The New York Times has a great exposÃ© on how Vitaly Borker and his online DecorMyEyes eyeglass business uses negativity to bolster his PageRank and profits.
Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan is consulted in the piece and blogged about it, summing it up thusly:
"Any publicity, even negative publicity, means a win with Google's ranking algorithms. Is he right? Maybe. Certainly the story illustrates the fallacy of Google's "gold standard" search results."
First, Borker is beyond rude and mean. His behavior, even as a front to get more business, is deplorable and insane.
Second, as a media man, I see parallels between what Borker is doing and what Hollywood handlers do to thrust faded personalities back into the limelight under the "all press is good press" technique.
I respect how that works. That doesn't mean I have to like it.
I'll let you read the story for yourself, but I'm going to assume up front that Sullivan is right that Google does not use sentiment analysis as a search signal.
Sentiment analysis is a signal Google could use to surface results by looking at whether people "liked" or "disliked" something they found online. It would be a series of checks and balances that would stray from Google's math-based approach.
Sullivan believes this is a slippery slope, providing the example that if you have a lot of people who hate President Barack Obama, sentiment analysis would push down search results for the White House and other related topics.
Yes, but people would still be able to find the results they need. They just might have to search a little harder, which could actually bring Google more add clicks.
Maybe Google should let the sentiment analysis in to allow people to hold sway over the algorithm in the democratic, majority rule process instead of the one-algorithm-to-rule-them-all experience we're currently subjected to.
Maybe that would work. Maybe it's a terrible idea, as Sullivan seems to think. But that's how I roll playing devil's advocate.
I also see sentiment analysis making Google a much more social destination that could help the search engine in its pitched battle versus Facebook.
What I want to know is this: How many of you think Google should add sentiment analysis to the mix?
It would certainly spice things up a bit.