Barry reports at Search Engine Land that Marissa Mayer spoke at LeWeb in Paris about SearchWiki and said that it's possible that the tool may be used in the future for ranking purposes. Barry refers to the TechCrunch coverage that says that Marissa also acknowledges that SearchWiki will soon be able to be turned off (think early 2009), but more importantly in our space, that if "thousands" of people remove a page using SearchWiki, Google may respond in kind by removing the offending result.
Less than an hour ago, Barry submitted this story to Sphinn and there already is commentary about how this obvious gaming can be dangerous. To be honest, I'm still of the opinion that users should have had the opportunity to turn on SearchWiki and not the other way around. I feel that there will be loopholes we've yet to explore.
Meanwhile, in a post Barry made today on click data being used for rankings, a related subject matter, JohnMu says that Google won't rerank based on user activity because of the potential to abuse behaviors that may impact Google's ranking algorithms. Or maybe there's more to the statement that meets the eye.
This all leads me to believe that if Google actually does acknowledge that people can rerank results, people can outsmart Google. There are a number of tools available that already harness the power of the collective with incentives. Most recently, Amazon launched its Mechanical Turk to enable people to get paid to do things using their computers. And of course, we can't forget about sites that pay you to vote on social media news stories -- they could just expand their services to help with reranking in Google. A market owner who really wants his competition to be ranked lower could totally employ these services if he's desperate, could he not?
Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.