I’m not surprised to see that Google has made an official response to the New York Times article I mentioned earlier this week. They’ve tweaked their search algorithm to prevent negative feedback from boosting a company’s ranking:
We were horrified to read about Ms. Rodriguez’s dreadful experience. Even though our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem in our search results, we immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live. I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results.
The article also explains why the problem isn’t as easy to fix as it would appear and dismisses some simple but flawed solutions. They’re keeping the actual solution secret to stay ahead of the gamers.
I’m sure Google makes these kinds of changes all the time. I’m not surprised that in this case they’re letting us know they did it.