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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ask’s Anti-Google Campaign

Above is a prime example of (search) power abuse: integrated their anti-Google ad campaign “Information Revolution” right into their results, by showing a man on puppet strings when you searched for “google”, urging users to “use different sources to get information.” What were they thinking? That showing the world they abuse their search results by playing tricks on users somehow increases faith in their product? The only thing that will do that are better search results, and right now – as nice as it would be to have another equal competitor – Ask is simply playing in a different league than Google and Yahoo.

Now, Ask isn’t the first search engine to attack competition, or pimp their products, in their search results. Yahoo was once showing a Yahoo ad when you used them to search for “Google”. So did Microsoft at MSN. And a while ago, Google also abused their special results system “onebox" for often unrelated product links, but they reacted on user feedback and removed those links shortly after launch. Maybe Ask also already learned their lesson, because the puppet on a string above seems to be removed by now. Opinions of search engine makers are better left to their respective company blogs, where we expect editorials – on result pages, users have come to expect neutrality.

[Via Matt Cutts. Image Creative-Commons-licensed by Danny Sullivan.]


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