Will Google’s absorption of YouTube, a merger that YouTubers in chief, “Chad and Steve” are touting as the union of two Internet “kings,” mark the beginning of a Google slow, but inevitable, fall from grace?
I have been questioning Google’s motivations and power since the Spring, at this Digital Micro-Markets Blog, when I put forth “Ten Questions for Google,” to help Google be more forthcoming in an upcoming Investor Conference Call, such as:
Do you do more to prevent click fraud in your AdSense operations than in your AdWords operations?
Will you agree to cease maintaining server records, for searches and Web sites visited, with the IP addresses and browsers associated with these actions, for searches that do not yield clicks on sponsored links?
Will you agree to operate under generally accepted standard business practices and provide prospective AdSense publishers with a meaningful, upfront commission schedule?
Will you agree to cease caching and repurposing Web pages, unless you obtain explicit permission from Web page owners to do so?
Will you amend your mission statement to accurately reflect your profit motives i.e., Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and sell ads against that information…?
From Google Checkout to Google infused QuickBooks 2007, and from click fraud to “fair use,” I have dissected Google’s moves in light of its mission to control all the world’s information, including individuals’ personal information. Below are some of my stories:
Following Google’s acquisition of YouTube, I asked “Google: Should we cheer it or fear it?” Others are wondering the same.
In “Google YouTube kingdom: benevolent or despotic?” I cite thought leader Nicholas Carr on a possible "United States vs. Google” scenario:
In contrast to IBM and Microsoft, whose fierce competitiveness made them good villains, Google seems an unlikely monopolist. It’s a happy-face company, childlike even, which has gone out of its way to portray itself as the Good Witch to Microsoft’s Bad Witch, as the Silicon Valley Skywalker to the Redmond Vader. And yet, however pure its intentions, Google already has managed to seize a remarkable degree of control over the Internet…
Should Google's dominance and power continue to grow, it would inevitably have a chilling effect on innovation and hence competition, and the public would suffer.
In “Travelocity to Google: Stop dissing multi-million dollar ad clients” I cite Google advertising customer, Travelocity Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Glueck, at his Shop.org appearance this week:
Glueck put forth a business case for why keyword-based search advertising 1) embodies the law of diminishing returns, 2) is not self-funding and 3) is not inherently “golden.”
What’s more, Glueck had a personal message to his fellow advertisers in the room, stand-up and let Google know that advertisers demand to be treated with respect! Glueck conveyed his dismay and frustration that as a multi-million dollar Google advertiser, Travelocity is not provided the transparency and respect that common courtesy and standard business practices call for.
Glueck is leading a challenge to Google: treat multi-million dollar advertisers as partners, not merely writers of large checks to Google, or risk losing million of dollars in ad business.
Glueck specifically referenced Google’s secrecy and lack of communication–such as notification of algorithm changes–which results in Travelocity and other top tier advertisers potentially losing “millions of dollars.”
In “From Google speak to YouTube speak” I cite the mainstream Fortune publication’s Adam Lashinsky on Google YouTube non-transparency:
First as a private company and now as an arm of a public company, YouTube enjoys the luxury of reporting only the statistics it chooses to. Hurley divulges neither the percentage of videos on YouTube that use copyrighted music that doesn't belong to the video creator nor the number of takedown notices YouTube receives from entertainment companies. (Under federal law, YouTube is required to remove content at the request of its rightful owners but isn't obligated to do so proactively. Google, you might recall, tells book publishers it'd be happy to exclude their books from Google's book search results - if they ask. GooTube sounds like a beautiful relationship already.) Hurley, by the way, told the FT three weeks ago they "don't have numbers" on takedown notices. He told me he knows but isn't saying. Details, details.
Google may have the world cheering next week when it announces its Q3 earnings reports, but its corporate financial successes do not negate the risks its worldwide ambitions pose.