Naked Google

Here’s another great example of a naked business practice: How a business’ website shows up in a Google search can be crucial. Being on the first search results page is gold, finding yourself relegated to the back pages may cost you customers. Consequently, many people try to improve their Google ranking by means that can be fair or … shady, let’s say.

And what does Google do with these people who seek to unfairly exploit their system? They invite them to a party!

Google works hard to thwart the mischief makers, sometimes branded as “Black Hats” because of their subterfuge. Engineers frequently tweak the algorithms that determine the rankings, sometimes causing websites perched at the top to fall a few notches or, worse, even plunge to the back pages of the results.

Hoping to ease the tensions with webmasters, Google hatched the idea of its “dance” party during an annual search engine convention held in Silicon Valley, just a few miles from Google’s headquarters. The company invited some of the Black Hats, effectively welcoming the foxes into the hen house.

“Google realized it was never going to get rid of these (Black Hats), so it decided it may as well work with them,” Chris Winfield, a Google Dance party veteran who runs 10e20, a search engine marketing firm. “Until then, it always seemed like it was ‘us against them.'”

The guests have mostly behaved themselves, although a couple years ago there was an unsuccessful attempt to steal one of Google’s couches.

Just like the example at Amazon that I blogged previously, this open approach to business is efficient, positive and speaks of a high level of organizational maturity – which is especially impressive in the case of a young company like Google. Kudos!

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