Dylan Casey

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Oct 25, 2010
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Maxiton said:
As stated, though, the room is dark and we don't know what all the factors are in their decision to manipulate these results. I hope this comes to the attention of some E.U. regulators.
Or do we have a rogue operator?

 
May 14, 2010
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BotanyBay said:
Or do we have a rogue operator?


Who knows? I don't know how things are structured at Google, but I find it hard to believe that one person could manipulate results without anyone knowing.
 
Managing

jimmypop said:
Just go to Google, type in "Lance Armstrong", click "news", and look at the results. Because I claim to know a bit about how those results are formed, I'll also claim that they appear a bit managed, given the traffic and links we've seen over the past 14 days.
I absolutely agree that results are managed. But care must be taken to distinguish between a search process that generically biases news and one that biases a specific target, WonderBoy.

Is there a bias in Google's news? Absolutely. It treats each appearance of syndicated content as distinct when in fact, it's the same article vaguely repurposed.

Is there a customized bias for Wonderboy? That's hard to answer. Good question, but we need ways to collect facts on it. I can scrape content all day, but how to test the collected results?

I have my doubts about a former Wonderboy associate at google customizing search results. First and foremost, Google is a big company and I don't see how it would work inside the company. Second, the search ranking process may have manual hooks, but some targeting a blog critical of WonderBoy would be pretty amazing.

I would argue Wonderboy doesn't need a mole. Some exec would probably take Wonderboy's call and use the relationship to elevate his status at Google. The mole thing is fun, but complicated and therefore unlikely.

I don't doubt the claims about someone from Team Pharmstrong visiting the blogger's site. I doubt his last post that suggests google is watching. It's called surfing the net at work. I have lots more interesting addresses than just a Google-owned IP in my logs.
 
A

Anonymous

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DirtyWorks said:
I absolutely agree that results are managed. But care must be taken to distinguish between a search process that generically biases news and one that biases a specific target, WonderBoy.

Is there a bias in Google's news? Absolutely. It treats each appearance of syndicated content as distinct when in fact, it's the same article vaguely repurposed.

Is there a customized bias for Wonderboy? That's hard to answer. Good question, but we need ways to collect facts on it. I can scrape content all day, but how to test the collected results?

I have my doubts about a former Wonderboy associate at google customizing search results. First and foremost, Google is a big company and I don't see how it would work inside the company. Second, the search ranking process may have manual hooks, but some targeting a blog critical of WonderBoy would be pretty amazing.

I would argue Wonderboy doesn't need a mole. Some exec would probably take Wonderboy's call and use the relationship to elevate his status at Google. The mole thing is fun, but complicated and therefore unlikely.

I don't doubt the claims about someone from Team Pharmstrong visiting his site. I doubt his last post that suggests google is watching. It's called surfing the net at work. I have lots more interesting addresses than just a Google-owned IP in my logs.
Yet, the accusation of search manipulation is not new.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20015601-265.html
 
Jul 17, 2009
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jimmypop said:
Just go to Google, type in "Lance Armstrong", click "news", and look at the results. Because I claim to know a bit about how those results are formed, I'll also claim that they appear a bit managed, given the traffic and links we've seen over the past 14 days.
Not very strong claims to know a "bit" and "appear". Admit you know little.
 
May 14, 2010
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DirtyWorks said:
I absolutely agree that results are managed. But care must be taken to distinguish between a search process that generically biases news and one that biases a specific target, WonderBoy.
But this is exactly the apparent bias we are discussing and the only bias that has any meaning in this context.

Is there a bias in Google's news? Absolutely. It treats each appearance of syndicated content as distinct when in fact, it's the same article vaguely repurposed.
That's not bias; that's search algorithms not yet attuned sufficiently to prevent repetition (assuming preventing repetition would be seen as desirable).

Is there a customized bias for Wonderboy? That's hard to answer. Good question, but we need ways to collect facts on it. I can scrape content all day, but how to test the collected results?
There is, plainly, apparent bias. It is why we are having this discussion. We don't need a test to determine that. What we need to determine is how the bias comes about, or conversely how it's explained by Google if it isn't there by plan.

I have my doubts about a former Wonderboy associate at google customizing search results. First and foremost, Google is a big company and I don't see how it would work inside the company. Second, the search ranking process may have manual hooks, but some targeting a blog critical of WonderBoy would be pretty amazing.
Google is full of amazing intellects doing amazing things - that's why we use them, after all. I would be surprised if they were incapable of manipulating search results to favor or disfavor certain sites.

I would argue Wonderboy doesn't need a mole. Some exec would probably take Wonderboy's call and use the relationship to elevate his status at Google. The mole thing is fun, but complicated and therefore unlikely.
Maybe that's it; but isn't that effectively the same thing as a mole? And in any case, for all we know there may be an entire management team behind this. Heck, it could even be an agenda item at a board of directors meeting, for all we know.

I don't doubt the claims about someone from Team Pharmstrong visiting his site. I doubt his last post that suggests google is watching. It's called surfing the net at work. I have lots more interesting addresses than just a Google-owned IP in my logs.
Given all the other stuff he mentions, though - putting it in context, in other words - it does begin to quack like a duck, does it not?
 

jimmypop

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Jul 16, 2010
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goober said:
Not very strong claims to know a "bit" and "appear". Admit you know little.
I wasn't implementing irony through understatement: I know next to nothing, about anything.

It is worth pointing out the delta between the sets of search results, though.
 
Scott SoCal said:
Yet, the accusation of search manipulation is not new.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20015601-265.html
Scott,

I'm not saying it's not done. It was well documented that Linux searches were weirdly biased in Microsoft's Bing too.

I'm saying the mole allegation is very unlikely.

I also have doubts about a single blogger's site being the target of attention at Google. That make Team Pharmstrong out to be much more powerful than a few felons with money. I just don't see it.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Just like they can assist the police by keeping track of certain searches like "naked little boys", they most certainly have some kind of dashboard that lets them interfere or manipulate (if needed). The question is: "Who has the keys to the dashboard?"

I'm just saying... We have manipulated results, an insider connection, a person with an interest in manipulating results and an injured party. We also have a news item that BOOMED around the internet, and it didn't register in the Google News results. Two separate incidents of "hmmm" and a common connection between the company and the one with something to gain.
 

jimmypop

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Jul 16, 2010
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As much as I despise all things SEO, let's not downplay the potential for manipulation by a third party.
 
May 14, 2010
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BotanyBay said:
Just like they can assist the police by keeping track of certain searches like "naked little boys", they most certainly have some kind of dashboard that lets them interfere or manipulate (if needed). The question is: "Who has the keys to the dashboard?"

I'm just saying... We have manipulated results, an insider connection, a person with an interest in manipulating results and an injured party. We also have a news item that BOOMED around the internet, and it didn't register in the Google News results. Two separate incidents of "hmmm" and a common connection between the company and the one with something to gain.
In short, somebody has a lot of explaining to do.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Sometimes people know people in an organization that know OTHER people in an organization. Some of them very high-up. Some of them sports fans. Some of them cyclists. Some of them willing to bend the rules. Some of them do.

Stranger things have happened.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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jimmypop said:
As much as I despise all things SEO, let's not downplay the potential for manipulation by a third party.
As Travis Tygart might say... This at least warrants a closer look, eh?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
DirtyWorks said:
Scott,

I'm not saying it's not done. It was well documented that Linux searches were weirdly biased in Microsoft's Bing too.

I'm saying the mole allegation is very unlikely.

I also have doubts about a single blogger's site being the target of attention at Google. That make Team Pharmstrong out to be much more powerful than a few felons with money. I just don't see it.

I would agree... but given who we are talking about, the subject matter and the rumblings of active elite masters racers and their connection to a certain admitted PED supplier... makes for an interesting connection.

All I'm saying is this would not surprise me.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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DirtyWorks said:
I also have doubts about a single blogger's site being the target of attention at Google.
Lance has millions of fans. Yet this simple blog was the target of attention at CSE. So why would you doubt it could then be referred to a friend at Google?
 
Maxiton said:
What we need to determine is how the bias comes about, or conversely how it's explained by Google if it isn't there by plan.
Agreed. One way would be to collect data and compare results. But, compare how?

Maxiton said:
Google is full of amazing intellects doing amazing things - that's why we use them, after all. I would be surprised if they were incapable of manipulating search results to favor or disfavor certain sites.
The complexity would be enormous. Smart people can do many things, but put many of them together and their output isn't collectively better. So, stick a small team on the task. Now what? Every special request they get would open the door for the next special request that would need a new exception and more complexity.


Maxiton said:
Given all the other stuff he mentions, though - putting it in context, in other words - it does begin to quack like a duck, does it not?
Except the blog in question doesn't have much traffic. So its reasonable to expect some variability.

I propose an experiment. Start a Team Pharmstrong friendly blog and track hits and visitors. Track Google ranking. Wait for the Team Pharmstrong members to show up. If you get the Team Pharmstrong visits, subtly change the blogs content to anti Team Pharmstrong. Track hits/visitors/search rank after the change.

I'm involved the the nitty-gritty details of delivering technology services and I don't see it. I might be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. The experiment (or something like it) might deliver some facts.
 
BotanyBay said:
Lance has millions of fans. Yet this simple blog was the target of attention at CSE. So why would you doubt it could then be referred to a friend at Google?
I think it's way more likely one of Lance's millions of fans works at Google and was surfing the net from the google-owned IP address.

My opinion may not fit reality. I proposed an experiment in another reply to test the phenomena. Give me some feedback on it.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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DirtyWorks said:
Scott,

I'm not saying it's not done. It was well documented that Linux searches were weirdly biased in Microsoft's Bing too.

I'm saying the mole allegation is very unlikely.

I also have doubts about a single blogger's site being the target of attention at Google. That make Team Pharmstrong out to be much more powerful than a few felons with money. I just don't see it.
Well someone is watching - this is from last year, over the use of a t-shirt.

From:
To: xxxxxxx@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 14:46:21 -0600
Subject: LambStrong Shirts

Hello Mr. Wilson,
My name is Joseph Halbert, and I am an intern at LIVESTRONG headquarters in Austin, Texas. We are interested in learning more about your LambStrong shirts, as they seem to have become an internet phenomenon. In particular, we are interested in their origin and purpose. Any information you can provide would be helpful and appreciated.

Regards,
Joseph

JOSEPH HALBERT

Legal Intern

LIVESTRONG
p 512.236.8820 Ext. 2020
f 512.236.8482
http://www.livestrong.org

So Mr Halbert I hope the above post goes some way of answering you question of what and where LAMBSTRONG originated. Don't worry we are not obsessed with world domination like Lance is, we won't be running against him for governor of TEXAS or President of the U S of A. You are welcome to him and we definitely don't claim to be the cure to cancer we are just a bunch of cycling obsessed fans using out finely tuned English sense of humour to poke fun at your constant desire for control and megalomania.

King Regards
Simon (LAMBSTRONG) Lamb
 
Dr. Maserati said:
Well someone is watching - this is from last year, over the use of a t-shirt.
He's asking specific questions to see if there's potential for a Trademark dispute. Part of maintaining a Trademark is the appearance of defending it. Sending you a letter is evidence in a court that the Liv3Strong trademark is being maintained.

If I made a t-shirt available for sale on the Interwebs that said DirtStrong, then I'd likely get a letter just like yours. If Team Pharmstrong saw an opportunity to defend their Trademark, they'd take me to Federal court for a Trademark dispute. No shocker there. That's how the system is set up. It's a crazy, wasteful system, but that's a different topic.
 

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