Posted June 7, 2008 10:58 am by with 5 comments

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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.

Best wishes,

Alan Johnson

  • This is an excellent topic, Andy. Strong competition is the best pressure on such companies to make sure they deliver their best to us.

    The problem arises when one company dominates a marketplace as Google now does. Thankfully governments realize the problems and set up bodies such as the FTC to stop predatory practices. Any really big company like Google must ensure that it behaves itself.

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  • Good companies know how to communicate their policies. It is not what policy that matters, it is how it is conveyed to the “customer” that matters. In earlier posts, what was called “reputation management” It is on this score that these worthies fail.

  • I’m waiting for the day when Yahoo and Microsoft catches up with G. Although I understand Google’s intention, I hope for less “It’s my way or the highway” attitude.

  • That’s a pretty reasonable approach Allan. The only issue I see, is it’s never totally clear what the rules of the big 3 are. As far as GYM is concerned, we should just right great content and leave it at that. That’s a little too simplistic and trusting an approach for most webmasters.

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  • It’s nice being the biggest and baddest, but beware the David that toppled Goliath…