How The Google Boycott Backfired Bigtime

from the what-are-they-thinking? dept

The whole Google blacklisting CNET reporters thing has taken a life of its own — to the point that there’s already media criticism of the articles about the boycott and even a sarcastic response from CNET itself to the ban. In all of this, Google has remained steadfastly “no comment.” David Krane’s repeated apologies and refusal to comment has become the standard inclusion into each of these stories. What’s amazing is how bad this is making Google look — and how they refuse to even acknowledge it. It was a bad move from the beginning, but if they just admitted it, and let it go, it would have been fine. Instead, there are now a ton of articles about how Google can’t take criticism and about how they absolutely refuse to respond to the privacy questions raised in the original story. While they claim they’re upset about the personal information being revealed — by turning this banning into a story they’ve only caused that information to be spread further.

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Comments on “How The Google Boycott Backfired Bigtime”

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Anon says:

But, consider this...

I’m not saying I agree, but there is a flip-side to the silence from Google. If they speak up now, they just fuel the story. If they say nothing, the news dies, unless someone just keeps rehashing, and rehashing, and rehashing.

Also, they could be making some amends in-house with their privacy policies. Honestly, I don’t care if they ever talk to CNet again (I never have liked them), but if they make amends to the search engine with relation to personal privacy (by excluding things like phone numbers and address data), then that is much better. Actions speak louder than words… they can remain silent all they want. If they do this, they come out in a win-win situation. If they apologize to CNet, the problem would still remain, and that’s bad PR as well.

Anons Anonymous says:

No Subject Given

I certainly think this is overhyped.
So: a ‘well-known’ reporter is not granted interviews? BIG F-ING DEAL!
It sounds more like a pompous ass wants to interview anyone he wants, whenever he wants. Sorry, but sometimes a person or a company doesn’t want to deal with a ‘reporter’ — for whatever reasons.
Hey, perhaps this ‘well-known’ reporter has already proven that he has an agenda against the company? Perhaps he has already become known for misquoting or intentionally distorting information in order to make a boring story more sellable for his own benefit.
Who knows? In the end, WHO CARES?
From what I have seen lately, there appears to be a campaign waged by some people to bash Google. (It’s all probably engineered behind the scenes by Microsoft, or Yahoo, or the ‘Bushies’, or the ‘Libbies’, or Bin Laden, or, heck: *roll-your-own*)
This is a NON story. Boring as all shlt.

thatguy says:

Re: Free Will

Google CAN and CANNOT do or say whatever they want. Boo hoo, they won’t respond to a strong stance they have made. DEAL WITH IT! If you disagree, TOO BAD!

This story is like a high school grudge between kids (which unfortunately makes it to the real world sometimes) where the “bigger man” simply drops it and doesn’t say anything anymore while the other person continues to talk shit behind their back.

Is google supposed to continue fueling the fire? What’s the point of that? Whether or not Google did anything wrong is irrelevant at this point. They made a stance (as they have the right to) and they are silently putting an end to it.

Free will… If you ask me, Google is the “adult” in this situation and all the critics, CNET, and that pompous asshole reporter need to grow up, dry their eyes, and move on.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

The point isn’t that they won’t grant interviews (that was actually a separate example, not what the original story was about… you did read past the first sentence, right?). It’s that they will not talk to an entire news organization for a year based on a single story they didn’t like. Anyway, that’s not the story we’re talking about here any more, anyway.

What we’re discussing here is how Google’s reaction MADE this a story. Otherwise it would be a non-story. That’s what makes it interesting — and surprising, since Google has been much more PR savvy… and this is giving them quite a black eye.

dave says:

Re: Re: not imho

Why would you consider a black eye a bad thing?

Google gets a chance to learn from its mistake and punishes Cnet for a year.

Google gets more free press and their PageRank increases 😛

Anyone with a google bias emotes for the company and the battle rages on.

Google will not be permanently affected by this transgression.

Anons Anonymous says:

Re: Re: overhype

Hi Mike!
Yeah, I did read more than the first sentence
“What we’re discussing here is how Google’s reaction MADE this a story.”
OK, but I don’t agree that Google’s reaction ‘MADE this a story’. The ‘story’ looks like it has been jacked all out of proportion. The anti-google cohorts have overhyped this and struggle to keep it alive, positioning it as some sort of terrible tragedy that is in the public interest. That’s complete c-r-a-p.
Like a gang of self-perceived champions of the public interest are making a mountain out of molehill so they have a story to scream and cry about, and so much the better if the ‘story’ demonizes a well-known and successful company.
I am all for freedom of the press. But sometimes too large a proportion of the press, or at least too much of the available ‘airtime’ or attention is spent on tangential nonsense like this. And quite often it is manipulated and egged-on by those with an agenda.
Google-bashing DOES serve a purpose for certain parties: there are those who are attempting (in well-financed ways) to exploit any and every advantage opened by damage done to google.
In my eyes, the press itself suffers by overhyping this and being dupes who play into the hands of anti-google interests, much more than google might suffer for whatever PR-related ‘mistakes’ it may have made.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re: overhype

>>I am all for freedom of the press. But sometimes too large a proportion of the press, or at least too much of the available ‘airtime’ or attention is spent on tangential nonsense like this. And quite often it is manipulated and egged-on by those with an agenda.< Amen. As it is, was, and ever shall be. News is only news to those who think it is, and everything that passes for news is a product of human endeavor, and nearly always with a profit or personal motive behind it.
Oh, and I’m in favor of that system – I am happy to discard the BS, rather do it myself than any great overseer or agency. Long live freedom of the press, even the crappy press.

Anons Anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unless it is TOO

OK, ‘political’ rant follows!
When I studied journalism in college, they emphasized a NON-BIASED approach. One that HONESTLY sees and presents ALL relevant points of view.
Upon that basis even the for-profit ‘news industry’ must be built if we desire to an informed public participating and defending their democratic system of government.
But when the integrity of the ‘news industry’ becomes dominated by whore-like entities like FOXNews, then we must draw the line.
We cannot tolerate too much ‘crappiness’ without endangering some very important and fundamental aspects of our society.
“Freedom to be Crappy”? Yes.
But, “Freedom to be SO irresponsibly crappy that it enters the realm of corruption”?

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Unless it is TOO

NON-BIASED approach: if possible, a wonderful and desirable thing.
FOXNews: agreed. See? we are know, don’t we? We figured it out.
realm of corruption? Yeah, corruption is bad. But this is just useless line noise.
We cannot tolerate too much ‘crappiness’ without endangering some very important and fundamental aspects of our society:
Sure we can. And most assuredly will. Safer to allow many sources to weigh in on an “issue” than have some appointed screener of “newsworthiness”, no? Yellow journalism, cheap gossip and the ilk has been with us since the invention of the printing press (nod to the Enquirer et al, you know who you are).
People are smart enough to know. They may not care, or they may even like it, but most of them know.

Bob says:


First of all, I don’t know how you could consider CNET a legitimate news organization. Buzz and gossip, maybe. But not news. Browse around the site for a bit, and after awhile you’ll come to agree.

Second, if you haven’t noticed or have been living under a rock the past few years, Google owns the news today with their news aggregator. They have no need of the likes of CNET, or anyone else for that matter. Ever wonder just how many users today rely on Google News for their daily content? You can bet Google sure does, which is why they can be as arrogant to CNET, or anyone else, as they well please.

Tangle with a bull and… well, you know what you get. Thumbing your nose at the gatekeeper is a risky affair.

The smart thing would be for CNET to apologize to Google, accept their punishment for the mistake, update company policy to prevent it from happening again, and move on.

…and pray that Google’s good graces keeps them in their aggregator.. for now.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Arrogance

Hmm. Ok. Apparently I did an awful job pointing out what the real issue was in this post, because people are responding to completely different issues.

Yes, this story is blown out of proportion — that’s THE POINT. It was Google’s reaction that made it so. If they hadn’t reacted this way, it wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

And, given Google’s history in handling the press, that’s why this is surprising. Do they have a right to do it? Sure thing. That doesn’t mean it was the right strategic move however — and the fact that this story continues to live on shows just how badly Google has handled it.

nostranonymous says:

Re: Re: Arrogance

I really don’t see how this hurts google or how it may be a “bad strategic move.” Does it hurt them because this BS issue is in the news based off of their actions? It may be headlining the news because of how they handled the situation, but I make no connection with this being negative for them.

I think it is a subtle way of saying “hey CNET, don’t screw with Google or you get shitlisted.” I think this is a new way for a young cocky company to gain repect not only from other companies, but also from the masses.

Are people out there going to stop using Google just because they were so hard on CNET and because of this hyped up article is in the headlines? My guess is no.

Google may be handling this situation differently than they have things in the past, but why does that mean it’s negative?

Change isn’t always bad.

Google’s new motto:
“Don’t be Evil, and don’t F*** with us”

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Arrogance

The reason it comes off as arrogant and a bad strategic move is that you want the press to be on your side. Right now, Google has been doing fine, so they might not need the press on their side… but it won’t always be the case. The message here isn’t “don’t screw with Google,” because most people in the press don’t think that CNET did anything wrong. The message is that Google will act childish and cut off an entire news organization if they don’t like a single, perfectly reasonable article.

I don’t quite see how this affords Google any additional respect. So far, the almost universal response has been the opposite — that it’s given Google scorn for acting as if they have the right to determine what a reporter can say about them.

No one has to agree with what the press rights about them, and no one has to respond to comments — but to make a statement cutting off an organization because of a single article you disagree with is vindicative… and that’s anything but a sign of maturity.

Mousky (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Arrogance

Yawn. This is truly becoming a boring thread. Mike, you said all this in the previous opinion piece. Why the need to repeat it all over again?

So it’s vindictive. Who gives a shit? So, Google made a mistake. Will it hurt them in the future, unlikely. I disagree that the “almost universal response has been the opposite”. Most of the articles I have seen on this topic say the same thing over and over and over. Usually there is no further analysis as to the full implications, if any, of Google’s actions. Repeating what other “news” sites have printed, hardly qualifies as a universal response. It’s summer and the news outlets are looking for filler. Google and CNET is filler. A minor issue at best.

Jack says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Arrogance

Was it retarded to post an article dealing solely with Google and information found about a google founder and not search engines in general and e.g. information found about the jounalist him/herself?

Yes, it was. Certainly not wrong – but certainly not smart either. CNET needs google so it’s very much like publishing a critical review about your boss’ business methods and expect your boos to be a nice guy about it afterwards. So happens – google isn’t such a nice guy afterall. Deal with it.

Was it retarded for google to even care about this article?

Well, yeah…

But in a month this whole thing will be forgotten and CNET will still need google and google will still be perfectly happy without CNET.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…

James Moore (user link) says:

Boycott Google Ads

Yup, Google isn’t a nice company. I used to strongly promote Google on my network of sites, and a little over a week ago they banned me from their adsense program (and I did not cheat!). I’ve started blogging this experience, at Before I learned how nasty Google is, I applied to adsense again under another Christian site of mine that has an Alexa ranking of ~25,000; it was rejected because it didn’t meet Google’s secret ‘criteria’.

me says:

Oh yeah they are anti-Christian too. Secular progressives. This is our country and Google is an instrument of the Fifth columns (traitors) they wont even honor our Holidays. Like memorial day or veterans day yet without the sacrifices of those we honor on those days these assholes wouldnt exist. Again DIE GOOGLE and all who work there.

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