Is Google Being Evil? – Part 1

“Don’t be evil.”  Unofficial Google motto/slogan

If you own or run a business one of your major concerns is your “brand” or reputation. If someone is slamming your business online you need to know about it and respond.

But what if you can’t respond? What if there’s no way of telling who’s saying negative things about your business? What if it’s a disgruntled customer? What if it’s your competition?

This is the problem with Google now that they are including Twitter in their real time search results. Rae Hoffman brings this up in her Google Enables Real Time Spam and More post.

She covers the ability to spam (“can you hear the bots churning?”), plus disparaging remarks about you or your business…

Imagine if you have a disgruntled employee who takes to tweeting badly about your company all day long in a fit of anger. Imagine if your competitor wants to play dirty. There is no way to track who owns a Twitter account, and you may find yourself having to spend a lot of time to try and stop and/or remove bogus complaints or comments from appearing.

and finally the fact that children are not protected when they search using Google. Any parental controls you may have in effect won’t stop a Twitter post from reaching your kids who are using Google search. As an example she shows an example of predatory tweets listed under the search term ‘Sesame Street’.

This doesn’t even take into account the fact that your Tweets that you think are private may show up on Google!

Jennifer Leggio brings this up in her post.

Though I am pretty careful not to tweet anything that I wouldn’t want seen by a much wider audience, not everyone is that careful.

She also covers the Twitter spam angle…

Beyond management and control, the slander and impersonation issues that brands have been facing on Twitter alone now also become much bigger. Not to mention the possibility of spammers using key words to try and push malicious links into real-time search from Twitter.

Google has an impressive array of features and applications that certainly help business owners. But, they also have a tendency to throw a bunch of stuff against the wall, so to speak, to see what sticks. Let’s hope this one falls to the floor.

To be fair, both Yahoo! and Bing display Tweets but you have to click on a tab or link to get Twitter results, although Yahoo! is starting to incorporate Twitter results in a grouping on search results pages.

Stay tuned for Doing Evil Part II – Sidewiki