Harold Davis thinks so.
“…not publishing the details of the PageRank algorithm goes against the tenets of open source espoused by many who work at Google…”
I fail to see the logic behind this argument. Being pro open source does not mean that you believe that EVERYTHING should be open source, any more than being pro abortion rights means that you believe EVERY child should be aborted. Maybe that’s not the best example but let’s live in reality, some things should be open source, some things should most definitely not.
I’m all for the search engines working together to create a uniform set of standards for what is or is not considered spam and publishing that information to the public. I think such information would benefit web owners, SEOs AND search engines alike. But when a company has a patent on technology that is a substantial part of what makes them unique from the competition, making that information public will do considerable harm to the business model. Davis himself seems to recognize this fact:
“It’s probably unreasonable to expect Google to publish how PageRank really works in light of competition from other search engines, and the efforts of SEO Web masters to game the system.”
Let’s not get unreasonable here.