Arachnophobia (was Re: [linux-elitists] point of order, Ogg Vorbis rules...and an experiment)

Karsten M. Self
Fri Jan 18 11:06:46 PST 2002

on Wed, Jan 16, 2002 at 07:45:03PM -0800, Don Marti ( wrote:

> Dan Gillmor on the "Google effect"
> inspires the question:
> Can you make an unofficial page _about_ a company come up higher
> in Google than the company's home page?
> Maybe if the company is a bunch of anti-net buttheads who don't even
> understand HTTP redirects, and the unofficial page has a decent amount
> of Google juice, you have a chance.

Certainly.  Dmitri was ranking high in Adobe-related searches (without
any DMCA involvement) in September and October.

Related note.  My new gig (and some personal backgrounding) is inspiring
a bit piece on "arachnophobia" -- sites that are downright search-engine
unfriendly.  Topping my list is (no content in
Google, three links to the site).

The premise:  Google is, for all intents, a blind user.  A billionaire
blind user with tens of millions of friends, all of whom hang on his
every word.  I suspect Google will have a stronger impact than the ADA
in building accessible websites.

Other arachnocides:

  - Java/Javascript dependencies.
  - Obviously CGI-driven sites ('bots avoid these as they tend to be
    spider traps)
  - Session-ID'd URLs.  There's no there there....
  - Audio content (not searchable)
  - Text-as-graphics.  Google handles a number of formats, but it
    doesn't OCR.  Scanned PDF and PS docs suffer a similar fate
    (ordinary PDFs are searchable).
  - Changeable sites.  The longer you stay in one place, the better your
    Google score.  Don't move content.

In a world where Google likely has a valuation several orders of
magnitude higher than any chrome such as flash, graphics, audio,
interactivity, or "personalization", I see a heady revision.

This also makes Google a single-point contact for driving web
standardization issues.  If Google were to give preference to conformant
HTML (hey, it simplifies *their* problem), sites would follow.  The
browser is no longer driving the market.


Karsten M. Self <>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?              Home of the brave                    Land of the free
We freed Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!
Geek for Hire            
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