Why Is The NY Times Running A Ridiculous, Conflicted Op-Ed Against Google?

from the mistakes-galore dept

Paul Kedrosky points us to an absolutely ridiculous op-ed in the NY Times from a guy who runs a price comparison search engine that offered little of value and reasonably was punished by Google for it. But the guy tries to make a federal case out of his own poor ranking, suggesting that the government needs to regulate Google because the company was so bold as to recognize that people weren't searching for his lame price-comparison site and probably would find others more appropriate. Kedrosky picks apart the piece brilliantly:
Gosh, what a shocker. Someone in search with no web traffic.... wants someone in search with a lot of web traffic, Google, to send his company buckets of visitors. Amazing.

The OpEd goes downhill from there. We get a litany of silly complaints, like the idea that Google doesn't innovate, that it just buys stuff from others, and that Google's Maps and other products have hurt other companies. Yeesh. I'll say this really slowly: Consumers want products that work together, simplify our lives, and solve problems. For this nitwit to want to throw us back to a world where we need point products -- maps here, directions there, product search there, email over there, etc. -- as some sort of full-employment act for me-too companies that can't get web traffic on their own merits is batshit nuts.
Furthermore, the guy's claim in the article that Google went out of its way to make his company "disappear" simply isn't supported by the evidence at all. Again, Kedrosky rips this argument to shreds:
Really? Google went out of its way to make a tiny product search company in the U.K. disappear? That would be a great story if true....

Trouble is, Google doesn't "disappear" other much larger product search companies, as a quick search for "canon prices" will show you. Up pops shopper.cnet.com, pricegrabber.com, and so on, as well as, of course, Google's own product search site.
If Google were really trying to "disappear" the competition, wouldn't it focus on sites that actually matter?

Kedrosky points out the other big problem with this OpEd as well. Despite this being written by someone who has a clear conflict of interest, he notes that you don't find this out until your well into the OpEd:
Of course, there is a second level of stupid to this piece, and that goes to the NYT itself. It took until the fourth paragraph of the piece until we find out that the OpEd author is, you know, conflicted in that he himself runs a search company (albeit one with negligible traffic). Not only that, he has an axe to grind, as he goes on in paragraph four to arm-wavingly allege that Google "disappeared" his site from its results.
It makes you wonder why the NY Times would allow such an OpEd to go forward. Kedrosky has his opinion: "apparently NY Times OpEds over the holidays are vetted by malnourished monkeys."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    ROFL

    "Apparently NY Times OpEds over the holidays are vetted by malnourished monkeys."
    Thank God. This article has made my (otherwise horrendous) Monday.

     

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    wirtes (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    Has the NYT "disappeared" his OpEd from their "Most Popular" block?

    His OpEd is down at #10 on Most Emailed & doesn't even register on Most Searched. Why is the NYT using their clout at the newspaper of record to subvert Foundem?

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:12pm

    Agree with the guy

    I actually agree with the guy. It's irrelevant whether his own site was good or not.

    You Google cheerleaders think you're safe because you never offend the master.... until one day Google throws TechDirect out of the index for some made-up reason.. or no reason at all - after all, they're not obligated to give you any - and forces you to close up shop.

    That's probably about the only thing that can cause you to rethink your position. Until then, as Google launches countless "branded" sites while depressing the ranks of their competition, you'll probably insist on not admitting the obvious - that Google is an out-of-control predatory monopoly that preaches one thing and does another.

    May be you are looking forward to powering your Google computer one day (if a certain Mountain View firm thinks you're allowed to do that) and seeing only one option - Google EVERYTHING. Search, mail, shopping comparison, travel, documents, travel, news, allowed thoughts....

    Personally, I look at all that and shudder. This is not what the Internet was supposed to become - one gigantic company controlling everything with a choir of brainwashed cheerleaders approving and applauding everything it does.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Agree with the guy

    "You Google cheerleaders think you're safe because you never offend the master.... until one day Google throws TechDirect out of the index for some made-up reason"

    but in a free market if Google starts doing dumb things like that I will switch to another search engine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Agree with the guy

    "Personally, I look at all that and shudder. This is not what the Internet was supposed to become - one gigantic company controlling everything with a choir of brainwashed cheerleaders approving and applauding everything it does."

    There is Yahoo and AOL search. People go to Google VOLUNTARILY and the notion that YOU are somehow better at determining what's in MY best interest than myself (ie: by suggesting I'm a choir or a brainwashed cheerleader) is preposterous. If you don't like Google then don't use it but don't force Google to favor you at public expense just because you can't compete in the free market.

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    Google Objectiveness

    I search ed for "Foundem" on Google and Bing and they came up with nearly identical results. I then searched "price comparison UK" using both search engines. On Google Foundem came up 11th on Google and 142nd on Bing.

    Adam Raff and the New York Times seem to have established themselves as confirmed jack-asses.

     

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    DocMenach (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Google Objectiveness

    Adam Raff and the New York Times seem to have established themselves as confirmed jack-asses.

    Don't forget about Peter (the above commenter). Definitely a confirmed jack-ass as well.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Agree with the guy

    You Google cheerleaders think you're safe because you never offend the master.... until one day Google throws TechDirect out of the index for some made-up reason.. or no reason at all - after all, they're not obligated to give you any - and forces you to close up shop.

    Hmm. Why do you consider us Google cheerleaders? We've been quite critical of Google when necessary -- including when they have done a poor job communicating:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091210/1244447295.shtml

    So why do you consider us Google cheerleaders?

    But back to your point, if Google threw us out of their index, it wouldn't force us to "close up shop." And that's because we don't rely on Google for our business. Doing so is a mistake that many businesses make, but we chose not to. Obviously, we're quite happy with Google traffic and would be disappointed and seek answers to why and look to get back into the index, but we wouldn't run crying and screaming to the gov't to force Google to rank us more highly than Google felt appropriate.

    That's probably about the only thing that can cause you to rethink your position. Until then, as Google launches countless "branded" sites while depressing the ranks of their competition, you'll probably insist on not admitting the obvious - that Google is an out-of-control predatory monopoly that preaches one thing and does another.

    Quite a strong charge, presented with no proof at all. Very credible. Especially after the post itself pointed out how ridiculous that was, since other much larger searching shop engines are listed just fine.

    May be you are looking forward to powering your Google computer one day (if a certain Mountain View firm thinks you're allowed to do that) and seeing only one option - Google EVERYTHING. Search, mail, shopping comparison, travel, documents, travel, news, allowed thoughts....

    If there were only one option, what a great business opportunity for someone else.

    Personally, I look at all that and shudder. This is not what the Internet was supposed to become - one gigantic company controlling everything with a choir of brainwashed cheerleaders approving and applauding everything it does.

    Again, which "cheerleaders" are you talking about? And can you show me how we're losing options rather than gaining them, because I just don't see it.

    Irrational fear of Google is not compelling.

     

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    Ron Murray, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Missing The Point

    Until Google came along, all you had to do to get good search result placement was to over-stuff a meta tag with provocative, pseudo-relevant terms. Now, in order to win the coveted first-page ranking, you must actually have some relevant page content AND be linked into by other trustworthy, popular websites. The author of the op-ed conveniently forgot about that little piece of Google's innovation -- or perhaps he's bitter about it because his site was no longer able to rig the results to his satisfaction...

     

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    michael caplow, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:54pm

    Google and Foundem

    T.W. Berger wrote: "I then searched "price comparison UK" using both search engines. On Google Foundem came up 11th on Google"

    I was unable to confirm this.

     

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    Leo Martins (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    If you don't like google, try bing, yahoo...

    And this is not even new: I found this article ("Foundem vs Google: a case study in SEO fail") from August saying that The Guardian also fell prey of this "google undervalues me" sad story.

    If google starts skewing the rank of my precious-though-unknown site I have to 1) live with that; 2) advertize a better search engine; or the best 3) improve my site so that more people find it useful. If a lot of people find it useful despite google's skewed results, these (lots of) people will discredit google's results.

    So if the NYT, The Guardian, or Techdirt "disappear" from google, the impact of this on google's credibility will be proportional to the people angry with the disappearance. The credibility is google's to loose.

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Google and Foundem

    I just tried it again. A Google search using "price comparison UK" had Foundem come up as the 11th web page found. Try it without using quotes.

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Google Objectiveness

    Well, not confirmed...

     

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    slander (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Agree with the guy -- Google cheerleaders?

    Er, that;s just scary. I, for one, have no desire to see Dark Helmet in a cheerleader outfit...

     

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    Adam Bell (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Isn't this just another truly classic example of a loser's whining? Blame anyone and anything but his own failed business model.

     

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    Solution, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Agree with the guy

    Oh - I know !
    Lets elevate every website on teh internets to rank number one. That will solve everything.

     

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    Ignorant People Suck, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    Does anyone realize how google search works anymore?

    A lot of people don't seem to realize how much goes into a search at Google. Google (if you use it regularly) takes into account your browsing habits and will show sites higher on the list if you go to them more often than the other results. Google also does this globally, if 10000 people search "price comparison UK" and all of them choose Foundem instead of the other results its likely to move up in rank, regardless of the many other things Google takes into account.

    re: A Google search using "price comparison UK" had Foundem come up as the 11th web page found.

    This search lands Foundem 34th for me, but based on your location and browsing habits it could be somewhere else.

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    but in a free market if Google starts doing dumb things like that I will switch to another search engine.
    Oh, right! I forgot. The following day, millions of web users will switch over because TechDirt is not there anymore. Google will be dethroned. Sure.

    Actually, you're absolutely right. In a free market, that WOULD be the case. Except, at 90% market share in the UK, this is precisely where we are NOT. This is NOT a free market. This is monopoly. Any small site can be killed with 0% repercussions for Google. Really, even big sites can be. That's the beauty of being a monopoly - you get to do whatever you want.

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Mark,

    A little timid criticism of certain policies of Google does not make you a critic. Generally, TC authors always follow the same script. "Content creators? Idiots - should have become aggregators long ago. Copyright owners? Scambags, let them go bankrupt - they are living in copyright-free era. Murdoch? We hate him so much for his political slant we'll just assume everything he says is evil and should be opposed. If he's opposing Google, we'll support Google." I am simplifying, but generally every post I read followed this logic.

    Google's behavior downright scary. The scope of its ambitions is unprecedented and frankly, terrifying. And instead of acknowledging it and helping find a solution, you attack people daring to criticize the company. This is the problem.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    DAMMIT!

    I KEEP TIPING 4TEHWIN INTO TEH GOOGLE AND MY SITE DOES NOT SHOW UP. OMGWTFBBQ1!!1!!!

     

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    Yeebok (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    Tried the inurl: keyword ? eg search for "mystuff inurl:mystuffwebsite.com".

    Entering "uk price comparisons inurl:foundem" into the text box gives the site as #1. I don't get the fuss. If the site were "killed", it would not show at all, rather than 39th (at the mo) with just 'uk price comparisons'.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Mark,

    Who's Mark?

    A little timid criticism of certain policies of Google does not make you a critic.

    We've criticized the company regularly and not "timidly." When the company does something wrong we state our opinion on that. Above you accused us of automatically cheerleading everything Google does. You were wrong. You can admit it, you know.

    Generally, TC authors always follow the same script.

    What is TC?

    . "Content creators? Idiots - should have become aggregators long ago.

    Assuming you're talking about Techdirt, this is incorrect. We've never suggested anything like that. I mean, we *are* content creators, not aggregators, so it would be pretty silly of us to tell content creators to become aggregators.

    Copyright owners? Scambags, let them go bankrupt

    Huh? Again, we've never said any such thing. In fact, we've pointed to numerous examples of how copyright holders can make more money (usually by ignoring copyright, but...)

    Murdoch? We hate him so much for his political slant we'll just assume everything he says is evil and should be opposed.

    Huh?!? We've never said anything about Murdoch's political slant, because that's rather meaningless. I don't care about it at all. And I've agreed with Murdoch in the past before when I thought he's done smart things.

    We explained clearly why his paywall ideas don't make any sense.

    I am simplifying, but generally every post I read followed this logic.

    I'm not sure which site you're reading, but it's not this one.


    Google's behavior downright scary.


    You should at least defend this claim. You offer nothing to back it up.

    The scope of its ambitions is unprecedented and frankly, terrifying.

    Everyone has big ambitions. Ambitions aren't terrifying. Actions are.

    And instead of acknowledging it and helping find a solution, you attack people daring to criticize the company.

    No, we attack DUMB criticism of the company that doesn't hold up to the most basic scrutiny. We are more than willing to post and discuss reasonable attacks on Google, and have done so.

    You are simply wrong. I don't quite understand where you're coming from as you don't appear to know much about this site, even as you claim to understand what we write.

    I'm more than willing to discuss a reasoned critique of Google's actions. You have failed to present one. And the NY Times Op-Ed failed to present one as well.

    I note, amusingly, that you simply skipped over the point we raised about why smart businesses avoid being totally reliant on Google anyway.

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Mike,

    Apologies for the typos. I know which site I am reading. And I've been reading it fairly regularly for years. It's not a case of mistaken identity and I am not confusing you with anyone. Perhaps all these years I have been overlooking all the articles where you side with content authors and not aggregators. If so, I apologize and I would appreciate a few links that express such positions. Because the only thing I remember is relentless attacks on copyright and almost-universal support of Google (your token criticism notwithstanding).

    Re: your point about not being reliant on Google. Your advice is 100% valid for offline businesses. However, it is not very realistic for content-based ones. With Google enjoying near-total control of search, *everybody* needs to be found on Google - at the very least, by their name. (Do you remember BMW.de not being in the index for a while? I do). That's why I think the idea of regulating Google as a public information utility makes sense.

    What if Google takes over the browser market? Did you notice how Chrome subtly removed the URL toolbar? It's *all* search now (for Chrome users, anyway), whether or not you know the name of the site you want to go to. Which creates another point of dependency on Google. Perhaps a future toll.

    And what if Google takes over DNS as it's already trying to? Is your next piece of advice going to be "well, you should have made sure your business doesn't rely on your domain name working?"

     

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    Ida Know, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    Since everyone is mentioning this story and likely linking to the site, don't you think his page rank will improve?

     

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    ummm, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    ummm

    re: What if Google takes over the browser market? Did you notice how Chrome subtly removed the URL toolbar? It's *all* search now (for Chrome users, anyway), whether or not you know the name of the site you want to go to. Which creates another point of dependency on Google. Perhaps a future toll.

    Actually using google chrome you can choose what search the URL toolbar uses, either google, yahoo, bing, ask, or AOL. And it still works as a URL toolbar just fine, you can type in the URL and it goes directly to the site, not a search. And if you have noticed, Many browsers also now uses its URL field as a search that defaults to some search engine.

     

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    Bernie Mooney, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    I agree with that that guy

    They guy may have a dog in the hunt, but on the big picture he is correct.

    "Consumers want products that work together, simplify our lives, and solve problems. For this nitwit to want to throw us back to a world where we need point products -- maps here, directions there, product search there, email over there, etc. --

    Translation of the above: We want it NOW! Instant gratification.

    How inconvenient it is to have to visit different sites for different things. This is the kind of attitude that has ruined "Mainstreet America." No longer do people want to spend a little extra time going to one shop for bread, another for meat, another for whatever. They want the big box store. They want it all at their impatient little finger tips, so they can get on with their important lives, mostly wandering into traffic while texting non-stop.

    "...as some sort of full-employment act for me-too companies that can't get web traffic on their own merits is batshit nuts."

    As for this, if Google plays favorites and the smaller guys get pushed farther and farther down the list, how can they compete?

     

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    fsm, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    This peter fella'

    seems to think that he's forced to use Google. From what I can tell there are plenty of other search engines out there that are perfectly capable as well. Don't like google? Don't use it!

    I can't see one example of Google forcing me to do anything. They don't force me to use their search. Even when I use their browser (by choice), I'm not forced to use their search or have their homepage set as my default.

    I do all that by choice because I enjoy the product and the fair and relevant results it gives me. I think maybe the author of the OpEd is just a little teary about his website not being on the front page of the most popular search engine out there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    "Apologies for the typos. I know which site I am reading. And I've been reading it fairly regularly for years. It's not a case of mistaken identity and I am not confusing you with anyone."

    You positively sure you weren't reading Mark's site?

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:48pm

    Re: ummm

    Actually using google chrome you can choose what search the URL toolbar uses, either google, yahoo, bing, ask, or AOL.
    I did! I set up search engine to "Bing". When I type in an incorrect URL, Chrome says: "Oops! This link appears to be broken. Suggestion: Search on Google:"

    Why exactly, if I set another default engine?
    And it still works as a URL toolbar just fine, you can type in the URL and it goes directly to the site, not a search.
    For now. What if it stops working? What law compels them to resolve such "queries"? After all, they've been arguing that Google technology is nothing but an "opinion". So what if their "opinion" is that users shouldn't go to this site, but rather to a competing one, who paid the toll fee?
    And if you have noticed, Many browsers also now uses its URL field as a search that defaults to some search engine.
    That's fine. Keep the URL bar and resolve however you want. But they've eliminated the URL bar altogether! Call me paranoid, but to me it's an attempt to dumb down users by deliberately confusing the notions of "search" and URL. Which conditions everybody to think in terms of "search keywords" rather than domain names.

     

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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Google isn't perfect, and there are things they do that I disagree with, but still I would much rather rely on Google's search ranking parameters than on government regulation of same. What a horrendous idea? Whose government?

    How exactly would government regulation stop Google from taking over the market (any market) I wonder? Google's current market domination has been achieved and is sustained by the radical means of doing a good job.

    @Peter: you complain about Google having a "monopoly" while seeming to support the government line (that is to say government-parroting-the-Big-Media-line) on copyright. A.C.T.A. type secret government negotiations will create a global "monopoly" that will crush competition and net neutrality.

    @Ida: sadly it will for a small blip's worth but happily they'll sink back into obscurity when business gets back to usual.

     

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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

    @Peter: you complain about Google having a "monopoly" while seeming to support the government line (that is to say government-parroting-the-Big-Media-line) on copyright. A.C.T.A. type secret government negotiations will create a global "monopoly" that will crush competition and net neutrality.

    Only as a measure of last resort. Let's discuss other options. But at least, let's wake up and face up to the challenge. Ignoring it and ridiculing every Google critic is not constructive at all.

     

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    wow..., Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:12pm

    What Are You Smoking?

    "Did you notice how Chrome subtly removed the URL toolbar? It's *all* search now (for Chrome users, anyway)" Wtf??? Have you ever used Chrome? If I type microsoft.com and press enter it does not perform a search in any way shape or form, it takes me to that website. Leaving out the valid pieces of a domain name that would be required for a DNS lookup would end up it a search result. But then again why don't you load up IE, enter an invalid web address i.e. "www?Somwhere/com" and see where that takes you. Or do it on any major browser in fact and you will find that it either performs a search based off the default search settings, or your last mile provider redirects you to their shitty ad-filled domain parking page. If your lucky, you might actually get a 404.

    "And what if Google takes over DNS as it's already trying to? Is your next piece of advice going to be "well, you should have made sure your business doesn't rely on your domain name working?"" .... Read above about last mile providers and I assure you that you'll rather use Google's service rather then your last mile provider such as Comcast.

     

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    technomage (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Google and Foundem

    actually I found them at 27 in the listing, 2 above www.google.co.uk/products

     

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    technomage (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Re:

    peter
    which government? Google is a global search provider, which governmental rules are you going to use to dictate to them? Yes they are the "great and powerful oz" but at least there is still a man behind the curtain, once the government steps in, any government, your choices will disappear faster than google "stamping out the little guy".

    You want an option? Instead of trying to get big government to regulate google, let's just see the government build it's own search engine itself. We'll let the government run it, control it, and control all the results. We'll let the government itself compete with google. That is, if you could ever get the government to agree on anything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Re: I agree with that that guy

    Google gets traffic because they don't play favorites. If they do play favorites then people will switch to competitors. The problem is that you are suggesting that YOU are better able to determine what's in MY best interest than myself. This is nonsense and just shows the mentality of those who want the government to control everything in a way that gives monopolies to rich corporations at public expense. In a free market if Google acts wrongly I can go to another search engine. We don't need the government promoting some brand just because that brand can't compete in the free marketplace. Leave the government out of it.

    "Translation of the above: We want it NOW! Instant gratification."

    Translation: You want to control our lives to your benefit at our expense NOW. You want the government to regulate our search engines in YOUR favor at our expense so that we can never have any gratification since everything will be overpriced and of poor quality and no innovation will ever occur.

    Seriously, who are you to tell us what we want and what YOU want for us. We don't care what you want for us, leave the stupid government out of it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: I agree with that that guy

    "Translation of the above: We want it NOW! Instant gratification."

    Translation: You think that you're the only one that ever deserves any gratification yet alone instant gratification. You want the government to regulate search engines to unfairly benefit you at public expense so that you can be filthy rich and cause everyone to suffer.

     

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  37.  
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    Allen, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: ummm

    Peter,

    If you are going to argue, don't be an idiot.

    Chrome removed the label URL. The Location window acts a search field as well. This change followed a similar change in IE7. Microsoft was trying to eliminate the need for the Google Toolbar. Firefox and Chrome (I don't use Safari) added the feature to remain competitive.

    Allen

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Re: I agree with that that guy

    "How inconvenient it is to have to visit different sites for different things. This is the kind of attitude that has ruined "Mainstreet America.""

    The only thing that ruins Mainstreet America are the big corporations that insist that the government should intervene to act in their best interest at public expense (ie: by giving monopolies to cable infrastructure and regulating search engines to act only in the best interest of rich and powerful corporations). Free markets are a good thing, it's government intervention caused by corporate lobbying that's bad. You want to make it so that we visit YOUR site first and then we have to go through additional trouble to visit different sites instead of just finding all the most relevant sites in one search engine.

    "As for this, if Google plays favorites and the smaller guys get pushed farther and farther down the list, how can they compete?"

    The fact is that you don't care about the smaller guys. Government regulation is often done under the pretext that it will somehow help the small guy but it never does. Eminent domain ends up taking from the small guy and giving to the big guy under some pretext of saving the environment (ie: taking homes from individuals under the pretext of saving some bird and then a year or so later giving the land to Wal Mart, ie: see Pen and Teller). It's under the pretext of saving the small guy (some bird) that actions are done to help the big guy. Government regulation hardly EVER helps the small guy. Just look at the laws to monopolize who can be a taxi cab driver, look at intellectual property laws that uniformly favor the RIAA and CRIA (who don't have to comply with the laws themselves) and other rich corporations (ie: Monsanto and pharmaceutical corporations), look at government granted monopolies on public airwaves and on who can use and build new cableco/telco infrastructure. It's ALL uniformly for the BIG guy. All the secretive meetings on copyright are for the BIG guy because only the BIG guy is invited, the public is left out. Government regulation is NOT for the little guy, that's just a lie to tell the people in hopes they will adopt ridiculous laws passed by big corporations.

     

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  39.  
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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    by Peter

    @Peter:

    A.C.T.A. will not be a "last resort"... it was never intended to be anything but a way of dominating the global markets-- including yours. A.C.T.A. is so bloody awful they must keep it so "secret" that most elected members of government do not have a clue what is going on. But governments are going along with it because of industry pressure. Governments are not acting in the best interests of citizens.

    Amazingly, Google does have competition. That puts it in a free market, which I trust a lot more than governments shoring up big media's bad business models via regulation. It would help if you would take a moment and read what people are saying before lashing out.

    @Bernie: wanting our software and various devices to work efficiently together does not equate with "We want it NOW! Instant gratification."

    In bygone days, food was kept in an icebox, and ice, like most grocery items, had to be delivered daily. Water had to be drawn from the well, and wood gathered to run the stoves. Of course, there was often a full time parent at home too to do these things. In most G-8 countries 2 working parents are necessary for survival. (Possibly because governments have been shoring up bad business models much longer than we think!)

    Today most people REQUIRE efficiency so they can feed and house their children. With mom AND dad in the workforce, they don't have time to shop on Main Street. It isn't "quaint" to be forced to waste time by inefficiency.

    My local grocery refuses to stock things they used to... they only want one national brand and the store brand. And after campaigning against Wal-Mart moving into our rural community, Wal-Mart is the only store that actually carries the products I want. If the only stores offering a reasonable selection are box stores, maybe that is the way to go.

    (BTW, I don't text.)

    Of course executives or those uber-rich folks living off the IP of others (like, say Disney, or any of the copyright collectives) may have the luxury of sending their secretaries or au pairs out to pick up the family dinner or buy gifts for the kids.... or quaintly spend thrice as long as should be necessary online to search for the best deals.

    Google's search criteria seems to require "merit" as a criteria for success. I have no trouble with that and serious doubts about the motives of those who do.

    Prove that Google is really playing favorites and people will listen, but so far no one has come anywhere close to doing that.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 9:30pm

    Re: by Peter

    "Prove that Google is really playing favorites and people will listen"

    and then they will VOLUNTARILY SWITCH to a different search engine WITHOUT government regulation. NO GOVERNMENT REGULATION REQUIRED. What a concept, free markets regulate themselves.

     

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  41.  
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    Peter, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    Google gets traffic because they don't play favorites. If they do play favorites then people will switch to competitors.

    Would you care the explain the presence of a pop-up layer every time I visit Google.com: "A faster way to browse the web. Get Google Chrome". I didn't even type anything and I am already getting pushed to adopt their products.

    Furthermore, every time I search for ANYTHING they chose to do as a branded service, they'll push it above all results (ok, sometimes mixed in with the results). Soon the list will evidently expand to all types of comparison/products info, travel info, local info, etc.

    How is it not playing favorites?

    Listen, free-market guys - I understand your point. Let Google be evil and when the MARKET decides they are evil, we'll all switch to something else, right? Perhaps, you're right and it will work. But I am not sure. You might be idealistic, naïvely believing your free-market voodoo methods will magically take care of everything automatically. Ever ask yourself how exactly it will work?

    It may be too late when EVERYBODY realized Google is evil. Their competitors in most verticals won't exist. The browser, your private information, your data, your OS, will all be controlled by Google by then. How will you "switch" to something else when your computer is Google-controlled? As they said in the matrix, what good are your rights to speak, if you have no mouth?

     

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  42.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Perhaps all these years I have been overlooking all the articles where you side with content authors and not aggregators.

    Peter, I'm always on the side of content creators -- in helping them recognize what business models make the most sense for them. Honestly, I can't see how you read this site and think that I'm against content creators.

    Because the only thing I remember is relentless attacks on copyright and almost-universal support of Google (your token criticism notwithstanding).

    Then you do not read this site nearly as thoroughly as you imply. We have criticized Google's *bad* actions on a regular basis. But the simple fact is that Google does not act as poorly as many other organizations, so we will write about them instead.

    And "attacks on copyright" are not attacks on content creators. As I thought we had made clear, it's quite the opposite. We're very much in favor of content creators making money. It's just that we think using copyright to do so is using a crutch to walk when you can throw it away and run instead.

    Re: your point about not being reliant on Google. Your advice is 100% valid for offline businesses. However, it is not very realistic for content-based ones.

    Um. You seem to have a serious problem reading what I write and simply ignoring it. In the very comment you're responding to I pointed out that we're not reliant on Google, and you say it's not realistic for a content company to not be reliant on Google. I also find that funny since Rupert Murdoch -- whose position you seem to support blindly -- seems to think that News Corp. isn't reliant on Google either.

    What if Google takes over the browser market? Did you notice how Chrome subtly removed the URL toolbar?

    I'm using Chrome. There is a URL bar. I have no idea what you're talking about. They did *add* functionality to the URL bar so that it *also* acts as a search entry box, just like most other browsers these days. If that's nefarious then all browsers are guilty.

    (Do you remember BMW.de not being in the index for a while? I do).

    Right, and do you remember what happened? It made lots of news and BMW fixed its spammy ways and Google backed down. That's called a good solution for everyone.

    It wasn't anything nefarious. BMW was doing something scammy and Google treated them like any scammy site. And you know what -- you should be *thrilled* about that because Google is making sure that your search experience is better. That's a good thing.

    And what if Google takes over DNS as it's already trying to? Is your next piece of advice going to be "well, you should have made sure your business doesn't rely on your domain name working?"

    Again, the second Google does anything nefarious, it's a huge news story and there's no way it lives it down.

    You're seeing conspiracies where there are none.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "Would you care the explain the presence of a pop-up layer every time I visit Google.com: "A faster way to browse the web. Get Google Chrome". I didn't even type anything and I am already getting pushed to adopt their products."

    and no one is forcing you to adopt their products. You can find a competitor.

    "Perhaps, you're right and it will work. But I am not sure."

    Because YOU are better able to determine what's best for ME than myself of course. Who cares what you think when it comes to MY decisions over what search engine I want to use. Just leave the government out of it.

    "You might be idealistic, naïvely believing your free-market voodoo methods will magically take care of everything automatically."

    Yeah, I might be idealistic because somehow YOUR intuition (and the government intuition as long as you control them of course) is better than mine and hence YOU should be allowed to govern what google does in ways that affect me. The government can't manage their own budget properly yet alone search engines, they can no better determine what's in my best interest than me.

    "Ever ask yourself how exactly it will work?"

    It's not magic. When google gives me results I don't like or if you can prove to me that Google unfairly plays favorites in a way that's not in my best interest I will NON MAGICALLY SWITCH to another search engine. No magic needed. Just a bit of common sense.

    "It may be too late when EVERYBODY realized Google is evil."

    Yes because everyone are a bunch of idiots except for you and the government of course, as long as YOU control the government that is. But of course typical tyrants referring to baseless scare mongering to control the masses.

    "Their competitors in most verticals won't exist."

    A: There are plenty of competitors.

    B: In a FREE market new competitors will enter the market if they see that the people don't like Google and they will correct what people don't like about Google.

    C: Why should the government decide what people want?

    "The browser, your private information, your data, your OS, will all be controlled by Google by then."

    I will delete my browser, my OS, etc... and switch. As far as my private information being controlled by Google I can easily ensure that it's not right now by storing it on my computer (ie: word documents, etc...) or encrypting it. If Google decides to adopt a standard that ensures they control my stuff I will simply not adopt early on. and guess what, this is not a unique thought. The reason why people switch to Google is perhaps because Google gives people more control over their stuff whereas Microsoft tries to make people adopt standards (ie: docx) that only work best with their products.

    Yes, the worlds food supply will be controlled by them as well. Wait a minute, thanks to government intervention (ie: patents), a substantial portion of our food is controlled by corporations like Monsanto. I think we are better off leaving the government out of the picture.

    "As they said in the matrix, what good are your rights to speak, if you have no mouth? "

    But wait, the government controls public airwaves and they control who can build new cableco and telco infrastructure and there is no way in heck my viewpoints and many of the viewpoints on techdirt and much of the news on techdirt even will ever make it on public airwaves or cableco/telco infrastructure. Again, the best policy seems to be to leave the government out. The more they intervene the more they restrict our free speech in favor of what's best for evil rich people who hide behind corporations.

    Also, you assume that Google is an ISP. Google is not an ISP. People can switch to other things if Google acts like tyrants. They don't control Techdirt for example. People use Google voluntarily.

     

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  44.  
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    Doctor Strange, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    Google gets traffic because they don't play favorites.

    Is this really true, though? The article indicates that their past behavior (which earned them a legitimate monopoly) may have subtly changed over time. I don't really know, and nobody knows, because there's not a tremendous amount of transparency here. So maybe it was true, but it's not anymore.

    We actually do not know very much about how Google ranks pages. Speculation and details leak out here and there from time to time, and the SEO community rabidly tries to reverse-engineer the process, probably with middling success. My guess, based on what I have read and observed, is that they are currently using a very, very heavily modified version of PageRank, with hundreds upon hundreds of little additional tweaks to the rankings based on a whole bunch of ancillary data.

    While we're on the subject, let us not discount how much we know about PageRank itself due to patent filings. Now that Google has dominated the space and the algorithm is much more complex, it seems that they've decided to protect their ranking algorithm as a trade secret instead of through patents, which means (short of impossible reverse-engineering, industrial espionage, or brain drain) we'll never really find out what it is.

    Undoubtedly people will say that it's a great thing that we don't understand what the algorithm is, lest spammers and unscrupulous characters game the system. That's at least partially true. However, note that one of the key benefits of PageRank is that it requires a lot of coordination to game successfully.

    We also don't know whether the algorithm they're currently using plays fair, or if it always did. That is, does it treat sites impartially, or does it subtly favor certain sites? I remember when the Google Toolbar first came out, and you could - for the very first time - see a number that corresponded to Google's perceived "PageRank" (the original algorithm? Who knows?) of a page. I was surprised to find that www.google.com did not have the highest PageRank of 10.

    A month or two later, though, it did. And it remains there. Compare to www.microsoft.com, another ginormous sites, and it has PageRank 9. Were there shenanigans involved here? I don't know, and I doubt anyone without very highly-guarded insider knowledge knows the whole truth.

    As the article points out also, when Google earned its very large marketshare, it was neither a monopoly nor was it offering a lot of ancillary services (maps, theater showtimes, mail, etc.) that were integrated and highlighted on the result pages. Now, those things have changed. When Microsoft decided to bundle an Internet browser with its operating system and to bundle other software that directed people to Microsoft-owned ancillary services, it got in lots of hot water both with the Internet community at large and various regulatory bodies around the world. In my mind, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between what Google is doing and what Microsoft did that got them in a lot of trouble. There is a summary of some of the arguments here.

    Antitrust laws mean that, when you have a completely legitimately earned monopoly, you are restricted from doing things that competitors are allowed to do. Apple can bundle a browser or three, or iTunes, with nary a sideways glance from the justice department. Microsoft, however, cannot.

    So, whereas "search neutrality" is probably not a good goal, I wonder about various forms of "search transparency." When one company, who may or may not be playing favorites, and who may or may not be pulling all manner of shenanigans, can make or break hundreds of other companies and the other companies have no recourse or insight into why, that's dangerous.

    To imply that the companies should just decouple themselves and their business models from Google is sort of a flippant suggestion. Things are not quite that simple, especially when Google now has monopoly power (or nearly so) in defining what is important on the Internet.

    Yes, we are all aware that Techdirt has an unassailable business model, relatively immune from most perturbations (including those of The Goog itself). It has relatively high traffic (top 5000 sites in the US, top 15K in the world), and very low overhead. From this springs a variety of moneymaking opportunities, from plain ads to "insight cases" (thinly-veiled ads) to T-shirts, signed books, dinners, and consulting arrangements.

    We must give credit for this traffic and the resulting success to the seemingly endless stream of fascinating articles and accompanying scintillating discussion. However, we cannot simply discount age and inertia, and perhaps many other factors that nobody can really put their finger on. That stream of articles predates even Google's earliest incarnations, and certainly its monopoly. So what can a traffic-driven company learn from Techdirt about dissociating their success from Google's links? Step 1: Develop fascinating content consistently. Step 2: Foster scintillating discussion. Step 3: Get a DeLorean and a Flux Capacitor and set the time circuits for 1997. Step 4: (??? - Other unclear factors). Step 5: Profit!

    Does, then, the op-ed rise to the level of "vetted by malnourished monkeys?" I don't think so. It highlights, if somewhat inelegantly, the very strange difficulties of succeeding in a Google-dominated Internet. It's unclear how to manage risk in a world with such little transparency. Success is not guaranteed, or even reasonably expect-able anymore, just by building a great product and marketing it well.

    You will certainly come back at me with the rejoinder that good products and great marketing have NEVER been the only things that influenced success, and that there has NEVER been a guarantee of success in any entrepreneurial endeavor (and, yes, you will capitalize the word NEVER in both your rejoinders). I acknowledge this.

    However, has success ever been so heavily influenced by byzantine steps in the process like "3. Dominate some existing market and then funnel the profits into your real business, which is a money-loser but can succeed if offered for free when shored up by these auxiliary profits" or "4. Reverse-engineer, to the best of your ability, the closely guarded secret ranking algorithm of the dominant search engine and then exploit it, but not so well such that you are noticed and then banished to the pits of Internet Hell for 'gaming the system?'"

     

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  45.  
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    Doctor Strange, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Again, the second Google does anything nefarious, it's a huge news story and there's no way it lives it down.

    Wait, what?

    Look, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm about the furthest thing from it. However:

    1. There is so little transparency in what Google does that it would be nearly impossible to prove nefarious action even if it were occurring without a whistleblower, especially if it were less than 100% blatant.

    2. It's unclear what "nefarious" means for a company that's in a very subjective business. If the founder of some small company made fun of Larry Page in elementary school and now there's a little twist in the Google ranking algorithm that makes sure that company never gets above Page 10 of the search results, is that nefarious or just sort of mean? After all, they're Google's results, they can rank them however they like.

    3. Many other equally-big companies with equally-strong marketshares have done very obvious and blatantly nefarious things for years (far beyond what Google is even accused of) and gotten away with it for those years. Things like strongarming vendors, back-room sweetheart deals, price-fixing, and so on. To even get these things noticed, it very much helps to have 1) very high-magnitude, cut and dry nefariousness; 2) whistleblowers, and 3) one or more zealous prosecutors.

    4. Even when these companies get caught, the results tend to be a little less than spectacular. After that antitrust debacle, where it was revealed that Microsoft was doing all kinds of very questionable things with its vendors (far beyond just bundling IE with Windows), Microsoft withered and died, right? Intel does some equally scammy things and let's see what happened to their stock price. Hmm, that article came out in May 2009, so we should see a huge dip there...oh wait yeah it's up like 33% since then. nVidia and AMD are suspected of years-long price-fixing in 2006 and after two years of investigation in 2008 they are fined almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS EACH! Wow, that really drove them into the ground. Well, that may have been a travesty of justice, but at least consumers spoke against fraud with their wallets. I don't know anyone that owns an nVidia or AMD/ATI video board anymore!

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "I don't really know, and nobody knows, because there's not a tremendous amount of transparency here. So maybe it was true, but it's not anymore."

    By far Google is more transparent than their competitors. This is part of the reason why they are favored over their competitors. Just because you can make things up doesn't make it true. and to the extent that it's no longer true people are free to switch search engines if they don't like Google. That includes you.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "While we're on the subject, let us not discount how much we know about PageRank itself due to patent filings. Now that Google has dominated the space and the algorithm is much more complex, it seems that they've decided to protect their ranking algorithm as a trade secret instead of through patents, which means (short of impossible reverse-engineering, industrial espionage, or brain drain) we'll never really find out what it is."

    and I would much rather them do this than use patents. Patents just prevent others from making search engines and that's VERY evil. and if they revealed their algorithms evil rich people who don't do any work are likely to sue them for patent infringement just because they can file and get bogus patents.

    Besides this is just an example of how patents do not help promote transparency. Without patents others are free to create search engines without worrying about infringing on Google's trade secrets since they can easily independently come up with many of the same algorithms without the help of Google. So if google stops acting in the best interest of those who use its search engines people will switch to competitors.

    "We also don't know whether the algorithm they're currently using plays fair"

    The problem is that you ASSUME that Google somehow owes you a spot on their search engine. THEY DO NOT. and if you feel they don't play fair start your own search engine. Leave the government out of it. and if you can convince people that Google is returning results not in their best interest people will switch to your search engine.

    "A month or two later, though, it did. And it remains there. Compare to www.microsoft.com, another ginormous sites, and it has PageRank 9. Were there shenanigans involved here? I don't know, and I doubt anyone without very highly-guarded insider knowledge knows the whole truth."

    and it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and it's NONE OF THE GOVERNMENTS BUSINESS. If you don't like the rankings SWITCH SEARCH ENGINES but leave the evil government out. When the government acts they ONLY act in the best interest of evil rich people at public expense. AT least almost ALL the evidence suggests this. LEAVE THEM OUT.

    "In my mind, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between what Google is doing and what Microsoft did that got them in a lot of trouble. There is a summary of some of the arguments here."

    Too bad the world is not dictated by your mind.

    Also note, many on Techdirt do not believe the government really should have gotten involved in the whole alleged Microsoft anti trust thing with bundling their browser with their operating system. The government is amazing, they ignore the patents that Microsoft uses to monopolize the market yet they go after irrelevant things that do nothing to help society at large.

    "Antitrust laws mean that, when you have a completely legitimately earned monopoly, you are restricted from doing things that competitors are allowed to do."

    A: Google has no monopoly. If there are competitors there is no monopoly.

    B: Anti trust means that you don't do things like tell those who sell hardware that you will not sell them Microsoft Windows if they offer computers with other operating systems. Even then I wonder how much the government should really get involved. However, Microsoft has patents and to that extent they are using the government to offer a product no one else is allowed to offer without Microsoft's permission. To that extent the government absolutely should prevent an artificial lack of competition.

    Earning a monopoly via creating a product that people want is NOT something that should be subject to anti trust. Stealing a monopoly via government intervention (ie: lobbying for a monopoly on who can use existing cableco/telco infrastructure or build new infrastructure) is something antitrust should encompass.

    "So, whereas "search neutrality" is probably not a good goal, I wonder about various forms of "search transparency." When one company, who may or may not be playing favorites, and who may or may not be pulling all manner of shenanigans, can make or break hundreds of other companies and the other companies have no recourse or insight into why, that's dangerous."

    No, what it is is NONE of the governments business. The only thing that is dangerous is for the government to get involved because when the government gets in involved about the only thing they do is act in the best interest of a small minority at the expense of the public. Your problem is that your focus is on YOU, the LOSER wanna be business who can't compete in the free market and so you need the government to hold your hand by forcing search engines to rank you how you want. No, the focus should not be on losers like you, it should be on what's best for the PUBLIC and the PUBLIC is best suited to decide what's in their best interest. They can decide what search engine they want to use without the government forcing every search engine to have artificial similarities. This shouldn't be about you, the evil loser who can't compete in the free market, it should be about what's best for the public and free markets are best for the public. Just because some businesses can't compete in the free market is no excuse for the government to regulate Google in your favor at public expense. If you don't like Google start your own search engine and if your search engine is better for the public than Google people will naturally switch to it being people are better than you at determining what's in their best interest.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:30am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "To imply that the companies should just decouple themselves and their business models from Google is sort of a flippant suggestion. Things are not quite that simple, especially when Google now has monopoly power (or nearly so) in defining what is important on the Internet."

    Google has no such power. People define what's important, they define what search engines are important. Google is not an ISP. If Google does a poor job delivering the search results I want I will go to another search engine. This is hardly a unique thought. Google earned its reputation by delivering search results that people want. They did nothing wrong and the government is certainly less capeable of determining what search engines should return than the free market.

    "
    Does, then, the op-ed rise to the level of "vetted by malnourished monkeys?" I don't think so. It highlights, if somewhat inelegantly, the very strange difficulties of succeeding in a Google-dominated Internet. It's unclear how to manage risk in a world with such little transparency. Success is not guaranteed, or even reasonably expect-able anymore, just by building a great product and marketing it well."

    Google owes you NO spot on their search engine. It's THEIR search engine, you don't like it START YOUR OWN. The same goes for Yahoo, Microsoft search, etc... You know people were able to run businesses without the Internet, the world was able to function before the Internet and before Google so it's not like Google owes you a spot on their search engine or owes you the additional traffic they provide, you just want to fully monetize the Internet at public expense by regulating it in ways that unfairly benefit you alone. Seriously, stop being evil and stop thinking about yourself for a change. Think about others for a change.

    "Yes, we are all aware that Techdirt has an unassailable business model"

    yes, because the only assailable business model involves ridiculously long intellectual property terms packaged with ridiculous penalties for violating intellectual property and monopolies on cableco/telco infrastructure and getting rich at public expense via government granted monopolies on everything (ie: who can be a taxi cab driver). In other words, according to you, the only assailable business models involve lobbying the government for laws that unfairly benefit you at public expense.

     

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  49.  
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    Doctor Strange, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    By far Google is more transparent than their competitors. This is part of the reason why they are favored over their competitors. Just because you can make things up doesn't make it true.

    What, precisely, did I make up? That I don't know what Google's secret search algorithm is and that you don't either? That Google isn't going to tell me what it is?

    What I do not do is go around saying stuff like "Google gets traffic because they don't play favorites" because I sure as hell don't know that, and unless you have some insider information, you sure as hell don't know that.

    Is Google more transparent in its search algorithm than competitors? I'm not sure. Are ANY of the major search engines more than "just barely" transparent about their algorithm? I'm not aware of any. There has been at least one effort to create a search engine with a transparent algorithm but it didn't work out too well, probably for about six hundred reasons having nothing to do with the concept of transparency.

    We all love Google for not being evil. But really it's impossible to create a laboratory where you can measure the impact of evil as a single variable in a complex ecosystem like the Internet's and Google's. As I pointed out, you can be pretty evil and most people just don't care that much. You claim that not being evil has a nonzero positive effect on Google's reputation and market share, and I'm sure it is nonzero. Merely being nonzero tells us very little. What if it's indistinguishably close to zero? How would you prove that it is or isn't?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "It's unclear how to manage risk in a world with such little transparency."

    Seriously, I don't understand why you feel that you are somehow entitled to a spot on the Google search engine. You are NOT. Why don't you start your own search engine instead. I don't understand how evil people like you can exist. It's people like you who feel you are entitled to things you are not entitled to that make the lives of others much more difficult. I don't see how you can live with yourself when you live your live with the goal of making the life of others more difficult just to enrich yourself. You are NOT entitled to a search spot on Google's search engine. You don't like it start your own search engine. Google is not your slave, you can't ethically force them to work for you by listing you just because you think it's OK to steal from others by controlling their property via government intervention. It's not, it's unethical.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:48am

    Why don't you start your own search engine instead.

    Sure, easy! Let me comb my pockets for change. I only need a few hundred billion dollars to build out infrastructure like that.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    It's not Google's fault that the only thing you're good at is lobbying the government. It's not Google's fault that you're such a loser that you can't create a search engine that can successfully compete with theirs in a free market. But the fact that you're such a loser is no excuse for you to get the government to ruin Google and hurt society at large just to benefit you.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    Oh dear, it's my late-night friend Mr. Wrekonize again. Yes?

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    "Success is not guaranteed, or even reasonably expect-able anymore, just by building a great product and marketing it well."

    and the problem is that you want guaranteed success for doing nothing. No, success is not guaranteed in a free market, so you want the government to intervene and guarantee your success no matter how much of a failure your products are. That's the problem, everything feels entitled to success when they're not. and they want the government to guarantee them success.

    "Oh, right! I forgot. The following day, millions of web users will switch over because TechDirt is not there anymore. Google will be dethroned. Sure."

    No, here is how the free market works. When I search for something I expect Google to offer me a superior product at a cheaper price. I expect them to offer me good search results. If they don't and another search engine starts to offer better products at better prices or if they start to offer better search results I will switch to them because it's in my best interest to do so.

    So lets say you offer a superior product at a superior price. Now lets say that Google doesn't list you but some other search engine does. Eventually I will find out that Google lists inferior products at higher prices while the other search engine does not. It's in my best interest to switch and so I will.

    Your exact problem is that you offer an inferior product at a more expensive price and you want to force people to buy it. Since your product sucks and is overpriced search engines don't want to list it. So you want to use the government to force them to list it ahead of superior products at cheaper prices in order to artificially make people buy your inferior product more. This is unethical and you should really take an ethics class or something.

    "Actually, you're absolutely right. In a free market, that WOULD be the case. Except, at 90% market share in the UK, this is precisely where we are NOT. This is NOT a free market. This is monopoly. Any small site can be killed with 0% repercussions for Google. Really, even big sites can be. That's the beauty of being a monopoly - you get to do whatever you want."

    No, it is a free market. Market distortion only comes from government intervention, by definition. It's a free market because anyone else is free to start their own search engine and compete. No one is stopping you. Gaining a monopoly via offering people a good product for a good price is not a distortion of the free market, Google gained its monopoly by earning it via successfully competing in the free market.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    err, everyone feels entitled to success when they're not. You're not entitled to success.

     

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  56.  
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    TW Burger (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 1:29am

    Re: DAMMIT!

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahah!

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    Google=spyware

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    1. Did Google take your money? No? Then, what is there to whistle blow?

    2. Exactly! It's their results, they can rank however they like... Don't like it, don't depend on it.

    3. Again, did you pay for Google services that did not deliver what you want? Google belongs to its stock holders, it answers to its stock holders, not you (unless you're a stock holder)... so, the only nefariousness that require whistle blowing, would be with regard to its stock holders, not a free user like the everyone else.

    4. Google get caught doing what? Forcing you to use Chrome & all their services that they do not charge you for? Price-fixing their free services? Pay other companies not to have themselves listed on other search engines? Pay others not to sell/give away anything that can access non-Google services?

    Oh, by the way, what kind of video boards does those you know own? S3? Oh, right, Intel Integrated Graphics...

    I own both nVidia, ATI & AMD/ATI graphics cards, oops, sorry, not the video board...

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    Since when did people get this idea that the government owes them socialized search results? Don't like the results of Google? Start your own search engine or use another search engine. The government doesn't owe you socialized search results that favor your business. and if you think socialized search results are a good thing then why not encourage the government to open up a competing public search engine that's "fair" to everyone. but don't tell them to do anything to regulate or modify private search engines. Personally, though, I think the money would be better spent on socialized health care than on a socialized search engine any day. The government should be here to serve the PUBLIC good not to server private business interests who want taxpayer money to create a socialized search engine in their favor.

     

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  60.  
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    Matt, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    Dont like big corporations running your browsing experience, may I suggest in a command prompt (Start-> Run -> cmd.exe) type "format c:", press enter, type "y", press enter, wait 20 minutes and you will be free from all of this "corporate monopoly" bullshit.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    "2. It's unclear what "nefarious" means for a company that's in a very subjective business. If the founder of some small company made fun of Larry Page in elementary school and now there's a little twist in the Google ranking algorithm that makes sure that company never gets above Page 10 of the search results, is that nefarious or just sort of mean? After all, they're Google's results, they can rank them however they like."

    Exactly, they can rank however they like because they OWN their search engine and you are not entitled to even be on THEIR (not your) search engine. You didn't pay a dime for their search engine so mind your own stupid business. and when you become a stock holder then you can vote like all other stock holders.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Agree with the guy

    and you know what's amazing is how all these businesses are against socialized medicine or anything that's intended to help the PUBLIC (btw, I don't necessarily favor socialized medicine) yet they want the government to socialize everything for the rich by giving BUSINESSES and big corporations socialized search results, government granted monopolies on our food (ie: patents for Monsanto) and medicine (while banning competing unpatented natural medicine that's safer and works better), on cableco/telco infrastructure (and who can build new infrastructure), on who can be a taxi driver, on public airwaves, etc... They want the government to socialize everything in favor of evil rich people who hide behind corporations and to provide evil rich failures a government guaranteed success but they don't want the government to lift a finger to help the public and when the government tries to they yell "socialism, government tyranny" and whatnot. In other words socialism is only good to the extent it helps evil rich people but it's not good for the masses.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Peter (a different one), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    @Peter

    Dude, seriously? Stop using Google then. You keep talking about how you are searching Google and how much you hate it, but... if that is really the case, they why aren't you using Bing, or Yahoo! instead?

    I reference a bad joke from my Grandparents childhood:

    Patient: "Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do this!"
    Doctor: "Well, then don't do that!"

    Updated for this discussion:

    Peter: "Using the Evil Google makes then all powerful!"
    Everybody but Peter: "Then don't search with Google!"

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    When google started out they didn't have nearly as much money and they created a successful search engine without so much money.

    The problem is that you want to be successful and you don't want to invest anything, you want the government to do all the work and flip the bill for you. It's easier for you to lobby the government than to invest any money into creating a successful business. I don't understand how you people think that you should be able to have the government guarantee your success no matter how much of a lazy failure you are.

    I just don't see how such a small minority of evil rich people can live with themselves knowing that they are the sole cause of so much human suffering. They want to be rich but they don't want to do any work, they don't want to take any risks (they want "guaranteed" success), and they don't want to invest any money.

     

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  65.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: I agree with that that guy

    > This is the kind of attitude that has ruined
    > "Mainstreet America." No longer do people want
    > to spend a little extra time going to one shop
    > for bread, another for meat, another for whatever.

    Regardless of whether you approve or not, it *is* what people want. Who are you to decide for the other 6+ billion people on the planet that they can't have something because it doesn't meet your personal benchmark for some nostaligic version of the way things used to be?

     

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  66.  
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    BigKeithO, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re: Google and Foundem

    "price comparison UK" copied and pasted into Google returns Foundem as the top result on the second page, aka #10.

    I was able to confirm this.

     

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  67.  
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    BigKeithO, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Google and Foundem

    Whoops... aka #11 rather.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    And if I search for "foundem sucks" it comes up #1. ;-)

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    cKarlGo, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    I don't wonder...

    "It makes you wonder why the NY Times would allow such an OpEd to go forward."

    Because, like everything else the NYT publishes, this is lies, innuendo and simple BS.

     

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  70.  
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    nasch (profile), Dec 29th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: I agree with that that guy

    As they said in the matrix, what good are your rights to speak, if you have no mouth?

    He said what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak? That just totally ruins your whole argument. ;-)

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Re: Agree with the guy

    Have you looked at Chrome OS? Their platform for cloud computing has a number of services that Google has no stake in as part of the main applications menu. Why would it have Facebook on there--it owns Orkut after all, so where the hell is the Orkut link in the big menu?

     

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  72.  
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    Tom Erik, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 6:43am

    scarcity power

    great post

    fortunately, raff is an idiot. he compares the scarcity power of ISPs to being good at delivering search results.

    wow.

     

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  73.  
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    Celluscience, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 6:09am

    Great!

    Hi I found your site by mistake when i was searching Google for this issue, I have to say your site is really helpful I also love the theme, its amazing!. I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Sean McGrath, Sep 19th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    Not sure I agree...

    While this Op-Ed is definitely written with a conflict of interest present, the over arching point remains valid. There should be some form of regulation on arguably the most powerful and omnipresent company on the planet.

    An engine that is the source of ALL targeted traffic is simply impossible to compete with. If someone even wanted to use an alternative to google....they would have to google it!

    Surely regulation is required?

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Ameer - One That Matters, May 6th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    Thank you

    Its all a matter of choice. Regulation is needed, but at the end of the day you have the choice to use the service. Great arguments from both Peters lol.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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