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DoubleClick claims it won't share privacy data with Google -- huh? "Intimacy theft"

The WSJ reported DoubleClick Inc. "Defends its deal with Google" by "pledging that the information it collects about, and for, its graphical-advertising customers won't be shared with Google after the acquisition later this year."

Let's be real here. They really do think everyone is stupid.

  • First, Doubleclick is being bought by Google so what Doubleclick says now doesn't matter after the transaction closes.
  • To be taken seriously this pledge needs to made by Google in writing and enforceable as part of the transaction contractually or by court decree.
  • It is unlikely that Google will agree to this restriction because Google knows that it can simply change the DoubleClick policy and harmonize it with Google's very loose privacy policy on a going forward basis.
  • This public pledge is also a swiss cheese committment.
    • With weak privacy policies like Google's, it's about "sins of ommission" what they don't say or commit to, not "sins of commission" what they actually say in their byzantine privacy policy.   

Privacy issues are Google's achilles heel. Google is growing so fast and is so profitable largely because they are most aggressively arbitraging privacy law and american's privacy expectations. The FT said Google's brand is now number 1 in the world.

  • The biggest single threat to the Google brand is developing a reputation for selling Americans' most intimate and private information to the highest bidder -- their current business model. 
  • Google has created a whole new level of privacy worry for the average American, a term I coined called "intimacy theft."
  • Today's Comm Daily reported:
    • "A Jan. 2006 Ponenon Institute survey of Google users found that 9 of 10 believed their search terms were private."

Bottom line: Much of the real "juice" in Google's business model is their unabashed willingness to arbitrage unsuspecting Americans' privacy, who don't know that some of their most intimate and private thoughts (searches) are sold to the highest bidder without their explicit knowledge.

  • The reason Google will not come clean on this is that it would sully their #1 brand very badly and it would undermine their ability to get top price for "targeted" private information.