Sep 11

Google’s “don’t be evil” loophole

Technology companies can be so lovable when they’re young and feisty.

They can say things like Don’t be evil and be cheered on by the masses.

It’s only when they grow up to be global powerhouses that their words get turned against them. This technique must be in Chapter 1 of the official Google Critic’s Handbook, since most anti-Google articles seem to use this ploy.

Does this mean I can rise above doing the same?

Nah. I’m only human. And I couldn’t help but notice an example of Google’s confused sense of evil on their own corporate philosophy page. The sixth of their “Ten things we know to be true” is You can make money without doing evil. Elaborating on that, they say:

We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested.

Maybe there’s some kind of semantic difference between “accepting” pop-up ads and sticking them in our faces. Because, as I have complained before, pop-up ads on YouTube videos are as annoying as ads get. They absolutely do interfere with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. They require you to take action to make them go away, and then they require you to restart the video if you’d like to see it as it was meant to be seen — unobstructed.

As an anti-advertising advertising man, I’ve often talked about the basic respect that ads must have for the user. Anyone with a sense of advertising morals understands the importance of not annoying or badgering those with whom you are trying to start a conversation.

Obviously, Google gets this. Enough so that they wrote it into their corporate philosophy, right under the “evil” thing.

Maybe they just see YouTube as a loophole, because it’s not a Google-branded site?

No. Not possible. That would evil.

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