panda-penguinIf you work in the online world, then you’ve probably heard about Google’s last few algorithm updates. Over the last few months, both Panda and Penguin updates have been more aggressive than they have been in the past, and are really changing what you can get away with as a brand or an SEO.

In a lot of ways, a lot of this has made a lot of sense in terms of Google providing users with the best quality, most relevant search results. In fact, it seems like Google is finally starting to get ahead of the spammers and black hat SEOs they’ve been fighting for years. Trust me, as an SEO, I’ve been surprised to see what some SEOs have gotten away with despite what Google warns against in their webmaster forums.

Something I haven’t been too impressed with, though, is how hard some of these last few updates have hit adult websites. In fact, 8 of the top 25 losers from just one of the updates in May were porn sites. And in another one in June, porn was one of the two official targets.

I’m Not a Porn Guy, But…

the-notebookNow don’t get me wrong. When it come to what gets me off, I’m much more of a The Notebook guy than a porn guy — just ask some of my exes. But I can’t help but to feel that Google is kinda abusing their position as the #1 search engine and forcing some set of moral values on to their user base.

Now, granted, Google is a private company that can do whatever they want with their product. But if you’re going to believe in the laws of supply and demand, there’s probably a reason why there’s so much porn out there. So it seems like bad business practice to dismiss the industry as illegitimate.

Of course, if you’re searching for “cream pie”, you might be more interested in a recipe than something like this. But if you’re searching for something like “double penetration” or “pornstar videos”, then you’re probably looking for something else — and it’s almost certainly NSFW.

Publishing, Porn and Social Networks

I happen to know a lot of people who work in porn. And I’m not talking about the talent. I’m talking about developers and designers and some of the most creative marketers I’ve ever met.

And do you know why they work in porn? Because it pays way better than most other industries. And do you know why it pays better? Because porn companies have deep pockets and need to be very competitive if they want to survive.

And do you know why they have such deep pockets and have to stay so competitive? Because of supply and demand. Because a lot of people are spending money on porn — and that’s a lot more than I can say for newspapers or magazine or many so-called “social networks.”

Demand begets supply, not the other way around. If there’s that much porn on the web, it’s because people like sex. They enjoy thinking about it, they enjoy having it, and they apparently really enjoy watching other people have it.

So I’m kinda unimpressed with how Google has targeted the industry. In fact, I expect better from a group of guys who are supposed to be so bright and that open-minded and known for thinking that creatively.

I mean, sure, there are tons of porn sites out there that pose malware threats, but that’s no reason to target an industry in general. If anything, it’s up to Google’s algorithm to distinguish between safe and unsafe sites, and I think it speaks to their (in)ability to do so if they’re just going to slam an entire industry. Besides, apparently church websites pose three times the malware risk that porn sites do.

So the way I figure it, either Google is trying to moralize the web, or they’re trying to skirt an issue that they haven’t yet found a way to deal with. But what do you think?

4 thoughts on “Is Google (Still) Trying to Moralize the Web?

  1. And do you know why they work in porn? Because it pays way better than most other industries.

    I’ve always thought that was the case, until I spoke to the HR people at that one big company here in Montreal. They offered me less than what I what I was making at an agency at the time.

    That aside, I tend to agree with everything stated above.

    1. I’m surprised to hear you got low-balled like that. I was once head hunted by a porn company, and what they offered in terms of both pay and benefits was pretty attractive.

  2. Now in the UK, David Cameron has given our households the option to opt-in or out to porn sites and whether our network providers will allow such search terms to provide results. Despite the controversy it has received, I am interested to see the percentage of households which opt-in to receive it.

    1. That piece of legislation even made headlines on this side of the pond. What worries me about it is the shame factor. Specifically, there are probably tons of users in the UK already consuming adult content, but won’t want to actually call their ISP and go on record as requesting access to adult sites — never mind having their spouse/partner see it on their monthly bill.

      In fact, this is precisely why many adult sites charge membership fees to credit cards under generic names. Consequently, I expect this to result in an unrepresentative drop in the consumption of adult content in the UK.

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