[quote]I think I may have misread the part where you said that “we have decided to
leave the issue alone for the time being” to meaning that you might ban the
I can understand the confusion. Mainly, all I meant is that we reserve the right to revisit any decision we make at a future date. As-is, I don’t see us changing this rule any time soon. The debate on it here is interesting, though, for sure.
[quote]So, anyway, Jeff, don’t take what I write below as in any way questioning
your character or integrity.
Not a problem. I’m always up for discussion, esp. as it applies to discussions about this matter we’ve had internally. :>
[quote]Are you saying that if that company had a rule that anyone critisizing them
should be shut down, Dreamhost would gladly kill of their site if they hosted
it? Or does that just apply to Google?
I guess the main point I was making is that it’s not even really an issue of content (ie. someone saying something negative about company XYZ), it’s an issue of exploiting an algorithm by using data which is intended solely for consumption by robots - data that is often specifically hidden from regular viewers - in order to attain greater rankings at the detriment of other users of that system.
The gray area, for us, is solely in the fact that these people are only changing textual data under their own accounts, which is somewhat different than them actively submitting faulty data to a 3rd party server in order to do something nefarious. Basically, they’re getting off on a technicality at this point - but that doesn’t mean we’re not aware of the problem.
FWIW, I think our record on free speech has been a pretty good one. We’ve gone so far as to be sued in order to protect a client’s right to speak their mind when we felt that they were unfairly targeted (and have been threatened with suits on a regular basis - comes with the territory in this industry). I’m not saying this so much to toot our own horn as to say that we aren’t ones to roll over when company XYZ has a spurious complaint.
[quote]The problem is that most of the Internet is useless crap. I bet you’ve been
around the 'Net long enough to notice this. How many useless sites have you
I’d agree with this assertion. :>
However, it’s one thing to have useless content, it’s quite another to devise content (and I use the term loosely - when you get down to it, such ‘content’ is really just a type of ‘code’ that people are feeding into a somewhat opaque algorithm) with the specific intent to change the behavior - and output - of that algorithm. The only difference between this and, say, weblog comment spam (which we do take action against, if we find customers doing it) is that they’re doing it under their own account. That’s the only reason these types of accounts are left alone.
[quote]For crying out loud, it’s Google’s spider that comes to YOUR site
uninvited not the other way around.
That’s essentially the reason that we don’t take action against this sort of thing. The ‘loophole’, if you will.
This does put an interesting twist on things, though: What if Google were to come to us with absolute and independently verifiable proof that someone specifically submitted such a web site to the engine for indexing, here?:
Would you consider that an active, intentional exploit of Google’s system?
- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin