I haven't been in Google back-rooms. I have never met the Penguin personally. But I can make observations. It seems the pursuit of truth and honesty is one of the underlying messages taken from the ordeal.
I have discussed the recent update with many web masters and business owners and seen sites hit by the update. Both for the reasons stated in all the recent press surrounding Penguin as well as sites that do not fall within the filters criteria. Many result pages show empty sites and spam sites still. I think we are on to something here.
And the Penguin update name doesn't just come from another cute black and white bird, but is more closely related to a penguins sense of smell. Algorithmically, the filter uses its "sense of smell" to associate authority (or lack their of) related to the site much like penguins use their sense of smell to identify their partner or offspring. As we know of the penguin, they set off into the ocean in search of food to feed their partner when they return. How does a penguin find its partner, navigating its way through the masses of spam when it returns, with it's sense of smell.
The Market of Google
The 'market' of Google houses regulations. There are particular 'ways' in which Google wants advertisers to use its 'marketplace.' The resulting abuse is not a surprise; it's natural for advertisers to test limits when it comes to making money. However, those who decided to go too far were penalized. There is such a thing as 'too' far; and, there is an associated level of expectation for people to adhere to 'the lines.'
Did Yahoo's Scott Thompson adhere to the lines? One can argue for the 'not entirely' side. To be blunt, he lied about his schooling. He danced around the lines to get the job. Did he have 'bad intent' toward any entity? It's very unlikely; but, smearing the lines is an offense in itself. Despite apologies, Thompson was ousted from Yahoo.
Another high-profile person is in the news this weekend too. Roger Clemens, the great retired pitcher of the major leagues, was on trial in the US District Court for lying to Congress in 2008 regarding conversations related to steroid usage. Another gentleman says he saw Mr. Clemens use steroids on several occasions. Mr. McNamee states he injected Clemens with hormone-influencing drugs in 1998, 2000, and 2001.
Mr. Clemens is not the only baseball or sports star of this generation to be accused of using illicit methods to physically produce satisfying sports results. The desire to perform well is not uncommon. However, the desire to produce must adhere to the regulations hosted by professional sports. Otherwise, the players are making transgressions and must be dealt with accordingly. Penalties not only punish transgressors but send message to others. It reinforces the integrity of the lines.
The Philosophy of the Penguin
The Penguin's philosophy is not as terrorizing as the sentiment of lost rankings, resources, and money. We need lines. Otherwise, there would be no structure or order to allow for success or failure; without the lines, there would be no direction for the notion of progress to follow.
Are those, affected by Penguin, malicious souls? Is Scott Thompson a horrible person? Should those who cheered for Clemens as a player, now jeer the man who may have lied about steroid usage, about evading the lines?
It's a philosophical question I can't answer for everyone; but, maybe it's better for us to separate the crimes from persons and to understand the 'crimes' stemmed from desires to do well, to prosper. Those desires are not wicked. However, the notion of bending, stretching, and ultimately dismissing the lines cannot go unnoticed or punished. Otherwise, we tamper with the intrinsic value of success, why the 'desires' to do well exist in the first place. In theory, the Penguin secretly champions those playing within the lines. The Penguin's philosophy is a righteous and needed one.
The Reunion of Friends
And with the return of the penguin from the ocean I am mostly reminded of animated features with happy endings of reunions between partners. Hollywood loves a good reunion and rewards it by publishing it when they read the script. But what of the lost penguins who are affected by the masses? What of the sites that have been plagued by this update? Are we that far off from an Occupy Googleplex with chants of "No Taxation Without Representation?"
Hold on, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Google I know is a for profit company looking to provide its users with the best content in its results through its continued inovation. Although the Penguin Update doesn't look at content on a site, only the sites linking to it.
So we await the next refresh (likely) of the penguins adventure out to sea and when he returns to find his mate this time around we can anticipate one of those animated classics. Lets just hope it's not another Final Fantasy flop.
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