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October 30, 2006

Google's Business Model

Some say Google doesn't improve its search results by removing spam pages because Google earns money from the ads that run on some of these pages. Others say their websites were removed from Google's index (or penalized) to buy AdWords ads.

But Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wrote something even harsher in The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine (1998):

"Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention", a study which explains in great detail the distractions and risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on the web. It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media, we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers."

Google doesn't accept money for a better ranking, the sponsored links are clearly labeled. But it's interesting to see that even Google's co-founders didn't trust the soon-to-be Google's business model.


  1. surely you can try to justify it as

    "if we don't include such results, people are less likely to use us as a search engine, hence less likely to find the advert" ;)

    'course it's still tempting to move/remove such results *sighs*

    - imma

  2. Google is now capturing the online budgets of hundreds of thousands of businesses. The organic (non-paid) results on the page drive millions of users to websites everyday right? Do you think Google wants to drive thouse millions of users to commercial sites that sell advertising and compete against google for those same online ad dollars? Or do you think google wants to drive those users to sites that do not show Wikipedia, Government sites, Academic sites, blogs....but if they have to drive traffic to a commercial site, dont you think they would want the ones that use their own ad sense? Now take a look at google results and tell me what you see.

  3. Blogger for peace: They will not do this as long as Google will be profitable.
    The next day it start loosing money - Sergey and Larry can retire and let some "evil" person to do rest of work - while they will keep selling their stock options.

  4. Related and interesting:

    The IDcide Affair (