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Google in Sicko Storm - Welcome to democracy google style

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This is one example of the future of the internet and democracy, google style.  And it's one more reason why i don't consider myself a fan of the company.

"Does negative press make you Sicko?" asked Google health account planner Lauren Turner. She was referring to the new documentary by left wing demagogue Michael Moore about the US health provision.

Turner used the corporate blog to condemn his use of "isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst". Why couldn't the media concentrate on the positive aspects of the system such as 44m uninsured Americans er, "the industry's numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts."

This segues neatly into a plug for Google's core business, as she goes on to explain:

Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through "Get the Facts" or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek.
"Advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue," she urged.

--- End quote ---

So.. got a few million dollars of advertising money? Then you too can participate in democracy and buy yourself some relief from pesky bad press and a bad reputation.  If you get caught behaving unethically - use your democratic dollars to buy yourself an advertising campaign that can neutralize those pesky investigators.  It's all about advertising.

Here we have the advertiser's/lobbyist's middle-man game, telling each side they had better quickly get out their checkbooks and starting buying millions of dollars of advertising to try to quickly dominate the message and shout down the other guy's message.

My apologies for the semi-political rant..

I need to clarify something -- i shouldn't pick on google.

google is probably the most ethical, most interesting, and most technically exciting mega corporation, whose entire business model centers around dominating the web and making trillions of dollars by putting their advertising on everything.

(sounds sarcastic but i'm serious).

I really don't get what the hubbub is about this story. No sarcasm here: what Google and Mr. Turner are doing is exactly the thing necessary to enable democracy to work properly.

For democracy to work, people need to understand what they're voting for (or asking their representatives to vote for, etc.). Communicating this information isn't free, and there's only a finite amount of bandwidth to carry it.

So companies that can carry this information -- from all sides of the political spectra -- are giving the public the opportunity to weigh the information on their own.

The fact that Google (and other companies that can help spread a message) charges for the service is really necessary. As I said, there's only a finite amount of bandwidth. Without having to account for the price of the communication, every nutty cause ("nuke the gay baby whales for Jesus") would be demanding the bandwidth to which they're "entitled". But when they're charged to send the message, these advocates must determine which messages are really worth the expense.

Thanks to Google and others charging to carry the message, we get the benefits of keeping the bandwidth useful for non-political messages as well (like DC!), and of stratifying the causes that people really believe in.

Man, I love the free market!  :-*

Regardless of Ms. Turner personal opinion about 'Sicko', the thing is that the second part of the article practically says "if you have money, welcome in". That is, they don't seem to give a damn about wether the company is ethical or no, but about what Google can do for them for the right amount of money. Incredible. It's what mouser says.

About democracy, and the need for mass media to deliver all political opinions, there are two things to consider. First, Google influence over Internet ads is overwhelming. Second, is Google going to give equal space to every opinion, or are they going to use their algorithms to decide what to show next?. Considering that politics is all PR these days, and the individual has been obscured by his/her public persona, we don't need more ads in political campaigns (do we really need political campaigns?)

Unlike mouser, I'm not that optimistic about Google (well, nothing new there), for the simple reason that they're adopting their competitors' behavior at a extremely fast rate. In 5 years, this will be worse than Microsoft.

</Political rant>

I'm seeing an interesting phenomena happening with google..

Last year i got a call on my answering machine from google, wanting to talk to me about "an opportunity for a collaboration between google and donationcoder"

When i called back, very curious to hear about this collaboration, i discovered that the caller was a google salesperson and the "collaboration" idea was to put adsense ads on our site. hah! what an exciting collaboration.

What is happening with google is that it is becoming 2 companies in one.  A part of the company is developing cool technical stuff, and probably couldn't care less about advertising.  Then there is the huge machinery of google advertising, whose job is to game the rest of the google machine in order to make huge revenue from advertising sales.  Basically the google sales people are doing the search-engine optimization tricks in order to try to get advertisers ads *on google* to have higher placement, etc.

I guess television and magazines have the same kinds of pressures between their advertising and editorial divisions.  It just seems more dangerous to me when it's happening on our internet, and when small changes in the kinds of results google returns for searches can have such a huge impact, and it means their are huge internal pressures for google to favor sites that advertise with them.

To me it feels like a conflict of interest.  If a company is going to so completely dominate the web search gateway we all use, they shouldn't be profiting from sending you to specific sites that run advertising with them.  Note that I'm not suggesting their should be a legal rule against this, only that I don't think it's ethical or a good idea, and I'd prefer to use a search company whose profits do not depend on sending me to sites that pay them money.  The only problem is that the entire web is more and more moving to an advertising-revenue system, and it's just become accepted that nearly everything on the web should be free and make money by creating a ton of users and selling them advertising.

Question for the economists: Is it possible that one day in the near future there will be no more actual products to buy, and everything just becomes free and funded by advertising?  i.e. your computer and monitor are now free, but have ads on the side of them?  Or does there eventually have to be at least one object in the universe that you have to buy in the end?  Maybe in the future each person will have 1 and only 1 thing to buy in their lifetime, a "uniwidget" and all other things are free but come with advertising for uniwidgets?


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