Since, well, forever – there has been non-stop debates about how the search engines are full of spam, they’re all about to choke and die, and it’s all the other guys fault.
The thing is, the tail in search is very, very long. The database is designed to contain all the content that can be thrown into it. By definition, 95% of all content is crap, whether it is auto-generated or loving hand crafted. But none of that matters.
It doesn’t matter because the definition of crap content is defined by one person: the user.
Take a look at the newspaper business. A page is a blank container. That page is then “filled” with content. Content can be articles, news, or ads, or a blend of all three. Are classified pages rubbish content? Not if you’re searching for classifieds. Are the politics pages rubbish content? Probably – to people who aren’t interested in politics.
The job of the search engine is to sort, and thus provide meaning to the end user. The space, unlike that of a newspaper, is virtually infinite and in constant flux.
I don’t have much of a problem finding authorative sources. I don’t feel overwhelmed by advertising, unlike the feeling I get when I look at my inbox. If a page full of Adsense answers my question, then that’s fine by me. In short, the search engines are doing an OK job of sorting information and helping me find what I’m looking for.
Being full of crap isn’t a problem, because by it’s very nature, the internet will always be full of crap. It’s only when the sorting is crap that there’s a problem.