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Mike DeZinno on

Search Engine Bias

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Shocking but true, more often than not your favorite search engine has a bias.
For years, I have always wondered when I reached the point that I had searched enough, especially when trying to find the absolute best price for anything before I lay down my hard earned cash. Was 5 minutes, one hour, 3 days, or 4 months enough time spent in due diligence, especially for large dollar purchases, to guarantee that the price I found was the absolute rock bottom best I could do anywhere? Like millions of others, I assumed that while searching for a specific item, when my favorite search engine reported back to me with 500K hits, that the first few pages are what met my search criteria: the apples to apples exact match of the item I wanted, and at the absolute best terms of delivery and of course the absolute best price every time. Then, I found out that I was most likely being steered and/or manipulated by profit motives of a multitude of third parties who had large budgets to make sure I found them ahead of all their competition; ergo, they got my money and I didnt necessarily get the lowest price or the best terms. The three main reasons that put me, and any other online shopper, at a huge disadvantage were: paid advertising, professional SEO management, and my lack of time and patience. If I was ever going to find a solution and beat them at their own game, I had to first understand the search engines/enemys tactics. So, heres what I found out. Paid advertising: Today, just about all search engines can be bought and will accept money for paid advertisers who are given preferential treatment. This all but ensures that when searching for an item, you are going to be told about these sellers ahead of anyone else you will see. Professional SEO management: SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy whereby you can use very sophisticated web criteria to get your business, products, or message ranked very highly by the search engines by turning their own programming rules against them. What happens here is that sooner or later, they figure out what you are doing and then will change the rules. So, the only way most businesses can stay ahead of them is to hire professional web services who can, with some certainty, guarantee their clients consistent, higher than normal rankings with the search engines. Well, the way the free marketplace works is that when you spend a lot to get your message out, you have to recover those costs just like any other business must. Whether you are a brick and mortar or big-box, or online business, you cant work at a loss forever, so your prices must cover your cost of doing business. My time & patience: Yes, my patience and the time that I was willing to invest I could control somewhat, but I had no way to work around the other two aforementioned tactics, unless I was willing to look at all 500K hits every time I searched for anything. Not very practical for me, or, I dare say, for any other person who has a real life offline. LOL. So, what was the final solution? Believe it or not, it was a little free app that would do the 100Ks of searches that I neither had the time nor inclination to do. The best part was, it could do that in less than a minute! I could set it to look at the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc., and then show me only the best 4 or 5 choices from each of those services so I, the consumer, was back in control! Glory Be! In just a few short minutes, this amazing little app made it possible to look through each offer, checking not only prices, but important terms like availability, delivery dates, and potential tax or shipping charges.

To share a practical personal experience, a friend of mine had a fender bender with a BMW; all that happened was the Beamer suffered a broken taillight. My friend agreed to just write a check, because both parties felt the damage was too small to report to their insurance companies. A few days later, the BMW owner presented him with an estimate to replace the light assembly for $278. My friend just wanted to be sure he was being treated fairly, so he went online to see what the taillight really would cost. Doing his traditional search, he found prices ranging from $179 to $199. Then, at my suggestion, he used my little app to do the search again. In less than a minute, he had a place where he could buy the part for only $65, including two day shipping. Needless to say, he never does any more searches without his little search assistant participating. I know of a construction company owner that has a person whose full time job is to search with one of these kind of apps to be sure that every one of his bids are as tight as can be during these hard times, with confidence that all items he needs for the job will be at the lowest possible prices. He is now both hated and admired by his competition, because he uses one of these search assist apps and now the word is out now in his area that he wins most of the bids. So, to answer the nagging question, am I ever really sure that I am getting the best possible price? when I am using one of these handy little apps, I can now say with absolute certainty, the answer is a resounding YES. Now here is the bad news: These little apps tend to have short life spans. They are usually free and because of that they typically have insufficient financial backing to stay current with the constantly changing world of search engines, especially those who earn large profits from their advertisers and who then have equally large programming war-chests to keep closing the holes in their software that would make it possible for the little shopping assist apps to continue to defend you against their marketing tactics. From time to time I or one of my loyal readers, do find the latest greatest version of one of these apps that could help us to even the online shopping odds. I have a free newsletter where we do share this kind of information designed to help the average consumer stay ahead of the people and companies who try to tilt the playing field. Happy searching and happy saving, Mike Link to Subscribe to Mike DeZinnos Free Newsletter

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