Nobody’s perfect. No service is perfect. We strive for it knowing that we’ll probably never get there but we do the best we can. The tech world is one of encountering unchartered territories where new services and offerings are a regular occurrence, some downright awful, others groundbreaking. Even those groundbreaking ones were a work in progress. It’s not uncommon for an Apple product launch to be riddled with issues. Battery issues (including exploding ones), buggy software, AT&T, The Newton and even the latest Apple maps fiasco, Apple still seems to pull through relatively unscathed. Google has also done a great job with it. Great foundation product, and even with a few hiccups along the way (Google Wave anyone?) they continue to see great success. Given that I’m quite reliant on G, I’ve certainly followed along closer than others. I’ve really enjoyed the value that Google has brought to a lot of client websites and in turn, their businesses. They continue to enjoy a great run and it’s tough to imagine that another Search Engine can have much of an impact over their Search share which still stands at around the 60% mark.
I anticipate some missteps along the way. The whole (not provided) initiative was, and continues to be infuriating. Obviously not a deal-breaker but just seems a little icky. For those not familiar with that one, Google determined that for privacy purposes, anyone logged into their Google account would have their search referrals hidden from website owners and marked (not provided) in analytics. No such problems when clicking on one of their ads though…yeah more than a little suspicious. Now with some profiles showing (not provided) referrals in the 40%’s it’s getting pretty ridiculous. One can speculate all they want that this was a deliberate push towards Paid Search but it is was it is. Just feels a bit dirty.
There has always been issues with their search results but think about what they’re trying to do. Not easy. Here’s an example that has been online for a few weeks:
. Getting legitimate websites pinged for negative SEO and here we have a hacked website that remained on the SERPS for over 3 weeks. Not easy to explain. The there’s the website that has thousands of spammy incoming links and has been ranking above yours for months. Can’t explain. Or the website with 1 or 2 incoming links, a crappy website that hasn’t been updated for a couple of years but has an exact match domain and is ranking above yours. Not entirely sure.
Still, I’m not overly sold by the Bing v Google challenge where they tested searcher satisfaction and apparently Bing beat Google by a ratio of 2:1 but there does seem to be a growing backlash against G. I’m trying not to be one of them but they’re not making it easy.
And now we have the new pay-to-play Google Shopping offering which reeks of Yahoo’s slightly deceptive paid inclusion program from back in the day that Google used to complain about. I’m certainly not naive enough to suggest that satisfying your investors is unnecessary but it feels like they’re taking over their raison de l’autre more and more. And now we hear that Google may (or may not be) closing feedburner just to add more fuel to the fire. Many of us are quite reliant on several of Google’s services (gmail, analytics, apps) and with each of these missteps, they appear to drive more and more away.
So just consider this a heads-up. If you’re a client, we aim to steer you towards what we consider the be the best path. If that means moving away from Google’s services, we’ll let you know. Right now, we’re still backing them.