AOL’s WOW.com Becomes a Paid Search Engine

wow.com search

AOL’s wow.com is a paid advertising search engine as of…right now? Just discovered it this minute.

They’re so desperate for ad money they don’t even link to their own site in search results for “aol”. They link to PC Doctor Error Smart (same thing, I suppose). This search thing is brand-spanking new, considering the lack of results throughout. I can’t believe Michael Arrington hasn’t already gotten a hot tip about it. So much for the tip he received today about it becoming a WOW (World of Warcraft) social network…that isn’t happening, at least for now.

Update: Holy cow, just checked the search engines, and I am the first person to report this… *passes out cold*

Stay unsafe with AOL.

Is she really safe using AOL?

Updated 6-5-2007.

Most people don’t question why I can’t stand AOL but maybe some of you scratch your heads wondering why I think Google sucks, too. Explaining why usually isn’t a topic for this blog, but the safety of Google’s search engine is.

Most search engines show unsafe sites in results, but AOL uses Google to deliver them, and Google is crawling with tons of bad sites for even the most innocent words. Google also places worse sites higher in results than Yahoo! and other search engines do.

People who monitor badware threats know search engines are the number one breeding ground for them. Google is heinous in this respect. They do nothing to filter harmful results out. They even display unsafe results at the top of many popular searches.

I’ll give you a hard-to-forget example. Let’s say your teenage daughter wants to change her screensaver. Here’s the innocent-looking organic search results for “screensavers”, using AOL’s software.

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Do you click on an ad when you don’t know whose it is?

Click on an ad?

“What, are you kidding me?” you say, shaking your head, but in light of changes made to Google’s ad displays, it’s as good a question as any.

I must start off by saying I despise any ruse used to fool, trick or deceive a person into clicking on an ad or visiting a website under any false or unverifiable circumstances. Now that AOL uses Google Adwords as part of their Search Marketplace program, these deceptive practices are used not only by Google but by AOL, too.

As most people know AOL Search has been “enhanced by” Google’s algorithms for a few years. I’m unhappy that a search engine that’s given me trouble, that has too much spam, that skews results in a way that’s more profitable for advertisers than it is for us (consumers who don’t necessarily want to buy anything) has been AOL’s first choice for results for a long time.

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AOL Introduces AdVictims

AOL Trap

In news I might’ve missed over the holidays, Google rolled out a beta version of AdWords for AOL. The project should’ve stayed hush-hush, strictly on the down-low, but news of AdWords for AOL, part of their new “AOL Search Marketplace,” was “leaked” without AOL’s knowledge ahead of the formal announcement, which is pending.

Background: AOL struck their first deal with Google in 2002 to help them improve their search ranking. Google received a stake in AOL in exchange. AOL and Google renewed the agreement in December, 2005, for a much higher price. The AdWords project springs from that, according to AOL’s Blogging Stocks.

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Special offer: Join AOL now and lose your privacy! It’s FREE!

AOL's barn door is unlocked

Last edited/updated 11-02-2006.

AOL has sucked since they started.

From censoring in chat rooms to charging too much for dial-up to forcing spyware and virus downloads when members install their bloated software, which wrecks smaller systems like my own, to letting legitimate email hit spam filters, to refusing to let customers cancel, to treating call reps like canned goods in drab, overstuffed pantries (called pods), then tossing them out for not being clever enough or just to reduce costs, to firing John over Vinnie Ferrari rather than retraining him, to their latest crime against humanity — the release of 650,000 user search queries to the public — AOL proves time and again they never value the heart of their business: the people who pay for and maintain it.

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