New Google Search signal: copyright removal notices - gHacks Tech News

New Google Search signal: copyright removal notices

Google from next week on will add a new ranking signal to its search algorithm that is taking into account a site's copyright removal notices. The signal will be one of over 200 that Google is using to calculate the ranking of any given site in the company's search engine. What this means is that sites may be ranked lower if they receive many removal notices.

When you look around you notice that the majority of authors that have addressed the change make it look like it is a done deal, that sites with many removal requests will be punished by Google. A

While it is certainly likely that some sites will notice negative effects on their rankings from next week on forward, it does not have to be the case for all sites, as other ranking signals may be positive enough to keep the site's rankings in Google Search.

When you look at the top sites that have received copyright removal requests you will notice that download and porn sites are listed -almost- exclusively here. The top ten candidates for lower rankings according to Google's own data are:

  • Filestube.com
  • Extratorrent.com
  • Torrenthound.com
  • Bitsnoop.com
  • Isohunt.com
  • Torrentz.eu
  • Kat.ph
  • 4shared.com
  • Zippyshare.com
  • Filetram.com

removal notices

Why is Google implementing the change? According to the news post, to "help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily". What Google tries to do is move legitimate sources like Hulu, Spotify or NPR in the focus, and pirate and download sites to the back of the results.

The index remains the same, it is only shuffled around, which some users see as manipulation of results. There is a growing faction that believes that Google is starting to lose its edge over the competition because of changes like this that are not necessarily created to provide the best possible product, but to appease a group of influential companies and organizations.

As Reddit user ckwop puts it:

This is how big companies start to lose their edge. They get distracted from their core mission which is to excel at providing a service to their users. The distractions are small but numerous and ultimately it leads to enough loss of focus to allow a competitor through.

Nobody wants a search engine that isn't neutral. What's next, downranking pages that deal with communism because their ad revenue comes from capitalists?

Google's hegemony is much more vulnerable than Microsoft's or Apple's. If Google offering starts to falter, others will step up and provide the service. There is no lock-in with search engines.

I think Google should concentrate on the real issues, like removing major spam sites and networks, like those people searches that you see everywhere when you search for a person, or sites that display a search for the term that you are looking for instead of results that you were hoping to get.

What's your take on the latest change and Google's state in general?

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Comments

  1. Fine citizen said on August 11, 2012 at 1:39 am
    Reply

    all the right points, Martin

  2. John said on August 11, 2012 at 3:06 am
    Reply

    Downranking sites the make piracy and other IP infringement their business is a worthy effort. I hate doing a search for a legitimate download and sifting through pages of links to pirates copies, keygens, etc. to find what I’m looking for. I’m constantly adding sites to my Google ‘ignore list’ in hopes of getting desirable results.

    And let’s not forget that these sites are profiting from illegal activities, be it intentional (more often than not, in my opinion) or neglectful. Comparing it to downranking sites that discuss Communism is just inflammatory. That’s not much different than quipping, “What, you’re arresting thieves now? What’s next, arresting Communists?”

    The bottom line is that IP infringement is illegal and leads to seedier sites overtaking legitimate ones in search results. Google has every right to treat downrank them, just like spammers and content farmers, if not more so.

    1. Nebulus said on August 11, 2012 at 11:09 am
      Reply

      I don’t need Google to make decisions for me, I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself. What Google does borders on censorship.

  3. Yoav said on August 11, 2012 at 8:59 am
    Reply

    Google is definitely losing it, but since it started with “do no evil” it still has some way to go before it entirely loses its focus on the customers.

  4. bastik said on August 11, 2012 at 9:49 am
    Reply

    “punished by Google. A”

    Maybe you forgot the rest of the sentence or the A is left over.

    Google should rank results based on their accuracy and creditability. “Download Iron Maiden Prowler” should return Itunes, Amazon and such on the top. It should list rapidshare and such among the results and not downgrade them.

    It’s upon the user to decide the source he/she picks.

    (My query is not a valid sample)

  5. Wayfarer said on August 11, 2012 at 11:11 am
    Reply

    IMHO, in all sorts of areas the Google search engine is fast becoming part of the problem rather than the answer. I rarely use it – much prefer DuckDuckGo and StartPage.

    Frankly I think Google are losing direction, seeking answers to problems their *users* largely don’t have..

  6. ComicHippo said on August 11, 2012 at 5:40 am
    Reply

    No ThePirateBay ? Strange .

  7. Mushaf said on August 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm
    Reply

    “I think Google should concentrate on the real issues, like removing major spam sites and networks, like those people searches that you see everywhere when you search for a person, or sites that display a search for the term that you are looking for instead of results that you were hoping to get.”

    Totally agree with you. These two annoy me the most about Google search results.

  8. ilev said on August 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm
    Reply

    Why is Google implementing the change? because the movie and music industry demanded so from Google in exchange maybe for some movie/music contract to its OS.

  9. Edwardo said on August 12, 2012 at 1:08 am
    Reply

    Underground is our land,
    Reversing is our religion,
    Binary is our language.
    djinn :-)

  10. Ken Saunders said on August 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm
    Reply

    “It’s upon the user to decide the source he/she picks.”
    Amen.

    I look at the URL of a site even before I bother to read the description. Most people (probably none of them here), click on the 1st or 2nd link that they see. If they don’t get a legitimate site/source, that’s their problem for believing in what they see and for not taking the time to learn the basics of using the Internet.

    Google started deciding on what we get a long time ago.
    You get locale specific search results, search suggestions, and so on.
    Just show me what’s out there and let me decide.

    @Wayfarer
    Startpage uses Google.

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