Google UK PR Challenge: Amoral Menace Assertion

April 5, 2009

Short honk. Navigate the the Guardian (UK) newspaper’s online essay “Google Is Just an Amoral Menace” by Henry Potter here.You will find another example of what I call Google’s UK public relations challenge. Mr. Potter wrote:

Google presents a far greater threat to the livelihood of individuals and the future of commercial institutions important to the community. One case emerged last week when a letter from Billy Bragg, Robin Gibb and other songwriters was published in the Times explaining that Google was playing very rough with those who appeared on its subsidiary, YouTube. When the Performing Rights Society demanded more money for music videos streamed from the website, Google reacted by refusing to pay the requested 0.22p per play and took down the videos of the artists concerned.It does this with impunity because it is dominant worldwide and knows the songwriters have nowhere else to go. Google is the portal to a massive audience: you comply with its terms or feel the weight of its boot on your windpipe.

I am no wordsmith of Mr. Potter’s caliber. I am also an addled goose. It does not require a rocket scientist IQ to figure out that Mr. Potter and his publisher are annoyed with the GOOG. The only problem is that the horse—or rather the Googzilla—is out of the gate. In fact, over the last three years, Google has mellowed. Mr. Potter is clueless about Google’s newer technology. Forget the bespoke motherboards. Nope, Mr. Potter may want to pay a bit more attention to what is coming instead of looking at Google activities reasonably well stated in my 2005 and 2007 Google monographs here. His annoyance—possibly, fear-induced realization—that it is now too late to adapt to the Google-sphere reminded me of the Associated Press’s Board of Directors’ reaction to my briefing about Google opportunities. When I gave that talk, the door in my opinion was open but the established dead tree mavens chose not to see an opportunity. The dead tree crowd saw something about which it was too much effort to think. Nicely written diatribe, on the other hand.

Too late now in my opinion.

Stephen Arnold, April 5, 2009


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