19 Comments

I wonder why blogs went away? Of course they still exist. But there used to be much more dynamic blogging, with great comment sections sometimes. I don't find the Twitter experience as good at all.

Could it be Google had something to do with that? I remember they used to have a setting where you could restrict search to blogs and they disabled it. For no good reason (except maybe to serve more listicle SEO crap instead. (They also have their own blog server that they push, but I'm not sure if that was a factor.)

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Almost two years ago I re-launched a website (Anecdotage.com) featuring 50,000 anecdotes (mostly funny stories about everyone from ABBA to Zuckerberg) and my site is still the 500th result for "anecdotes". Google's top 10? Nine semantic results (definitions of "anecdotes" etc) + a TechCrunch story about a software company called Anecdotes.

My SEO is decent, I have 17,000 backlinks, & when a smaller version of my site was running 10+ years ago, it was the top result.

Google's algorithm rightly favors pages with backlinks from reputable sites, which explains my site's poor ranking for a broad search like "anecdotes." But what about a search for something rare, like "anecdotes about relativity"?

Google reports: "No results found for anecdotes about relativity." That's odd. Anecdotage features 25 stories about relativity (including Sir Arthur Eddington's explanation for his delayed response after being told that he "must be one of only three persons who understands general relativity": "I am trying to think who the third person is!") but Google opted to reject these items, and thousands of others, from its index. Looking for "anecdotes about robots"? You'll get half a dozen mediocre results, each an article whose text happens to contain the phrase "anecdotes about robots." But the Anecdotage page, whose TITLE is "Anecdotes about Robots," does not appear in the results, even though it was added to Google's index. And there seems to be no method to the madness. Google added my page of coffee anecdotes, but not my page for coffins. Corpses are in, but corn is not. Coins are ok, but coincidences aren't...

I've been trying to contact Google about this for six months. I even sent a physical (paper) letter. Today, I chanced upon an Atlantic story that mentioned Google's Public Liaison, Danny Sullivan. I found him on LinkedIn ("Help the public better understand Google search & Google better hear public feedback and improve") but when I tried to connect I got a popup asking me to enter Danny's email to prove that I know him. Am I living in a Kafka novel?

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I chanced up both the Atlantic and this piece which I included in https://emergingmarketskeptic.substack.com/p/how-google-ruined-financial-writing-chapgpt-ai

I have a bunch of useful resources and pages for investing in emerging markets at http://www.emergingmarketskeptic.com/ - granted, more of a niche topic. Google hates aggregators and probably views me as a link farm rather than having content useful to humans...

Likewise, I just had a back and forth (the focus of my piece) with the owner of a financial site geared solely for SEO to get Google traffic. Let's just say that if you actually know something about investing or personal finance, you won't get any writing work etc from sites like these.

Frankly, I think we are wasting our time with Google. As I noted in my piece, they constantly change the the rules and move the goalposts. Old fashioned word of mouth and email marketing seem to be the only things that are not broken...

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Oct 14, 2023·edited Oct 14, 2023

Thank you for sharing...You made me remember that, circa 2008, I used to be able to find actual fun, interesting websites on Google. Sites like FMyLife, Cheezburger, Hyperbole & a Half, and Ask a Manager. I don't remember the last time I found a new independently owned blog-type website that wasn't a recipe blog built to advertise Amazon products. I am really missing the way Google used to allow me to find human results. The way it sends me to Reddit and other 'acclaimed' aggregators feels like Google's way of telling me not to talk to strangers. I'm told to trust advertisement bots more than people.

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Search results at Google also deteriorated greatly after the company decided that its new mission was to "fight misinformation". The algorithm tweaking also unintentionally damaged any search whose results could marginally possibly come from sources with information deemed "misinformation".

I don't recall ever asking google to be our nanny...

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This is striking: "filetype:mp3" returns no !!! hits ???

Another example demonstrating that google is long dead since at least 2018:

"shakira.mp3" returns actually NO !!! shakira.mp3 sites, only a bunch of unrelated clickbait music streaming engines.

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One thing eludes me. I've seen Google execs claim they "can't tell what AI generated." Yes they can with Writer.com's AI Generation finder tool. They can easily implement a dropdown feature (similar to the date feature) that stipulates 'human only' results.

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Google is a company that has had some problems in the past. Some of these problems have to do with their products (like their search engine), while others have to do with how they run their business (like their advertising). Overall, people have been disappointed with Google.

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Google is a company that has had some problems in the past. Some of these problems have to do with their products (like their search engine), while others have to do with how they run their business (like their advertising). Overall, people have been disappointed with Google.

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I just had a back and forth with the owner of a financial site geared solely for SEO to get Google traffic which formed the focus of my article at https://emergingmarketskeptic.substack.com/p/how-google-ruined-financial-writing-chapgpt-ai - I linked back to this one and an Atlantic piece...

Let's just say that if you actually know something about investing or personal finance (or probably any other given topic...), you won't get any writing work etc from sites like these. This may sound counter intuitive, but its not e.g. the site owner I interreacted with basically said he needed "subtly biased" SEO content and was not yet focused on "milking traffic" long term with sticky content readers want - just getting clicks from Google... He figured any writer who knows something about the topics his site covers would also not follow directions or be hard to manage... 😀

I also have a bunch of useful resources and pages for investing in emerging markets at http://www.emergingmarketskeptic.com/ - granted, more of a niche topic. Google hates aggregators and probably views me as a link farm rather than having content useful to humans... Plus, with alot of links to a variety of resources across the ideological spectrum (e.g. Zero Hedge etc), I no doubt have links to "naughty" sites on some of my ADR and ETF pages that Google does not like e.g. so-called state sponsored media (as if the MSM is not state sponsored etc)...

As I noted in my piece, Google is constantly changing the rules and forever moving the goalposts. I think old fashioned word of mouth and email marketing are the only things that are not completely broken right now...

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Just wait for the AI bots to start replying and generating on reddit.

Internet article search is going to get exponentially worse. Published books (with editors, screening, and errata) will be the only legitimate game in town for advancement. The rest will be filled with noise, ads, and “influencers.”

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Oct 14, 2023·edited Oct 14, 2023

Yes, I have already seen advertisers create false Reddit accounts and promote their wares there. It's free to do so.

The issue with published books is that they are frequently inaccessible - so in order to be widely used, they need to be available online for free. This will keep them in circulation longest. As someone who frequently contributes historical research to Wikipedia, I understand the value of freely accessing art/information that is not paywalled. Art and information that is not publicly posted quickly disappears from history. It is very ironic that one can watch hours & hours of mind-numbing entertainment completely free if an adblocker is used, but (for example) 1 specific thought provoking documentary on the same topic will be $5.99. It's no surprise what will be consumed instead!

Additionally, if you've ever searched for weird facts in Google's digitized books, you'll find plenty of books that simply are rushed and contain incorrect information, because of publishers that couldn't care less. another issue with books is that - unlike Wikipedia - they generally only give 1 standpoint rather than an aggregation.

Lastly, centuries ago, printed media was the center of attention and therefore stuffed with ads for other books, magazines, products, and periodicals.

Not sure where my rant is going, but I generally agree and just wanted to complicate the issue XD

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Nice take. 👌

The point of weakness of Reddit is that it's not multilingual site. Even if it becomes somehow the #1 search in anglophone sphere, still there are billions who not speak English.

And when Reddit eat big enough share of the market, we will see old fashioned problems like bots moderation, censorship, the moderators authority...and as one of the hackernews commenters on your post wrote 👇🏼

> The Reddit trick is increasingly less viable as marketers are astroturfing Reddit*.

I add: see for example "Howitzer . co" and "Gummy search" although I don't say these products are bad per se, but you get the point.

*https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35039360

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How many shares of Reddit is Paul Graham selling when it IPOs?

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Great article, I enjoyed

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I've been using google since it first appeared.

I notice the first searching problem in 2011 after that it only got worse ...

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google is a shitty company with their riddiculous pc bs which is the root of all causes! google search, with tons of ads... failed stadia, failed google+, their shitty "workspaces", bloggr, ... tons of failed software products. full of bugs, shitty support or no support, shitty policies, shitty marketing ... disappointing!

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Appendix 7 linked post is a 404. Or is that the joke?

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author

Thanks for catching that, just fixed it!

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