I find it odd that in his retraction he says that the whole thing was brought on by his frustration with the frustation of his readers at the window between when the physical book was published and when the kindle version arrived. In the very next paragraph he then goes on to say that this window is exactly what publishers need to create. Um.
So, this is how I understand the timeline. Readers complain. Instead of addressing their issue (kindle delay) suggest that e-books should be 50% more expensive and that readers are spoiled brats. Readers complain. Admit that last idea (price increase, dumb readers) was maybe wrong, the fix is to add kindle delay. What?
I strongly agree with you! I think that if actual numbers were known in offline media, they'd see how off they were. Look at the grassroots campaigns for shows like Jericho or Party of Five (did I just date myself?) to see how whole audiences are ignored.
The thing is advertisers know this but they don't care - as long as everyone believes the same lie. The problem with the web is that there's too many different lies (although there is just also a dash of truth) - so people are looking around for the one they're going to pick. Auditors want to be the chosen one and publishers want the one that will make them look best. We'll see who takes the gold. :)
Yeah, that sounds like it will really work! Amazon tried something similar, I'd say less harebrained, by offering that pi discount if you used A9, but there the search was right on the page and you got a personal (if minor) benefit for using it. That didn't work and this scheme seems even less credible.
Sadly, techdirt hit the nail on the head - making an actually good sesarch is the solution not tricks to get people to use your existing one.
I've been blogging a little bit about this recently. I think there's a bunch of meme's running around that relate, frustration with the black boxness of the search engines, frustration at the power of google, now a little hooplah around the questionable, but hopeful search engines from wikia and wikiseek.
In the end if google believes that it needs to keep it's algorithms secret for competitive reasons or as a security measure against seo hackers, which are legitimate, I think.. I don't know how much things can change. Maybe if one or more legitimate competitors in the search space arise, there'd be at little more diversification of SEO risk.