Digital Chinese Take Out for the Expat's SoulPosts RSS Comments RSS

Google’s New Motto: Do a Little Evil…

google

“Those passing familiar with Jesus’ teachings know He taught that the path to the Father led through the ordinary. Those who prefer other metaphors may wish to think of a heterogeneous universe, where meaning and love imperishable exist side by side with cruelty, horror and absurdity. And we must choose whether to try and understand it all or create and defend a bubble in which love and meaning truly do exist.

For these somewhat fanciful reasons I hope that the blogosphere will become less a cockpit of argument and ideas — though it will always be that — and more a forum for action: a place to facilitate meetings between real people, develop actual applications and accomplish physical tasks. There never was a flower, a glass of beer or a child’s laugh that was ever truly futile. Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.” The Belmont Club

This blog has always endeavored, albeit circuitously at times, to be a forum for aid and action. And I endlessly question the efficacy of anything I write toward those ends. Despite attention-getting attacks I am nurtured by comments of encouragement, links to posts that are calls for compassion and email reports back to me that something good came of this hobby cum-obsession.

Today, one of the charities featured in recent weeks received a small donation that will further their work and the combat soldier in Iraq who had to take out loan to pay for his father’s funeral is now a bit nearer to paying back his debt.

Net Neutrality is essential to the propagation of charitable and humanitarian ideas. Should a handful of companies ever control access to information, mediate content, mandate who gets paid for what politic and then how their site will rank in search engine findings because of what values they espouse, then cyber-facism will rule. China’s attempts to roadblock lanes on the information super-highway will look like child’s play.

By the time this article is posted I will have removed all Google ads on the site. I will wage my one-man boycott of all things Google for all they have done in recent months to warrant suspicion, fear and anger in anyone living as I am in the midst of repression and a growing concern that the waves of censorship do not begin here, but instead are washing inland in increasing magnitude. I am no Internet Robin Hood: I don’t believe ill-gotten gain, even through some imaginative alchemy, becomes anything than ill-gotten by giving it away–even to the most worthy of causes.

Google has gone public thus making its well-known mantra “Do no Evil” a laughably outdated jingle. Said better by OhGenki: “This is what happens when good companies go public: the principles that made them good, even necessary, to the point of inspiring a romantic loyalty among their customers, are whittled away at until only those principles which are profitable remain.” Google told investors at their IPO filing: ”

Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served as shareholders and in all other ways by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.

That sound to me like a High School Debate question: Do the ends justify the means? Google took a Machiavellian affirmative on that one.

Google recently acquired the well-known and despicable browser hijacking, malware giant Doubleclick for $3.1 billion dollars. The deal incidentally was challenged by The Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups who petitioning the FTC to block the merger until concerns over Google’s data collection and storage were addressed. Google was accused of unfair and deceptive trade practices, and failing to follow the standards set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the watchdog of consumer privacy standards . And all of this was on the heels of the YouTube purchase that had them employing an army of lawyers to fend off Intellectual Property suits.

Google is an active participant in the censorship that is so often associated with China’s repression of the Internet so often vilified by bloggers, and other media and at the core of much sinophobic rhetoric:

censorship

Note: Going to Google.cn from a U.S. computer will NOT yield you the same results that a mainland Chinese user will get. I live here, I know. So, any great finds you think you see from your side of the ocean are probably illusory.

In addition to homophobic threats, Google has now said they will penalize sites that sell ad links on their site. It seems nobody is supposed to make a buck except Google. Google’s Matt Cutts even has a guide on how to rat out offenders. And while Google no longer recognizes links coming from powerful Wikipedia they let Matt’s high-flying blog dominate the top of the search engines rankings in thousands of keywords, pushing out long-suffering and deserving experts, in many a field.

Now, Feedburner.com, who is sleeping with Typepad and just acquired Blogbeat, is looking at a merger with Google. That would give them huge advantages in advertising and RSS. It would enable them to dump adwords/adsense into RSS feeds on hundreds of thousand of blog posts. Thread Watch.Org says it perfectly: Being a near Monopoly is expensive and since Google doesn’t do ads all that well control of the competition is the best short-term answer to their problems. In future post I will try to facilitate exchange and help on new “Open Source” ad networks that save advertisers money and help support citizen journalists, webmasters and bloggers.

If you can read the Google blog’s explanation for their yield to censorship without laughing, gagging or punching your screen I need the name of your pharamacist. “Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world’s population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced”

What good is a search that doesn’t really search? China has Baidu and others for that and it seems that the Chinese prefer their own search engine anyway because Google keeps losing market share here.

So, like being a little bit pregnant, Google is trying to convince us that being a little bit evil is OK.

No.

The Apprentice is off the air now in the U.S. or so I hear. But, they reworked two words that will remain permanently inscribed in the American lexicon. And it pleases me to use them here for Google: “You’re Fired”

Check out Asia Sentinel and Rebecca McKinnon on this issue as well….

cartoons,Censorship,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China SEO,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Human Rights,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国,中文

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Google’s New Motto: Do a Little Evil…”

  1. Daweion May 21st 2007 at 6:34 am

    No shortage of anger at Google, eh? I wonder if anyone else is as outraged as you.

    What would the Feedburner acquisition mean for people like you (SEO experts)?

  2. adminon May 21st 2007 at 12:45 pm

    First, I am not sure I am any kind of SEO expert. After training as an EOD officer in the Army (Bomb Squad) I cringe at the word expert.

    I think the Feedburner acquisition will not affect basic SEO methodology. I have always done clean, basic SEO/SEM for clients and will continue to do so. I will likely try to get users connected to other RSS feed systems only if it is in their best interest. It is troublesome only in that Feedburner is the best thing going right now. I will continue to do what is right for the client, but I will steer advertising clients away from Feedburner ad networks if there is a suitable alternative like Blogads, ect….
    I sure hope the merger is just rumor.

  3. daveon May 21st 2007 at 2:55 pm

    I support your Google ban Lonnie. Those that know me know my hatred of Gaggle. I even had a category on my China blog dedicated to the topic.

    http://daveinchina.com/archives/cat_google_bad.html

    Sadly, I think Gaggle has become part of the consciousness like Coca Cola. People can’t think of existing without either. Now Gaggle has momentum and money – a dangerous combination.

    In my opinion, those that use any of Google’s features are in bed with the devil.

  4. Nanon May 21st 2007 at 4:01 pm

    A little overwhelming post for a person like me – but I think the pictures speaks for themselves. Eye-opening.

  5. 曹卓on May 22nd 2007 at 4:05 am

    Hi, professor.
    I’m your student of Global Internet and Search Engine Marketing on Tuesday afternoon. I have really learned many things from your class. And also, I get much useful and interesting information from your dream blog. Just as this passage, it let me know more about Google search engine.
    Though the lesson is over now, i will still pay attention to your dream blog very often. Thank you very much.

  6. chriswaugh_bjon May 23rd 2007 at 1:52 am

    Although, as you can see from the email address I’ve left, I haven’t managed to break away from Google’s evil grasp just yet, I whole-heartedly agree with you on this.

  7. nanheyangrouchuanon May 24th 2007 at 5:43 am

    It might be high time for the hacker community of the world to unite and teach Google a little lesson about good corporate behavior and what can happen to “geeks gone bad”.

  8. Chris Carron May 25th 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Very insightful. Well done.

  9. Davidon May 27th 2007 at 2:14 pm

    The Asia Sentinel ran an article about this exact problem.

    http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=31

  10. Meghanon May 28th 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Your post makes a very good point. Corporations are after one thing and that is profit. We recently had a discussion in my Corporate Governance class about how corporations have the rights of a U.S. citizen but lack morals because they are not human. I think this is showing through in Google’s situation. They have moved into the Chinese market in order to gain more profits for the company without considering the moral implications of their actions because that is a quality corporations lack. I think that Google censoring information is not a good practice, but if they want to do business in China (and reap those profits) they need to follow Chinese laws. I don’t necessarily agree with their actions, I just want to point out the differences between the two countries and how foreign corporations have to follow the laws of the countries they wish to do business in. This goes back to your point because since Google has to follow Chinese law, they have to censor information, which they are willing to do in order to gain access to the large Chinese market. I agree with you that this practice is bad and it stems from Google going public because of the nature of corporations.

  11. pligg.comon Jun 30th 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Google’s New Motto: Do a Little Evil…

    SEO consultant Lonnie B. Hodge takes a whack at addressing the changes and implications of Google’s recent changes in its search engine tactics and its decisions to restrict search engine results in mainland China….

Leave a Reply