Late last year, Google unveiled SearchWiki, a new set of features that enable Google users to re-rank, delete and comment on results that appear on Google search.
A Google spokesperson stated that SearchWiki is "a new way to empower users" and to let them add their "personal touch to our algorithms."
Now it looks like Google may be doing the same with AdWords results as people have started noticing the SearchWiki 'remove' icon next to AdWords ads.
The big question: if enough users remove an ad, will it affect the ad's Quality Score?
A lot of comments on Sphinn seem to be focused on this and related implications, noting the potential for abuse.
One, posted by 'TimDineen', hits the nail on the head in my opinion:
Personally, I don't mind this as a Google user -- I trust myself to shut off bad ads (or irrelevant ad matching) but I distrust 99% of the rest of the world to make those judgements for me! As I downside, I don't like seeing all these Xs and arrows all over the formerly clean Google serps.
Of course, they say users' votes aren't likely to affect the results of another re: SearchWiki. But that's today. If they can learn enough from the voting patterns that emerge surely they'll use that info sooner or later.
As an advertiser, as long as this stays something where the vote only affects the results for that one user then I would support it. If a user didn't find my site suitable to their needs to the degree that they'd waste their own time voting against it, I'm not going to want them clicking on or even seeing my ad again in the future.
But as that vote might affect other Google users, that's where I have a huge concern about this. Preaching to the choir...
From my perspective, giving users the ability to remove ads that they have no interest in seeing again is fine, although I too believe the addition of SearchWiki buttons does clutter up the clean Google interface a bit.
But if Google starts applying SearchWiki data to the Quality Score algorithm, it could be problematic and is likely to upset many advertisers.
In reality, Google already has enough data for Quality Score. Clickthrough rates (CTRs) are more than sufficient to determine how interested Google users are in a particular ad. If an ad is of little interest to most users, the CTRs will reflect that. Nothing more is needed. If Google added an extra penalty based on SearchWiki removals, it would indeed be extraneous and open to abuse.
Google should address these types of concerns before rolling out changes, especially when it comes to changes that could potentially impact paying advertisers.