As we're talking about him having to look something up online (on Google), he all of the sudden starts telling me about how "Google" has messed up their site, how when before he used to try to look something up on there, he used to find a lot of good, informative sites; but now every time he goes to look something up on Google, some 'weird' sites come up and he ends up running in circles between Google and all the sites which Google shows and usually doesn't end up finding anything informative or useful in regards to what he was looking for. He also mentioned that he has a feeling that "Google" has somehow changed their "site" (SERPS) to make money, since all they show is all kinds of unrelated sites full of advertisements and such.
Remember, this is a gentleman who, like the rest of the general population, has no idea about what "internet marketing" is or how the search results on Google are generated, "SEO", or anything at all having to do with this stuff... and this is his perspective on what Google is now, compared to what it used to be. He also doesn't know that I'm directly involved with that kind of stuff (not with making poor quality sites but rather with IM/SEO and the like). He knows I do something to make money with my computer and on the internet, but he doesn't fully know/understand the specifics of what I do... so it's not like he was purposely telling me because he knows I know about that stuff. He was just telling me to tell me, as part of our normal conversation.
The key takeaway I want to convey from the above is that an average internet user now has a bad impression of Google, not the people behind those poor quality websites. As IM'ers, we would say something to the effect of "well it's not really Google's fault, they're always trying to clean up their results but then people figure out new ways to game them, it's a cat and mouse game", etc. However, obviously your average member of the general public doesn't know or care about any of that. They go on Google and they expect Google to give them what they're looking for, or else it's Google's fault, not anyone else's.
Then, enter his son:
A smart, young man. Not an internet marketer, but very smart and internet/computer savvy. He has a nice day job and on the side he makes some money selling things on eBay/Craigslist, but that's the extent of his involvement with "IM". He's not about making websites and SEO and any of that stuff which many of us are always going crazy over. However, I'm always telling him about how IM/SEO works and I always give him mini-education(s) on how to spot MFA sites and the like... so he's gotten pretty good at spotting just poor quality sites made for the sole purpose of ranking and making money.
I told him what his father had just told me. We laughed at first and then he said to me; "I think 'you all' (internet marketers) have really won this battle with Google for the time being. It's not what it used to be. Before, I could click on the first result which came up and find what I was looking for, now I need to sift through the search results like any other search engine. It's not what Google was originally about (i.e. relevant search results)." He always (which happens to be quite often) makes it a point to tell me when he searched for something and came across poor quality results (MFA sites, affiliate sites along with content which just doesn't make sense, etc), not to mock at me but rather because I've 'educated' him on that stuff so he makes sure to let me know that "my people" (IM'ers) are "messing up the internet".
This is the perspective of your average internet user who is not an internet marketer. His father was actually blaming Google, not the poor quality websites which pop up. He thinks it's "Google" who has "purposely" changed their "website" to include poor, irrelevant results. At least his son acknowledges that it's third parties (people building the sites), and not directly Google... or at least he has an understanding of the algorithm being gamed and all that good stuff.
But his father, which is your average internet user, thinks it is Google THEMSELVES who are messing up the results.
This really made me think.
Now do we see why Google is always going crazy trying to clean up their search results?