Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blocked Sites and A Recommendation for Google

First off a confession; I like Google. I've used many of their services over the years and have found that they offer a number of useful free services along with a number of affordable business services that help small businesses. That being said Google has some explaining to do. A series of pro-Hillary or anti-Obama were blocked recently. The authors locked out unable to post and being sent an email saying that spam-bots had determined these sites were spammers. Now, Google has returned service to most of these blogs, but has yet to adequately explain itself. There are two reasons Google should provide the users explanations. First, manners. You shut someone out then you return service with no explanation it's bad form not to provide a reason. Second, rumors. The internet is rumor prone even when there are no mitigating factors. When you combine actions that appear to be intended to silence a particular group of people, with reports that Google employees are among the top Obama donators, then rumors fly. If there was no wrong doing then explain what happened, if there was wrong doing fess-up and fix it. Google has a history of being a good company, don't tarnish that record through poor communication or poor business practices.
From NYT Bits Blog

Did Google use its network of online services to silence critics of Barack Obama? That was the question buzzing on a corner of the blogosphere over the last few days, after several anti-Obama bloggers were unable to update their sites, which are hosted on Google’s Blogger service.
The bloggers in question, most of them supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and all of them opposed to Senator Obama, received a notice from Google last week saying that their sites had been identified as potential “spam” blogs. “You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog,” the Google e-mail read.

If so, that would be an embarrassment for Google. On its Web page explaining the “flag” feature, Google says that “it can’t be manipulated by angry mobs. Political dissent? Incendiary opinions? Just plain crazy? Bring it on.”

From David Brooks NYT
When you break it out by individual companies, you find that employees of Goldman Sachs gave more to Obama than workers of any other employer. The Goldman Sachs geniuses are followed by employees of the University of California, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, National Amusements, Lehman Brothers, Harvard and Google. At many of these workplaces, Obama has a three- or four-to-one fund-raising advantage over McCain.

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