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Olivia Russell

Olivia Russell

Remarkably gifted, knowledgeable and resourceful Market Research Analyst with over eight years experience in collecting and analyzing data to evaluate existing and potential product and service markets; identifying and monitoring competitors and researching market conditions and changes in the industry that may affect sales. I have done masters in marketing from Australian Institute of Business.

In an astounding feat of bits and bytes, the internet buzzes with activity, teeming with thousands of terabytes of digitized information flowing every minute. It is a spectacle of data whizzing around the globe, invisible to the naked eye, but conveyed in the digital algorithms and lossless-compression systems that allow us to instantly see, chat and discover the world and communicate with our friends in real-time.

It is a system of machines that stretches across from continent to continent, digitally snaking its way into our phones and lives through some magical ether that not many can digest. Yes, the internet is an enormous, buzzing behemoth filled with mind-boggling, vast amounts of free-flowing data. Amongst that data is information that many of us actively seek on a daily basis, looking to improve our lives by learning new skills or achieving outlandish goals.

 

Those answers are found amidst the websites that litter the internet, binding themselves to one another through hyperlinks that create a complex and convoluted web, digitally spun from the minds of billions of people across the planet. When you stop to think about it, the sheer amount of websites can also confuse and perplex us. The simple fact is that way back in September of 2014, one billion websites were actively humming on the web. That's Billion with a capital, B.

Today, nearly 1000 websites are created every single minute of every single day. That's a vast amount of data in the proverbial cloud. Yet with all of this content floating about the untethered net, the amount of quality-content sites, the type that many people visit on a daily basis, seem few and far between. Great content seems to be more of the exception rather than the norm.

That might be why, today at least, people are acutely aware that having incredible content is something that can't be overlooked. High-quality content is one of the primary drivers of relevant search traffic, the kind that most digital marketers salivate over. And the simple truth and fact of the matter remains that no website, big or small, can succeed today without great content. Yet, people often overlook this one simple rule.

Blogs offer an avenue for delivering that value to a global audience. They provide a hub for tutorials and walk-throughs, and an avenue for crafting and constructing resources that help individuals that are looking for useful information. Everyone knows that. We are all experts at finding quality resources on the web that deliver real value, thanks in large part to Google.

While there are clearly an endless drove of blogs out there being started on a daily basis, most people who start a blog don't actually follow through with it. Success in the blogging field requires consistency. And it requires the deliverance of real value constantly. Similar to a great magazine, a lauded newspaper or any other types of media outlet, you have to keep the content machine churning if you want to thrive.

Not everyone gets it. Most that decide to join the fray are enticed by the hype of internet marketers, promising them the sun, moon and the stars, with the ability to earn thousands of dollars per day, virtually overnight, on autopilot. Well, it doesn't quite work that way. The harsh reality is that most blogs fail to generate even a few dollars in income let alone vast sums of money.

Yet, there are people out there that are making outlandish incomes from their blogs. Their monthly incomes far surpass the annual income of many executive-level employees, leaving most to wonder how they did it. This lucrative field is enticing for a reason, yet it involves an excruciatingly large amount of work for the average person looking to go it alone, so to speak.

However, those that have stuck to it, pursuing their dreams no matter what the costs, are reaping the benefits today. No matter where you look on the internet, no matter what niche you survey, you'll find these wildly-successful blogs along with the bloggers behind them. We're talking about windfalls of profits here. Not only do they make money online, but they quite literally rake it in.

So what's considered an outlandish amount of income? We're not just talking about a few thousand or even tens of thousands dollars per month here. What I was curious about were those that were soaring to astronomical heights. We're talking the 7-figure annual earners, those that are pulling in more than $100,000 per month.

If you'll sit and think about that number for a moment, you'll realize that not only is this is an enormous figure to be earning on a monthly basis, but you'll also realize that much of this is actually passive income. And while there are a number of great passive income ideas, blogging truly takes this to dizzying heights.

Why work once and get paid once when you can work once and get paid repeatedly by having a blog that individuals across the planet are constantly accessing? While it's not easy, it is well worth it. Work hard now, reap the benefits years down the line. Sound good? Of course it does.

The following 10 wildly-successful blogs make the cut with at least $1 million dollars in annual revenue. Seem impossible to do? It's not. All you need to do is stay persistent, deliver enormous amounts of value and build your audience slowly over time. Not overnight. Over time.

Please note that some of these figures are estimated numbers based on traffic and other publicly-available statistics. If you have audited financial information on any of the following sites, please contact me to update the proceeding figures. 

#10 -- Tuts+: $175,000 per month

As a software developer myself, I am incredibly impressed with websites like Tuts+ that can deliver such outstanding tutorials for people that are looking to learn coding. However, Envato's Tuts+ isn't some newly-formed site. Founded in 2006 by Collis Ta'eed, Cyan Claire, and Jun Rundelivering, it's been delivering outstanding tutorials and content to designers and developers from across the entire planet for quite some time now.

Today, they offer a hub of useful content and a tremendous marketplace where 2,000,000 active buyers are searching for site templates and useful paid tutorials that they offer as part of their platform. They earn their income primarily through a membership area and commissions from sales of digital goods on their platform.

#9 -- Smashing Magazine: $215,000 per month

Smashing Magazine AG is a company that was also formed in 2006 by Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman, dedicated to educating those in the web design and web development fields by offering incredibly useful content to those that are looking to prosper and learn any of these lucrative skills. 

The site also has begun hosting web development conferences since 2012, which take place in cities across the world and are sponsored by some of the biggest names in the tech industry. The site earns its income primarily from a membership area where users can sign up to consume a vast number of tutorials from its palette of educational content.

#8 -- Gizmodo: $325,000 per month

Launched in 2002, Gizmodo is a blog focused on subjects like design and technology, while also paying tribute to numerous areas of science and even politics. Originally started by Peter Rojas, Gizmodo gained in popularity quickly. Through partnerships with a variety of international firms, the blog quickly launched translated versions of its content across Europe in languages like French, German, Spanish and even Portuguese.

 

Gizmodo makes the majority of its earnings through advertisements. On its home page, which is its most valuable digital real estate, you won't find an abundance of ads, but you will find ads that often repeat. For example, a large ad on the top will be parlayed along with ads for the same company on the side as you scroll, often repeating with each scroll and capped off with a large ad on the bottom of the home page. Subsequent pages often feature a variety of differing ads, likely based on historical traffic.

#7 -- Perez Hilton: $575,000 per month

PerezHilton is a controversial gossip website run by Mario Armando Lavanderia Jr. The site was formerly known as PageSixSixSix.com. Lavanderia graduated from NYU on a scholarship, and later had dreams to become an actor. Around the same time that he began his career in acting, he started his blog.

Lavanderia's acting career didn't flourish, but his blogging did. Today, he earns his income primarily through advertisements from a variety of sponsors that appear across the site and Lavanderia himself continues to make appearances on television as a celebrity gossip commentator and has reached a certain level of notoriety and fame on his own.

#6 -- CopyBlogger: $1,000,000 per month

CopyBlogger was started by Brian Clark, who's been immersed in the online marketing field since 1998. He was content marketing before the term content marketing was even coined. In 2006, with just $1,000 in seed cash, he launched CopyBlogger, a site that provides some of the most useful online marketing advice in the world.

Today, CopyBlogger's parent company is known as Rainmaker Digital, with over 200,000 customers, the company is constantly releasing useful online tools for digital marketers and perpetually educating the public on ways they can expand their reach through things like social media, blogging and search engine optimization.

#5 -- TechCrunch: $2,500,000 per month

TechCrunch is a massively successful blog that primarily covers news in the technology industry. Originally founded in 2005 by Michael Arrington and Keith Teare, the site was subsequently acquired by AOL in 2010. Today, many notable columnists for the blog feature heavyweights in the startup and venture capitalist fields.

Today, TechCrunch is also known for its Disrupt conferences that it has started hosting around the world in numerous locations with founders competing for a prize check to help get their companies off the ground. Its TechCrucnh Disrupt conference was also recently featured in the hit television series, Silicon Valley.

#4 -- Mashable: $2,000,000 per month

Pete Cashmore started Mashable in 2005 from his home in Scotland. The site grew with Cashmore's dedication to producing excellent content on a consistent basis. He wrote fortuitously in those early years, and in 2009, Time Magazine called Mashable one of the 25 best blogs in the world.

 

Since then, the blog has ballooned in size and reach, with a significant focus on social media, the company continues to reach droves of viewers through a variety of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It primarily garners its income through advertisements in various different formats.

#3 -- Moz: $4,250,000 per month

Rand Fishkin is the purveyor of the world's most successful blog about search engine optimization. The company, which originally started out as a family-run design business, eventually morphed into a search engine optimization shop. But it was the blog that helped gain them a massive audience and international appeal.

Today, Moz (formerly known as SEOMoz) generates an impressive amount of income and has been funded with several injections of venture capital. The site makes its money from a membership area that features professional tools and services for the avid search engine marketer looking to gain saturation, reach and visibility in the online space.

#2 -- Engadget: $5,500,000 per month

Engadget is another wildly-popular blog with humble roots that was also founded, originally, by Peter Rojas of Gizmodo around the same time the other site was started. The site conveys advice and reviews on technology and consumer electronics. It was acquired and has been operated by AOL since 2005.

The company makes a vast fortune from advertising and employs a number of writers and editors that are constantly providing sound advice on every type of gadget possible.

#1 -- Huffington Post: $14,000,000 per month

Arriana Huffington's wildly popular Huffington Post is the stuff of legends. The site was launched way back in 2005 by Huffington, providing a very liberal view on life and politics. In 2011, Huffington, who is of Greek descent, sold the blog by her namesake to AOL for $315 million, while being kept on as Editor in Chief. She has since stepped down from that role.

HuffPost or HuffPo, as it is now referred to, makes it money from sponsored advertising revenue through banners and other digital ads across its variety of channels. It is by far the most successful blog of its kind, likely valued today at well over $1 billion, making it a clever investment for AOL.

R.L. Adams is a software engineer, serial entrepreneur, and author. He runs a wildly-popular blog called Wanderlust Worker and contributes to Entrepreneur, Engadget and the Huffington Post.

Author : R.L. Adams

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertadams/2017/03/02/top-income-earning-blogs/#20f2ccff2377

Google introduced Price Extensions in AdWords last July to show prices on types of products and services in text ads. The extensions are now eligible to show on all devices, not just mobile.

I haven’t seen them in the wild yet, but the example Google provided shows three price extensions in the desktop version.

This is similar to the cards used in the mobile format using swipeable cards that has been around since November.


With this change, advertisers now have the option of setting separate mobile URLs for price extensions.

Author : Ginny Marvin

Source : http://searchengineland.com/adwords-price-extensions-now-live-devices-270325

DMOZ — The Open Directory Project that uses human editors to organize web sites — is closing. It marks the end of a time when humans, rather than machines, tried to organize the web.

The announcement came via a notice that’s now showing on the home page of the DMOZ site, saying it will close as of March 14, 2017:

Dmoz was born in June 1998 as first at “GnuHoo” then quickly changed to “NewHoo,” a rival to the Yahoo Directory at the time. Yahoo had faced criticism as being too powerful and too difficult for sites to be listed in.

 

It was soon acquired by Netscape in November 1998 and renamed the Netscape Open Directory. Later that month, AOL acquired Netscape, giving AOL control of The Open Directory.

Also born that year was Google, which was the start of the end of human curation of web sites. Google bought both the power of being able to search every page on the web with the relevancy that was a hallmark of human-powered directories.

Yahoo eventually shifted to preferring machine-generated results over human power, pushing its directory further and further behind-the-scenes until its closure was announced in September 2014. The actual closure came in December 2014, with the old site these days entirely unresponsive.

Dmoz continued on, although for marketers and searchers, it had also long been mostly forgotten as a resource. About the only surprise in today’s news is that it took so long.

DMOZ will live on in one unique way — the NOODP meta tag. This was a way for publishers to tell Google and other search engines not to describe their pages using Open Directory descriptions. While the tag will become redundant, it will also remain lurking within web pages that continue to use it for years to come.

Author : Danny Sullivan

Source : http://searchengineland.com/rip-dmoz-open-directory-project-closing-270291

Many of you will resolve to start a new positive habit in 2017. Adding good habits can be fun, but unfortunately (most of the time), they don't work. Approximately 38 percent of Americans will make resolutions, and only 8 percent will succeed.

Instead of adding a new diet or workout regime, let's remove the negative habits that have been holding you back.

Here we go:

1. Kill your habit of checking social media during the workday.

Social media platforms are masters of making you stay there. Getting lost in Facebook can be fun, but it's counterproductive during the day--especially while you're trying to build that presentation for your investors.

Now that we're on the subject, turn off the notifications on your phone, too. You can check your Snaps on your break.

 

2. Kill your habit of thinking it's all about you.

Your frowning boss isn't conspiring to fire you, as much as the cashier isn't giggling about your tie. They're thinking about themselves, and their own problems. Not you. I promise.

It's not about you. So cut it out. Run on that assumption when dealing with every human interaction in your life, and you'll be much happier.

3. Kill your habit of multitasking.

Science tells us that only 2 percent of us can really multitask. So don't try. Try this instead: When attempting to get something off your to-do list, shut down every browser and app on your screen except for the ones you need.

Otherwise, you'll get notifications for LinkedIn requests, Facebook Live posts, and tweets. A never-ending stream of distraction. So shut down everything except the program you need, and finally get things done.

4. Kill your habit of comparing yourself with everyone.

You will never win this game. There will always be someone smarter, better looking, richer, and (seemingly) happier. Always. Focus on yourself, your mindset, your health, the state of your being, and you'll win.

5. Kill your habit of complaining.

It's just not worth it. Be aware of the words that come out of your mouth. They affect you and the people around you.

Speak of good things, and more good things happen. Speak of negative things, and more negative things happen. Simple.

6. Kill your habit of wasting time with negative people.

If they don't love and support you, get rid of them. You don't have to shout, kick, and scream. Just stop being available to them. They won't notice. They're too self-centered to care.

 

7. Kill your habit of taking or organizing long and unnecessary meetings.

Less meeting means more doing. We're all adults. Take the meeting, do what you need to do, and go and do it. You can still be social, and have fun, and succeed in making meetings more efficient.

Try this in your next meeting. Set an agenda. As you run through the agenda, go around the room and have everyone share:

  1. What they're working on.
  2. What they've completed.
  3. What they need in order to complete what they're still working on.

It works, I promise. You'll shave half an hour off your meeting time.

8. Kill your habit of saying yes.

You may think you don't have enough time. You do. You just spend your time doing the wrong things.

Stop saying yes to everything. Embrace no. Love no. No is your word for 2017. Love it, live it, and use it.

9. Kill your habit of self-loathing thoughts and beliefs.

Enough is enough. You are good at what you do. You have it in you. If you can't silence that voice in your head, begin a regimen of meditation. If you need some quick wins to feel good about yourself, write three things you want to change this year. Right now. Go ahead; I'll wait.

Congratulations. You took the first step. Feel that little endorphin release in your brain? That's what you're looking for. Keep doing that, and you'll break that habit and create a new one. A habit where you actually get things done. Go--do things.

10. Kill your habit of sitting.

Get off your backside. Run, exercise, move. But stop sitting. Oh, and get a standing desk while you're at it.

11. Kill your habit of underachieving.

You're better than this. You have more in you, and you're not getting any younger. Start that business. Resign from that horrible job. Do it now. The only thing stopping you is you. Not your family, not your bank account.

12. Kill your habit of bragging about your resolutions before they happen.

 

Your brain thinks you've accomplished them when you announce them to the world. Stop that. This TED Talk helps to explain the phenomenon.

13. Kill your habit of creating excuses.

While you're at it, kill the habit of creating reasons. They're just excuses with lipstick on.

14. Kill your habit of reality TV, celebrity gossip, etc.

You're an adult; this shouldn't be a part of your entertainment. It's junk food for your brain. Feels great at first, but there is always a negative mental consequence.

15. Kill your habit of obsessing over doomsday scenarios.

It's good to have some healthy skepticism, but pessimists don't change the world, motivate people, or come up with innovative ideas. They only bring the people around them down.

16. Kill your habit of obsessing over things outside of your control.

Focus your time, energy, and resources on improving yourself. You can control everything you put in your body, think about, and do. Master yourself and become ruler of your universe.

17. Kill your habit of making sure everything is perfect.

It ain't happening. Ever. This is just a complicated form of procrastination. Which is a deeper manifestation of your fear. Get out of your own way, and let it rip.

Author : Chris Dessi

Source : http://www.inc.com/chris-dessi/17-bad-habits-you-need-to-kill-in-2017-to-be-more-successful.html

Websites can track people acros the internet by checking your device battery life - and may even be hoping to panic you into spending money. 

This is according to researchers at Princeton University in the US, who crawled across the top million websites to see what type of tracking they used. 

The idea of "fingerprinting" a user via battery status was first mooted last year, the report notes. This time around, researcher Steve Engelhard and Arvind Narayanan found websites are actually using the technique, with scripts combining charge level status, time to recharge and more with other identifying features including IP address.

The data is leaked via an API released as part of HTML5 in 2015, which was created to let developers serve a version of an app or site that is less of a drain on batteries for users whose charge is running low. 

 

The research also uncovered the use of audio, WebRTC (real-time communications) and fonts for "fingerprinting", alongside the battery API. 

The report notes that existing tracking-protection tools - such as Ghostery - are effective at battling standard tracking techniques, they "are not effective at detecting these newer and more obscure finterprinting techniques."

Lukasz Olejnik was one of the researchers who looked into the idea of tracking via the battery status API last year. He said in a blog post that the research highlights how security and privacy flaws can arise in "seemingly innocuous mechanisms". 

He pointed out that companies may already be "monetising" the information that your battery is running out. "When battery is running low, people might be prone to some - otherwise different - decisions," he noted in the post. "In such circumstances, users will agree to pay more for a service."

Reports suggest some companies are already considering the idea, with Uber's head of economic research saying earlier this year that customers of the taxi-hailing service were more likely to accept higher "surge" prices if their battery was low. 

Uber said at the time that it does not do that, however. "And we absolutely don’t use that to kind of like push you a higher surge price, but it’s an interesting kind of psychological fact of human behaviour," said Keith Chen at the time

Olejnik said some browsers are considering removing support for the battery readout APIs, while the Princeton researchers said they were examining the use of machine learning to better detect and classify trackers.

Author : Nicole Kobie

Source : http://www.itpro.co.uk/mobile/27033/websites-can-track-your-online-activity-via-your-battery-status

Yet another online people search website has been targeted for allegedly breaking an Illinois privacy law, as a new class action alleges WhitePages.com also wrongly uses a web search advertising technique to use people’s names to market their search reports.

On Feb. 1, plaintiff Kevin Klingler, identified only as a resident of Illinois, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the behavior of Seattle-based Whitepages violates the Illinois Right of Publicity Law.

Klingler is being represented in the action by attorney Ryan Sullivan, of the firm of Kozonis & Associates, of Chicago.

The putative class action is the latest in a string of legal complaints launched in recent weeks in Cook County court against the online people search companies, which purport to help people locate and learn information about other particular people.

 

In January, attorneys with the law firm of Edelson P.C., in Chicago, filed class actions against the companies the operate the websites Spokeo, Instant Checkmate and PeopleLooker, alleging their use of the advertising technique, known as “Dynamic Keyword Insertion,” violates the rights of Illinois residents under the state law.

WhitePages is accused in Klingler’s complaint of also using the technique.

Under that practice, when a person inputs the name of a person – either their own, or that of another – into a search engine, like Google or Bing, online advertising purchased by Spokeo or similar sites seizes on that search to create a web ad specifically targeted at the person conducting the search. It does so by simply inserting the name of the person whose name had been plugged into the search engine, making the user believe WhitePages, Spokeo or similar sites can help the searcher find more information about someone.

In the case of WhitePages, Klingler contends, after he conducted a web search of his name, he was invited to purchase a membership allowing him to access information about himself.

“We Found Kevin Klingler,” the advertisement read, according to the lawsuit.

“WhitePages is exploiting an individual’s identity for commercial purposes,” Klingler’s lawsuit said. “WhitePages induces Internet users to click on the paid ad and purchase a monthly membership plan because it purports to have valuable information on the person they are searching for online.”

Klingler’s lawsuit contends WhitePages needed to obtain his “written consent” to use his name in such a way.

The lawsuit has asked the court to expand Klingler’s action to include a group of additional plaintiffs, which could “all Illinois residents whose names were displayed in one or more of WhitePages’ advertisements on Bing or similar search engines and who have never purchased any products or services from Whitepages.”

The lawsuit seeks damages of $1,000 per violation, as allowed under the Illinois law, plus punitive damages and attorney fees.

Author : Jonathan Bilyk

Source : http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/511080122-whitepages-latest-people-search-site-hit-by-class-action-alleging-wrongly-uses-people-s-names-for-ads

Earlier today, I spoke with a man who is relatively reserved. He is pensive, thoughtful and not quick to speak, well that was until he asked about my career. As the words “…against human trafficking” formed within my response, his voice sharpened, his eyes narrowed as he said, “I have 3 children. If any of my children disappeared due to human trafficking there would be no other focus. I would hunt them down until my child was safe in my arms.” Lest I say more, this retired military man, suddenly had a lot to say. Having lived abroad for many years, he had seen things – despicable things. Frustrated, he spoke about a pervading belief that there is little to no human trafficking within the states. He assured me that this is not true.

 

This is not the first discussion I have had like this. It will not be the last. Worldwide, there are an estimated 20 million victims of human trafficking, with 17,500 trafficked into the U.S. per year. Two million of those trafficked are children. This $200 billion-dollar industry’s financial margin is second to drug trafficking which is estimated at $360 billion dollars. The second largest criminal enterprise in the world, human trafficking involves activities that are often unrecognized by the general public.

Fortunately, and more recently, global awareness regarding topics such as sexual assault and domestic violence have been underscored by educational programs, public service announcements and the story lines of literature, entertainment, and social media. This growing public interest prods efforts to recognize that human trafficking is deserving of concentrated attention. Sex trafficking is the most prominent activity within the industry, accounting for approximately 79% of all human trafficking.

However, the sale and acquisition of human beings also includes victims who are coerced into deplorable domestic/commercial labor, warfare and the terrors of organ harvesting. Yes, you read that right.

Another misconception is that if someone is sold into the sex trades or domestic labor that is where they remain. There are cases where a victim may be first to be moved into the sex industry, then labour, and then they disappear as they have become an involuntary donor to the underground black market of organ sales. To compound the issue, the average life expectancy for youthful prostitutes is 7 years.

This is cavernous and dark. We need be equipped and shine the brightest light.

With consideration to the growing numbers of parents who have spoken with me about their fears and countless children and young adults who have confided that they haven’t felt safe, there are measures that can be taken. Without creating anxiety for those we care about, there are simple steps to personal and environmental safety that can make all of the difference.

1. Do not go out at night alone. Always have a friend or two (at least) with you. If you cannot have someone walk/drive with you call the police or local security (i.e.: Campus security) they will give you a lift. They want you to be safe.

2. Be careful, really careful online. Major and minor social internet sites, which includes some blog sites, stream your videos. Like any basic computer coding, those videos can easily be hacked. This can lead to the perpetrator’s ability to identify the address of the sender, which is often the person featured in the video. You know those videos that kids make as they learn about self and sexual expression? Beyond the judgment of appropriate behavior, these videos create significant vulnerabilities. If that material gets hacked it can be distributed via the web. (This happened to one of my clients.) This content can also supply your IP address, create opportunities for a trafficker to develop a relationship under the guise of being someone “safe”, and eventually learn about where you are going – like on vacation or to the mall. Please use discretion. Do not assume that your content is exclusively between you and your real friends. You might be right but to ebb on the safe side is better.

3. If new employment is on the horizon, take time to make sure that your employer is credible. This is important. They give directions, send you to “jobs” and so on. Just because someone is in the position of oversight does not qualify them as a ‘good person”. There are countless stories of traffickers masquerading as employers and even boyfriends only to prostitute the person they have employed or care for. Know who you are with.

 

4. If a vacation is in line do not hesitate to be part of the planning. Spring break? Outing with family friends? Check out the destination. What are their crime statistics? If the statistics are alarming, what is the location like that is being booked? You can look up this type of information on the internet by using a search engine such as Bing or Google to search words like “What are the crime statistics for [fill-in in the destination]?”. You can also go to www.tripadvisor.com as they have crime information on many locations supported by traveler’s posts and government crime statistics. For those who want dig much deeper, you can search through the data collected by the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. Click on the Official Country Websites link found underneath the heading Information on this page: https://www.bjs.gov/content/ijs.cfm#OCWS. Then you can plan accordingly.

5. Discuss the importance of listening to that small sudden thought in your head. Intuition is often the sound of safety. We have a tendency to ignore the fleeting thoughts that are often contrary to things we want to do. Things that are more convenient like having one more drink, or not burdening friends or being the buzzkill, or how just walking through the park is quickest and easiest because it is late…you get the idea. We have all done this. We have built-in survival instincts – they are there for a reason. Take the time to explain this to those you care about. Also, you have to admit, it is pretty cool to know each of us has built-in wisdom.

We have to work overtime to rescue and help victims to heal, as well as ensure that we continue to amass resources to fund the erasure of the human trafficking industry. Each move we make to increase awareness and safety is equally as important. We can be proactive and keep the perpetrators of these heinous crimes from corrupting the world we live within. The best approach is to not establish unhealthy fear. Awareness is empowering and preventive. We can teach these lessons out of the love that we have for our children, friends and neighbors. Just as we teach our children to not talk to strangers, only later to explain that saying hello to a stranger is generally okay, so can we increase our lessons about personal safety. As you know, these lessons are not limited to children. However, the earlier we make this information understandable, the better the chance that human traffickers will not have ready access to those who they typically set their sights upon. Let’s do what we do best. Let’s focus on understanding that human trafficking is real and become determined to remove this threat from the lives of those we love and care about within our community. #HelpUsHelpThem.

Author : Allyson Maida

Source : https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/human-trafficking-facts-and-the-sound-of-safety-lbkr/

Your iPhone is tracking you. The iPhone has a built-in feature that tracks everywhere you go and notes when you visit frequent locations as well as how long you stay there and when you arrived and departed. The purpose of collecting the data is so that your photo can give you personalized traffic alerts and similar notifications. Apple has said that they data is only stored on your phone, but still there are some of us out there that would prefer that the data was never collected in the first place.

 

Luckily, it’s very easy to see exactly where your iPhone has tracked you, clear that data, and prevent your phone from tracking you in the future, if you’d like. To make things happen, you first need to go into the Settings menu (the gear icon on your iPhone’s home screen) on your iPhone and then clock Privacy. From there, click on Location Services, and then System Services. From there, you’ll want to scroll down to “Frequent Locations” and then toggle the switch from on to off. You want the button to be gray for off, or green for on.

If you’re curious where your phone has noted you visit (and who isn’t?), popular locations are grouped by city at the bottom of that window. Tap on a city, and you’ll be able to see all your frequently visited stops there. If you tap on a particular location within that map, for instance a coffee shop,  you’ll be able to see detailed information about when you were there. You can also clear your history from that list of cities if you want to remove all the previously-tracked information from your device.

Keep in mind, all that data is only stored on your iPhone, not shared elsewhere, so by removing it and preventing tracing you’ll be missing out on some customized features and alerts going forward.

Author : Emily Price

Source : http://blog.sfgate.com/techchron/2017/01/05/your-iphone-is-tracking-you-heres-how-to-stop-it/

Saturday, 31 December 2016 15:40

The hidden censors of the internet

 

Journey with us to a state where an unaccountable panel of censors vets 95 per cent of citizens' domestic internet connections. The content coming into each home is checked against a mysterious blacklist by a group overseen by nobody, which keeps secret the list of censored URLs not just from citizens, but from internet service providers themselves. And until recently, few in that country even knew the body existed. Are we in China? Iran?

Saudi Arabia? No - the United Kingdom, in 2009. This month, we ask:

Who watches the Internet Watch Foundation?

It was on December 5, 2008 that the foundation decided that the Wikipedia entry for The Scorpions' 1976 album Virgin Killer was illegal under British law. The album-sleeve artwork, showing a photo of a naked ten-year-old girl with a smashed-glass effect masking her genitalia, had been reported to the IWF via its public-reporting system the day before. It was deemed to fall under the classification of "Child Abuse Imagery" (CAI). And because the IWF blacklists such material, and works with ISPs to stop people accessing it, an estimated 95 per cent of residential web users were not only unable to access the band's Wikipedia entry, but also unable to edit the site at all.

When Wired began investigating the foundation last December, our interest clearly lay not in advocating the use or distribution of child pornography. We simply wanted to know only what the Wikimedia Foundation, the owners of the Wikipedia, itself sought to know. "The major focus of our response was to publicise the fact of the block, with an emphasis on its arbitrariness and on the IWF's lack of accountability," says Wikimedia's general counsel Mike Godwin (incidentally famed for Godwin's Law, which he coined in 1990 and which states that "as a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1".) "When we first protested the block, their response was, 'We've now conducted an appeals process on your behalf and you've lost the appeal.' When I asked who exactly represented the Wikimedia Foundation's side in that appeals process, they were silent. It was only after the fact of their blacklist and its effect on UK citizens were publicised that the IWF appears to have felt compelled to relent. "If we had not been able to publicise what the IWF had done, I don't doubt that the block would be in place today."

 

As it happened, the IWF reversed its decision a few days later, issuing a statement to the effect that, while it still considered the image to be technically illegal, it had evaluated the specific "contextual issues" of this landmark case and taken into account the fact that it was not hosted on a UK server. The incident marked a major step: the IWF had for once been held up to wider scrutiny.

Concern about the IWF has been voiced by critics such as John Ozimek - political journalist and author of New Labour, New Puritanism - and translated into a more explicit concern: that its lack of accountability could be used as a method of sneaking state censorship through the back door. The relationship between the IWF and Home Office is particularly worthy of scrutiny, as Ozimek explains: "Neither has shown much interest in civil liberties. Few people who know about the net know much about the IWF, and those that do know it mostly only as a heroic body fighting child porn.

It has thus been preserved from having to answer awkward questions about its legal qualifications for carrying out its role, its lack of public accountability and its failure to apply due process." "I think that so long as censorship decisions are being made by an unaccountable private entity," says Godwin, "the freedom of United Kingdom citizens is at risk."So how did we get here? In August 1996 - appalled by the distribution of child-abuse imagery on several newsgroups - Metropolitan Police chief inspector Stephen French sent an open letter to every ISP in the UK. "We are looking to you," French wrote, "to monitor your newsgroups, identifying and taking necessary action against those found to contain such material." It finished with a statement that was a game-changer: "We trust that with your co-operation and self-regulation it will not be necessary for us to move to an enforcement policy." In other words: you deal with this, or we'll deal with you. "There had been a failure to get industry consensus to act on the issue up to that point," remembers Keith Mitchell, who - as the head of Linx, the London Internet Exchange - was brought in to discuss the issue by the Department of Trade and Industry, alongside several major ISPs and representatives from the Internet Services Providers' Association (Ispa). Together they drew up a memorandum of understanding, a model for what would soon be relabelled the Internet Watch Foundation.

 

The document was called the R3 Agreement. The three Rs were: "rating", the development of labelling to address the issue of "harmful and offensive" content; "reporting", a notice-and-take-down procedure to all ISPs hosting CAI in the UK; and "responsibility", the promotion of education about such issues.

The categories still remain cornerstones of the expanded remit of today's IWF, which was (and is) self regulating. Trusting in this, the government left the ISPs to deal with the matter. "The IWF was originally very much seen as a positive measure to avoid a problem for the UK internet industry, rather than a coercive measure," explains Mitchell. "At first, the Home Office just seemed to be glad this problem was being taken care of for them. In terms of its original mission, I think that the IWF has done an excellent job of keeping CAI off UK-based servers."

In 1998, the government carried out an independent review on how the IWF was working. The Home Office called in consultants Denton Hall and KMPG, notes were duly taken, and a "revamped" IWF was launched in 2000. "The IWF had reached a point at which it needed to be seen to be more independent of the industry," explains Roger Darlington, former head of research at the Communication Workers Union, who was brought in as an IWF independent chair. "They weren't terribly clear how it was going to work," he remembers. "I said, 'Look, we should publish all our board papers and all our board minutes.'

That caused a number of people to swallow hard. But we did it."

Keith Mitchell regards this as the point at which things began to change for the worse. "Since Tony Blair got in," he says, "there has been visible mission creep. Various additions to the IWF's remit have occurred, increasingly without consideration of their technical effectiveness or practicality. Most notable has been the introduction of a blacklist."

 

Introduced in 2004, the blacklist is the IWF's method of ensuring that members block user access to CAI hosted outside the UK. This confidential list of URLs is sent in encrypted format to the ISPs, which are subject to similarly secret terms of agreement regarding their employees' access to the list. Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University and author of Law And The Internet, feels that such guarded conduct suggests that more may be going on behind closed doors. "The government now potentially possesses the power to exclude any kind of online content from the UK, without the notice of either the public or the courts," she says. "Perhaps even more worryingly, any ISP that takes the IWF blacklist can also add whatever URLs they please to it, again without public scrutiny." Or even anyone necessarily noticing. It's like knowing that Google Safe Search is on, but not being able to change your settings.

Of course, blacklists are not infallible. The website Wikileaks recently obtained a copy of the list kept by the foundation's Danish equivalent - also unsupervised by government . It shows a number of erroneous blocks, such as the URL of a Dutch haulier , as well as legitimate adult domains.

For an organisation so often accused of being secretive, the IWF headquarters, in a converted townhouse on a leafy and innocuous Cambridgeshire housing estate, does not do much to dispel the image. At first glance the place resembles a large suburban home.

Inside, a spacious, bright reception leads to an equally airy office area and conference rooms. The sense of openness extends only so far, however. The IWF let us know beforehand that it refused to allow any photography on site.

As a charity, the IWF must publish accounts - most recently for the year ending March 2008. The largest single donor was the European Union. It gave the organisation £320,837 in 2007 and £146,929 in 2008. The largest revenue stream, however, was "subscription fee income". This was £623,542 in 2006, £700,533 a year later and £754,742 in 2008.

Who pays the "subscription fee"? The major ISPs and a clutch of big-name brands such as Royal Mail and Google. The IWF's website solicits such payments, explaining that "being a member of the IWF offers many benefits including practical evidence of Corporate Social Responsibility - enhanced company reputation for consumers and improved brand perception and recognition in the online and digital industries". All yours for £20,000 per annum - if you're a "main ISP". Smaller fish are advised to pay between £5,000 and £20,000, and "very small" firms are steered towards "£500 to £5,000". Sponsors, which "support us with goods and services to help us pursue our objectives", include Microsoft. Additional money comes from what the IWF calls "CAI income". This is revenue from licensing the list of prohibited URLs to private net-security outfits. It totalled £5,183 in 2007, but had jumped to £40,734 a year later. In 2006, the IWF also received £14,502 from the Home Office.

 

The Charity Commission accounts state that the IWF has 13 employees and no volunteers - unusual for a charity. Its staff costs were £520,847 in 2008, with one person earning more than £50,000.

But back to that £14,502 from government. We asked the IWF what the Home Office money was for, but Peter Robbins, the chief executive, would only say it was for "a project". "You don't need to know."

Sarah Robertson, IWF's head of communications, has dealt before with concerns about the IWF's links to the Home Office. She's quick to dismiss the notion that the blacklist is any way influenced by the government. "Supposedly, the IWF compiles the list, passes it on to the Home Office twice a day, the Home Office adds whatever they want to it, the IWF doesn't look at it, then it goes out...

Hmm." She smiles. "They don't. I don't see why they would. It's a voluntary initiative. The government has expressed an expectation, but they haven't legislated. The industry was already doing it.

Because they wanted to protect their customers."

Robertson lays out the process behind the blacklist. Updated twice a day, the URLs on the list are those reported to the IWF by concerned members of the public via the organisation's hotline and website. Relevant IWF staff - police-trained internet content analysts - then draw on their legal training to determine whether the content is "potentially illegal". "We use the term 'potentially illegal'," Robertson explains, "because we are not a court. It's assessed according to UK law. I read certain articles that talk about the IWF's 'arbitrary scale'. It's the law." The law she refers to is the Protection of Children Act 1978 (as amended by, among others, the Sexual Offences Act 2003), which makes it "an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of 18".

Robertson insists that the Home Officen has never expressed a desire to get involved in the foundation's day-to-day proceedings, before elaborating on its independent nature. "We are inspected, not by the Home Office, but they expect us to subject ourselves to inspections. They ask us to subject ourselves to external scrutiny, despite the reams and reams of articles I've been reading about how we're 'shadowy' and 'unelected'. "Obviously we're not elected," she continues. "But we try to be as transparent as we possibly, possibly can. We're also audited externally by independent experts in law enforcement, forensics, technological security and HR issues."

This is true: the last independent audit of the IWF was in May 2008, and the organisation allegedly passed with flying colours. We have to say "allegedly", however, because the audit itself hasn't been published - and despite requests from Wired, the IWF intends to keep it confidential. The blacklist also remains undisclosed. "Obviously the list is never going to be given out," says Robertson. "No one gets it [unencrypted]. We don't allow a list of abusive images to be released to the public. What we can say is that details of every URL on it are shared with the police." She is unwilling to elaborate on other details: "I'm sure you'll understand that we can't give full details of how the list is provided. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who would take delight in getting it."

Robertson maintains that she can understand the concerns from certain quarters. "We do engage the civil-liberties groups; they help me understand their point of view, and I find it all very interesting."

Although the IWF has publicly said it " learnt lessons" from the Wikipedia-Virgin Killer fracas, its blacklist strategy is not changing. "As for the design of the list, there were meetings when we started with engineers from all the companies and everyone involved, very technical people - all of whom decided that [the status quo was] the simplest and easiest-to-implement way... People say, 'Why don't you just block the image?' You can't. When you've got a thousand different URLs on your list, you can't have different rules for each."

It is not a prerequisite for IWF members to implement the blacklist - it is simply there, should they want it. The IWF maintains that it strives to ensure cost is not a barrier to implementation by smaller ISPs. The IWF is also not the one carrying out the blocking - that is left to the actual ISPs. "We just provide a list of URLs," Robertson insists. Of course, the list is blind, and an ISP blocks all of it or none of it.

The Home Office declined an invitation to take part in an interview, and rejected our Freedom of Information requests. We asked for details of the relationship between the Home Office and the IWF, and in particular about the latter's discussions with Home Office minister Vernon Coaker. Our request was refused under the clause in the FOI Act that allows ministers to withhold information if they consider the disclosure might inhibit "the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation". It added: "We have decided that it is not in the public interest at this time to disclose this information." (You can read our entire correspondence with the Home Office at tinyurl.com/d67uzn.) It did issue this statement: "Over 95 per cent of consumer broadband connections are covered by blocking of child sexual-abuse websites.

The UK has taken a collective approach to addressing this issue and has had considerable success in ensuring that the sites on the IWF list are blocked. We will continue to consider what further action or measures might be needed."

What about the world outside CAI? Although the IWF is not solely responsible for blocking pornographic images of children, the other areas it deals with - incitement to racial hatred, criminally obscene content - are not subject to the blacklist. Robertson told us that there was no racial-hatred material hosted in the UK last year, and the number of cases of criminally obscene content per annum can be "counted on one hand".

Earlier this year legislation was passed that outlawed "extreme pornography", thereby adding the category to the IWF's watchlist of illegal material. And catching the eye of Parliament of late have been " anorexia promoting" websites. Mark Hunter MP in particular has been anxious to raise the issue.

Lilian Edwards, meanwhile, proposes a new direction for the IWF, which indicates an active preference for governmental administration and which would be more accountable under UK law and less susceptible to whispered doomsday scenarios. "It is high time that the IWF was reconstituted as a public body," she says. "Having the cooperation of the ISP industry does not give them the authority or the safeguards of a public or judicial body. Books get censored by independent and public courts. Why don't websites?"

John Ozimek has further concerns. "There is an interesting line of thought running around the security world that suggests that this is counterproductive. The majority of [CAI] material is not 'out there' on the web any more. It's available via P2P. The more pressure there is on net-based porn, the more networks move to circumvent government measures." So blocking may not be the best solution.

In January 2009 - shortly after the dust had settled on the Wikipedia case - the IWF found itself under scrutiny once more when a blacklisted image on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine resulted in some UK internet users being unable to access the entire site. Later resolved and explained as a "technical error", the incident threw more meat to those who had already decided that the IWF was becoming increasingly maverick. "As an industry," Keith Mitchell elaborates, "we have done a lot, but the internet illegal economy, including spammers, botnets and those who host child porn, will not go away... It would be good to see some enforcement action rather than misguided censorship attempts, which damage freedoms for the majority of law-abiding internet users."

Among all parties, there is one agreement: the fight against CAI is an invaluable one. The killer questions revolve around the power behind that fight - can a non-governmental body be trusted with unprecedented censorship muscle? - and whether, by concentrating on URLs rather than file-sharing, that body is even fighting any longer in the right arena.

Author: CJ DAVIES
Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-hidden-censors-of-the-internet

 

Criticized for listing a Holocaust-denial site first, Google's results are finally changing -- but probably due to external factors.

Google’s been under intense pressure to alter its results after it was found a week ago to be listing a Holocaust-denial site first for a search on “Did the Holocaust happen.” Now, that’s finally changing.

The change is primarily a result of Google altering its algorithm. In a statement it gave to Search Engine Land several hours after this story was written, it said:

Google was built on providing people with high-quality and authoritative results for their search queries. We strive to give users a breadth of diverse content from variety of sources and we’re committed to the principle of a free and open web. Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right.

When non-authoritative information ranks too high in our search results, we develop scalable, automated approaches to fix the problems, rather than manually removing these one-by-one. We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web. We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.

Google declined, unsurprisingly, to go into detail about what it uses to determine if something is an authoritative site or not. It also said this is the beginning of the change process, not the end. It will continue to look at how to deal with problematic results.

The move comes much faster than expected. Google has previously said that it wanted to address this search and similarly egregious results for some other searches but that the process would take time.

Surprisingly, it has not made what I would have expected to be the easier change, altering offensive or stereotypical search suggestions. However, Google might still be grappling with developing a policy here.

 

On iPad, denial site bumped from first place

When searching on my iPad this evening around 1:00 a.m. ET, I found that a page from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum had moved to the top free listing, knocking a denial discussion forum page from Stormfront that had been there into second place.

c0gsdb7ucaa5reh

I was not logged into Google and was using incognito mode within Chrome, so my personal search history shouldn’t have been influencing this result. I also saw these results on desktop when I simulated using an iPad.

On desktop, denial site also moves

Initially on desktop, the older results were still showing for me, as was the case with mobile results on my iPhone (again, logged out of Google and in incognito mode):

did_the_holocaust_happen_-_google_search

But by 2:45 a.m. ET, my desktop results had changed to move the USHMM page first (my iPhone ones had not):

google holocaust happen

I suspect we’ll see what’s happening for me begin to spread to all devices and for more people. It can often take time for ranking changes to move across the whole of Google, because of the many data centers it is using. But I’m not alone in seeing them.

Google itself gave no timeline for when the changes will fully propagate. But typically, this takes up to a few days.

New sites aim to alter the results

Also as part of the change, a new site is showing up called Did The Holocaust Happen. It was specifically designed to get into the rankings for this search and take on the denial sites. For me, it was appearing in position seven on iPad and desktop:

did_the_holocaust_happen_-_google_search

Later after initially spotting it, it has bounced around. Sometimes I’d see it only on iPad.  One time, I saw it rank as high as second in desktop search results.

Another site I learned about tonight doesn’t yet seem to have gained ground in the listings. And after I wrote this, I learned of yet a third.

Why the change?

Initially, before Google’s statement, I wrote that I didn’t think this was a deliberate change by Google. In particular, the denial site remains in the listings, a sign it hasn’t been penalized. That would have been problematic for Google, because it really doesn’t have a good policy to pull or penalize sites for this type of reason (except, say, in Germany, where there are laws against Holocaust denial).

If it sounds crazy that Google couldn’t just pull a site pushing the horrible fiction that the Holocaust never happened, I strongly encourage you to read my story from last week on this topic. Google pulling sites for not being able to prove things could lead to it having to do stuff like banning religious sites, which are built on the foundation of faith.

Google needs a comprehensive, defendable policy. It needs an algorithm that can better cope with the amount of “post-truth” content that’s been growing. It also needs to work across a multitude of queries, not just whatever happens to get spotted.

Coming up with that seemed like a process that would take several weeks, especially watching how Google had dealt with similar type issues. For example, it took weeks after concerns rose about “content farms” for Google to develop its Panda Update filter to filter out low-quality content from its results.

Google went much faster here. Whether the short-term fix is enough remains to be seen. At times, I can still see the denial page listed first. Other searches I’ve looked at still can have awful results. We’ll have a better idea in a few days, when the new algorithm settles in across all of Google’s data centers.

 

How third parties change Google’s results

The results will also change even without Google’s work. What external third parties do have an impact.

For one, as people have reported on this story, starting with the Guardian that first wrote about it and followed by others, those news stories have gained ground. That’s natural for both Google and Bing. Fresh content, especially from news sites, is often rewarded on a short-term basis and ranks well.

The writer for the Guardian who has been tracking this issue also did a follow-up story about buying an ad against these results, to jump above the denial site through paid listings. However, she’s not the only one. The aforementioned US Holocaust Memorial Museum has also either been buying ads or someone is buying them for the museum, as you can see in my first example above.

That ad is almost certainly NOT causing USHMM’s free listing to rank better. Google strongly denies that ads influence rankings this way, nor has there ever been any serious evidence that it has an impact.

However, having the ad there could be causing more people to realize that the museum should be listed first naturally, for free, and begin linking to it. A rise in links, especially from authority sites and with the right type of textual context, could have an impact. The right links, the right way, can effectively act like votes to improve ranking.

As for that new site that’s appearing, it was built by an SEO — someone who knows search engine optimization — specifically to do well for this search. It’s like hiring a PR firm to deal with bad publicity. PR people know how to push for good press. SEOs know how to push for good search results.

That SEO was John Doherty, who’s well followed by other SEOs on Twitter. They, in turn, likely found ways to push links and promote the site for the good cause. Remember that the next time you hear that SEOs are all scum-sucking evildoers.

Doherty and SEOs in general have no superpowers. They can’t guarantee a favorable change in rankings, any more than a PR person can promise a good story in the press. But they have great knowledge that can improve the odds, and that’s what I think is happening here.

The challenge of the infrequent search

It’s also easier for it to happen because frankly, this isn’t a popular search. Very few people do it. The Guardian reporter who started running those ads, tapping into Google’s own data, found it happened about 10,000 times per month or about 300 times per day. In contrast, people search for “holocaust” worldwide around 15,000 times per day. Google itself handles 5.5 billion searches per day. In short, this search rarely happens.

Since it doesn’t happen that often, it’s easier to impact the results. Rare searches often have less content that’s relevant for those top spots. In fact, one of the reasons the denial site has probably ranked well and for so long is that practically no one who would be concerned about this happening has done the search to even notice, nor notice to the extent of creating content to combat it.

Why does Bing get it right & Google get it wrong?

Of course, it is weird, disappointing and disheartening that on this search, Google wasn’t getting one of the good, authoritative anti-denial sites that were listed second and third into the top position. That’s especially so given that the oft-maligned Bing managed to do it and still does, showing Wikipedia’s “Holocaust denial” page first among the non-news web listings:

bing holocaust

As my story last week explained, there’s some speculation that Google’s results are different because it’s rewarding click-through behavior more heavily. That is, if people who do this search click a lot on a particular page in the results, that could move the page higher in rankings IF Google operates that way.

With this particular search, perhaps most doing it are already in a Holocaust-denial frame of mind. If they see a denial page in the listings, they might click on that more than anti-denial ones. And with the click-through theory, this causes the denial page to move higher.

The problem with this theory is that Google has been steadfast in saying that click-through does not directly impact its rankings like this. But, it could be that some of the click-through behavior is being indirectly mined by Google’s machine learning RankBrain system in a way that is causing these results and others to move some pages higher than with its old system that depended more on links.

That can cause some people to wonder why Google might not shut down RankBrain or shift back to depending more on links. But links have their own problems and can be gamed, to the degree that some exploits even became known as Google bombs.

In addition, RankBrain probably helps improve many results that are far more popular than this one. Google’s challenge is whether the fix it has rolled out continues doesn’t hurt the quality of its popular searches.

About that supposed right-wing bias

By the way, you might think that Google’s problem has been with right-wing bias. That’s what another Guardian article wrote, that Google was promoting information with “an extreme rightwing bias.”

The only bias really was in that article itself, which didn’t do searches to see if Google was perhaps also showing an extreme left-wing bias. And you could make that argument with things like this “white people are stupid” search:

google white people are stupid

Or with this set of “white people are inbred” results:

white_people_are_inbred_-_google_search

Sure, people on the right wing aren’t all white. But these certainly don’t give the impression that the alt-right is somehow in control of Google.

Nor did that article bother to note that if you want to cherry-pick infrequent searches, it’s not hard to find Bing suggesting objectionable searches and then delivering actual objectionable results in response. For example, “was the holocaust a hoax” on Bing lists in the first position a page that says it was:

was_the_holocaust_a_hoax_-_bing

I point this stuff out not to excuse Google. It’s the leading search engine, proudly touts the high relevancy of its results and fails in that goal when listing a Holocaust denial site first for the “Did the Holocaust happen” search.

But it’s not just a challenge for Google. It’s not just something that has a right-wing bias. It’s an overall search challenge, one that really few have noticed until our attention has been focused on it, as people grapple with the growing concerns of “fake news” and a “post-truth world.”

Postscript: This story was updated around 2pm ET from its original 1:28am ET publish time to add Google’s statement and lightly revised to reflect this was a deliberate move by Google.

 

Postscript 2 (Dec. 22, 4am ET): Technically, the denial site still hasn’t regained the top listing. However, this is due to the fact that our own article about the situation has bumped it into second place, as opposed to the USHMM site that had been doing it. This also seems consistent regardless of using desktop or tablet.

The results also continue to “dance” around a bit, with different pages moving up, down, in or out of the top results. But I’d say overall, the change that Google rolled out isn’t doing the intended job. If it were, we’d be seeing USHMM and/or the Wikipedia pages over taking the denial site, news articles notwithstanding.

We’re continuing to watch the situation and will update as further time passes.

Postscript 2 (Dec 24, 1:45am ET): See our follow-up story, Google’s top results for “Did the Holocaust happen” now expunged of denial sites.

Source: This article was published on searchengineland.com by Danny Sullivan

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