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Unless SEO now has a different meaning from the one I'm familiar with, it isn't a mechanism for searching, it is for results positioning. And the study both Valeria and Calacanis refer to place the results at the center of user dissatisfaction.

But regardless how dissatisfied we are with Google's page ranking system (yes, I'm definitely among them), the alternatives (trackbacks, blogrolls, del.icio.us' crowd-sourced tagging, etc.) fail to provide sufficient inventory for netizens, and we'll continue to depend on search engines in our quest for satisfying content. We'll continue to filter available content through those paths to reduce the amount of information to sift through.

The Semantic Web is not the cure for the common cold. It is only a way to structure data so programs can determine what people are actually writing about. And it is an impractical reality at this point for the same reason that so few people are designers or programmers: it requires specialized knowledge and skills to make it work properly.

@Mario -- now that is an interesting thought. We have talked about the use of tags on several occasions here. It would also be nice to be able to measure how many people find you according to certain tags. I do wonder if we would also need to learn economy of words used for tagging. I think changes are on the horizon.

@Carolyn Ann -- yes, tags can also be bought, can't they? I believe Tim Bernes-Lee has gotten into some of the aspects of the semantic Web that touch upon issues brought up in this conversation. I will need to go and review his material to form an impression.

Why would people trust Google? And most people aren't even aware of "SEO", let alone know whether to trust it or not!

I can't decide if I'm shocked that 46% believe what they read online, or that only 46% believe, etc. I think it depends on the context of the information - if it's on the NY Times website, I think the trust factor would go up exponentially. Unless you're a southern Republican, in which case it would go down. All of which highlights the problem of statistics.

On the other hand, most blogs will barely register on the old trustometer. They are perceived as partizan, not especially well written, held to no known standard, and can be excruciatingly difficult to read (I said that one, already, I know - it's so true, it's worth repeating...)

I'm not sure about that semantic web - it strikes me as a solution looking for a problem. Ultimately, the search firms would always figure out a way to exploit it - otherwise they would go out of business, and that's probably not in the business plan... But paying attention to the human aspects of a story will do for some; others will insist (probably with dollars, or more likely euro's, considering how badly the ol' greenback is doing) on the search engine producing the politico's yakking up at the top.

Sorry, dinner time - gotta go. :-)

Carolyn Ann

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