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The Google Lobby Defines Big Internet's Policy Agenda -- Part 6 Internet as Oz Series

Google not only dominates the web, the Google Lobby also dominates Big Internet's policy agenda in Washington in part via its new proxy, the Internet Association, the self-appointed "unified voice of the Internet economy."

Since market dominance attracts antitrust scrutiny, it necessitates lobbying dominance. The FTC's antitrust investigation prompted Google to hire twelve lobbying firms in a week and to rapidly organize them and legions of law and PR firms into one of the top corporate lobbying operations influencing Washington. Tellingly, a Wall Street Journal op-ed lionized "Google's $25 Million Bargain" lobby and Politico got behind-the-scenes to explain "How Google Beat the Feds."

The Copyright Education of Mr. Khanna -- Part 2 Defending First Principles Series

Mr. Derek Khanna, a new Republican Study Committee (RSC) staffer, distributed a policy brief on copyright "myths" last Friday that the Committee very quickly disavowed and pulled down because it had not been vetted to ensure that it fairly represented the Republican Study Committee's views. Don't expect this policy brief to ever get the official support of RSC because Mr. Khanna has obviously and grossly mischaracterized Constitutional first principles, property rights, and free markets beyond recognition.

There are at least five fundamental flaws in Mr. Khanna's characterizations.

1. Congresses and Supreme Courts have not totally misread the Constitution for over 200 years.

Mr. Khanna's effective assertion that two centuries of Congressional and Supreme Court interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's treatment of property rights, and copyrights in particular, are really "myths" that misinterpret what he posits the Founding Fathers really meant to do in promoting "progress of science and the useful arts," puts his opinion squarely at odds with America's two centuries of experience with Constitutional rule of law.

Will Google Become SoftBank-Sprint's Silent Partner?

Like most analysts, I am not persuaded by the stated rationale and synergies SoftBank has put forth to justify its acquisition of Sprint. At bottom the deal is financial engineering: balance sheet and exchange rate arbitrage; and market timing. It appears to be a financial partnership, not the stated strategic partnership.

SoftBank hopes its shareholders will imagine that the 2013 and beyond U.S. experience of a maturing wireless smart-phone market and Sprint's late-iPhone-entrant role will somehow be analogous to SoftBank's iPhone first-mover experience in 2008 Japan. That's like asserting rock-climbing uphill is analogous with sliding downhill because they both involve hills.

Internet Astroturf 3.0 -- Internet as Oz Series Part 3

Pro-piracy interests have been organizing globally to head off and defeat future anti-piracy legislation (like SOPA/PIPA), IP treaties (ACTA) and property rights enforcement, all while claiming to represent "the Internet" and all its users, when they do not. They collectively represent pro-piracy special interests.

They hijack popular political buzz-words like "Internet Freedom" and "innovation," to distract people from their fringe anti-property views and to simulate broad mainstream political support.

("Astroturf" in a public policy context connotes artificial grassroots, simply proclaiming to be something one is not in order to gain broader political support.)

This analysis spotlights the political interests and strategy of global pro-piracy interests. It also answers several key questions:

  • What unites pro-piracy special interests?
  • Who are the top ten Internet astroturf 3.0 players?
  • If this is Internet astroturf 3.0, what was 1.0 and 2.0?
  • What's the main difference with Internet astroturf 3.0?
  • What are the main political techniques of Internet astroturf 3.0?
  • What are Internet astroturf 3.0's three grand deceptions?

Top False Claims of the New Internet Association -- Part 2 of Internet as Oz Series

Unfortunately, the new Internet Association launched yesterday making several false claims.

Claim: "The Internet Association, the nation's first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, America's leading Internet companies and their vast community of users…"

Truth: This "first" claim is unsupportable; several different Internet groups have had similar purposes long before this Internet Association: The Internet Society; The Internet Engineering Task Force; Net Coalition; SaveTheInternet.com; The Open Internet Coalition; The Internet Defense League; The Internet Freedom Coalition; The Internet Alliance; The Internet Marketing Association; The Internet Commerce Association and The Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

The New Internet Association's Back Story

Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook reportedly are launching a new Internet Association in mid-September to be "the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America's leading Internet companies and their global community of users. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet."

What is the back story here? Why is it being formed? Why now? What unites these companies? What is the Internet Association's public policy agenda? What does its formation mean?

Why is the Internet Association being formed?

The main public policy catalyst was bipartisan anti-piracy legislation that was moving swiftly through Congress last year that Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook all strenuously opposed and helped defeat with an unprecedented Internet blackout day in January.

Who but Google is Thriving in Online Advertising?

Evidence abounds that the industry business model of online advertising, minus Google, is shockingly weak competitively, given how many people assume advertising is supposed to be the viable competitive monetization engine that will sustain the "free and open Internet" long term.

Anyone open to connecting-the-dots of recent public evidence will see an obvious dichotomy: Google is thriving, while much of the rest of the online advertising industry is struggling despite unprecedented: opportunity to reach users, technological efficiencies, and access to troves of private data to target ads to produce more revenue growth.

Examine the accumulating troubling evidence of how weak online advertising competition has become.

The Internet Advertising Bureau's latest reporting of 15% online advertising growth for the industry in 1Q12 masks the large Google vs. competitor revenue growth dichotomy. Given that Google grew 24% 1Q12 and comprises almost half of all U.S. online advertising per eMarketer, I calculate that the rest of the online advertising industry is growing only about 8%. That means Google is growing three times faster than its online competitors and continues to take market share at an accelerating rate.

Google's Picking a Third Antitrust Fight in Becoming a Domain Registrar

Is anyone paying attention to the profound antitrust implications of Google applying to ICANN to become the world's largest domain registrar for Internet Taxonomy 2.0 -- the next generation of Internet addressing and classification of information? Giving the world's dominant search engine -- that is already under antitrust investigation on four continents for favoring Google content over competitors' content -- the additional market power of controlling the allocation of new keyword domain-names which Google would then index for publishers, rank for users, and monetize for advertisers, is an unquestionable conflict of interest and a recipe for more Google monopolization.

ICANN's original Internet taxonomy 1.0 involved truly "generic" top level domains as like .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, .mil, organized around institutional purposes and around geography to recognize sovereign nation authority like .US, .UK, .JP, .NZ, etc.

Google's Rapidly Spreading Dominance -- A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

To more easily understand how rapidly Google's dominance is spreading throughout the web ecosystem, please look at this one-page-graphic called "Google's Rapidly Spreading Dominance." As the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words.

This graphic is highly instructive because it indicates that naysayers, who are writing off Google+ as a viable competitor to Facebook, are doing so prematurely.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths