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Self-Publishing News: Google Faces Algorithm Leak And Legal Action Over Pirated E-Books

Self-Publishing News: Google Faces Algorithm Leak and Legal Action Over Pirated E-Books

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

Google has had a tough time of late. But before spending too much time bowing away at the world’s tiniest violin, it’s worth considering how many of their woes they have played at least a part in making. There's the algorithm leak and legal action over pirated e-books.

First up, we had the already infamous algorithm leak. In short, 2,500 internal documents giving detailed information about how their search algorithms work became, er, not so internal. The resulting scour of this new pool of information has had two main consequences. First, it’s possible Google hasn’t always been fully transparent about how its search rankings work. The documents make very clear that some of the things they said they don’t do, they actually do. Maybe. Like using clicks or Chrome browser behavior. Google says it’s dangerous to draw too many conclusions from data that might be out of date or context. Do with that disclaimer as you will.

Second, inevitably, a whole host of SEO analysts have been all over the documents figuring out what they can learn about how to actually benefit from the algorithm. This is a potential goldmine for people who might be frustrated at their current levels of discoverability and wondering if there is anything they can do to improve it. I’m not enough of a tech expert to understand some of the details that have emerged, but I know some of you are, so for your benefit, here is a link to a great piece I have found on how to optimize for what we now know as authors and publishers of online content.

But that’s not where the bad news for Google stops. Publishers have taken legal action against the behemoth for advertising pirated electronic copies of textbooks. There are some pretty damaging items in the claim. For example, the plaintiffs allege that Google refused to act repeatedly to take down requests referring to thousands of ads; and that they have refused to post ads from the publishers themselves while doing so for pirates. There’s even a claim that Google effectively stopped even looking at emails from some of the complainants, treating them like nuisance callers for wanting the firm that makes billions of dollars from ad revenue to stop using its giant reach to promote people pirating their work.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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