Yesterday there was a lot of fanfare around the Google’s new Personal Blocklist. You install a Chrome extension and if you see a website in your search results you don’t believe should be there you simply block it.
This is a great service for the average user, making it easy to get rid of websites you’re sick of seeing in your search results.
Many have touted this as a great way to help Google out as well since they can easily get access to this data and if a website had lots of people blocking it, they could lower that website in the organic results. The problem is that this could very easily be manipulated.
Imagine you own a company that sells widgets. You have a competitor that also sells widgets and he just happens to appear higher than you in the organic Google search results. What do you do? Well, for about $2 an hour you can hire a thousand ‘freelancers’ on oDesk and get them all to use the toolbar to ban your competitors site. Therefore sending his site to the bottom of the search results.
This isn’t a strange scenario, companies have a nasty habit of reporting their competitors websites to Google or using black hat techniques on their competitors website in the hopes of getting it banned from Google.
Let’s hope Google realizes this and figures out a way to make this impossible, or at least make it a useless maneuver.