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."

Filed Under: journalism, neutrality, oped, search engines
Companies: foundem, google, ny times

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 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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