What is up with Danny Sullivan’s open hatred of Google these days? It seems Danny Sullivan has had his panties in a knot about all things Google this year. Whether at SMX, on Twitter or on Search Engine Land, it seems more and more of Danny’s mentions of Google are done with a “God, Google is so stupid look what they’ve done now” tone. Or maybe he just used to be such a Google fanboy in the old days that it is that much more apparent to everyone these days.
Google did a great thing last week by being MORE transparent and sending out notices to webmasters with sites that had a sketchy backlink profile. That is a good thing. But Danny Sullivan? His opening line on Search Engine Land?
Google’s war on bad links officially became insane today.
Yes, instead of focusing on the good that Google being transparent brings, he gets his snark on. And trust me, webmasters do not want LESS transparency, most of us would take insane backlink warning messages rather than hear nothing and get zerged in the next Google Cute and Cuddly Animal update, which is what has been mostly happening up until now.
So Google took this user feedback and sent further clarification emails on Monday – something that Matt Cutts said took an engineer the weekend to complete – and you guessed it, Danny is super critical once again of their transparency with Google Updates Link Warnings To (Sort Of) Clarify They Can Be Ignored (Maybe).
Dear Google. Please don’t send out any further link warnings to publishers. Your latest round yesterday, intended to clarify the confusion sparked by ones sent last week, is likely going to make things worse, not better. No more warnings, not until you get some fundamental clarity in place.
Really? From the person who has bitched that Google needs to be more transparent? Well, I am here to tell Matt that despite what Danny Sullivan says, webmasters are perfectly happy to get link warning emails. If you asked us to, we’d bow down at your feet in gratitude at the next conference you are at, that is how happy the majority of webmasters are to be getting these emails. Please ignore Danny’s snark on the link warnings, and keep sending them out, regardless of whether the emails require action or not.
The snark is also present on the Google Earnings call report (if you can even call it that) that he posted. Of all the things brought up in the Google call, he brings up the one thing that showcases his previous displeasure on Google’s Shopping product, which Danny insists on calling Paid Inclusion. So his entire reporting on the earnings call is, you guessed it, all about his interpretation of paid inclusion and how he sees Google abusing it.
And why does Danny care so much about the is-it-or-isn’t-it paid inclusion? Well that would be because he wrote to the FTC asking them to investigate Google on paid inclusion. Most of us were pretty shocked he stepped so far over the line as to be writing a letter to the FTC asking for an investigation on a company that arguably made Danny Sullivan famous back in the day. Oh, and then a month later he got back up on his Search Engine Land soapbox to complain that he hadn’t gotten a response and rehashed his whole investigate Google for paid inclusion rant once again – and really at this point, it is obvious that for whatever reason, what Danny wants to do these days is rant about Google. And for good measure, he also ranted about it in a different article on Marketing Land Once Deemed Evil, Google Now Embraces “Paid Inclusion”. He also complained that the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t even respond to his request to write an opinion piece on it (which isn’t really shocking considering the blatant bias in his non-opinion “reporting”).
Of course, it isn’t all Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land. Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land’s news editor has a habit of writing just about everything he does in Rand Fishkin-style linkbait titles on SERoundtable, and he does a good majority of the daily news stories for his boss Danny on Search Engine Land too (and usually posts them on his own site first, then pops it onto SEL) so there is a team effort on the anti-Google spin. Here was Barry’s version on the link warning emails:
Matt Cutts posted the update on his Google+ page saying that these notifications can be ignored. Ignored! Yes, ignored!
How can manual notifications be ignored when Google has told us that manual notifications are penalties and should not be ignored? Well, they did.
Google’s intentions were golden. They wanted to be more transparent, tell you they are ignoring links but when it came down to the implementation, they simply messed up.
Danny Sullivan blew up and called this insanity and he is right. It caused a major scare amongst SEOs, webmasters and those who owned web sites, never bought a link in their life, didn’t even know what link buying was and got this severe notification that read, “our opinion of your entire site is affected.”
Another biased writer Search Engine Land employs – and you can see more of it if you follow any SEL employee’s Twitter account. And independent writers at SEL feel the same pressure to either remain neutral or lean to the anti-Google side of anything they write, because fanboy type responses to Google about something great they did or changed is just not where Danny’s head is at anymore.
You have to wonder how the anti-Google bias will affect Google’s involvement at Search Marketing Expo events. Matt Cutts has long been a fixture at SMX since its start, when he stopped attending Search Engine Strategy conferences. But with all the blasting against Google (and targeting Matt as well), if I were in his shoes, I would probably start broadening my horizons with other search conferences – and perhaps he has started by attending PubCon again later this year. Google is a platinum sponsor at SES San Francisco next month, but was not a sponsor for either SMX Advanced or SMX West (which was incidentally held in San Jose, Google’s back yard).
This industry is definitely in need of an unbiased news site. If Google launches some new Google+ feature or something in Webmaster Central, I don’t want to read a diatribe from Danny Sullivan about how Google sucks, how stupid they were to do ABC, and so on and so on. Sure, Danny Sullivan might be a name in the industry, but fewer and fewer people are turning to him these days to get the unbiased news. Now to see who will take his place.