How paranoid are Americans? When Google announced the intention to delist pages they consider ‘pure spam, the search engine was taken to court.
The prosecution case hinged on a conspiracy theory: that Google would force people to buy Adwords by delisting their pages.
Do you really think Google want ransom money?
It seems as though some people have forgotten about the huge amount of spam that lands in their inbox every day. This is not what we want from online advertising.
Spam also poses a problem for online businesses. My WordPress site gets hammered with spam on a daily basis. Fortunately Askimet captures most of it – although not all of it. Spam corrupts web analysis.
What are the rules of online advertising?
Unless you a serial spammer, Google will not touch your website. On the contrary, they will protect it from the idiots that do send pure spam. As I imagine the plaintiffs in said court case do.
There are clear legal rules about online advertising. The Can Spam Act 2003 was introduced to curb the amount of unsolicited advertising on the web.
Sending spam on the www. is a criminal offence. The rules of online advertising clearly state that advertisers must get permission from recipients before sending emails or SMS marketing messages.
In the UK, spammers can be fined up to £5000 in the Magistrates court. If a jury is called to reside over the trial, the fine can be unlimited.
I can understand that many small businesses feel aggrieved with the powers that search engines have. And yes, Google does appear to be playing into the hands of large companies with huge marketing budgets.
There is also the risk of propaganda. Large media outlets that only report half-truths and plant politically-orientated ideas into people’s heads always rank highly despite failing miserably on all counts of usability.
But we live in a free world where choice is the onus of end-users. So compel internet users to choose something different than mainstream crap.
As small businesses, we have the obligation to educate customers and provide a better user-experience than the corporates. And given they nearly all have user-unfriendly websites, that shouldn’t be too difficult.