Google Medic Algorithm change

#1
If anybody is interested.

This sounds rather technical and uninteresting and I know its a far cry from the usual topics on this forum. But it's important.

The tentacles of Big Data and Big Business extend everywhere in pursuit of private profit and power, to engulf and devour.

It looks like Big Data has teamed up with Big Pharma and Big Medicine to throttle the alternative health and supplement industries simply by reengineering and distorting the search engine parameters of Google. I guess Big Pharma and Big Medicine just really really didn't like the inroads alternative medicine has been making on their profits and power.

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what other similar manipulations of the economy and public consciousness for big business gain are going on? Of course we have been warned. But the little guys can do so little. And this is supposed to be a democracy.

From leading bionutritional provider Jon Barron's recent announcement:

"In 2018, Google released what is known as the Google Medic Algorithm change, which was specifically designed to censor alternative health websites and clobber their rankings. It began to hit full bore in January of this year. Both Baseline Nutritionals and our sister site, the Baseline of Health Foundation were affected. Rankings for most alternative health sites fell off a cliff.

To give you just one example of how bad the hit was for alternative health sites: unique visitors to the Baseline of Health Foundation website (jonbarron.org), which was formerly one of the most visited alternative health sites in the world, dropped from 250,000 unique visitors a month to 4,000 a month. That’s a 98% drop in a matter of weeks—identical to the drop Dr. Mercola and most other alternative health sites have seen in the same timeframe.

And more to the point, Baseline Nutritionals has seen a corresponding drop in “new” visitors. How did this happen? If you search on "colon detoxing," just as one example, we used to come up one or two in every search. Now, we don't even appear until page 5, well past where anyone looks. Who replaced us? WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and Medical News Today. Those sites have a dubious attitude towards colon detoxing at best. In other words, Google decided to censor the alternative health point of view and force feed you the medical point of view. Now, repeat that scenario for every other topic relevant to alternative health, and you can see how the number of visitors to alternative health sites has plummeted. In case you’re interested (and don't mind getting a bit angry), rankings for the major drug-oriented sites climbed as a result of the algorithm changes."
 
#7
Is it really a "far cry"? I'd rather assume it is a piece of the large puzzle. Changing algorithms the way you describe it is neither desirable nor necessary from the point of view that people should have a wealth of information at hand to make more informed choices. Sidelining alternatives to the mainstream, very generally spoken, is an act that promotes lockstep behavior, integrates individuals into masses. Facilitates sheep herding. Reinforces the boundaries between the mainstream hive and that which increasingly becomes "the rest". Who likes that, and why? I don't believe that the "money" argument doesn't explain this sufficiently. They could as well earn money with "alternatives", like they are doing in the organic food business, which is not sidelined, as far as I can see.
nbtruthman, I agree that it is important. A thread related to the goings-on in healthcare and medicine makes perfect sense to me in a scientific-spiritual forum.
 
#9
A new article with some more details on this new attempt to censor and throttle the alternative health and supplement industry: "Google’s Medic Update Devastates the Alternative Health Industry".

Some excerpts:

"Only medical doctors or their representatives are now apparently deemed to have enough expertise to produce the main content for medical information pages–or are at least required to review that content. This is a very curious decision since medical doctors have very limited expertise when it comes to supplements, alternative health protocols, and chiropractic treatments, for example. Consider that the average doctor spends a total of eight hours studying nutrition in medical school–not eight hours a week for a semester, but eight hours in total. Anyone who reads two good books on nutrition knows more about the subject than 95% of all doctors. And yet doctors are now deemed by Google to be the only ones with the expertise to produce and/or edit the main content on alternative health subjects.

Likewise, only doctors are now deemed to have the authoritativeness to comment on alternative health issues, despite the fact they frequently know nothing about the subject–and have a financial incentive to disapprove of it. That’s right. Patients who find relief using alternative health methods don’t need to pay those same doctors for their more expensive drugs and protocols. They are no longer paying patients. This presents a clear-cut conflict of interest. Yet Google now supports that conflict of interest.
A medical doctor with not the slightest expertise in chiropractic, for example–merely an opinion–is now deemed more trustworthy by the Google algorithm to comment on chiropractic treatments than a fully trained, certified, and licensed chiropractor with years of experience in her field.

The net result is the censorship of true alternative health information for those who do not already know where to look for that information. And it puts people with little knowledge of–or sympathy for–that information in charge of it."
"What Google’s Censorship Means to You:

Yes, you can still come to sites like jonbarron.org whenever you want to read our articles for information about health topics that interest you–if you already know who we are, that is, and where to find us. But what if you aren’t familiar with the better alternative sites and you’re searching for information about a health topic from ground zero? The odds of your finding anything other than the medically endorsed point of view by searching for the condition on Google are now close to non-existent. In other words, for those who don’t already know about the major alternative health sites, they’re just plain out of luck. They will be stuck with the medical POV and no alternative. Curiously–and I use that term with great sarcasm–Google has decided that the anonymous writers on Wikipedia check all the right boxes on the E-A-T scale. Wikipedia still comes up high on the list when you search for medical issues."
Concerning Wiki, no surprise there considering its biased and censored nature when it comes to subjects like the paranormal.
 
#10
I have decided that my best policy is to use GOOGLE as a search engine (which is free, of course) but not buy anything from them or let it, say, book a hotel for me. So I will find the hotel with GOOGLE and then find the website of the hotel and proceed that way.

A number of experiences have lead me to the conclusion that alternative practitioners can be remarkably effective for a whole range of problems.

David
 
#11
A new article with some more details on this new attempt to censor and throttle the alternative health and supplement industry: "Google’s Medic Update Devastates the Alternative Health Industry".
The result of the alternative health community's analysis of matters like this one is almost inevitably that the underlying conflict is about money. I can't see that. There are many possible ways to earn money other than squelching alternative health approaches.

On the one hand, mainstream medical doctors earn their money more easily than alternative therapists most of the time, but on the other hand, they are subject to a lot of pressure - regarding which diseases and illnesses they diagnose, how to manage their practice in order to be able to earn money, which pharmaceuticals to prescribe, which disease management programs to take part in, how many lab analyses to make, etc. These are some of the topics which "renegade doctors" - those who return their licenses to treat patients within the public healthcare system and thus obtain a stable flow of patients and income - talk about. (I am writing from a German point of view, but I have talked to an Austrian doctor who told a similar story. How this relates to the situation in the US, in Canada, in the UK, I don't know exactly.)

What I perceive is this: When the majority of conventional medical practitioners are in line with a medicine that discourages looking into the causes of diseases and epidemics or thinking outside of the prefabricated thinking boxes, these doctors can, by pressure via the public healthcare system regulations, via the courts, via politics, be deployed as watchdogs against contents and activities by alternative health experts - many of which are independent people who have taken their formal education seriously and have learned to think for themselves.

One argument is mentioned in the article you are quoting, that seems to be at the core of the argumentation: "YMYL", "your money or your life". I understand that this alludes to instilling fear in patients that, if they don't buy this supplement, it will shorten their lifespans. By framing it is connected to “quackery” which is connected to traditional healthcare, plant medicine, etc.

This "YMYL" concept has been promoted by the vehicle of the controversy about cancer treatment: Cancer is the fear disease par excellence, and
alternative health practitioners are monitored closest regarding to their treatments of cancer patients; again, in Germany.

Easily, this YMYL argument is then extended to other diseases. And, indeed, there are lots of modern disease epidemics that can also be life-threatening, thinking of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. Especially patients with autoimmune diseases (I don’t assume I am telling news here) can and do benefit from non-aggressive natural and self-help treatments and concepts.

YMYL is utilized to demarcate the line between mainstream and fringe, and Google has – therewith – made a public announcement, given a clear signal – on which side they are standing.

Maybe they have to make some cheap concessions from time to time – what the Googles of this world don’t like to be involved in, as far as I know, is antitrust legislation. (There are probably other things they fear or dread, does anyone know more about this?) We are being witnesses of a fight here – and this fight, in itself, may be staged to deceive parts of the public. (Is antitrust legislation, in a way, cosmetics? I am not sure. Maybe someone can help with intelligence here.)

The detriment done here to alternative healthcare may just be collateral damage.

But these are just ideas, I may be wrong.
 
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