Google Redesign or Stealthy Affiliate Program?
My first reaction was that Google had been redesigned… rather poorly in fact. I asked Mike Rundle if he was getting the same page. He said yes. Then, I instant messaged a few people who weren’t in the conference. They were all getting the regular page.
So then I thought maybe Google was testing a new design on a small percentage of the population. Companies like Amazon have been known to do this. As I queried more people, it seemed that everyone in the conference (all connected via the same wifi network) was getting the weird version and all people outside were getting the normal version.
So I suppose two things are possible:
- Google is indeed running this test and they are doing it by IP address. Hence, everyone in the conference is getting the weird page.
- The wifi provider (AnchorFree), is doing some funky proxy stuff and essentially routing all Google searches to an “affiliate” search page powered by Google… and collecting click fees. What’s weird though is that people on the outside get the same IP address when they ping google.com as I do.
Anyone have any insight into this? If the first scenario is happening, oh my god, change it back. If the second scenario is happening (which seems more likely), is this even kosher with Google? And furthermore, if it *is* kosher, are we going to see more of this? Why wouldn’t Comcast or any other huge ISP do this? Is this part of the future plan for Google?
Anyone have any insight?