A Letter to Google: 9 Things I’d Love to Change
Ian Lurie May 27 2008
I ran over a squirrel on the way to work today. I tried to avoid it, but when I swerved it accelerated under my car, tail twitching, mouth agape. It made a little rattling sound as it flattened under my tires.
That’s not a squirrel, by the way – it’s a prairie dog. I might have found it, though, when searching for it on Google Image Search.
Which brings me to why I’m writing this letter. Nothing but love for ya. I’m actually a Google fan, even as an internet marketer. But sometimes I scratch my head:
- Please fix your image search. Sometimes it works great. Sometimes I get results that make me think you’ve hired, well, squirrels to do the image tagging.
- Please fix your Adwords pricing system, whatever the hell it is. My company name is ‘Portent Interactive’. But when I try to buy that keyword, you tell me my quality score is ‘poor’? Is that because of the 1500 other ‘Portent Interactive’s out there? Or the number of people using that phrase to sell Cialis? C’mon guys.
- Don’t try to decide what’s good or bad linkbait. That’s nuts. You are not an editorial outlet. You are a search engine. Would you ban a web site about War of the Worlds? What about Whitehouse.gov? That’s mostly fiction these days. Shouldn’t they get dinged?
- Leave your rankings alone for one whole day. You’re giving me a headache.
- Bring back your search API. You’re the only search engine that doesn’t have one. SEO and PPC are industries that are here to stay. Help us do our job right, instead of obfuscating.
- Write better API documentation. I once had knee surgery. It went bad. I lost 2 units of blood and my leg swelled up until it wouldn’t fit through a pant leg. That was less awkward than trying to read your Adwords API docs, and don’t even get me started on the XML reports we get from Google Analytics.
- Buy Ask. Put us all out of our misery.
- Really, truly, decide how to treat purchased links. I’m getting tired of telling clients to take the high road while other folks buy site-wide directory links and shoot up in the rankings. It seems kind of, um, arbitrary. Hey, don’t believe me. Talk to graywolf.
- Enough with the valet parking for your team in Fremont. It causes a 3-block traffic jam every morning, and turns normally-mellow Seattleites into rage-driven lunatics.
That’s it. Thanks for listening. Please don’t smite me.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More