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Conflict of Interest

Google: Why so long to do what's obviously right? Four months to pull down terrorist training videos?

Google's motto 'Don't be evil' appears to be more PR and folklore than real ethical guidance for Google.

How could it possibly take Google almost four months to decide to act against one of the most obvious, pervasive, and painfully real 'evils' in the world today --  hateful, unabashed, terrorist organizations like al Qaida committed to destroying America?

Google Search as the Universal Remote?

Does Google inherently favor its Google-owned applications over competitors in search results? The more one looks, the more it looks that way.

Saturday's New York Times article: "Some Media companies choose to profit from pirated YouTube clips" -- got me thinking about the anti-competitive nature of Google's increasing dominance of the process of locating copyrighted content online.

Does CNET have adequate disclosures?

CNET's disclosure policy/judgement appears inadequate again in its latest net neutrality piece by Declan McCullagh: "Wanted: writers for DC tech lobby group, secrecy mandatory" which assails the financial motives/conflicts of other writers in excruciating detail without applying the same tough standard to themselves at CNET. 

  • Readers of this blog may remember another post I wrote on this subject, where I called CNET out for not disclosing when Mr. MucCullagh wrote about Google-related issues -- that his wife works for Google.  
    • In that post, I said I was a frequent and usually appreciative reader of Mr. McCullagh's Iconoclast column, but that if CNET challenges the motives/disclosures of others, they must have clean hands of their own.
  • To their credit, CNET now discloses that Mr. McCullagh's wife works for Google.

My point here is that CNET should have either had another writer who was not so conflicted write this piece or CNET should have increased the amount of disclosure on this piece to be congruent with the true thrust of the piece

Google is indeed a media company!

Miguel Helft/The New York Times has figured out that Google is indeed a media competitor, but apparently doesn't think other media have connected the dots -- given how they framed their lead business article today: "Is Google a Media Company?"

While its obvious that Helft/NYT get the joke that Google is most certainly a media company by the prominence, graphic, and headline of the story, they also did their journalistic duty in presenting both sides of the question, including allowing Google a lot of space to continue its charade that Google is not a media company.

Let's have some fun with Google's "who? little old us? a media company? you must be kidding..." --defense in the New York Times article.

Googleopoly's new self-granted entitlement: "Automatic Matching" is evidence of monopoly abuse

Kudos to Cade Metz of The Register for exposing Googleopoly's new self-granted entitlement to take their customers money without permission -- called "automatic matching" in Adwords.

Google Knol: The World's Editor-in-Chief & Omni-Publisher? Can you say "Dis-intermediation?"

Knol, Google's newly announced online publishing service, is an ominous direct competitive threat to traditional newspaper/magazine/journal publishers, NOT a challenge to Wikipedia as many in content circles naively and wishfully think.

  • Like the frog that has the good sense to jump out of boiling water, but who can be lulled into a false sense of security and get cooked if the tempature increases gradually...
    • ...publishers of all types currently have a false sense of security that Google is targeting Wikipedia and not them because Google has YET to really monetize Google News or YouTube.

Wake up publishers/editors! Google, with by far the world's largest:

Read an insightful piece: "Google: the mother of antitrust battles?" in The Register

Anyone interested in Google's increasing dominance or the Google-Yahoo partnership should read Andrew Orlowski's great piece in The Register: "Google the mother of antirust battles?"

  • It is always helpful to get an insightful and different perspective from "across the pond."   

eBay's non-neutral two-tier Internet model via Buy.com deal

eBay sellers are complaining that eBay's change in its business model discriminates in favor of Buy.com with a special no-fee selling tier and also violates eBay's longtime commitment to a "level playing field" -- per an article in the New York Times:  

  • "Many believe that eBay has violated the sacred tenet of the “level playing field,” which its founder, Pierre Omidyar, established as one of the company’s basic principles."...
  • "“As an independent seller, I felt betrayed,” Mr. Libby said. “I’ve paid eBay many hundreds of thousands in fees over the past several years and believed them when they talked about a level playing field. And they just plain and simple are going back on their word.” “There is fair, and there is outright stabbing you in the back,” he said."

As an ardent free market proponent, I strongly defend eBay's freedom to price discriminate, and offer more than one selling tier in their Internet model.

  • A diversity of demand produces a diversity of supply -- that's one of the things that free markets do so uniquely well.

However, given eBay's self-serving, hypocritical, and sanctimonious support for net neutrality and a one-tier Internet, I must spotlight eBay's outrageous, indefensible, and anti-competitive double standard between its own business practices and eBay's position to make eBay's practice illegal for eBay's competitors. 

Pondering why so many "watchdogs" are AWOL on Google

I got to wondering why so many supposed "public watchdogs" are AWOL on Google's threat to privacy, when I was reading the LA Times excellent editorial where they ponder the question: "Why is Youtube Hoarding Data?" 

Other than the New York Times last year taking Google to task for StreetView in "Watching your every move?" the editorial boards around the country have be uncharacteristicly silent on Google's unprecedented collection of more private information on more people than any time in history, while being ranked worst in the world on privacy by Privacy International.  

Google's Privacy Lip Service

This post documents the pile of evidence that Google just gives lip service to privacy matters.

  • A few days ago, Google quietly and begrudgingly complied with California privacy law by putting a privacy link on its home page. Kudos to Saul Hansell's New York Times blog which spotlighted Google's privacy intransigence.

I will analyze Google's privacy policies to show why it was no fluke that privacy watchdog, Privacy International ranked Google worst in its world survey on privacy and called Google "hostile to privacy."

First, consider the way that Google finally posted its privacy link on its home page. While it may now be in compliance technically, it sure isn't embracing the letter or the spirit of privacy law. 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths