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Internet Astroturf 3.0 -- Internet as Oz Series Part 3

Pro-piracy interests have been organizing globally to head off and defeat future anti-piracy legislation (like SOPA/PIPA), IP treaties (ACTA) and property rights enforcement, all while claiming to represent "the Internet" and all its users, when they do not. They collectively represent pro-piracy special interests.

They hijack popular political buzz-words like "Internet Freedom" and "innovation," to distract people from their fringe anti-property views and to simulate broad mainstream political support.

("Astroturf" in a public policy context connotes artificial grassroots, simply proclaiming to be something one is not in order to gain broader political support.)

This analysis spotlights the political interests and strategy of global pro-piracy interests. It also answers several key questions:

  • What unites pro-piracy special interests?
  • Who are the top ten Internet astroturf 3.0 players?
  • If this is Internet astroturf 3.0, what was 1.0 and 2.0?
  • What's the main difference with Internet astroturf 3.0?
  • What are the main political techniques of Internet astroturf 3.0?
  • What are Internet astroturf 3.0's three grand deceptions?

Google Mocks EU & FTC Antitrust Enforcement in Courting Yahoo Again -- Part 9 Google Unaccountability Series

Google is mocking EU and FTC antitrust enforcement authorities in seeking to partner (collude) again with Yahoo, its #2 competitor, at the same time Google is deep in antitrust negotiations with the EU antitrust authorities who have already concluded Google is a predatory search monopolist, and while the FTC staff is poised to potentially recommend a sweeping Section 5 antitrust case against Google for deceptive and unfair business practices.

Yesterday Google Chairman Eric Schmidt publicly reiterated that Google would love to be a search partner with Yahoo.

Either Google is somehow confident of back-room political fixes to all their antitrust enforcement troubles, or Google is mocking antitrust authorities with a cavalier "stop us if you can" attitude.

Google continues to act as if it is accountable to no one. Let's review some pertinent history and facts to put in perspective how reckless Google's behavior is in this context.

Top False Claims of the New Internet Association -- Part 2 of Internet as Oz Series

Unfortunately, the new Internet Association launched yesterday making several false claims.

Claim: "The Internet Association, the nation's first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, America's leading Internet companies and their vast community of users…"

Truth: This "first" claim is unsupportable; several different Internet groups have had similar purposes long before this Internet Association: The Internet Society; The Internet Engineering Task Force; Net Coalition; SaveTheInternet.com; The Open Internet Coalition; The Internet Defense League; The Internet Freedom Coalition; The Internet Alliance; The Internet Marketing Association; The Internet Commerce Association and The Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

The New Internet Association's Back Story

Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook reportedly are launching a new Internet Association in mid-September to be "the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America's leading Internet companies and their global community of users. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet."

What is the back story here? Why is it being formed? Why now? What unites these companies? What is the Internet Association's public policy agenda? What does its formation mean?

Why is the Internet Association being formed?

The main public policy catalyst was bipartisan anti-piracy legislation that was moving swiftly through Congress last year that Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook all strenuously opposed and helped defeat with an unprecedented Internet blackout day in January.

What made Apple's Steve Jobs so Angry with Google-Android? -- Part 12 of Google's Disrespect for Property Series

What made Apple's Steve Jobs so Angry with Google-Android? The simple answer is Google's leadership profoundly betrayed the longtime personal trust and friendship of Apple's leadership in stealing what Steve Jobs believed were Apple's most prized possessions. The fuller answer is below, in a telling timeline of the once exceptionally-close Apple-Google relationship.

This discussion is timely given Google's current PR effort to convince the public/media that Google and Apple are likely to negotiate a patent "truce" and make Google's Android's patent liabilities go away. Thus it makes sense to drill down to learn more about the real likelihood of Apple being party to any patent-litigation "truce" or grand Apple-Android patent-licensing settlement.

Four Under-Appreciated Implications for Google from Apple-Samsung Verdict -- Part 11 of Google's Disrespect for Property Series

Apple's major $1.05b patent court victory over Google-Android partner Samsung has four under-appreciated implications for Google going forward.

  1. The purported Google-Apple settlement talks are going nowhere.
  2. Google-Apple patent talks compound antitrust risk.
  3. Google's actions, defense strategy, and IP track record drip of guilt and legal vulnerability.
  4. Google's acquisition of Motorola has backfired badly.

1.  The purported Google-Apple settlement talks are going nowhere.

Think about it. Whose interest is it to spotlight a phone conversation between Google's CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook and characterize the conversation as an indicator of a coming "truce" or "détente" in the thermonuclear war" between Apple and Google? Google's alone.

An FTC Googleopoly Get out of Jail Free Card? -- Part 7: Google Unaccountability Series

Connecting the dots, Google may gain a de facto Monopoly® "Get out of Jail Free" antitrust settlement from the FTC before the election. Bloomberg reports that the FTC has pushed to move up the conclusion of its antitrust investigation from "end of the year" to mid-September. Assuming that report is accurate, it has big implications. Let's connect the dots.

First, the sudden acceleration of the endgame of the FTC investigation strongly suggests external circumstances (i.e. the EU-Google antitrust settlement negotiations timetable) are driving the timing/outcome of the FTC's Google investigation, given that the EU and Google reportedly reached an "understanding" in late July that could result in a settlement of antitrust charges. This suggests the FTC is considering becoming a tagalong to the EU settlement, despite the very different law and process in the U.S.

The Deceptive Politics of Piracy

In writing "Internet Pirates Will Always Win," Nick Bilton, The New York Times's technology columnist whom I read and respect, has unwisely adopted the political logic and public narrative of the piracy lobby that "information wants to be free." Unfortunately, I don't think Mr. Bilton has fully thought through the serious negative implications of his flawed logic and misplaced political support.

Mr. Bilton is not the first, and won't be the last, columnist to buy into the piracy lobby's deceptive political narrative that fighting piracy is akin to a futile game of Whac-a-mole, so content creators should just unilaterally surrender the concept of market pricing of their content going forward and offer it free to the public on the Internet or at a minimal price that Internet pirates judge is "fair." Mr. Bilton concluded: "Sooner or later, the people who still believe they can hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would be better spent playing an entirely different game."

The unspoken "different game" here is that the Internet should be more of a public information commons where everything is free of cost to access, and no permission or contract is required to do most anything on the Internet, in stark contrast to being more of an Internet marketplace where property owners of all kinds can charge for and contractually control the use of their property and individuals can assert control over how their private information is used.

Who but Google is Thriving in Online Advertising?

Evidence abounds that the industry business model of online advertising, minus Google, is shockingly weak competitively, given how many people assume advertising is supposed to be the viable competitive monetization engine that will sustain the "free and open Internet" long term.

Anyone open to connecting-the-dots of recent public evidence will see an obvious dichotomy: Google is thriving, while much of the rest of the online advertising industry is struggling despite unprecedented: opportunity to reach users, technological efficiencies, and access to troves of private data to target ads to produce more revenue growth.

Examine the accumulating troubling evidence of how weak online advertising competition has become.

The Internet Advertising Bureau's latest reporting of 15% online advertising growth for the industry in 1Q12 masks the large Google vs. competitor revenue growth dichotomy. Given that Google grew 24% 1Q12 and comprises almost half of all U.S. online advertising per eMarketer, I calculate that the rest of the online advertising industry is growing only about 8%. That means Google is growing three times faster than its online competitors and continues to take market share at an accelerating rate.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths