FairSearch - for the right result

Small Business Speaks Out Against Google

There has been a lot of activity on the FairSearch Facebook page this week but one post really stuck out. Colin Pape of Mountain View-based ShopCity.com posted this.

I can tell you how Google is acting unfair and hurting small business:

We are a competitor who has developed a superior product that truly works for small businesses and local communities – www.shopcity.com and www.shoplocally.com. Unfortunately, Google has chosen to manually penalize our websites so that they don’t show up in search results until page 5/6/7.

Go ahead, search for ‘shopcity’ and keep going through the results until you find us.

Our company enables local partners – typically media companies & entrepreneurs, but also city governments and chambers, to use our platform to connect their communities online. Unfortunately, Google has also penalized these local websites – ex. www.shopcorona.com and www.shopmidland.com by saying that they don’t meet their ‘quality guidelines’.

We have tried everything with them, and have made so many changes to our site that limit our search exposure (ex. blocking huge sections of our content with robots.txt and noindex tags) to try to appease the Google gods.

It may seem that Google is operating fairly from a distance, but as soon as you begin competing directly with them, in a market where they are not yet the dominant player, and you will see how the operate in a way that makes it very difficult to succeed.

In the process, the also harm consumers by directing them away from the site they wish to visit, solely for Google’s own competitive benefit.

Case-in-point, search for ‘shopmidland’. A term that many people search for every day, looking for our site, ShopMidland.com. Please, tell me if the search results you receive seem to give you what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that this site has been online since April of 2000, that the content is very high quality, and with many inbound links from trusted sites, and with the name ‘shopmidland’.

Again, you will find it, but only if you go to pages 5/6/7 (depending on your search settings).

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that Google doesn’t play fairly – they are just very good at hiding it from consumers.

We couldn’t agree more.

Tomorrow as the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee investigates Google’s behavior in search and search advertising, we hope they remember Colin’s closing words: “Google doesn’t play fairly – they are just very good at hiding it.”