Should Dave Winer Call Google A “Total Asshole Company”?

Dave Winer said “Google’s directory of weblog tools. None of the tools I wrote made the list… Google, this makes you look like a total asshole company.”

Google’s Directory is based on DMOZ Open Directory, but filtered through Google’s PageRank so that the most relevant links rise to the top. I don’t think Google has any say about what goes in the Open Directory in the first place. But it does decide what goes in its edited version.

Let’s compare:

Google’s Computers > Internet > On the Web > Weblogs > Tools > Publishers

Open Directory’s Computers > Internet > On the Web > Weblogs > Tools > Publishers

Sure enough, Radio.Userland is in the Open Directory and not in Google’s. Furthermore, Blogger is number 1 on Google, but listed alphabetically in Open Directory. And Google only lists 37 links while Open Directory lists 52.

So maybe Dave has a point.

How does Google decide what gets in its directories? They use PageRank. So maybe Dave’s problem is that his corporate web site gets far fewer links than Blogger.

Since we can’t see PageRank directly, let’s take a look at what Alexa says:

It seems that Radio Userland doesn’t appear in the Google directory because it shouldn’t. Blogger’s 3 month average page rank on Alexa is 714. Radio Userland’s is 7,885. If the site was more popular I’m sure it would rate a link in this directory (note that Movable Type is number two in the Google Directory, reflecting it’s rank at 6672 over the last 3 months — once again, according to Alexa.)

Doing a comparison of Google’s link count for Blogger, Movable Type, and Userland we see:

Movable: 116,000

Blogger: 62,500

Userland: 33,500

Of course PageRank combines number of links with quality of those links to determine page rank, so it may be that Blogger has better quality links. That may explain why Blogger outranks Movable despite the larger number of inbound links.

In any case, I don’t see any reason Dave should be calling Google a “Total Asshole Company”.