Google modifies algorithm to punish bad businesses


Google (NADSAQ: GOOG) says it has tweaked its algorithm used to rank websites to factor in negative publicity. This move comes in the wake of a lengthy New York Times exposé which investigated a website for atrocious services and poor quality products. At the heart of the furor is Vitaly Borker, the founder and owner of a site with negative reviews numbering in the hundreds.

The NYT reporter spoke to Borker, who openly admitted to exploiting Google's inability to identify links that result from negative comments or reviews. Borker apparently told NYT that he actively solicits negative publicity since it works, noting that: "No matter where they post their negative comments, it helps my return on investment. So I decided, why not use that negativity to my advantage?"

Borker was essentially exploiting the heavy weight given by the Google search engine based on the quantity of incoming links. As the ranking of his site rises, so does the number of unwary shoppers. Well, no more. According to Google, a special team was convened to study the issue, who have since developed and implemented an algorithmic solution to the problem--thanks to the vast amount of negativity pegged to Borker's site, it will no longer command the top position.

For more on this story:
- check out this article at Google Blog
- check out this article at The New York Times
- check out this article at Ars Technica

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