Are Brands Really the Solution to the Internet “Cesspool?”

Graywolf Disputes Infamous Schmidt Quote

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Eric SchmidtIn 2008, Eric Schmidt called the Internet a cesspool and said that brands were the way to sort it out. Popular blogger Michael Gray aka Graywolf says that big brand media sites are "the real cesspool of the Internet."

Gray discusses a search for "ferrari development car," which returns 8 out of 10 results that are the same AP article on different sites. That almost sounds like…duplicate content.

Duplicate Content

"Well Eric I’m going to show you not only did you get it wrong , but you got it very wrong, not only are big brands just as responsible for the pollution of the internet, but Google is an enabler," writes Gray as he points to the above results.

Admittedly, when Schmidt made his statement, I agreed with him. In fact, I even wrote "I couldn’t agree more." I still believe that he was right when he said that the Internet is full of garbage, and brands are the solution.

Michael GrayHowever, Gray is also right to dispute this with the example he provides. I don’t take brands being the solution to mean that different brands providing the exact same content should rank higher than others simply because of their brands. The duplicate content has to be taken into consideration.

I also don’t take it to mean that the AP has to rank over a blogger like Michael Gray (not that he’s trying to rank for this particular example). To me, Gray represents his own brand, and he has certainly gained authority within his niche because he is well-known in the industry.

To me, in the Ferrari example, perhaps something from the car maker itself would have been more appropriate to rank higher. I won’t even say that the AP story shouldn’t have ranked. But the same story should probably not be ranked for 8 out of 10 results.

That said, I think brands do help users sort through the "cesspool." It’s about trust. Businesses and individuals need to build their own brands to establish that trust and authority.

Are Brands Really the Solution to the Internet “Cesspool?”
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