You are here

June 2008

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.

Google's free speech double standard "for the good of humanity"

A Bloomberg article highlights yet another Google double standard.

  • A Bloomberg article by Janine Zacharia reports on how Google takes down content that is found objectionable by individual countries in: "Google Diplomats Bend Free Expression to Preserve Global Power."

The Google double standard is that Google takes down content objectional to other countries but refuses to largely comply with the legitimate bipartisan request of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to take down terrorist branded content designed to incite violence against Americans and others around the world. 

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!  

The logic of Internet pricing diversity vs the fantasy of free limitless bandwidth

The free market Internet works. Both Time Warner Cable and Comcast are logically and naturally experimenting with free market solutions to address increasing network congestion problems that threaten quality of service, because of extremely high and disproportionate bandwidth usage by a small slice of the broadband population. 

  • As widely reported, Time Warner Cable is experimenting in Beaumont Texas with a commercial offering that provides consumers with a range of choices based on their bandwidth consumption and desired speed, and includes a new $1 per gigabyte charge for usage above a plan's monthly limit. 
  • Also widely reported, Comcast is testing in Chambersburg PA and Warrenton VA, a protocol-agnostic network management approach which would potentially delay all of the traffic of extremely heavy users during periods of serious network congestion -- in order to maintain quality of service for everyone.

Free market experimentation is the best, fastest and most efficient finder of solutions to complex difficult problems.

Free market competition produces a diversity of choices for consumers, which is essential because consumers have a diversity of wants, needs and means. A free market naturally provides a diversity of supply offerings to meet the diversity of consumer demands.

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:

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:

"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: 

What's Google got to hide? Google's CEO Schmidt ducks questions from the real free press

I couldn't help to notice yesterday that Google CEO Schmidt didn't take any questions from reporters who were in attendance or meet with the reporter pool afterwards, which is customary for speaking venues like Dr. Schmidt's speech Monday at the Economic Club of Washington.

What's Google got to hide in Washington?

  • Could it be that Google does not think that questions of a leading corporate CEO, who is now Chairman of the New America Foundation think tank concerning: antitrust, privacy, consumer protection, good government, transparency, openness, tax, net neutrality, and broadband Universal Service -- are not considered legitimate questions or fair game in Washington?
  • Do public questions of public leaders seeking ambitious changes in public policy and public discourse, not warrant an open forum for questions from a free press in a democracy?

Bottom line: It appears the only kind of "free press" that Google embraces is its advocacy group ally that calls itself FreePress, which is the operation which de facto runs point for Google's net neutrality public policy agenda in Washington.

Google not so neutral in blocking Paypal from Google's App engine

More evidence comes to the light that the "neutral-ier-than-thou" Google does not in fact act 'neutrally' on the net itself. Reportedly Google has blocked eBay's PayPal offering from Google's app engine, according to both Techcrunch's Michael Arrington and ZDNet's Garrett Rogers.

  • Google's Checkout service conveniently is a competitive offering to eBay's Paypal.

It will be most interesting to see if Google's poodles in the public interest community (i.e. Public Knowlege, Free-Press, Moveon.org, etc.) will jump up and down and scream crisis that a dominant Internet access point, (Google's search engine with ~80% revenue share), is acting anti-competitively and violating the FCC's net neutrality principles, which in fact apply to Google (Check out the actual text in Principle #4).

  • I won't be holding my breath.  

It would also be interesting to see how Google's poodles spin that this Google content blocking is any different from the instances that they have claimed... threaten... the very future of... the Internet!!!!   DUNDUNDUN....DONNNNE! 

Googlers in Space!

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has booked a flight as a space tourist on Russia's Soyuz space shot according to the New York Times today.

  • The story behind the story is that Google is finding the earth market too limiting and is planning to expand its mission from organizing all the world's information, to organizing all the universe's information.
  • New Googlers in order to fit in with the "think big" Google culture have recently begun scoffing at the puny size of Earth's wireless market and are itching to conquer new more challenging frontiers in space where an android could be more useful.   
  • One Googler was overheard saying that Jupiter is the next big market on Google's radar screen.

Previously, it was widely reported that Google is working on an inter-gallactic Internet.

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths