Sorry, Y’all, I’m not doing a Full Boycott

There’s been a lot of talk about the sheer crap that Google has been putting a lot of people through, including stripping well-meaning people of all of their PageRank. If you’re not familiar, PageRank was introduced as a way for people who used the Google Toolbar to judge the “worth” (in Google’s eyes) of a website.

However, Google have made it possible for outside organizations to access a site’s PageRank and as such, it has become a tool for sites to judge the “value” of a site for various money making enterprises. Recently, there has been a rash of people getting penalized for committing various “fouls” against some rule or another, especially selling advertising on their websites.

For many folks who blog, they do it because they love it and the fact that we can make money from it is a great thing – I’ve personally made some money blogging and I enjoy doing it quite immensely. However, Google see it almost as their mission in life to screw with everyone who is making a little money on the side (or for folks making their only money online) by pulling this stunt of dropping PageRank on some sites involved.

That brings me to something that has cropped up in the last couple of days – boycotting Google. For those of you who are going to a great length to remove Google from your world, I say good for you for taking a stand and trying to make do without them in your world.

However, I will not boycott Google completely. Yes, I’m definitely taking this as an opportunity to diversify where I do things – for example, using Yahoo and Live for my searching in addition to Google, however, I find that Google has always given me the best results for my searches, so I will still likely use them as a reliable backup to Yahoo and Live.

I’ve already started to use Bloglines for reading feeds on an infrequent basis, and I can easily import my feed list into there from my Google Reader. There are posts that I’ve marked in Google Reader and items I’ve placed into special folders which don’t get exported when you export your feed list from there, so I will still check in there on a regular basis – over time, I may transition all of my feed reading over to Bloglines on a permanent basis.

As far as email is concerned, I like Gmail, especially because I can use Thunderbird to send mail through my Gmail accounts; I can’t do that with my domain account as my ISP block me from using the standard mail port for any accounts other than my ISP account. One thing, admittedly, I haven’t tried, is to send mail from my domain email address using my ISP’s mail server. Let me try that now…

As a matter of fact, I can send email via my ISP’s outgoing mail server for my domain accounts, so I’m not dependent upon Gmail or my personal ISP email account for sending mail from Thunderbird. Sweet! However, my main “personal” account will still be a Gmail for the time being; I always have the option of opening a Yahoo Canada/UK/Australia account so I can have free pop access. By the way, if you ask me, Yahoo’s not offering free pop access on US accounts is one of the biggest scams out there.

So far, I’ve found alternatives for just about every Google application, except for a couple – first is Google Maps. By far, they have the best online map, especially with their drag and drop routing options. Their satellite is also great, and so is Street View. Windows Live Maps and Yahoo Maps have been catching up, and I really love Live’s Birdseye view mode – it’s taken from a plane not flying too high in the sky. Another option that you can use for an online map is Flash Earth – it lets you choose from a variety of maps and satellite pictures from the same window.

The other main Google application that I don’t believe there is an alternative to is Google Earth – it’s a fun tool to play around with, especially when I want to have some perspective on how things are positioned, and I might not find it on a regular online map. I only use it every so often; mostly when I’ve been asked to get a shot of how something looks from the sky. 😉

A couple more Google-owned products that it’s difficult to go away from are FeedBurner – they bought that this year, and as far as I know there aren’t any alternatives out there to it. I did see a post about using WordPress plugins to replicate the service, but I have to admit that I would prefer the feeds to be through FeedBurner because the traffic from the feed fetchers is going to their servers and not the one my site is hosted on.

Another product that is ubiquitous is YouTube – they’re owned by Google as well, and as you all will know are the major clearinghouse for videos on the web. There are alternatives to it, and there are definitely advantages to each site, and the content is different on all the sites. Here’s just a small taste of the sites that I have used a bit –

There are also other niche sites for videos, but they’re really “gray market” stuff, which really shouldn’t be mentioned in the open; I’ll just say that I get some really nice videos (and no, they’re not pr0n, I’ve seen other sites that let you download free pr0n tho…maybe i should download some 😆 😈 ) from there. If you’re interested in auto racing, Aussie/NZ TV or UK TV, you probably know these sites 😉

Another service that Google provides are the Google Alerts – I don’t know of an alternative to it either; if you do, definitely feel free to leave a comment.

Below is a list of a lot of links. These are some of the best articles that are out there about the recent goings-on by Google:

I’d like to hear your opinion – am I less of a person for not boycotting Google totally? They don’t receive any money from me, and compared to a lot of people, I don’t give them a lot of traffic (as it is I block Adsense ads, and most other ads for that matter). I’m also not a shareholder, so I have no financial stake in them. To them, I’m just another IP and another cookie, and not much else.

6 thoughts on “Sorry, Y’all, I’m not doing a Full Boycott

  1. Well I definitely think Scroogle rather than google would be a good choice – the search is identical to google, just does not give their search page a traffic hit.

    I think if they dropped your page rank you’d probably be ready to throw them out the window entirely as I am with the one exception of Feedburner – especially as you can now send mail with your own domain.

    It’s just time for us to spread the traffic love – not everyone is going to completely boycott Google, I understand that. But becoming less reliant on Google as much as possible is a wise thing for all of us to do. We all did it with Microsoft, right?

    Cheers,
    Snoskred

  2. I’m not boycotting. I’ll still use Google search (which is pretty much the only Google thing I do use) because it’s in my opinion, the best search site out there and I’ve used it for years with no problems. As for them getting a hit when I use it – well, if they are helping me research my assignment, or find something online, then I think they deserve a hit. Just like if someone uses one of my photos, then I’d like a link-back. I use Bloglines, have never used any other feed reader. I guess I just don’t treat blogging as seriously as other people might. I mean, I don’t put ads on my site, I don’t make money from blogging – I just do it for fun and for socialising.

    If I was in the other boat with the people who make money from ads, and whose page rank drop has damaged that, then I might feel more passionate about it. So no, you’re not less of a person for not boycotting, and you’re not alone. 🙂

    Katie

  3. My hope is really just for an alternative to Google PageRank for web page authroity. PageRank was useful because it gave a quick reference for how much authority a page had (based on web links obviously not merit or value or anything) which while only one small measure was interesting. Now that Google is using it as a combo of that modified by other things Google wants to discourage there is a market for a page authority number that can give a quick idea of the links to the page (and hopefully whoever fills the gap can do much better than Google at keeping the figure current).

  4. I wrote “The thing about that thing”, but I am not boycotting Google. I didn’t even know they owned Feedburner (which I use) and YouTube (which I also use). I don’t like the fact that Google is holding PageRank over my head, and I still don’t even know what repercussions it’s going to have. I’ve been waiting to hear from Review Me or Sponsored Reviews or Text Link Ads, saying that hey, now that I have a zero page rank, I can’t write for them any more or run their ads. But that hasn’t happened, so it’s like we are all in a state of limbo, and I find that incredibly frustrating. I don’t like not knowing what is going on.

  5. Snos – I’ve been using Scroogle almost exclusively ever since putting it in my search bar – it’s Google, just in a no-frills version (and I think it was you who made the observation that it is quicker, which is absolutely right), though my recommendations still don’t work for some reason; no biggie – I’d just been using those to be lazy and not type words in 😉

    I definitely feel that it is about diversifying where we get the information from – just because Google seems to have all the answers doesn’t mean that they do have all the answers. I bet people were saying the same thing about 5 years ago about Microsoft, back when only real “geeks” were using alternative browsers (and Opera was still a pay browser, Netscape was all but dead and Mozilla was just coming to the fore).

    Katie – I will say that I’ve gotten a lot of help from them in the past – when I was doing a lot of work with scam emails, I’d put in the address or bits of their mail to get the information back. However, I am liking Scroogle and getting accustomed to the beta of bloglines – the biggest thing is that I have to get myself reacclimated to the different keyboard shortcuts to Google Reader 🙂

    I also think you’re spot on about the passion not being there if you weren’t directly affected. I think as we get further away from this having happened, the level of commentary on it will go down, and some of the passion will wane slightly; however, this might just be the start of a new revolution…

    John – I think that Snos proposed the best solution to the whole debacle – stop publishing PageRank. As it is, there are tons of sites that are selling links on high PR sites. If there was no PageRank to base the advertising on, you’d be back at a situation where sites would advertise based on the actual merits of the site, and not just on one arbitrary factor.

    Elizabeth – I don’t think that you’d be told that you aren’t allowed to write for the sites; as it is Sponsored Reviews doesn’t base their rankings on PageRank (I am a SR user, so I know that 😉 ). The most likely thing that would happen is that the amount you’d be able to earn from the sites would be reduced (which, if you ask me isn’t a fair shake to everyone who is just trying to get some extra income)

    Thanks y’all 🙂

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