Google’s speedy indexing of pages not always a good thing

(For those of you who are not Realtors or bloggers associated with real estate – the general theme of this discussion is freedom of speech, governmental intervention, property taxes and assessments and blogs. If you care to catch up, you can start here.)

Especially if your name is “Todd Kaufman.” Read this story:

Google paid a big price when it started to index pages faster and show them in the search results minutes after they’re published. The problem is that you can’t rank a page that has just been created because it has no backlinks so Google artificially inflates the rankings of the recently-created pages based on historical data and the few backlinks that are detected.

And this one:

And to think…all you had to do was comment on this blogger / REALTOR’s post and you could have actually ENHANCED your online reputation. Now you did it in REVERSE.

And these two comments –

From Jay:

No kidding. Google stuffed this post into the #2 spot for that search (Todd Kaufman assessor) – 11 minutes after I posted it…

From Merv:

The public wants transparency in this industry that has been missing since dirt. Real estate Bloggers are bringing transparency and consumers love it.

The unnamed government official is making a name for himself that he really doesn’t want (actually, his name is all over the planet).

… This is going to be a watershed debate.

This all hit the proverbial fan on 29 December; Jay has a great recap.

English posts via Technorati, a blog search engine, that contain “todd Kaufman” per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

I wonder when there will be either true main stream media coverage or an official response.

Update 2 January 2007: Seth Godin has a timely post (for the assessor and us all) – The first thing to do this year – Google yourself.

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  1. Athol Kay January 1, 2008 at 22:57

    I’m actually a little nervous about this one. It certainly does sound like the assessor is a right tool bag, but I’m sure all the blog posts weren’t calling him up to get his side of the story. Just piling on.

    It won’t matter what the outcome is, he’ll be labelled a tool bag in the house of google forever.

  2. Jim Duncan January 1, 2008 at 22:59

    Athol –

    That is something I’ve been thinking about, but think that he’d be mighty unreceptive to a call or email from one of the bloggers who has written about him.

  3. Athol Kay January 1, 2008 at 23:52

    Well ideally you call before you run the story. If he doesn’t want to talk to you, then you run the story with “we contacted Mr X and he declined to comment”.

    That would be the journalistic way to do things wouldn’t it?

  4. Jim Duncan January 1, 2008 at 23:56

    Agreed. But I still might try.

  5. Jay Thompson January 2, 2008 at 00:10

    I think Mr. Kaufman clearly stepped in it. He penned his own words. I have sent him an email. No response. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt given the holidays, but given his responses to others, I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Jim Duncan January 2, 2008 at 00:37

    I’ve been thinking about this comment for a bit …

    1) Had this happened during almost any other timeframe, and not right after Christmas and on the long weekend (for some; I’m a Realtor – I work all the time) – this might have turned out differently.

    2) I concede that calling or emailing him would have been the journalistic thing to do. I’ll sincerely try not to make that mistake again.

    3) Nothing against Danilo or Tony, but had their Broker not a) backed them and b) granted permission to publicize the emails, I probably would have waited and not published as quickly as I did on Bloodhound.

    4) His words speak for themselves. He used his position as a County employee to demand (without specificity) that words be taken down.

    5) His denigration of blogs, and their blog in particular, “Your blog is set up as a promotional tool for the services that you provide as a Realtor. I do not condone or advocate your positions nor your personal approach at generating real estate related business for yourself. Therefore a response to your blog postings is not warranted.” demonstrated his disregard of the medium.

    6) Blogs are a legitimate form of communication, news and frequently journalism.

    7) All he had to do was comment on the post in question – and contribute to the conversation. It wasn’t adversarial until he made it so.

    Russell’s right – he owes them an apology. Now that would make news.

  7. Athol Kay January 2, 2008 at 09:11

    I think #7 there Jim is excellent. Agreed, he could have just commented. A simple “We’ll look into particular cases, we have to revalue 120,000 homes and just three people are in our department. Also could you not call us thieves thanks” might have gone a long way.

    I think as bloggers we wear so many hats as writers – now we’re academic, now we’re a clown, now we’re a journalist, now we’re a diary – that we bypass some of the rules for each genre.

  8. Bob Carney January 2, 2008 at 09:35

    As for number 5, he just doesn’t get it…silly ole real estate website…geesh.

  9. Thomas Johnson January 2, 2008 at 13:59

    I agree that the “journalistic” road is proper rather than piling on, however when you’ve been sued by one of these self important functionaries such a Todd Kaufman, Tax Assessor, or Tylene Gamble, Chief Appraiser as I have, it hits a raw nerve. In 2006, we appealed our tax appraisal in Wharton County, TX and won a reduction before the Appeals Board. We were sued in district court by the Chief Appraiser, Tylene Gamble. She is trying to overrule the appeals board she appointed because they didn’t uphold her massive 45% upward appraisal. We are still in litigation. I have blogged about the whole sordid story here:

  10. Jim Duncan January 6, 2008 at 00:01

    @ Anonymous – I tried to comment on your blog, but I’m not going to open a Livejournal account just to comment, so I’ll refer you to my comment at 12:37am above.

    (I tried using my OpenID to no avail)

  11. Jim Duncan January 6, 2008 at 15:47

    Additionally, Anonymous – why did you completely disable comments on your blog? It’s against my type to attack others, I will in this case make an exception (the first I have ever done this) –

    Your decision to hide behind your anonymity and disable the ability to have others comment, likely in opposition, against your opinion, reeks of cowardice.

    Your decision to hide speaks volumes.