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Corporate Welfare

"All-you-can-eat" bandwidth expectation shenanigans

I wanted to follow up and build upon my post of last week: "The logic of Internet Pricing Diversity and the Fantasy of free limitless bandwidth."

  •  I keep hearing this backward-looking refrain from net neutrality proponents that because some people characterize dial-up and early broadband bandwidth as unlimited or as an all-you-can-eat usage model -- that that model should never evolve or change.
    • Balderdash! This is some people's wishes being presented as analysis.

I believe U.S. Internet access consumers have come to understand at least two truths: 

Relevant Washington questions to ask Google CEO Schmidt at his speech Monday in Washington

Given that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is delivering a major speech at the Economic Club of Washington Monday June 9th lunch, given that Google's business model is all about delivering "relevancy" to users, and given that Google's public policy mantra is "openness," I have assembled some suggested Washington-relevant questions for reporters and others to ask Dr. Schmidt at and after this open forum.

  • The subjects of the questions are: antitrust, privacy, consumer protection, good government, transparency, openness, tax, net neutrality, and broadband Universal Service

Antitrust: 

  • If, per the FTC, search is a "unique" or separate market, why wouldn't a search-partnership between #1 Google and #2 Yahoo be illegal collusion when Google already partners with #4 AOL and #5 Ask.com -- and when the four search partners would comprise a de facto search cartel controlling over 90% of the revenues in the U.S. search market?

Privacy:

  • Should consumers and Congress be concerned with Google exploiting a privacy regulation loophole to offer personal health records management, when independent watchdog group Privacy International ranked Google worst in the world on privacy and Google refuses to comply with California law requiring posting Google's privacy policy prominently on its home page?  

Consumer Protection:

Unleashed: Transcript of Griffin/Cleland talk on Google, net neutrality, monopolies, click fraud, privacy

For those who like the written format, here is the link to the transcript of Chip Griffin's interview of me on all things Google.

This interview turned out to be one of the most comprehensive and in-depth discussions I have had on all things Google -- that's been captured for web listening or reading.

We discussed:

Unleashed! Why I focus so much on Google -- Listen to Chip Griffin's interview of me...

Here is the link to Chip Griffin's 28 minute interview of me on "Conversations with Chip Griffin," an in-depth conversation about many of the reasons why I believe Google is becoming such a big problem and why I personally spend so much time focused on Google.

I believe you will find it an informative, interesting, and entertaining interview covering all things Google, the online economy, net neutrality etc.

  • Enjoy!  

Why a Lack of Openness Sullies the Integrity of Google's Ad Auctions

Does Google warrant the current exceptional leap-of-faith in the integrity of its dominant ad auction model, given its near total lack of openness, transparency, independent auditability, or third party oversight? There is a growing body of evidence that Google does not.

  • The New York Times article today by Miguel Helft: "The Human Hands behind the Google Money Machine" is a must read for anyone following Google or concerned about the openness and transparency of public markets. It is also a little treasure trove of fresh information on Google.

Why a lack of openness sullies the integrity of Google's ad auctions.

First, it is widely accepted that public markets operate best when open and transparent.

Google's ad auction model has become one of the world's most important public markets. Google is increasingly becoming the world's primary public information broker. Google brokers: 

  • Information for over 700 million search users worldwide, over three to six times their nearest rivals;
  • Advertisement placement for over a million advertisers several times more than their nearest competitors;
  • Monetization for over a million websites several times more than their nearest competitors.

Google is also not open or transparent.

Can you trust Google to obey the rules? Is Google accountable to anyone?

In monitoring Google as closely as I do, it has become increasingly clear that Google does not believe it has to obey the rules, standards, regulations and laws, that others routinely obey and respect. Google increasingly operates like a self-declared, virtual sovereign nation, largely unaccountable to the rules and mores of the rest of the world.     

  • There is plentiful evidence of Google's unaccountability; see the following analysis peppered generously with source links. 

The impetus for this analysis and documentation was Saul Hansel's outstanding New York Times Blog: "Google fights for the right to hide its privacy policy." 

  • In a nutshell, Mr. Hansel spotlighted how Google is refusing to abide by the Network Advertising Initiative's rule that its members must display a link to their privacy policy on their home page; and that this industry self-regulatory body is expected to bend its rules specifically to accomodate Google.
  • This is no isolated incident, shirking the accountability that most everyone else respects is near standard operating procedure for Google. 

Is Google accountable to anyone?    

First, can public shareholders hold Google accountable?

More evidence undermining Google's claim that net neutrality should not apply to Google

Only Google, which never met a self-serving, double-standard that it did not embrace, could overtly enter the business of selling network capacity and bandwidth to the public like broadband providers do, and still oppose net neutrality for themselves. (See my previous post where Google's Board recently recommended that shareholders vote against applying net neutrality to Google.)

On April 7th, Google had a press announcement: "Previewing Google App engine: run your apps on Google's infrastructure" (which was also picked up in a story by the Wall Street Journal). In that Google press annoucement, Google it made clear that it was going to sell network bandwidth to developers:

  • "The preview release of Google App Engine is limited to the first 10,000 developers that sign up, all of whom will be restricted to the free quota of 500MB of storage and enough CPU and network bandwidth to sustain around 5 million page views per month for a typical app. The preview phase is intended to gather feedback from developers. Eventually, developers will be able to purchase additional storage and bandwidth." [bold added]

Can any of the Google-defenders that regularly read this blog, and there are lots, please explain to me in a comment, how Google selling network capacity and network bandwidth to developers does not put Google clearly in the network or broadband business --competing directly with all the network providers, which Google has been lobbying furiously to apply network neutrality regulations to?

The fatal flaws in Lessig-Scott net neutrality editorial sermon

Self-appointed Information Commons messiah Larry Lessig and his Free Press acolyte Ben Scott, advance a slew of "beliefs" that they assiduously proselytize wherever they can gather an audience.

Britain’s Virgin Media CEO colorfully opposes the corporate welfare of Net Neutrality

Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media, Britain’s second-largest broadband provider, “called the principle of network neutrality—all content being delivered equally to all users—"a load of bollocks" per eWeek’s article: “Virgin Media may ignore network neutrality.”

  • Berkett said Virgin is considering a fee-based system for content providers wishing to have their traffic moved faster than others.”

After looking up the definition of “bollocks,” it is clear that his comments colorfully echo some of the same sentiments in America that prompted Google to work with Moveon.org to organize SaveTheInternet and ItsOurNet (the predecessor to the Open Internet Coalition) and manufacture the net neutrality issue out of whole cloth.

The comments and the article are a powerful reminder of the fantasy corporate welfare economics of net neutrality, where users are expected to bear all the costs of video distribution for companies like Google and Amazon.

Why "White Spaces" is just corporate welfare innovation

The Hill has a good article highlighting the growing "battle" over "White Spaces", or the potential for use of the buffer spectrum bands in-between TV channels to ensure that there is no interference with TV signals.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths