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Google Lynch Mob; Enough Already!

This year seems to be off to a rough start for Google. They’ve stubbed their corporate toe a few times, and at a particularly bad time, given the extra attention the FTC seems to be directing their way.

Now before anyone labels me a Google Fan-Boi, let me clear something up. I don’t think the sun rises and sets in Mountain View, and I don’t think the Google Collective is above a little self-serving activity at our expense. Regardless of what overall opinion I might have of them or any other entity, though, I tend to try to look at things from both sides and be as fair as possible, on a case-by-case basis.

And this most recent Mocality fiasco in Kenya, while certainly embarrassing for Google, is even more embarrassing for those that are so quick to grab a torch and a rope as they blend into the screaming mob.

Angry Google Mob

Certainly, this was an occurrence that should have been reported. But while a few simply reported the event, many seemed to revel in shaking their finger at Google, and implying that that was simply more evidence of what they’ve been saying all along”¦ that Google is EVIL.


Let’s try to be objective, okay?

First of all, Google is a business. On top of that, they’re a corporation with stockholders. That means it not only behooves management to do all that is reasonably (and legally) possible to improve the value of the shareholders’ stock, they are legally required to do so. So any prejudice you may hold against them for their size, influence or income level is quite possibly unfair, to begin with. You might want to consider that before you try to use Mocality as an opportunity to exact punishment for other wrongs, real or imagined.

Second, if you’re able to maintain an objective viewpoint, you should be willing to admit that they truly do go out of their way to be fair in how punishment is meted out, as well as to whom. Case in point: their self-penalization stemming from the recent so-called link-buying“ on behalf of the Chrome browser. An incident that was totally out of their control, and implemented by others, by the way. And that’s not the first time they’ve displayed even-handedness in dealing with penalties.

Back to the Kenya dealings”¦ while you may harbor a sense of distrust of any corporation as large as Google, or be inclined to wear a tinfoil cap when entering a search query, do you honestly believe that the upper management of Google is a bunch of morons? Any ten year old kid would be smart enough to know that what was done with the Mocality database and its users was tantamount to donning a sandwich board with front and back confessions. Sorry, folks, but as we say back home, that dog don’t hunt!

If you feel that Google is hell-bent on world domination, then by all means, fear them, hate them or avoid them. If you think mind control is on their agenda, then run out and stock up on aluminum foil. But at least have the good sense to condemn them with real evidence. Use your critical thinking skills!

Google witch hunt
(source Barry Adams)


Be careful what you ask for

Corporations are comprised of people. And unfortunately, some of those people may shoplift, beat their wives, download porn or cheat on their taxes. Others may be greedy, malicious or stupid. That doesn’t make the corporation a wife-beater, tax cheat or stupid. It may mean, however, that someone made a poor hiring decision, failed to recognize potential character flaws or wasn’t involved enough in a subordinate’s business activities.

I suggest everybody put away their ropes and torches, and concern themselves with this question:

Do you really want the Federal Trade Commission or worse, the US Congress, deciding how your search results should be structured? I have no problem with penalties for illegal and immoral activities. Pass them and enforce them! But I DO have a problem with any industry being forcibly micro-managed by a body that has NO understanding of that industry”¦ especially when that body (or its parent, sibling and offspring bodies) have consistently proven themselves incapable of even managing their own realm.

Every blog post and article published that implies or downright states that Google is abusing its power or deliberately thumbing its nose at its users, its clients or the government just adds fuel to the fire. Before we do that, I think it’s wise to consider whether we really want that fire or not.



  1. Glenn Ferrell January 16, 2012

    Hear hear ! Last year (and unfortunately this year) seems like the “year of the mob.” Your same argument could be made to the “Occupy Wallstreet” contingent. What mobs do best is make broad generalizations about the groups they want to demonize, cheered on by politicians who are glad the negative attention is on someone else for a change.

    People are understandably upset that, for more complex reasons than most of us can understand, we are in a recession, times are hard and jobs are scarce. And there really are criminals (both inside and outside of large organizations) and those folks should be brought to justice.

    But to complain because companies act in the interest of their shareholders is, when you think about it, a little strange. Especially since the retirement of a large portion of the US population depends upon, at the very least, their ownership of funds which in turn own those very companies.

    So, I think it’s okay to be pissed that the life boats aren’t here yet. Let’s just not be pissed off enough that we burn the lifeboats.

  2. Barry January 16, 2012

    Sorry Doc, gonna have to disagree with you on this one. For every member of the lynch-mob there are at least half a dozen braindead fanboys who just swallow whatever Google says wholesale without ever applying an ounce of critical thinking.

    In fact, these fanboys – Cuttzombies you might call them – truly and genuinely believe that Google is this happy-jolly-world-improvement company that has the betterment of humankind as its highest goal. See for example [url=]this Google+ post[/url] and the endless adoration heaped upon the big G in the comments. There are way too many of those sorts of folks out there.

    So that’s why we [b]need[/b] the lynch-mob. That’s why the critics [b]need[/b] to be all the louder, so that hopefully in the end common sense might prevail and Google will be seen for what it really is – a capitalist corporation with profit-maximisation as its core focus.

    Also, your distrust of government betrays your American education. It’s not government that is the problem – it’s the corporate influence on government that is, in my view, the root of all evil. Government generally speaking means well. It’s just that without corporate approval (read: campaign funding), government can’t get anything done.

  3. Mel Nelson January 17, 2012

    Sorry Barry but I have to take issue with you regarding the idea that Government generally seaking means well. IMO Government (and here I am talking about the US government) , is run mostly on the basis of “what is good for politicians is good for the country”. Granted sometimes they get things right, but I have my suspicions whether that is because it is the right thing to do or because it will be perceived as doing the right thing and that will result in more votes.
    Google certainly is not squeaky clean, and by and large they do what is best for Google. In many cases that happens to be what is best for the public too, and they will let us know about that.

  4. SteveG January 18, 2012

    Intentional or not, people working for them are doing harm. If one of us had someone working for us go out and buy links, or make a 10,000 XRummer profile run, Google would not be very forgiving. They would trash the site doing it with zero recourse for the person affected.

    We aren’t given a free pass by saying, oops, someone else did it, and as the holder of the keys to the internet, they shouldn’t get to either. It shows a basic lack of training and culture on their part that these things even happen in their name.

  5. Doc January 19, 2012

    [quote name=”Glenn Ferrell”]

    So, I think it’s okay to be pissed that the life boats aren’t here yet. Let’s just not be pissed off enough that we burn the lifeboats.[/quote]

    Thanks, Glenn. That’s essentially my point. Taking a critical look at what happened and why, as well as what is done to prevent a recurrence, should play into our final evaluation. Yeah, there was a screw-up, every company has them. I think the best criteria for evaluation is what they do to rectify it.

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