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FERC approves Google Energy -- Keep an eye on this one...

"U.S. energy regulators approved a request by Google Inc. to become an electricity marketer, allowing the Internet giant to buy and sell bulk power like a utility" per the WSJ.

My site will keep watch over Google on Google Energy's trading in energy derivatives because it is ripe for abuse, as I explained in my earlier post: "Google's Energy trading proposal sounds eerily like Enron's disastrous derivative scheme".

Per the WSJ: "A spokeswoman for the company has said Google has no plans to sell its energy management service or speculate in energy markets. But she acknowledged the company isn't completely sure how it will proceed."

The concern here is that Google publicly has given itself wide latitutde here to speculate in energy markets in the future... because of their statement above... and because the FERC approved in its order Feb 18th  "blanket authorization... to issue securities and assume obligations or liabilities as guarantor, indorser, surety, or otherwise in respect of any security of a another person..."

"Boldly Deceptive: FreePress' extreme agenda in their own words" -- great Americans for Prosperity report

Kudos to Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity for their spot-on report of quotes from FreePress that exposes what FreePress is really all about.

Their report shows, in FreePress' own words, that they are a dystopian nightmare masquerading as a public interest group protecting freedom of the press.


Google Now Admits its Search Isn't Neutral

There's new evidence from Google itself, that Google's search results are not neutral, as Google has long publicly represented them to be, and as Google expects everyone on the Open Internet to be.

  • (Kudos to famed trustbuster Gary Reback for unearthing the core information that I spotlight in this post; it is from Mr. Reback's friend-of-the-court brief for the Open Book Alliance, which opposes the Google Book Settlement. Don't miss pages 14-16.)  

Google now admits that its search results are not neutral despite longstanding public representations to the contrary.

FreePress: The Gutter's Beacon

Unfortunately FreePress long ago chose to be the gutter's beacon of low-road politics and not a shining beacon of high-road politics to emulate.

FreePress was unfortunately disingenuous in its Hill op-ed today, in saying "When is comes to Internet freedom, the United States of America can be a beacon to the rest of the world. But we must start at home."

If FreePress was genuine in believing that it is truly important to have a shining beacon of positive example for others to follow... why does FreePress not lead by example itself, and let its behavior and tactics in public discourse be a positive beacon for everyone else to follow?

It is tragic and ironic that right after FreePress said its high-minded rhetoric of being "a beacon to the world," FreePress immediately dove into the gutter and proceeded to try and assasinate the character of an honorable thoughtful professional, Andrew Keen, exercising his free speech rights that FreePress claims to support, and demonize companies that also are standing up for their own consitutional rights of free speech and freedom from seizure of their property without just compensation. (Andrew Keen's book "Cult of the Amateur" is an Internet classic and a must-read, and was a strong precursor of the Internet's dark side way before anyone else connected the dots.)   

Systemic Uneconomics: Financial Crisis Root Causes: Part III

To discern the real “root” causes of the financial crisis of 2008, one must probe beneath the surface and examine the health of the “root system” of our capital markets “forest.” The roots of the capital markets forest are sound economics; the natural market function of automatically equilibrating supply and demand and risk and reward, that is commonly appreciated as Adam’s Smith’s “invisible hand.” We generally assume that the natural market strength of the capital market forest’s root system ensures that all the trees are not in danger of being blown over in the crisis of a storm.


In the fall of 2008, we all were shocked to learn that the root system of our capital markets, that we had always assumed was healthy and strong, was actually frighteningly weak and brittle requiring the slapdash reinforcement of multi-trillion dollar emergency scaffolding of whatever material was close at hand, a TARP, bailout lifelines, capital sandbags, etc. -- to buttress the main market “trees” from toppling over, trees that the Government judged to big to be allowed to fall.


Google abandons any pretense of commercial neutrality

In a brief but very important WSJ story, Google abandons any pretense that it is a neutral search engine/advertiser. See the WSJ piece: "Google advertises its China position with search ads."

  • The story is worth re-reading a few times, because it becomes more disturbing the more one realizes all the implications of it.

The story reports that Google is doing something new in taking the top Sponsored Link ad position for itself in searches like "Google and China."

What this tells us, is Google, the search advertising monopoly per the DOJ, not only claims the top search result for itself for many searches in areas that Google owns content, like GoogleMaps, and Youtube, but now it also lays claim to the most valuable top advertising position as well to promote Google's public policy agenda. (If Google is willing to promote its China policy, why would it not promote its chosen political candidates? or its public policy positions of a variety of social issues targeted to users intentions/profiles that only Google happens to know?)

Google's behavior here belies its repeated representations that Google is a neutral search engine and runs neutral ad auctions. This should seriously concern the DOJ and FTC antitrust authorities, which are both investigating if Google is anti-competitively leveraging its monopoly position to dominate new markets that it enters.

Google's Energy trading proposal sounds eerily like Enron's disastrous derivative scheme

As the first expert witness to testify before Congress on what went wrong with Enron, the worst U.S. fraud/bankruptcy ever at that time, Google's announcement that it has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for "blanket authorization...  to make sales of electric energy, capacity and ancillary services," and for "certain exemptions" from reporting and accountability... is eerily reminiscent of Enron Broadband's disastrous efforts to bring swash-buckling, gee-whiz technology to the energy futures market over a decade ago. 

  • The hair standing up on the back of my neck tells me this latest scheme by Google to become an unregulated market maker in energy services could end very badly.

What's different between Enron and Google is that Enron was an energy company that entered into the tech and energy auction businesses, whereas Google is a tech and ad-auction business entering the energy business.

Deja Vu: What's eerily similar?

Google's Bots: Judge, Jury & Executioner?

Per Advertising Age, Google has now deputized its crawler-bots to be judge, jury, and executioner when it finds a suspected ad scammer; "It's now guilty until proven innocent, a fundamental shift for 'Don't be evil' Google." "Google now has a harsh new penalty for advertisers placing scam and malware ads: a lifetime ban." 

I have some questions about Google's new found seriousness to standing up to bad actors on the Net.

If Google's all-in-one crawler-bots are fully automated to detect, decide, and do in for life a suspected ad scammer, would that make the Googler that the accused can appeal to -- Google's new Supreme Court?

  • Does the accused have the right to face their crawler bot-accuser in Google's court -- i.e. transparently see what the evidence is against them?  
  • Is there no further appeal to Google's online advertising death sentence in the sovereign GoogleNation?  

If the ad scamming fraud abuse is serious enough to warrant the equivalent of a Google online advertising death sentence, why doesn't Google turn over those they have found guilty to authorities so they can prosecute them for criminal fraud? Or would that be an unfair form of double jeopardy?

Google's Search Engine Discriminates in Favor of New York Times -- per Ken Auletta, "Googled" author

Google's secret algorithm discriminates in favor of The New York Times per a Politico video interview with Ken Auletta, author of the new book: "Googled, the End of the World as We Know It."

Mr. Auletta explains what he learned about Google's secret search algorithm. It favors sites/results based on "wisdom of the crowds" (i.e. most traffic or links), but it also favors authoritative sites like the New York Times, because Google grants them extra ratings points that elevate them in Google's search results.  

  • Mr. Auletta goes on to defend Google for keeping the algorithm and the extra ratings points secret in order to prevent others from gaming the system. 

This information that Google proactively and specifically discriminates in favor of certain content over other content is a big deal for several reasons.

First, Google has long represented that it is a neutral algorithm where Internet users determine what ranks highest in searches, or in other words what content gets found and read and what doesn't.