Apple Inc. (AAPL) Does Google Want You to Sell Your Apple Shares?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is there a Google conspiracy against AAPL?

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I just came across something kind of funny that has to do with AAPL that I wanted to share. Before I post the link I want to say that I think this is a coincidence and there is no hidden agenda behind it. Actually on the other hand Google is know for their not so subtle pokes at other companies.

If you visit Google Finance and type in the word “sell” without quotes you will be taken to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Here is the direct link using the keyword “sell” that takes you to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) on Google Finance.

We all know AAPL has taken a pounding the last several months. The reason could be because of poor public relations management, funds taking profit or any other number of things. The fact of the matter is Google Finance showing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) under the keyword “sell” doesn’t bode well for AAPL regardless of which side of the fence you’re on.

This is the first time I have ever seen something like this on Google Finance what about you?

Update 6:27pm EST: Minutes after this article was picked up by several larger online publications it was removed from Google News completely where it was receiving a LOT of attention. This can be confirmed by visiting Google News here and pasting the title of this article in the address bar “Apple Inc. (AAPL) Does Google Want You to Sell Your Apple Shares?” with or without quotes.

You can also put the URL of this article in the Goolge News search bar and you will see (thank you Sara SEO):

“Your search – – did not match any news results.”

In the above search you will see the organic listing of this article in Google but it’s clearly no longer published in Google News.

It looks like someone is not happy about the publishing of this article. I prepared for this earlier by taking a couple screen shots of the article featured in Google News.

News Removed 1 – Click for Larger Image
Apple 1-1

News Removed 2 – Click for Larger Image
Apple 2-2

Update 8:24pm EST: I just received an email from Jason Freidenfelds at Google – legitimacy of the email was confirmed. The email is posted below and I replied asking why the article was removed from Google news. I will post an update if I here back from Jason.

“Hi Daniel,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. This isn’t deliberate — our algorithms seem to be keying off of the words “sell” and “sells” in the description of this very popular stock symbol. We’re working on how to adjust things so it doesn’t happen anymore.


Update 10:23pm EST: The keyword “sell” no longer brings up AAPL on Google Finance. For those that missed it you can view the image below.

Also for those who are interested I did receive a reply back from Jason Freidenfelds at Google regarding the disappearance of this article from Google News. I’m waiting until the email exchange is complete to post the outcome of the conversation.

Google Finance

Disclosure: Share Holder
Status: Long Hold

  • Neil

    I really can’t imagine some high up guy at Google plotting the demise of Apple, by linking the word ‘sell’ to Apple on Google search LOL.

  • michael suozzi

    No…they wanted to buy them. But now they are getting too rich for Google.

  • Harry

    Any update about why the article is no longer on google news? I’m curious to see where this goes.

    • Daniel Guidotti

      No real update to speak of but I have had a couple exchanges with Jason about this. The short update is he will be asking the team that works on Google news what happened. Hopefully I can get some resolution on this and I will let everyone know.

  • Jason Freidenfelds – Google

    Hi folks — I work at Google. This isn’t deliberate — our algorithms seem to be keying off of the words “sell” and “sells” in the description of this very popular stock symbol. We’re working on how to adjust things so it doesn’t happen anymore.

    • Curious

      How come you took this article off the news? I wonder how often this happens now that its been brought to our attention. You don’t like what you read so you just remove it, wow!

  • Sara SEO

    I posted earlier but I found this article on Google news and it does appear to have been removed now. This is what I see if I search for your URL in Google news.

    “Your search – – did not match any news results.”

    I still see your article listed in the organic search results but it certainly has been removed from news. I have never seen this happen before and I have a lot of clients with Google news listed websites. In my opinion this is not a algorithmic glitch this was manually done.

    It’s very scary to think that a company with so much power would essentially manipulate the news by removing news that doesn’t look upon them favorably. I’m going to look into this more because the way it looks now it’s very scary that someone at Google would do that.

  • Anonymous

    What is going on how can they just ‘remove’ this article from the news? Talk about crazy censorship!

  • Thomas

    Something is up for sure. I found this article earlier on google news and you are right it has totally disappeared now. Someone at google had it removed and it’s probably because they are trying to cover their ass.

  • Listyoursources

    Source: reddit

    • Daniel Guidotti

      Actually that was not “my source”. I always give a citation to the original source if it’s deserved.

      My source actually came from a live chat room where you have to create a user name to see the chat. That is the only reason I didn’t cite a source in this article. You’re free to create a user name there and verify this information for yourself.

  • Armando McGillacuddy

    I don’t think you cracked some big conspiracy, the “sell” search on Google Finance still goes to AAPL. Don’t give yourself too much credit.

  • Anonymous

    Slander? Are you people serious?

    The only question here is whether or not someone would personally consider jokes like this in good taste and/or humorous. That’s it.

    If you’re honestly the type of person who either cannot understand whether or not this is a joke, or lets a completely unrelated easter egg, of all things, have any minute effect on serious financial decisions; stay the hell away from the stock market, because you’re an idiot.

  • Who Cares?

    Who cares if it’s buy or sell? If you’re an investor and you still believe in your investment, I’ll suggest you cautiously apply your discretion instead of allowing a minor glitch of this nature to drive your decision. I really don’t know why folks are crying wolf over this.

  • No evil

    I don’t believe this is an accident. “sell” or “buy” is a generic word, they should bring up a company. Google is responsible for removing this from its system, or damaging its corporate image.

  • Anonymous

    CNBC’s agenda to invoke fear and drive down apple stock has been great for options traders. To bad the little man got pinched in this messy affair.

  • Slander

    Could Google be liable for some sort of slander? In their own way they are bashing Apple and I’m not surprised because they do use own Android a direct competitor to AAPL.

  • Other redditor

    Whether you type “sell” or “sells”, it brings up Apple. You can also type iOS, Mac, MacBook, etc and it brings up Apple. I believe that it is just based on tags and/or keywords that are prevalent in the description. Granted, sell and sells should bring up more just as some other keywords do, but there has to be a different reason other than intentional maliciousness that caused this.

  • Trader

    Thanks to what is probably a joke by a low-level engineer, Google lost another customer. I’ll be switching to Yahoo Finance. I can’t tolerate this sort of immaturity from my stock analysis tools; if Google is this sloppy with one aspect of its finance system, it is probably equally sloppy in other respects.

    • Anonymous

      Good luck. Yahoo doesnt pay the big bucks to have most stocks real time. Plus its laughable that you consider yourself a stock snob, but use free web tools like Google and Yahoo.

      • Trader

        I don’t trade with these platform, but during the day its easy to jump in and evaluate the stocks in my portfolio before accessing my platform to make a move; I’m not a day trader, so I don’t need real time quotes – and if i do, I’ll hop onto my brokerage. This type of sloppy behavior by Google disincentivizes me from using its products. It’s pretty simple, Anonymous.

        • Actual Trader

          AAPL is a great stock, to short. I did so when it was just over $700, and I’m up nearly $200 per stock in less than a quarter. It’s still a hugely overvalued company with horrible management, stagnant products, weakening marketing, and with enormous competition from better products that have rising market shares while Apple is returning less and less impressive returns every quarter.

          The only reasons that its short interest dropped for a while was because:

          1. It had fallen a huge amount that made investors believe it couldn’t fall any farther.

          2. Most investors were looking at the fiscal cliff possibility as a mechanism dragging the stock market down, where a deal was almost certain. That caused them to expect a huge rise in most major household stocks after a deal was met. A deal looks extremely unlikely now.

          I don’t care whether Google did this on purpose or not, it’s not bad advice, and if this is enough to cause you to stop using Google when you need quick stock info, I’d be very amused to see your portfolio.

          • Trader

            I commend you on trading AAPL successfully in its current volatility. You must be focused mostly on the technical side. I sold my reasonably large position in AAPL on its way up to $700 (most of which I picked up in 2003 and then in 2007) and I’ve been smiling ever since.

            I don’t agree with you that Apple’s management is horrible, I don’t agree that its products are stagnant, but certainly the market is weakening – that’s the market, not Apple’s market. For those reasons I don’t expect to reenter the stock in the near future.

            You’re certainly welcome to your opinion. I don’t think it’s appropriate for Google to be introducing Easter eggs into its financial products. There is a time and a place for fun; financial analysis tools are not that place.

    • Anon

      You aren’t, never were, and never will be Google’s customer – you would have to be paying them money for that. I sincerely doubt you’re paying Google for anything since you sound like a complete cheapskate. A more apt statement would be that Google has lost you as a resource and product. But that’s OK, because you seem like a moron anyway.

      • Trader

        I am an Adwords customer, so I’m one of the people that makes use of the data collected by users like you. That also means I pay Google (although I’m always looking for alternative ad products), so I’m more than allowed to give my opinion.

        It’s interesting that you’ve resorted to an ad hominem attack against me, even though you don’t know anything about me. Your vigorous defense of Google suggests that you use a lot of Google products; it’s interesting that you admit that you’re a “resource and a product”. Are you an Android user, by chance? That might explain your irrational anger toward me.

        It sounds like you’ve developed a case of digital Stockholm syndrome. But don’t worry, recognizing you’re not important to Google is the first step to breaking free of the irrational bounds that force you to defend a company that, by your own admission, treats you like livestock.

        • Another Anon

          Someone at Google may have has a sense of humor and your response is to call the company sloppy and retract your support in favor of yahoo. You must be a mac user which explains your irrational anger towards “low-level” engineers at Google. This makes you a snob AND a moron. Funny you mention livestock. Ba-a-a goes the sheep.

          • Trader

            I cited a low level engineer because a product manager would never implement an easter egg like this precisely because it is unprofessional and could garner negative attention. It’s also in poor taste given the testy relationship between Google and Apple, and the former’s reliance on the other as a source of users.

            Be more respectful and people might be more inclined to listen to your point of view. Acting like a child only solicits my pity, and if that makes me a snob then so be it. Grow up.

        • Anonymous

          While I don’t agree with your outlook on companies inserting “Easter eggs” into their services and products. And I will say I believe you are a tad over sensitive to consider moving from a company that is vastly superior to yahoo over something so simple, I will whole heatedly congratulate you on the trouncing you just handed out to the above anon user.

          • Trader

            I think that reasonable people can reasonably disagree. And certainly there is no need for ad hominem attacks. I respect your disagreement, and I enjoyed our discussion.

  • Chris

    300 billions out of Apple’s 500, are other people 401k money, now when they realize that they’ve lost 25% in the past 3 months, and they will look to change to other funds, the investors will have to look for the exit door.

    • Lol

      300 billion of Apple’s 500 billion cap is 401k? Sure thing Chris. When you’re done buying Apple at 700 and selling at 500, let the rest of us know.

  • Sara SEO

    I’m actually going to disagree with the comment below, redditor. Any keyword you type into the Google Finance bar that has to do with Apple brings up AAPL. It’s always been like this because I believe Google has an internal list of keywords they know is associated with AAPL. Examples would be iPhone, iPad, MacBook and so on.

    If this case the keyword “sell” has nothing to do with AAPL. It’s a generic keyword and should not bring up AAPL unless it was intentionally done.

    Yes it appears a couple times in the description but that’s no reason for it to bring up AAPL when searched. There are thousands of ticker symbol descriptions on Google Finance with the word sell. Why doesn’t it bring them up instead of AAPL?

    To me this is clearly an “Easter egg” that someone plugged in recently.

    • Searcher

      While I agree with your logic that it is a planted egg, I think that the comment below covers what most likely caused this. I recently saw some interviews with Google employee’s regarding their search algorithms and how they generate a list of results against the key word(s) used, and while the software does look for specific key words some searches they are constantly monitoring searches people make and the resulting links they follow and attempt to make a logical association between the search criteria and the generated list. As things change their software is able to monitor these changes and generate the best possible list of results from the search trends they follow.

      Ultimately, I don’t think that we may ever know the true cause of this unless Google releases an explanation, but it definitely is pretty funny.

  • redditor

    It’s Google’s search algorithm that matches Apple with the term sell, not an easter egg.

    Look at Apple’s description on Google Finance:

    “Apple Inc. (Apple) designs, manufactures and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and **sells** a variety of related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings. The Company also **sells* and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App StoreSM, iBookstoreSM, and Mac App Store. The Company **sells** its products worldwide through its retail stores, online stores, and direct sales force, as well as through third-party cellular network carriers, wholesalers, retailers, and value-added resellers. In February 2012, the Company acquired app-search engine Chomp.”

    It has 3 instances of the word **sell**, which I’m assuming because of how massive Apple, Inc. is, that it is enough for Google to think that when you search for the word sell, you are really looking for Apple.

    Yes, it’s a funny coincidence. But is nothing to do with Google.

    Search for “iCloud” and Apple comes up as well.

  • Kate

    Is Google News/Finance open to the kind of googlebombing the regular search engine used to be? It might just be someone else trying to be funny, and it might be reflecting poorly on Google. Or not. The world may never know.


    Let’s see if Google removes Apple from the word sell because of this. I wonder if someone’s head will roll over there at GOOG?

    • Just here for the drama

      No one seriously involved with APPL or GOOG is going to do anything other than chuckle a bit and move on. The only people taking this garbage seriously are the internet wizards trying to drum up some entertainment.

  • Tony

    How can Google get away with this? They are a huge company and while they are not directly saying to sell AAPL there is definitely a subliminal message here.

    • Drama Queen

      Google “gets away with this” because big boys and girls are too busy worrying about the actual performance of their investments, instead of sitting around being outraged at easter eggs.

      Not to mention, it should be common sense in the first place that no company wants people investing in it’s rivals. This isn’t rocket surgery here, it’s common sense.

  • Funny

    This is pretty funny if you ask me. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy or coincidence. People at GOOG are know to do this kind of stuff like you mentioned. Good catch though.

    • tegola

      …keyword “sell” doesn’t bode well for AAPL

      keyword “aapl” doesn’t bode well for AAPL


      Google delete “sell”: is ridiculous as Berlusconi.

      • Funny

        I honeslty have no clue what you’re trying to say. I’m assuming since you used the reference Berlusconi you’re Italian and something was lost in the translation.

      • Funny

        After reading your post again it looks like you’re saying Google should remove AAPL from the word sell. I’m think I’m leaning that way now as well. I can see a lot of damage coming from this as it gains momentum.