There's an extremely interesting debate at WebmasterWorld about Google's relationship with webmasters.
The original forum poster, The Shower Scene, brings up a lot of great points:
- Google's Guidelines do not define Ethical SEO: It's time webmasters corrected their lazy habit of referring to ethics and Google's Guidelines as if they were one and the same.
- Google has gone beyond user mindshare: Google literally has webmasters brainwashed into thinking that their guidelines defines ethics.
- The Google Webmaster Spell: Today's webmasters have become so under the Google spell that all their energy is focused on Google.
- Google Defines Webmaster Dialogue and Thinking: Today's webmaster so intellectually lazy they actually believe that the best information is going to come from a heavily moderated Google Groups forum. Today's webmaster confuses helpful information with what is essentially Kool-Aid that is being posted on Matt Cutts blog.
- Thank you for smoking, have some more kool aid. Todays webmaster is so compliant, complacent, and utterly sheep-like they are willingly surrendering highly personal data to Google without understanding how it ultimately benefits Google far more than it benefits them.
- Google is taking over and moderating the webmaster discussion: Google endeavours to control the discussion of Google by limiting it to their own network of blogs and discussion forums. How else to explain the absence of AdSense advisor, GoogleGuy, Adam Lasnik, and AdWords Advisor? ASA didn't even bother to announce the last AdSense weekend update. GoogleGuy is absent on Webmaster Forums except to defend Google at TW or promoting their snitch programs.
- Google is the Internet: Am I the only one who feels it's extraordinary how Google is becoming the arbiter of web ethics, coding practices, and the webmaster dialogue? Do webmasters really want an Internet that is defined and dicated according to what is good for Google?
A lot of discussion ensued, with quotes saying that "Google is the Internet," Google has 80-90% of search traffic and thus should not be ignored, and that Google is "creeping up to market dominance status."
Adam Lasnik responded with some other thoughts to ponder:
- Google's Webmaster Guidelines are designed to help Webmasters and users
- Google doesn't censor its Webmaster forum for content ... unless you consider "Make Viagra Fast!1" or "$&@# you and your #$&!$% Mom!" to be content.
- We Googlers try to post where we can do the most good.
- Completely depending on Google (or ANY limited set of sources) for your traffic is a recipe for unhappiness
- We don't comment publicly on specific penalties.
- If you can't see the current and future value of Webmaster Central, you aren't paying attention.
Barry's thoughts: "Google has come a long way in terms of their communication with Webmasters and SEOs. In the past we have praised Google time and time again. Although some of the points in this thread are interesting, I find it hard to believe that many of them were Google's intentions. I just find it funny that SEOs and Webmasters would spin around and take all that we have received in feedback and communication from Google and throw it back at them as a negative."
I, too, think similarly: Google gives us a lot of great tools, and I even blogged about the usefulness of Google's Webmaster Central last week. As the dominant search engine, I think we should be thankful that we have these resources available to us.
The discussion is pretty heated and continues at WebmasterWorld.