How Google Can Better Fulfill “Don’t Be Evil”

I’m a longtime fanboy of Google, an early beta tester of their search product, and one of the few on Wall Street who was allowed to speak about their IPO, as my firm was not an underwriter (I said it was “well worth buying at the IPO price”).

Color me unimpressed with their latest variant of “Don’t Be Evil.” (Google Does Non-Evil Thing).  While much of the blogosphere is agog over Google’s effort to clean out the scammers and hucksters so prevalent in the online ad world.  The search and online ad giant is banning ad companies that involve “online scams and frauds:”

“Google will begin to notify advertisers that they have been permanently banned. They will receive an email with details of this ban and the email will explain how to appeal the ban. I am told that banned advertisers can reply to the email to start the “appeals process.” Every reply should get a response from a dedicated Google representative.”

Don’t get me wrong, its a step in the right direction.

But if Google really wants to get serious about this, they would go after the many sites that host these crap ads: Cut & paste blogs, splogs, and scrapper sites. They exist solely to host all those ad scams Google is so concerned about.

Despite the many positive things I have written over the years about Google, they are unusually lackadaisical about copyright issues and unauthorized reproduction of content.  If they were to find some religion about these sites, they would kill two birds with one stone.

Let’s look at how and where they can stamp out the hosts of ad scammers and bogus advertisements now spreading over the intertubes.

Here’s a whacky idea: How about we start with Blogger, a Google property? It seems to attract an unusual number of splogs (Spam Blogs) and content scrapers. These primarily Chinese and Russian spammers then use Google AdSense to capture income on their stolen content, regardless of ad quality. Get rid of the splogs, and you also dramatically reduce demand for the junk ads.

Despite sending DMCA notices, these scraper sites persist in hanging around for a long time. They change blogger domains like most people change their underwear. Google seems to do very little proactively to hunt down these weasels.  My experience has been they do a  s l o w  job responding to DMCA takedown notices. I’ve done the DMCA fax/mail thing repeatedly, and for weeks, (and sometimes months) nothing seems to happens.

DMCA does not require an email notification — but that sure as heck would allow Google to be more proactive.

We all know Google is filled with very smart mathematicians, programmers, and deep thinkers. How hard is it to come up with an algo to scan and verify the scraper/splogs stealing content and hosting bogus adsense adverts? They should be proactively weeding out these bad elements — even if it costs them a few bucks in ad dollars.

Or, maybe they can’t do it; perhaps the vaunted Google brain trust is more PR than IQ.

Is it Don’t be evil? or “Don’t bother us . . .?”

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