Speaking of a lack of ethics.......

I was indeed aware of the fact search engines used paid advertisements. However, I was not quite aware of the extent to which they did so, nor the tricks used in accomplishing this feat.

But I don't see anything wrong with having sponsors show up, provided their sponsorship in being advertisers which may be relevant to the search results, but not included therein, is made clear to all. It's really a matter of disclosure.

Casey (Tominack) made a great point this week in differentiating between paid inclusion and paid placement. The latter is what I see no issue with at all, and entails disclosure, with paid "results" being placed apart from actual relevant search results. Inclusion is really a matter of trickery, placing both paid results and relevant search results into combined form, even with (or usually with) paid sponsors being placed at the top of "search results" (have to break out the quotations here, for calling that a result of a genuine and honest search), often in descending order from the sponsor paying the most to the one paying the least.

But, how are search engines to make money, if they don't offer some form of paid advertisement at all? They aren't publicly-funded ventures or something, where taxpayers might have some expectations of not being marketed to. And even if they were, I still wouldn't necessarily oppose some paid placement (not inclusion) to mitigate costs. If it could fund itself, like the post office does (sort of.... in theory), without being inappropriate with a deluge of advertising, I'd give it a trial run.

But these are private entities, and they must make money somehow to stay in business and keep allowing us access to these very useful services. I can't really think of too many other evolutions in internet usage that have been more beneficial or practical than a search engine. There probably isn't a day I'm online that I don't use them, either.

I think I'm more than happy to help "pay" for those by being counted for advertising purposes by using them, and occasionally clicking on a paid link.

I'm just not happy to be duped into doing so. That's why i switched to, and stuck with a company like Google a long time ago. They're a pretty decent company all around, but I'm not under the illusion that they're not gaming me in some way......... I remain skeptical. But until I know better, I'll take the devil I know, rather than the one I don't.


To Professor Ramos, and anyone else who just happened by at anytime,

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