Feeds

Google in Sicko storm

'Advertising is democracy'

High performance access to file storage

"Fire the publicist. Go off message. Let all your employees blab and blog!" fantasised the writer Clive Thompson in a recent Wired magazine cover story.

"The name of this new game is RADICAL TRANSPARENCY, and it's sweeping boardrooms across the nation," burbled the mag.

But the perils of allowing employees to "blab and blog!" were splendidly illustrated over the weekend by Google.

"Does negative press make you Sicko?" asked Google health account planner Lauren Turner. She was referring to the new documentary by left wing demagogue Michael Moore about the US health provision.

Turner used the corporate blog to condemn his use of "isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst". Why couldn't the media concentrate on the positive aspects of the system such as 44m uninsured Americans er, "the industry's numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts."

This segues neatly into a plug for Google's core business, as she goes on to explain:

Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through "Get the Facts" or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek.

Wired's "radical transparency" - keep blabbing

Not surprisingly, Google's intervention on behalf of the healthcare giants caused an uproar.

"Google might want to consider changing their motto to 'We pander to anyone that can pay'", wrote one Slashdot poster.

Yesterday, Turner followed up with an explanation, but seemed to ignore the unwritten rule of old-school PR disaster management: When you're in a hole, stop blabbing.

Her opinion of Mr Moore's jolly unfair movie was entirely personal, she said, and Google "probably" doesn't have a position.

But nevertheless: "Advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue," she urged.

Now advertising may be many things - but "democratic" isn't a word that readily comes to mind.

This piece of "radical transparency" has served two purposes, neither of which particularly helps Google. Firstly, it reminds everyone that Google is an advertising company. It is, but it goes to extraordinary lengths to persuade us it isn't. Secondly, it again shows a rather weird relationship with "democracy" (you'll recall how it marketed its PageRank™ as harnessing the "uniquely democratic nature of the web" - too bad if you're not on it).

Only among the simple minded, or truly brainwashed, can Google's highest-bidder-wins advertising auction be uttered in the same breath as one person, one vote democracy.

Perhaps it's time to re-hire that publicist. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.