Been known for a long time.
He seems to say both Adwords and organic search listings show "bias". Adwords are actually advertisements based on keywords.... paid spots for certain search terms.... maybe there are some anti-trust issues there, but no 'manipulation of search results'.. they are advertising their services on their advertising platform.
The article claims that google is manipulating organic search results, but fails to actually support that claim and only talks about Adwords. Searching for any of the terms he seems to take issue with, shows that Google doesnt list their own services out of priority with others. Honestly, if Google were caught doing this as a matter of policy, it would be the end of them.
The bias comes in after the search is done and the results are tabulated .The page order of the hits are algorithmically reported by descending page and position order.
The Bias determines which hit is reported first on which page and being the first on the first page is the most desirable .Bias can also disqualify a hit from ever being reported by disqualification .These biases are adjustable based on external factors by the google shift operators at their data centers.
For example if the Dynamic search logs show a heavy interest in Obama's birth an entire category or pertinent subset of the facts of his birth may be down shifted in page order or shifted off page entirely !
In building on Goldman's description of PageRank as a type of bias, the following list highlights other additional elements of search bias (note that there are many more considerations than those listed here):
Anti-spam bias (real or perceived spam). If a site appears to be spam, as defined by the engine, then that site or offending document might not rank as well as it would otherwise, or could be permanently banned from the engine's index altogether. Meta refresh, and even the use of same-color text on same-color background are examples of tactics that have been previously used by spammers. Adapting these tactics might create a permanent bias against your site, even if first intentions were good, and the site is "legitimate" (as Google refers to sites in the patent document link below).
Big site / authority bias. Simply put, bigger sites with unique content, years of domain trust and a healthy backlink structure have a greater chance of getting a new page ranked across a wider variety of terms and phrases, as opposed to a much smaller site with fewer or no links, and a narrower-themed scope.
Blog / buzz bias. Blogs have hit prime time in Google Web search, and a blog with the previously mentioned characteristics can get ranked in minutes -- and sometimes even stay in position for months or longer.
Bold text bias. Bias is also shown in a SERP when a keyword or phrase matching a query is bolded or highlighted. Bolded text in the title, description and even the URL can make someone look, give them a reason to click, or give them a reason to bypass other non-bolded listings.
Domain bias. A trusted domain is given credence and higher visibility in the search engine results. Newer domains have to prove themselves by myriad factors. Google patent #20050071741 details many ways in which a "legitimate" domain may be considered in its algorithm (see claims 38-40). Be aware that just because it's written in the patent, doesn't necessarily mean that it is being used by the engine. Other details in this patent also offer many other possibilities of Google bias.
Feed and submission bias. Paid and free feeds now permeate the first page for certain results sets. Yahoo intersperses paid listings into its natural results (Search Submit Pro), and Google Base provides top Web listings for maps, product listings and more. To get in, you have to pay or submit directly for free.
Link bias. Links are the cornerstones of most popular search engine algorithms, and the difference between having a lot of quality links, or no links at all, is the different between being found, or not.
Image / video bias. As Hotchkiss's eyetracking research found, images visible above the fold can prompt someone to quickly scan to your asset over other text assets on the search results page.
Textual bias. As simple and obvious as it sounds, at this point in search history, results are heavily weighted toward text. Designing sites in Flash or other image-based elements can make your site fall victim to this bias, unless other considerations for text are made.
Paid search bias. Like it or not, the top search results page is biased towards paid search. This is a simple bias to overcome -- just break out your credit card.
Personalization bias. Personalization bias is when the search engine shows customized results based on a user's previous search history, sites visited, subscribed feeds, geographic or IP location, and other factors.
Hopefully this list illustrates that bias is often the reason we choose one search engine over another, but it doesn't negate the need to think critically about search results. snip
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