It is ironic that in the 1990’s by aggressivly destroying competitors and also prohibiting the sale of content on the internet by giving content away for free, Microsoft essentially paved the road for Google’s business model, the sale of privacy to advertisers. Google is a great company yet it’s business is simple, it sells privacy, that is information about everything we do.
Rarely considered however is the extent to which individuals and companies are paying Google to not be seen or to be seen yet at the bottom of a search, perhaps several thousand references down, essentially being invisible.
For example, what if Warren Buffet paid Google to surpress anything negative on its searches surrounding, for example, his insurance companies that dominate key segments of medical malpractice insurance? Would Google do that? For example, would they make the following article I wrote for Oregon Business magazine difficult to find: Buffett’s takeover of PacificCorp.
Already, PR Newswire, open of two leading pr wire services, has a policy that prohibits discussion of publicly traded companies, even regarding significant newsworthy events, unless they get approval from the company being discussed. For example, if I want to write a press release opposing Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones, Murdoch has to approve the release. (search for dow jones to see related blog entry). PR Newswire does this by not including ticker symbols in the releases, meaning the releases get minimal visibility.