When referring to the Google – Yahoo! – Microsoft triangle, one thing is certain: there will always be complaints: people complain about Google’s domination, about Yahoo!’s services, about Microsoft’s business practices and the list could go on and on. And, while everyone has the right to complain, one thing needs to be mentioned: these companies don’t have to be fair!
So Google is dominating the search industry? So they are giving people a hard time when it comes to SEO? So they will most likely be rewarding the big players with great rankings even more in the future? Well, guess what: it’s their company and they can do whatever they see fit.
The same thing goes for Yahoo!, Microsoft and any other company which is offering something for free. Some of their decisions may not exactly be what one would call fair, but that’s simply the way things stand. As a customer, nobody can force you to use a certain product.
Again, let’s take Google and their approach towards paid links as an example. As a webmaster, Google can’t force you to stop selling links, but they can however send you the following message: if you want our traffic, PageRank and so on, play by our rules.
If your websites have a business model which makes them rely on search engine traffic too much, then that’s your problem and you will just have to play by Google’s rules if you are interested in not losing your main source of traffic. Are Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft always fair towards webmasters? Nope. Can they get away with it? As long as people are interested in what they have to offer, they most definitely can.
No matter what company we are referring to, they can make whatever decisions they see fit as long as they offer something for free and, in some cases, as long as they respect the policies you had read before signing up (no, they can’t sell your personal details).
In the end, it all boils down to finding a balance between what you need from these three companies and what they are asking for in return. The ride can and will get bumpy and these companies won’t always be what one would call fair: that’s the way things stand as far as the Web is concerned and the chances of them changing anytime soon are slim to none.