On August 22nd 2006 Google was awarded US Patent #7096214 for a System and method for supporting editorial opinion in the ranking of search results. The patent itself does not define “editorial opinion” or what exactly an “Editorial Opinion Parameter” is or what it does.

One very good synopsis of the information provided by the patent is provided by William Slawski of Seo By the Sea in an article titled Google looks at Query Themes and Reranking Based upon Editorial Opinion.

Randfish over at Seomoz forwards some interesting ideas of his own on the Google patent in an article titled Favored vs. Non-Favored Sources.

After reading some of their thoughts and comments, there’s a few ideas they advanced that stick in my mind.

Keep in mind that this patent was applied for in 2000. Any methodology detailed in this patent may no longer viable in delivering results if it ever was used to begin with.

It’s very interesting to note that in this patent seems to refer to apply a ranking value to a site as a whole rather than looking at individual pages. I would think that a human editor singling out specific sites as “favored” or “unfavored” would simply require far too many resources. However, using a favored directory such as the DMOZ might be one such way but I really don’t believe that is the case presently… if it ever was.

As interesting as the thoughts and comments are on the sources I linked above, there are some that are simply inaccurate and downright misleading as well. Ken “Greeneagle” Webster a moderator at WPW started a very inacurate thread about Google’s patent titled “Did The Recent TrustRank Patent Grant Murder DMOZ?”

His opening post states…

I have thought long and hard before posting these thoughts:

Recently the GOOG made public what is going on behind the scenes with the recently awarded “TrustRank” US patent #7,096,214 .

It should be pretty obvious to all us SEO’rs that “TrustRank” has been being implimented as far back as the “Florida” update…

With the advent of “seeded standards” is DMOZ dead?

Did The Recent TrustRank Patent Grant Murder DMOZ?

I think it did.

How can we conclude with the “new” knowledge of how “TrustRank” works, otherwise?

DMOZ is history! – DOA


In this post Ken links to his absurd article titled “GOOGLE Introduces “TrustRank” Patent # 7,096,214”.

Clearly Ken has confused Yahoo’s PageRank Patent Application with the recently awarded Google patent.

Ken inaccurately attributes the TrustRank white paper titled “Combating Web Spam with TrustRank” to Google’s recently awarded patent in error. Hopefully Ken realizes the mistake he’s made and takes corrective action.



  1. WilliamC on the 27. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    Ken did not change his thinking after the 4 page thread that ensued over it, with numerous people correcting him and showing documentation t support their claims that his article is pure rubbish.

    I highly doubt he will change the falsities in his article at all, as he is most likely pushing that to demonstrate to his few clients that he is some sort of expert.

  2. Janeth on the 27. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    Ken is known for spreading bad information or flat out lies. I’m surprised that everyone has not started to just ignore him and even more surprised that WPW keeps him on as a mod.

  3. Janeth on the 27. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    Might be fun to put together a stupid SEO people blog.

    People like Ken give you free information every day.

  4. rumblepup on the 29. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    I just don’t visit WPW that often anymore because of posters like the aforementioned “MOD.”

    “Favored and non-favored sources may be automatically determined. This would be done by classifying exemplary queries in the query theme into a set of topics as described above. Web hosts appearing in the URLs associated with the best matching topics to the query theme may be taken to be favored sources.”

    This part gives me pause. As you said, since this patent was applied for in 2000, it might, or might not, already be part of the Google methodolgy, or might have been tried and put to the back burner. But it certainly opens up a world of questions.

  5. rumblepup on the 29. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    Couldn’t help it, had to read it.

    Dave, how did you keep your head from not blowing up?

  6. CrankyDave on the 29. Sep, 2006 remarked #

    LOL Rumblepup!

    As far as potential uses today, take a closer look at Google Co-op.

    I think the thing to keep in mind here is relevance. Back in 2000 I suspect Google would have been focused on wanting to deliver the best most relevant results. By classifying sites as “favored” or “unfavored” based upon genre, they would be better able to deliver more relevant results based upon the query by classifying it and then comparing it to the “favored” sites of that particular query. Keep in mind, it’s my opinion that this patent has everything to to about the relevancy of a site to a query and not whether or not it is a universally trusted one. Along the lines of the difference between “apple” the computer company and “apple” the fruit.


  7. JerryS on the 19. Oct, 2006 remarked #

    I see that article by Ken is now ranking front page for absurd article, nice job, that is exactly where it needs to rank. I feel sorry for the clients of Mountain Eagle. This guy tries coming across as an expert when he is anything but, and some people may actually fall for it.

  8. CTABUK on the 25. Oct, 2006 remarked #

    I have to concur totally with JerryS
    But I am in a difficult position as CrankyDave knows. I just do not understand why I have to refer to him as ‘fellow mod’ the Owner of this blog should have been modded there years ago.

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