How Google Loses Its Moral Authority

I use lots of Google services.

It’s a happy little arrangement – I use the services free of charge, and they get to mine my data for purposes unknown.

Where things get interesting is where Google becomes the self-appointed arbiter of all things online.

An old adage about throwing stones and glass houses comes to mind.

Inspired by the incredibly glib tweet from Dan Barker:

Mr Barker was referring to this example of scraping.


And I’ve noticed things like this:


All the instructions were scraped from the URL referenced. On my results page this URL ( ranked at about position #8 – which ads insult to injury to the site owner. Google’s message is this:

Your content is good enough for us to place it at the top of our results. But we will rank your actual site page well below this.

How far will Google take this?  The site in question even has a copyright mark. Will the they get more click thru from the reference link below the scraped content?

I’ve got a few other interesting examples of Google guidelines myself:

Google: We Hate Affiliate Sites

From Webmaster Guidelines:

Google believes that pure, or “thin,” affiliate websites do not provide additional value for web users […]

An example of a thin affiliates includes:
Pages with product affiliate links on which the product descriptions and reviews are copied directly from the original merchant without any original content or added value.

I found one.

It lists descriptions and ratings in exchange for compensation.

It’s called Google Shopping, where a search for stuff points me to a scoped crossbow.


Google: We Hate Buying and Selling Links

From Google Blog

“Google has said for years that selling links that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines”

Let’s hope none of these paid links are passing PageRank.

Google: Let’s Have Your Images

From Google:

“Webmasters are often concerned about the unauthorized use of their images.”

I wonder if Google authorized the use of these images.

And I wonder if I’m breaching copyright by posting a screenshot.



Google: Don’t Have Too Many Ads

From Google:

“If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.”
Hi, I'm James, and for the last decade I've made a living by making my own blogs and websites.
Updated: September 15, 2016


  1. Some scumbag stole one of my photos and posted it on his Blogger site. I reported it to Google/Blogger and they refused to do anything despite the fact that I proved ownership and that no permission was granted. So much for Google giving a rats ass.

  2. Great analysis.

    Сan i do translation of your article on the Russian language?
    Indicating your authorship, of course.

    Sorry for my english grammar. I translate better than writing.

  3. Great points, James! Those good old times of “Don´t be evil…” are definitely gone.
    Plus I´m afraid that Google dominance in near future will be not only about moral aspects.

    • If Google search wasn’t still one of the primary drivers of traffic across the whole interweb, it would be a non-issue. The reality is the opposite: Google Search (yes despite social media) still dominates traffic referral patterns everywhere.

  4. well said sir! 🙂

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