One of Dave’s most popular posts that was ever written was the expose’ on Facebook titled Trust and the Trillion Dollar Brain. It was all about how invasive Facebook’s technologies were and how your identity had become essentially the property of Mark Zuckerberg. Well, it looks like Google’s experiencing the other side of the trust account with their latest campaign to promote one of Dave’s favorite company’s King Arthur Flour.
Basically, here’s how the story goes. Richard Rosenblatt of Demand Media decides he wants to take advantage of Google’s search engine so he goes out and hires a bunch of people to write articles. Richard pays them say $30 to write an article titled “How to repair your hot water heater” and then publishes a web page that games Googles search engine into publishing the page. This makes Richard money because he can sell advertising based on the traffic that the page receives. Pretty smart, no?
Well, Google didn’t like that so they went out and changed their search algorithm and their policy to smoke out guys like Richard, but not before Richard managed to sell his company through a initial public offering and cash in big time. It didn’t turn out so great for his investors. Dave has actually been considering buying some of Richard’s company because these businesses aren’t that easy to build and now that the real value of he company’s model is on display, Dave thinks it just might be worth something (Talk to your financial advisor before investing – Dave is not one).
Everything was going fine for Google as they not only drove Richard’s page views into the ground quicker than his stock chart, but they also invoked their own hands-on defacto rulings over paid bloggers. Think of them as people like Dave who rather than trading his ideas for free, actually get paid to talk about things. For example, if Richard Rosenblatt was paying me to hype his stock to get people to buy it that would be paid blogging. Google was holding themselves to a higher standard because if there’s one thing that’s really important to Larry Page it’s that you trust Google. Google attempts to be more than anything else, a trust account for your information. That’s something that Eric Schmidt seemed to fail to understand. Eric thought it was more of a laundromat for your information… where after washing your clothing Google could sell of the wastewater for analysis purposes of determining exactly where you’ve been, what you did and most importantly what you’ll most likely be doing tomorrow.
So what’s all the fuss about red herrings and red-handedness. Well, it seems like the latest grist for the technology flour mill is that while trying to execute on a campaign for King Arthur Flour (disclaimer: Dave is involved in a business that sells products exclusively made from King Arthur Flour and Dave is not being paid for this endorsement) stepped over the “creepy line” established by Eric Schmidt during his reign over the Google Kingdom. You see Google broke their own rule for their Chrome Browser by paying people to promote it. The people that they paid, evidently, were not supposed to promote the Chrome browser… but they did. Just like Dave is promoting Demand Media’s Stock and King Arthur’s Flour to Dave’s roundtable of 70,000 readers per month. You caught me.
What do the folks that got caught red handed getting paid by Google while promising not to promote Google have to say about all this? It’s simple. It’s a red herring. Not sure what a red herring is exactly? Google it… maybe one of Richard Rosenblatt’s paid bloggers has written an article about it. Dave’s best guess is you will see a recipe page for making your own red herring with an adjoining advertisement for spreadable herring from William’s and Sonoma. Like Eric implied… Google knows what your thinking before you can even think it.
The U.K’s Guardian asks if Google will ban itself for the infraction: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/03/google-ban-browser-index