Why the public interest groups are "Google's Poodles"

Nick Carr wrote a dead-on column in the Gaurdian: "The net is being carved up into information plantations."

His thesis is the irony that as the web adds more and more destinations on line, fewer people seem to be visiting them.

  • He cites statistics that in 2001, the top 10 websites accounted for 31% of page views and that in 2006 that same number grew to  40%.

What's my point? You know I always have a tie in.

This hyper-media concentration that is occurring on the web is much much greater than has occurred in traditional media.

Google admiting its IP kleptomania addiction? first step to recovery?

Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that : "INTERNET SEARCH engine Google is understood to have reached deals with several large UK news groups over carrying their content on Google News."

This news is on the heels of Google settling with Agence Presse and the Associated Press in separate settlements over IP theft.

  • Three data points!
  • Seems like an emerging pattern of tacit admission of guilt to rampant IP Kleptomania.   

The real question is:

  • Has Google made the first step to recovery from it's IP kleptomania by admiting it has an addiction problem?
  • Probably not.
  • Most everyone has heard that to truly recover from an addiction, like Google's pathological theft of everyone's intellectual property, one has to be able to publicly admit a problem exists and is hurting others.
  • Unfortunately, Google seems to still be in denial.
    • Where's the public mea culpa?
    • Sneaking back room settlements/bribes to make a problem go away does not inspire any trust that the stealing will stop.
  • Where's the settlement with:
    • Viacom for its YouTube thefts?
    • With the studios for aiding and abetting illegal downloading of pirated movies?
    • Publishers and authors for copying their works without compensation?
    • For trademark owners who have to pay only Google for keyword extortion so competitor's can't buy competitor's trademarks to send traffic to their site?

Come clean Google.  

SaveTheInternet effectively endorses "digital socialism"

SaveTheInternet and net neutrality proponents are losing their populist message discipline, and starting to show their true philosphical colors in blatantly calling for what is effectively "digital socialism."

Andrew Rasiej, the founder of The Personal Democracy Forum, challenged Presidential candidates to become the next "Tech President" in a recent blogpost. It's important to note that his views are mainstream in the net neutrality movement as evidenced by the hearty endorsement they received by SaveTheInternet and by Wired Magazine Blog.

The building blocks of Google's market power/search dominance

The NY Times unearthed a fascinating and extremely important piece of antitrust-relevant information in its great article today: "Firefox and the anxiety of growing pains." 

  • The NYT obviously wrote the article because it exposes a comical and ironic juxtaposition of an Open Source company like Mozilla, which is passionate about transparency, having cut a secret and lucrative royalty deal with Google, which is passionate about the "secrecy of its arrangement and agreements."

However, why this article is such a gem and is so important, is that it provides missing link evidence of why Google has become such a dominant search engine so fast, and why that domination is destined to increase. 

Microsoft-Aquantive increases Google-Doubleclick antitrust focus

I believe Microsoft's purchase of Aquantive will have the effect of increasing antitrust scrutiny of Google-DoubleClick.

  • Listen to this quote in today's Investor's Business daily in an article by Patrick Seitz "In ads, Microsoft chooses a $6 Bil Buy-in":
    • "Microsoft believes consolidation in the ad sector will continue and that there ultimately will be only two meaningful companies in online advertising, says Matt Rossoff, an analyst at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft."

Let me count the ways that quote gives antitrust authorities the willies:

  • First it is their job to not allow industries to become duopolies or acquire market power through acquisition. If that occurs naturally, it is not a problem, but "acquiring" market power is illegal.
  • Second, Microsoft, an expert in market power, is reportedly the one that sees this market trending to two players.
  • Third, to the extent that most all of the business model of the Internet is being driven by the advertising model and Google's spectacular success at that model, Microsoft is indicating that the Internet business is destined to be controlled by two entities that the Government allowed to consolidate.

I can hear the Antitrust authorities sharpening their pencils and flexing their mouse clicking fingers now.

Broadband mapping is a transparent pro-regulation policy scheme

I personally think the Markey proposal to spend $36 million for a "national broadband map" is a monumental waste of taxpayer money and really bad "policy".

  • We don't have even a "national" broadband problem, we have more broadband facilities based competition and investment than any nation in the world.
  • We may have a rural broadband lag, and if a map is needed at all it could only be justified for rural areas and it would only cost a fraction of the $36m.
  • If Chairman Markey proposed a rural broadband map I would be much more muted in my criticism.

However, there is a not so hidden agenda lurking here.

  • A "national" broadband map is a transparent political scheme to re-define the issue so pro-regulation and pro-net neutrality proponents can define away "competition" and current policy success with a stroke of a pen.
  • If they can define away satellite and the 5 national wireless providers as broadband competitors, they can smugly say "I told you so" broadband is really a monopoly/duopoly and declare  competition policy a failure!
  • Then they could have a policy basis for mandating net regulation, subsidies and net neutrality!

The reason they want a national broadband policy is that they want a one-size-fits-all national policy like net neutrality which ensures everyone gets the same broadband service regardless of different needs, wants or means.

  • These "nationalized" regulation visionaries, then can create a role for Big government programs where there is none now.

It still amazes me how Chairman Markey and his fellow Big Government/net neutrality proponents can not see that competition and not regulating the Internet has been a fabulous, albeit imperfect success for the United States.

Broadband mapping is trojan horse for Big Govt. net regulation

Calls by House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey and other Big Government proponents for better "broadband mapping" is simply a "trojan horse" for regulating the Internet. and more government intervention in the marketplace. 

Mr. Markey knows that calling for better data is generally an easy way to build consensus around an issue while staying "under the radar."

  • He also knows that he can skew the process to his policy liking by rigging how the new "map" is supposed to be drawn.

Make no mistake about it, this is Chairman Markey's first step in a grander scheme to have Big government play a much bigger role in the Internet and the digital economy. 

Dismantling Google's reasons why NN should not apply to them

I was able to ask the only question from the audience of the Educause net neutrality panel today.

  • After introducing myself and disclosing that NetCompetition.org is funded by broadband companies, I asked Rick Whit of Google the following very important questions:
    • "If non-discrimination is an important principle of the Internet, why should it not apply to all Internet access technologies in a neutral way?
    • And why shouldn't net neutrality apply to all internet access technologies that have the potential to block content like:
      • Microsoft's ~90% share of the browser market; or
      • Google's 65% share of the search market in the US and Google's 75% market share in Europe? 

Mr. Whit's first weak line of defense was that the term is really "network" neutrality implying it was not about "Internet" neutrality.

  • Oops! Seems Mr. Whit is so new to Google that he hasn't had the time to read Google's very own brief: 
    •  "Guide to Net Neutrality for Google Users

      "Net neutrality" is an issue that will shape the future of the Internet.

      What is Net Neutrality?

      Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days."

My takeaways from the Educause net neutrality panel

I attended the Educause conference panel today because they made a big deal about how they were going to launch a new white paper with a new compromise on net neutrality that would be "more reasonable."

  • When I arrived and asked about the availablity of the new net neutrality white paper, I was disappointed when informed it was "delayed indefinitely."
  • Seems like this white paper is in the same purgatory of indecision, and "keystone kops-ville",  that the relaunch of the online giant coalition is, the former ItsOurNet coalition which is reportedly now the "Open Net Coalition".
  • Seems like the net neutrality movement is going through a whole lot of handwringing about what to do next.
    • It kind of reminds me of when a barking dog finally catches the passing car. Now what to do?

I was also amused that Educause, this academic oriented forum, did not even attempt to present a balanced panel that represented both points of view on net neutrality.

Outstanding FTTH council video on Net Neutrality/Internet Exaflood

I just rewatched the outstanding Fiber to the Home Council's video on the Internet Exaflood.

  • I blogged about it before and will probably blog about it again in the future, because it is the best single five minute explanation, for novices and experts, of how the Internet is changing and improving.

If SaveTheInternet and FreePress was truly interested in a free and open debate on net neutrality they would want to send this outstanding informational video out to their email blast list.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths