YouTube and Click Fraud: A Warning Light Flashing?

September 13, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I spotted a link to a 16 minute YouTube long form, old-fashioned video from Lon.TV titled YouTube Invalid Traffic. The person who does Lon.TV usually reviews gadgets, but this video identifies a demonetization procedure apparently used by the non-monopoly Google. (Of course, I believe Google’s assertion that almost everyone uses Google because it is just better.)

9 13 bogus explanation

The creator reads an explanation of an administrative action and says, “What does this mean?” Would a non-monopoly provide a non explanation? Probably a non not. Thanks, MidJourney, the quality continues to slip. Great work.

Lon.TV explains that the channel received a notice of fraudulent clicks. The “fix”, which YouTube seems to implement unilaterally and without warning, decreases a YouTuber’s income. The normal Google “help” process results in words which do not explain the details of the Google-identified problem.

Click fraud has been a tricky issue for ad-supported Google for many years. About a decade ago, a conference organizer wanted me to do a talk about click fraud, a topic I did not address in my three Google monographs. The reports for a commercial company footing the bill for my research did get information about click fraud. My attorney at the time (may he rest in peace) advised me to omit that information from the monographs published by a now defunct publisher in the UK. I am no legal eagle, but I do listen to them, particularly when it costs me several hundred dollars an hour.

Click fraud is pretty simple. One can have a human click on a link.l If one is serious, one can enlist a bunch of humans using an ad in A more enterprising click fraud player would write a script and blast through a target’s ad budget, rack up lots of popularity points, or make a so-so video into the hottest sauce pan on the camp fire.

Lon.TV’s point is that most of his site’s traffic originates from Google searches. A person looking for a camera review runs a query on Google. The Google results point to a Lon.TV video. The person clicks on the Google generated link, and the video plays. The non-monopoly explains, as I understand it, that the fraudulent clicks are the fault of the YouTuber. So, the bad actor is the gadget guy at Lon.TV.

I think there is some useful information or signals in this video. I shall share my observations:

  1. Click fraud, based on my research a decade ago, was indeed a problem for the non-monopoly. In fact, the estimable company was trying to figure out how to identify fraudulent clicks and block them. The work was not a path to glory, so turnover often plagued those charged with stamping out click fraud. Plus, the problem was “hard.” Simple fixes like identifying lots of clicks in a short time were easily circumvented. More sophisticated ones like figuring out blocks of IP addresses responsible for lots of time spaced clicks were okay until the fraudsters figured out another approach. Thus, cat-and-mouse games began.
  2. The entire point of is to attract traffic. Therefore, it is important to recognize what is a valid new trend like videos of females wearing transparent clothing is recognized and clicks on dull stuff like streaming videos of a view of an erupting volcano are less magnetic. With more clicks, many algorithmic beavers jump in the river. More clicks means more ads pushed. The more ads pushed means more clicks on those ads and, hence, more money. It does not take much thought to figure out that a tension exists between lots of clicks Googlers and block those clicks Googlers. In short, progress is slow and money generation wins.
  3. TikTok has caused Google to undermine its long form videos to deal with the threat of the China-linked competitor. The result has been an erosion of clicks because one cannot inject as many ads into short videos as big boy videos. Oh, oh. Revenue gradient decline. Bad. Quick fix. Legitimize keeping more ad revenue? Would a non monopoly do that?
  4. The signals emitted by Lon.TV indicate that Google’s policy identified by the gadget guy is to blame the creator. Like many of Google’s psycho-cognitive methods used to shift blame, the hapless creator is punished for the alleged false clicks. The tactic works well because what’s the creator supposed to do? Explain the problem in a video which is not pushed?

Net net: Click fraud is a perfect cover to demonetized certain videos. What happens to the ad money? Does Google return it to the advertiser? Does Google keep it? Does Google credit the money back to the advertiser’s account and add a modest “handling fee”? I don’t know, and I am pretty sure the Lon.TV fellow does not either. Furthermore, I am not sure Google “knows” what its different units are doing about click fraud. What’s a non-monopoly supposed to do? I think the answer is, “Make money.” More of these methods are likely to surface in the future.

Stephen E Arnold, September 13, 2023

Google: An Ad Crisis Looms from the Cancer of Short Videos

September 7, 2023

The weird orange newspaper ran a story which I found important. To read the article, you will need to pony up cash; I suggest you consider doing that. I want to highlight a couple of key points in the news story and offer a couple of observations.

9 3 sick ads

An online advertising expert looks out his hospital window and asks, “I wonder if the cancer in my liver will be cured before the cancer is removed from my employer’s corporate body?” The answer may be, “Liver cancer can be has a five year survival rate between 13 to 43 percent (give or take a few percentage points).” Will the patient get back to Foosball and off-site meetings? Is that computer capable of displaying TikTok videos? Thanks, Mother MJ. No annoying red appeal this banners today.

The article “Shorts Risks Cannibalising Core YouTube Business, Say Senior Staff” contains an interesting (although one must take with a dollop of mustard and some Dead Sea salt):

Recent YouTube strategy meetings have discussed the risk that long-form videos, which produce more revenue for the company, are “dying out” as a format, according to these people.

I am suspicious of quotes from “these people.” Nevertheless, let’s assume that the concern at the Google is real like news from “these people.”

The idea is that Google has been asleep at the switch as TikTok (the China linked short video service) became a go-to destination for people seeking information. Yep, some young people search TikTok for information, not just tips on self-harm and body dysmorphia. Google’s reaction was slow and predictable: Me too me too me too. Thus, Google rolled out “Shorts,” a TikTok clone and began pushing it to its YouTube faithful.

The party was rolling along until “these people” sat down and looked at viewing time for longer videos and the ad revenue from shorter videos. Another red alert siren began spinning up.

The orange newspaper story asserted:

In October last year, YouTube reported its first-ever quarterly decline in ad revenue since the company started giving its performance separately in 2020. In the following two quarters, the platform reported further falls compared with the same periods the previous year.

With a decline in longer videos, the Google cannot insert as many ads. If people watch shorter videos, Google has reduced ad opportunities. Although Google would love to pump ads into 30 second videos, viewers (users) might decide to feed their habit elsewhere. And where one may ask? How about TikTok or the would be cage fighter’s Meta service?

Several observations:

  1. Any decline in ad revenue is a force multiplier at the Google. The costs of running the outfit are difficult to control. Google has not been the best outfit in the world in creating new, non ad revenue streams in the last 25 years. That original pay-to-play inspiration has had legs, but with age, knees and hips wear out. Googzilla is not as spry as it used to be and its bright idea department has not found sustainable new revenue able to make up for a decline in traditional Google ad revenue… yet.
  2. The cost of video is tough to weasel out of Google’s financial statements. The murky “cloud” makes it easy to shift some costs to the enabler of the magical artificial intelligence push at the company. In reality, video is a black hole of costs. Storage, bandwidth, legal compliance, creator hassles, and overhead translate to more ads. Long videos are one place to put ads every few minutes. But when the videos are short like those cutting shapes dance lessons, the “short” is a killer proposition.
  3. YouTube is a big deal. Depending on whose silly traffic estimates one believes, YouTube is as big a fish in terms of eyeballs as search. Google search is under fire from numerous directions. Prabhakar Raghavan has not mounted much of a defense to the criticisms directed at Google search’s genuine inability to deliver relevant search results. Now the YouTube ad money flow is drying up like streams near Moab.

Net net: YouTube has become a golden goose. But short videos are a cancer and who can make fois gras out of a cancerous liver?

Stephen E Arnold, September 7, 2023

An Existential Question: When Everything Is Advertising, What Is Advertising?

August 21, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

A goldfish in a fish bowl lives in a constrained environment. Most fish — with the exception of the fish able to climb out of the water and draw a bead on a French bulldog — stay in the fish bowl. In a world in which information flows in streams, waves, and geysers, what constitutes advertising.

8 21 fish in bowl

The fish understands only that the bowl defines the world. The outside-the-bowl world is not well understood. What does this say about the fish? What if an advertising professional does not understand the world outside of the ad deal? How much can the fish or the advertising professional be able to understand? Thanks for the fish, MidJourney.

The LinkedIn user promoting one’s past achievements in order to get a job is advertising in my book. The local bar providing data to Google Local is advertising. The posts on BlueSky, Threads, and X are advertising as well. For example, search for #osint on and you see posts similar to this one:


The Cyber Detective is advertising expertise in performing or advising individuals about reverse face image look ups. Why? Presumably it is to advertise the skill and knowledge of the individual. I believe if that anonymous Cyber Detective were asked, “Why are you posting high value information for free?” the answer might be a statement like this: “I want to help the community.” I accept this rationalization, but I recall a college lecture about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the top was something to do with the “self.” Therefore, the do-good argument is secondary to the action for the benefit of the person doing the posting.

Made-for-Advertising Sites Lack a Clear Definition, Causing Confusion among the Advertising Industry” makes clear that those who are advertising professionals are struggling to define advertising in a world which is chock full of messaging, self-promotions, influencer TikToks which Amazon is desperate to add to its shopping service, and the old chestnut, the LinkedIn post with the little phrase “OpenToWork.”

The article explains:

Marketers say they’re concerned about made-for-advertising (MFA) sites, but the industry lacks a clear consensus on what an MFA actually is. Consider this response when Digiday asked one media buyer for their stance on including MFAs in clients’ programmatic campaigns: “My mind immediately goes to clickbait. Am I using that in the right context?”

I interpret this as an signal that the world is essentially advertising. Consider advertising in an environment increasingly populated by messages generated by smart software (AI). Are these messages non-advertising? Certainly not. A person instructed a system to generate messages presumably to cause a change in thought or action. When we consider the motive of self-interest, the blurring of “factual” with “marketing” is understandable.

Consider this statement about the Web sites which exist to accept advertising. The quote allegedly is from Chris Kane, founder of Jounce Media. (“Jounce” means to move in an up-and-down manner. Link to definition.) He states:

“It’s all about the advertising experience. If the advertising experience is ridiculous, that’s made-for-advertising.

Okay, I think I understand.

Do advertisers know that everything is now advertising? Apparently not. Is YouTube now made for advertising? Is made for advertising? Is made for advertising? I get the advertising angle. I am worrying about the weaponizing of information on a global scale.

Stephen E Arnold, August 21, 2023

Google Mandiant on Influence Campaigns: Hey, They Do Not Work Very Well

August 18, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

AI Use Rising in Influence Campaigns Online, But Impact Limited – US Cyber Firm” is a remarkable report for three reasons: [a] The write up does not question why the report was generated at this time, the dead of summer. [b] What methods were used to determine that online “manipulative information campaigns” were less than effective, and [c] What data substantiate that the “problem” will get “bigger over time”.

8 18 lecturer

The speaker says, “Online information campaigns do not work too well. Nevertheless, you should use them because it generates money. And money, as you know, is the ultimate good.” MidJourney did a C job of rendering a speaker with whom the audience disagrees.

Frankly I view this type of cyber security report as a public relations and marketing exercise. Why would a dinobaby like me view this information generated by the leader in online information finding, pointing, and distributing as specious? One reason is that paid advertising is a version of “manipulative information campaigns.” Therefore, the report suggests that Google’s online advertising business is less effective than Google has for 20 years explained as an effective way to generate leads and sales.

Second, I am skeptical about dismissing the impact of online manipulative information campaigns as a poor way to cause a desired thought or action. Sweden has set up a government agency to thwart anti-Sweden online information. Nation states continue to use social media, state controlled or state funded online newsletters to output information specifically designed to foster a specific type of behavior. Examples range from self harm messaging to videos about the perils of allowing people to vote in a fair election.

Third, the problem is a significant one. Amazon has a fake review problem. The solution may be to allow poorly understood algorithms to generate “reviews.” Data about the inherent bias and the ability of developers of smart software to steer results are abundant. Let me give an example. Navigate to MidJourney and ask for an image of a school building on fire. The system will not generate the image. This decision is based on inputs from humans who want to keep the smart software generating “good” images. Google’s own capabilities to block certain types of medical information illustrate the knobs and dials available to a small group of high technology companies which are alleged monopolies.

Do I believe the Google Mandiant information? Maybe some. But there are two interesting facets of this report which I want to highlight.

The first is that the Mandiant information undercuts what Google has suggested is the benefit of its online advertising business; that is, it works. Mandiant’s report seems to say, “Well, not too well.”

The second is that the article cited is from Thomson Reuters. The “trust principles” phrase appears on the story. Nevertheless ignores the likelihood that the Mandiant study is probably a fairly bad PR effort. Yep, trust. Not so much for this dinobaby.

Stephen E Arnold, August 18, 2023

Research: A Suspicious Activity and Deserving of a Big Blinking X?

August 2, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

The Stanford president does it. The Harvard ethics professor does it. Many journal paper authors do it. Why can’t those probing the innards of the company formerly known as Twatter do it?

I suppose those researchers can. The response to research one doesn’t accept can be a simple, “The data processes require review.” But no, no, no. The response elicited from the Twatter is presented in “X Sues Hate Speech Researchers Whose Scare Campaign Spooked Twitter Advertisers.” The headline is loaded with delicious weaponized words in my opinion; for instance, the ever popular “hate speech”, the phrase “scare campaign,” and “spooked.”

8 2 audience concerned

MidJourney, after some coaxing, spit out a frightened audience of past, present, and potential Twatter advertisers. I am not sure the smart software captured the reality of an advertiser faced with some brand-injuring information.

Wording aside, the totally objective real news write up reports:

X Corp sued a nonprofit, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), for allegedly “actively working to assert false and misleading claims” regarding spiking levels of hate speech on X and successfully “encouraging advertisers to pause investment on the platform,” Twitter’s blog said.

I found this statement interesting:

X is alleging that CCDH is being secretly funded by foreign governments and X competitors to lob this attack on the platform, as well as claiming that CCDH is actively working to censor opposing viewpoints on the platform. Here, X is echoing statements of US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who accused the CCDH of being a “foreign dark money group” in 2021—following a CCDH report on 12 social media accounts responsible for 65 percent of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, Fox Business reported.

Imagine. The Musker questioning research.

Exactly what is “accurate” today? One could query the Stanford president, the Harvard ethicist, Mr. Musk, or the executives of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Wow. That sounds like work, probably as daunting as reviewing the methodology used for the report.

My moral and ethical compass is squarely tracking lunch today. No attorneys invited. No litigation necessary if my soup is cold. I will be dining in a location far from the spot once dominated by a quite beefy, blinking letter signifying Twatter. You know. I think I misspelled “tweeter.” I will fix it soon. Sorry.

Stephen E Arnold, August 2, 2023

Google: Users and Its Ad Construction

June 28, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

In the last 48 hours, I have heard or learned about some fresh opinions about Alphabet / Google / YouTube (hereinafter AGY). Google Glass III (don’t forget the commercial version, please) has been killed. Augmented Reality? Not for the Google. Also, AGY continues to output promises about its next Bard. Is it really better than ChatGPT? And AGY is back in the games business. (Keep in mind that Google pitched Yahoo with a games deal in 2004 if I remember correctly and then flamed out with its underwhelming online game play a decade later which was followed by the somewhat forgettable Stadia game service. ) Finally, a person told me that Prabhakar Raghavan allegedly said, “We want our customers to be happy.” Inspirational indeed. I think I hit the highlights from the information I encountered since Monday, June 25, 2023.

6 28 bad foundation

The ever sensitive creator MidJourney provided this illustration of a structure with a questionable foundation. Could the construct lose a piece here and piece there until it must be dismantled to save the snail darters living in the dormers? Are the residents aware of the issue?

The fountain of Googliness seems to be copious. I read “Google Ads Can Do More for Its Customers.” The main point of the article is that:

Google’s dominance in the search engine industry, particularly in search ads, is unparalleled, making it virtually the only viable option for advertisers seeking to target search traffic. It’s a conflict of interest, as Google’s profitability is closely tied to ad revenue. As Google doesn’t do enough to make Google Ads a more transparent platform and reduce the cost for its customers, advertisers face inflated costs and fierce competition, making it challenging for smaller businesses with limited budgets to compete effectively.

Gulp. If I understand this statement, Google is exploiting its customers. Remember. These are the entities providing the money to fund AGY’s numerous administrative costs. These are going just one way: Up and up. Imagine the data center, legal fines, and litigation costs. Big numbers before adding in salaries and bonuses.


  1. Structural weakness can be ignored until the edifice just collapses.
  2. Unhappy customers might want to drop by for a conversation and the additional weight of these humanoids may cross a tipping point.
  3. US regulators may ignore AGY, but government officials in other countries may not.

Bud Light’s adventures with its customers provide a useful glimpse of that those who are unhappy can do and do quickly. The former Bud Light marketing whiz has a degree from Harvard. Perhaps this individual can tackle the AGY brand? Just a thought.

Stephen E Arnold, June 28, 2023

Canada Bill C-18 Delivers a Victory: How Long Will the Triumph Pay Off in Cash Money?

June 23, 2023

News outlets make or made most of their money selling advertising. The idea was — when I worked at a couple of big news publishing companies — the audience for the content would attract those who wanted to reach the audience. I worked at the Courier-Journal & Louisville Times Co. before it dissolved into a Gannett marvel. If a used car dealer wanted to sell a 1980 Corvette, the choice was the newspaper or a free ad in what was called AutoTrader. This was a localized, printed collection of autos for sale. Some dealers advertised, but in the 1980s, individuals looking for a cheap or free way to pitch a vehicle loved AutoTrader. Despite a free option, the size of the readership and the sports news, comics, and obituaries made the Courier-Journal the must-have for a motivated seller.

6 23 cannae

Hannibal and his war elephant Zuckster survey the field of battle after Bill C-18 passes. MidJourney was the digital wonder responsible for this confection.

When I worked at the Ziffer in Manhattan, we published Computer Shopper. The biggest Computer Shopper had about 800 pages. It could have been bigger, but there were paper and press constraints If I recall correctly. But I smile when I remember that 85 percent of those pages were paid advertisements. We had an audience, and those in the burgeoning computer and software business wanted to reach our audience. How many Ziffers remember the way publishing used to work?

When I read the National Post article titled “Meta Says It’s Blocking News on Facebook, Instagram after Government Passes Online News Bill,” I thought about the Battle of Cannae. The Romans had the troops, the weapons, and the psychological advantage. But Hannibal showed up and, if historical records are as accurate as a tweet, killed Romans and mercenaries. I think it may have been estimated that Roman whiz kids lost 40,000 troops and 5,000 cavalry along with the Roman strategic wizards Paulus, Servilius, and Atilius.

My hunch is that those who survived paid with labor or money to be allowed to survive. Being a slave in peak Rome was a dicey gig. Having a fungible skill like painting zowie murals was good. Having minimal skills? Well, someone has to work for nothing in the fields or quarries.

What’s the connection? The publishers are similar to the Roman generals. The bad guys are the digital rebels who are like Hannibal and his followers.

Back to the cited National Post article:

After the Senate passed the Online News Act Thursday, Meta confirmed it will remove news content from Facebook and Instagram for all Canadian users, but it remained unclear whether Google would follow suit for its platforms.  The act, which was known as Bill C-18, is designed to force Google and Facebook to share revenues with publishers for news stories that appear on their platforms. By removing news altogether, companies would be exempt from the legislation.

The idea is that US online services which touch most online users (maybe 90 or 95 percent in North America) will block news content. This means:

  1. Cash gushers from Facebook- and Google-type companies will not pay for news content. (This has some interesting downstream consequences but for this short essay, I want to focus on the “not paying” for news.)
  2. The publishers will experience a decline in traffic. Why? Without a “finding and pointing” mechanism, how would I find this “real news” article published by the National Post. (FYI: I think of this newspaper as Canada’s USAToday, which was a Gannett crown jewel. How is that working out for Gannett today?)
  3. Rome triumphed only to fizzle out again. And Hannibal? He’s remembered for the elephants-through-the-Alps trick. Are man’s efforts ultimately futile?

What happens if one considers, the clicks will stop accruing to the publishers’ Web sites. How will the publishers generate traffic? SEO. Yeah, good luck with that.

Is there an alternative?

Yes, buy Facebook and Google advertising. I call this pay to play.

The Canadian news outlets will have to pay for traffic. I suppose companies like Tyler Technologies, which has an office in Vancouver I think, could sell ads for the National Post’s stories, but that seems to be a stretch. Similarly the National Post could buy ads on the Embroidery Classics & Promotions (Calgary) Web site, but that may not produce too many clicks for the Canadian news outfits. I estimate one or two a month.

Bill C-18 may not have the desired effect. Facebook and Facebook-type outfits will want to sell advertising to the Canadian publishers in my opinion. And without high-impact, consistent and relevant online advertising, state-of-art marketing, and juicy content, the publishers may find themselves either impaled on their digital hopes or placed in servitude to the Zuck and his fellow travelers.

Are these publishers able to pony up the cash and make the appropriate decisions to generate revenues like the good old days?

Sure, there’s a chance.

But it’s a long shot. I estimate the chances as similar to King Charles’ horse winning the 2024 King George V Stakes race in 2024; that is, 18 to 1. But Desert Hero pulled it off. Who is rooting for the Canadian publishers?

Stephen E Arnold, June 23, 2023

News Flash about SEO: Just 20 Years Too Late but, Hey, Who Pays Attention?

June 21, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read an article which would have been news a couple of decades ago. But I am a dinobaby (please, see anigif bouncing in an annoying manner) and I am hopelessly out of touch with what “real news” is.

6 16 unhappy woman

An entrepreneur who just learned that in order to get traffic to her business Web site, she will have to spend big bucks and do search engine optimization, make YouTube videos (long and short), and follow Google’s implicit and explicit rules. Sad, MBA, I believe. The Moping Mistress of the Universe is a construct generated by the ever-innovative MidJourney and its delightful Discord interface.

The write up catching my attention is — hang on to your latte — “A Storefront for Robots: The SEO Arms Race Has Left Google and the Web Drowning in Garbage Text, with Customers and Businesses Flailing to Find Each Other.” I wondered if the word “flailing” is a typographic error or misspelling of “failing.” Failing strikes me as a more applicable word.

The thesis of the write up is that the destruction of precision and recall as useful for relevant online search and retrieval is not part of the Google game plan.

The write up asserts:

The result is SEO chum produced at scale, faster and cheaper than ever before. The internet looks the way it does largely to feed an ever-changing, opaque Google Search algorithm. Now, as the company itself builds AI search bots, the business as it stands is poised to eat itself.

Ah, ha. Garbage in, garbage out! Brilliant. The write up is about 4,000 words and makes clear that ecommerce requires generating baloney for Google.

To sum up, if you want traffic, do search engine optimization. The problem with the write up is that it is incorrect.

Let me explain. Navigate to “Google Earned $10 Million by Allowing Misleading Anti-Abortion Ads from Fake Clinics, Report Says.” What’s the point of this report? The answer is, “Google ads.” And money from a controversial group of supporters and detractors. Yes! An arms race of advertising.

Of course, SEO won’t work. Why would it? Google’s business is selling advertising. If you don’t believe me, just go to a conference and ask any Googler — including those wearing Ivory Tower Worker” pins — and ask, “How important is Google’s ad business?” But you know what most Googlers will say, don’t you?

For decades, Google has cultivated the SEO ploy for one reason. Failed SEO campaigns end up one place, “Google Advertising.”


If you want traffic, like the abortion ad buyers, pony up the cash. The Google will punch the Pay to Play button, and traffic results. One change kicked in after 2006. The mom-and-pop ad buyers were not as important as one of the “brand” advertisers. And what was that change? Small advertisers were left to the SEO experts who could then sell “small” ad campaigns when the hapless user learned that no one on the planet could locate the financial advisory firm named “Financial Specialist Advisors.” Ah, then there was Google Local. A Googley spin on Yellow Pages. And there have been other innovations to make it possible for advertisers of any size to get traffic, not much because small advertisers spend small money. But ad dollars are what keeps Googzilla alive.

Net net: Keep in mind that Google wants to be the Internet. (AMP that up, folks.) Google wants people to trust the friendly beastie. The Googzilla is into responsibility. The Google is truth, justice, and the digital way. Is the criticism of the Google warranted? Sure, constructive criticism is a positive for some. The problem I have is that it is 20 years too late. Who cares? The EU seems to have an interest.

Stephen E Arnold, June 21, 2023

Trust: Some in the European Union Do Not Believe the Google. Gee, Why?

June 13, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumbNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read “Google’s Ad Tech Dominance Spurs More Antitrust Charges, Report Says.” The write up seems to say that some EU regulators do not trust the Google. Trust is a popular word at the alleged monopoly. Yep, trust is what makes Google’s smart software so darned good.

6 13 fat man

A lawyer for a high tech outfit in the ad game says, “Commissioner, thank you for the question. You can trust my client. We adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior. We put our customers first. We are the embodiment of ethical behavior. We use advanced technology to enhance everyone’s experience with our systems.” The rotund lawyer is a confection generated by MidJourney, an example of in this case, pretty smart software.

The write up says:

These latest charges come after Google spent years battling and frequently bending to the EU on antitrust complaints. Seeming to get bigger and bigger every year, Google has faced billions in antitrust fines since 2017, following EU challenges probing Google’s search monopoly, Android licensing, Shopping integration with search, and bundling of its advertising platform with its custom search engine program.

The article makes an interesting point, almost as an afterthought:

…Google’s ad revenue has continued increasing, even as online advertising competition has become much stiffer…

The article does not ask this question, “Why is Google making more money when scrutiny and restrictions are ramping up?”

From my vantage point in the old age “home” in rural Kentucky, I certainly have zero useful data about this interesting situation, assuming that it is true of course. But, for the nonce, let’s speculate, shall we?

Possibility A: Google is a monopoly and makes money no matter what laws, rules, and policies are articulated. Game is now in extra time. Could the referee be bent?

This idea is simple. Google’s control of ad inventory, ad options, and ad channels is just a good, old-fashioned system monopoly. Maybe TikTok and Facebook offer options, but even with those channels, Google offers options. Who can resist this pitch: “Buy from us, not the Chinese. Or, buy from us, not the metaverse guy.”

Possibility B: Google advertising is addictive and maybe instinctual. Mice never learn and just repeat their behaviors.

Once there is a cheese pay off for the mouse, those mice are learning creatures and in some wild and non-reproducible experiments inherit their parents’ prior learning. Wow. Genetics dictate the use of Google advertising by people who are hard wired to be Googley.

Possibility C: Google’s home base does not regulate the company in a meaningful way.

The result is an advanced and hardened technology which is better, faster, and maybe cheaper than other options. How can the EU, with is squabbling “union”, hope to compete with what is weaponized content delivery build on a smart, adaptive global system? The answer is, “It can’t.”

Net net: After a quarter century, what’s more organized for action, a regulatory entity or the Google? I bet you know the answer, don’t you?

Stephen E Arnold, June xx, 2023

Okay, Google, How Are Your Fancy Math Recommendation Procedures Working? Just Great, You Say

May 17, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I have no idea what the Tech Transparency Project is. I am not interested in running a Google query for illumination. I don’t want to read jibber jabber from or ChatGPT. In short, I am the ideal dino baby: Set in his ways, disinterested, and skeptical of information from an outfit which wants “transparency” in our shadow age.

I read “YouTube Leads Young Gamers to Videos of Guns, School Shootings.” For the moment, let’s assume that the Transparency folks are absolutely 100 percent off the mark. Google YouTube’s algorithms are humming along with 99.999999 (six sigma land) accuracy. Furthermore, let’s assume that the assertions in the article that the Google YouTube ad machine is providing people with links known to have direct relevance to a user’s YouTube viewing habits.

What’s this mean?

It means that Google is doing a bang up job of protecting young people, impressionable minds, and those who stumble into a forest of probabilities from “bad stuff.” The Transparency Project has selected outlier data and is not understanding the brilliant and precise methods of the Google algorithm wizards. Since people at the Transparency Project do not (I shall assume) work at Google, how can these non-Googlers fathom the subtle functioning of the Google mechanisms. Remember the old chestnut about people who thought cargo planes were a manifestation of God. Well, cargo cult worshippers need to accept the Google reality.

Let’s take a different viewpoint. Google is a pretty careless outfit. Multiple products and internal teams spat with one another over the Foosball table. Power struggles erupt in the stratospheric intellectual heights of Google carpetland and Google Labs. Wizards get promoted and great leaders who live far, far away become the one with the passkey to the smart software control room. Lesser wizards follow instructions, and the result may be what the Tech Transparency write up is describing — mere aberrations, tiny shavings of infinitesimals which could add up to something, or a glitch in a threshold setting caused by a surge of energy released when a Googler learns about a new ChatGPT application.

5 17 professor explaining

A researcher explaining how popular online video services can shape young minds. As Charles Colson observed, “Once you have them by the [unmentionables], their hearts and minds will follow.” True or false when it comes to pumping video information into immature minds of those seven to 14 years old? False, of course. Balderdash. Anyone suggesting such psychological operations is unfit to express an opinion. That sounds reasonable, right? Art happily generated by the tireless servant of creators — MidJourney, of course.

The write up states:

  • YouTube recommended hundreds of videos about guns and gun violence to accounts for boys interested in video games, according to a new study.
  • Some of the recommended videos gave instructions on how to convert guns into automatic weapons or depicted school shootings.
  • The gamer accounts that watched the YouTube-recommended videos got served a much higher volume of gun- and shooting-related content.
  • Many of the videos violated YouTube’s own policies on firearms, violence, and child safety, and YouTube took no apparent steps to age-restrict them.

And what supports these assertions which fly in the face of Googzilla’s assertions about risk, filtering, concern for youth, yada yada yada?

Let me present one statement from the cited article:

The study found YouTube recommending numerous other weapons-related videos to minors that violated the platform’s policies. For example, YouTube’s algorithm pushed a video titled “Mag-Fed 20MM Rifle with Suppressor” to the 14-year-old who watched recommended content. The description on the 24-second video, which was uploaded 16 years ago and has 4.8 million views, names the rifle and suppressor and links to a website selling them. That’s a clear violation of YouTube’s firearms policy, which does not allow content that includes “Links in the title or description of your video to sites where firearms or the accessories noted above are sold.”

What’s YouTube doing?

In my opinion, here’s the goal:

  • Generate clicks
  • Push content which may attract ads from companies looking to reach a specific demographic
  • Ignore the suits-in-carpetland in order to get a bonus, promoted, or a better job.

The culprit is, from my point of view, the disconnect between Google’s incentive plans for employees and the hand waving baloney in its public statements and footnote heavy PR like ““Ethical and Social Risks of Harm from Language Models.”

If you are wearing Google glasses, you may want to check out the company with a couple of other people who are scrutinizing the disconnect between what Google says and what Google does.

So which is correct? The Google is doing God, oh, sorry, doing good. Or, the Google is playing with kiddie attention to further its own agenda?

A suggestion for the researchers: Capture the pre-roll ads, the mid-roll ads, and the end-roll ads. Isn’t there data in those observations?

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2023

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