A Letter to Google: 9 Things I'd Love to Change

Ian Lurie

Dear Google,
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.portent poor.png
  3. 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?
  4. Leave your rankings alone for one whole day. You’re giving me a headache.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Buy Ask. Put us all out of our misery.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
Yours truly,
Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Couldn’t agree more with #4. One client had a record week for inquiries last week, though, so hopefully they’ll keep THIS index rather than the one from the beginning of May 🙂

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