Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google started using its Monopolistic Powers? Do No Evil?

On Monday, I wrote about Google Trends for Websites, a tool that lets you trend and compare unique visitor counts for websites.

It combines data from variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research. Remember, a while back Google asked you to opt-into data sharing in Google Analytics, this is one place where your data is being used.

If you don’t want your site to be listed in this tool because you don’t want you competitors to know how you are doing, then how do you opt-out?

Let’s assume that you are using Google Analytics and have opted-in to Google Analytics Data Sharing. In that case Google should be using your Google Analytics data to show your site starts in Google Trends, that is more accurate than any other kind of data (well sort of). So if you do opt-out from Google Analytics data sharing, Google will revert to other sources of data e.g. toolbar, Google search data etc, which means you will still be listed in Google Trends for Websites.

The only way to completely remove your site from Google Trends from websites is by opting-out of Google Search engine by using a robot.txt to not let googlebot crawl your site. Remember, by doing so you will probably loose a good chuck of you traffic, traffic that comes via Google search engine. And why would you do that? In other words, you don’t have a choice. You are opted-in in Google Trends for websites by default and you have no way out. (Note, even if you could opt-out of Google Trends, competitors can still find out about your traffic etc using other services such as comScore but this one is Free so makes your data widely available).

On the other hand Google Properties such as Google.com, Orkut, do not have to follow the same process. According to Google, "We do not show Google.com properties on Trends for Websites. We have policy of not providing interim financial guidance, and have decided not to release Google numbers in accordance with that policy." Hmmm...what about other companies? Should Google not respect their policy?

Now won’t you call using (abusing) your monopolistic power?


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