Seeking for Righteousness

The Personal Blog of Kaimi Wenger

They’re at it Again

Those crazy kids over at the New York Times are, as Mickey Kaus points out, once again pushing harmful substances. Don’t they know better than this?

Methinks there may be behind-the-scenes changes going on to the search engine. To wit, on Tuesday when I posted that the Times had discontinued use of all sponsored links, I was reasonably sure they had done so. How was I sure? After looking at searches for “ephedra” and “Master’s golf,” I ran a search for “airline tickets” — the best search I could think of to troll for sponsored links — and got no resulting sponsored links.

But now there are sponsored links everywhere. Searches for nearly every topic except “ephedra” results in those little blue boxes. The most logical conclusion is that the Times implemented a two-stage strategy: First, they pulled all sponsored links until Google could filter out ephedra links. Then, they reinstituted sponsored links, with the new filter in place. Of course, the obvious problem with that strategy is that new items crop up which should be added to the filter (i.e., steroids). There are probably other unpleasant items being hawked on the Times web page as well. I just ran some more searches and didn’t get any results for “cigarette,” “ammunition,” or “Nazi memorabilia” (that one pulled up a few generic memorabilia stores), but I did get sponsored links for Viagra, as well as a sponsored link to gambling.

At this point, it appears the ball is once again in the Times’ court, to either (1) impose better filters, (2) do away with sponsored links, or (3) accept the modicum of tarnish that comes from being a direct conduit to on-line vendors of steroids, viagra, and gambling.

Update: I got back to my computer, and I didn’t save the image of a search for “airline tickets” with no ads. I did save the Masters image. Compare the search from Tuesday (no sponsored links) with a search performed today (sponsored links).

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February 27, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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