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Abusing search engines

This article talks about the idea of “PageRank” and how it operates. It gives a brief background on PageRank and why it is important. It begins by explaining that page rank is used to show the most important results to the user; it is a way for bringing valuable content to the surface.  The article mentions that such an idea came from the idea of citations for research papers. For instance, it explained that the reliableness of an article would be measured by how many other research papers cited that paper. This is what we discussed in class: the relationship between hub and authorities: that the more links you have to your websites, the more valuable it will be based how valuable the people who are linking to you.


This article points out the possible dangers of page rank. It mentions that while page rank is one of the many reasons we get accurate information, it can also be abused to bring false information to the top. This is because as people find out more about how search works, they feel tempted to take advantage of it. For instance, the article points out that people have put hidden text on pages so that they are caught by search engine spiders. Another strategy used is called “link farming”. A link farm is where pages have links to each other without any relevance.  This is dangerous because people can be misled. If there were random hubs linking to random authorities then we would have a web that is disorganized.  Google notices such issues and is hard at work to fight such misuse.  Now, when content creators have hidden text on their websites, it will negatively affect their page rank.


This article brings home the idea that while there may be issues with page rank, much much of it lies in the technology and less in the idea of how hubs and authorities work. Without such a system, it would be hard to weigh the relevance of searches queries. To end, search results will continue to use the idea of hubs and authorities to gauge the relevance of links, what needs constant work is the algorithm that moderates this.



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