My little sister, Elizabeth Van Couvering, is in the graduate program at the London School of Economics (lucky cad, she was born in England and has dual citizenship). She is doing her work on the social impact of search engines, and just recently published an article entitled "Is Relevance Relevant? Market, Science, and War: Discourses of Search Engine Quality."
From the abstract:
The evidence presented here suggests that resources in search engine development are overwhelmingly allocated on the basis of market factors or scientific/technological concerns. Fairness and representativeness, core elements of the journalists' definition of quality media content, are not key determiners of search engine quality in the minds of search engine producers. Rather, alternative standards of quality, such as customer satisfaction and relevance, mean that tactics to silence or promote certain websites or site owners (such as blacklisting, whitelisting, and index "cleaning") are seen as unproblematic
I find it not more than a little ironic that my big brother, Antony Van Couvering, has been in the Internet business for a while, and recently has a venture entitled Names@Work which, among other things, helps people promote their business through search engine optimization.
In a complete non-sequitur, my older sister Anne Van Couvering is an excellent massage therapist living in Long Island, and is about to go to school in Seattle to become a naturopath.
Disclosure: I am related to these people, I grew up with them, and I think all three of them are the bees knees.