It’s Not Easy Being Matt Cutts

    December 7, 2006

One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons is the one where Dogbert is accused of becoming “an annoying person who misinterprets everything you say.” He replies “Yes, I’m more assertive.” Interlocutor replies: “I said annoying, not assertive.” And then something or other about climbing into a clothes dryer.

Anyhoo, there is a usual tempest in a teapot unfolding with a site getting into trouble with Google, and ranting and raving about it even though Google took appropriate actions and even tried contacting the site owners. So far, there are 121! comments on Matt’s post about this.

One of the comments, by Shelly, reads:

So what you’re saying is that if a site has links to subjects that Google doesn’t approve of, and these links are hidden, you remove the site from Google’s results? When is Google going to realize if you can’t legislate morality, you can’t algorithmically control morality, either?

Shelly must be one of those people who believes hidden text referring to animal porn provides an optimal user experience, and that Google has an obligation to help hackers disrupt legitimate businesses. What a bunch of heavy-handed goons that they won’t bend over backwards to accommodate whatever it is Shelly seems to want, or might be thinking. Because, not to put too fine a point on it (as Shelly clearly refuses to): a bunch of randomly-selected search results showing up willy-nilly is perfectly analogous to free speech, and equals freedom for all.

It does look cosy in there. I think I’ll climb in.



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Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.