Optimization: Another world for tilting the balance

Web site optimization is a strategic must for companies. But like lobbying, it tilts a democratic system toward the wealthy.
Stephen Baker

Greg Boser has a post about how big brand companies should do whatever it takes to get a top ranking in search engine results. (from Jeremy Zawodny) It's a no-nonsense call for aggressive search engine optimization.

In this world, the nature of the search results changes. Instead of getting the most relevant results, the public gets the smartest and most ambitious Web site optimizers. The search engines, meanwhile, tweak their algorithms to eliminate the effects of this manipulation. That turns into an ongoing battle among algorithm writers on the two sides.

It's a lot like corporate lobbying. If everyone else is taking politicians out to $200 lunches or Redskins games in a skybox, you have to do it too. Otherwise, you're losing ground. The logic is irrefutable. But in both cases it tilts a democratic system toward the people with bucks. Is this the way it has to be?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.