider notion, I've always liked the idea. But users sliding for 'Shopping' still want (or ought to want) organic shopping results, ranked by authoritative relevance in some way, rather than by which advertiser paid the most for the placement. (Of course they may also want to look at, or search for, adverts themselves: but they shouldn't be hoodwinked into mistaking one for the other).

(BTW, Google Labs had the slider idea long before Yahoo, with user-selectable 'flavours' like shopping and much more, but the 'flavouring' has been subsumed into Personalized Search (for logged-in users) and the slider has been dumped. Oh well :(

SCJM [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #


If it is not broken, don't fix it.

Mark McGuire [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I disagree that this is bad and I salute Snap for trying to change the status quo. Aren't most marketplace searches dominated by SEO-pages? Aren't these organic results that you call pure actually paid for as well (with SEO)? If Snap has the opportunity to serve up more relevant ads (not by how many people click and make money for GYM, but how many people actually click through and buy). Would you rather see an adword that gets lots of clicks or a sponsored result that gets the most results? I know how I would answer this.

I think Snap is moving this in the right direction (although this is problematic for library-type searches). There are lots of companies trying to fix this problem (my company included--you are read my latest post on this at if interested) and I think Snap should be commended for trying to take a step away from the status quo.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

When there is a sponsored result, the ad buyer decided that this is the most relevant result, not the user or the search engine, and the ad buyer is obviously biased towards his product. Ultimately only organic results try to tackle to decide "what's best" in any objective way, be it a commercial site, a non-commercial site, or what-not (and yes, when I enter "absolute ftp" into Google I expect to go to the official Absolute FTP website where I can later download and purchase this product... there is no conflict here between organic results and commercial sites).
As you mention, algorithms can often be gamed by SEOs, and search engines often fail to decide "what's best", but I don't think that's a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater (as we say here).

SCJM [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #



I'm so stupid.

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!