Google’s $3.1 billion deal for the online advertising firm DoubleClick could put the company at odds with itself.
Internal conflicts often happen in finance, when investment banks find themselves advising both sides in a merger. And it happens in agribusiness, energy and other industries where giant companies with fingers in many pies are both buyers and sellers of the same commodity. But it is particularly common in technology and media.
The DoubleClick deal has prompted Microsoft and IBM and others to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the deal on antitrust grounds. And privacy advocates worry that Google will not live up to its pledge to keep the customer data collected by DoubleClick out of the hands of Google’s search managers.
But the thorniest conflicts could arise from DoubleClick’s Performics division.
Performics helps its clients get better position in search results. Essentially, it works to game the systems of Google, Yahoo and other search engines.
“Google is treading in dangerous waters right now,” writes Ross Dunn of WebProNews.com. Google’s search results “are supposed to be unbiased and highly relevant,” but with Performics, “Google is put into the conflicted position of trying to generate profits by providing result-oriented organic ranking services for its own ‘unbiased’ organic search results.”
The worry, in other words, is that Google’s search results could be compromised by operating a division with an interest in skewing those results in favor of clients.
Industry-watchers, including Kevin Newcomb of SearchEngineWatch.com, tend to think Google will likely sell off part or all of Performics.
If Google sells Performics it will be a great indication it doesn’t want their search results to be clean. If Google really were interested in clean search results they’d keep them as a “red team” to reverse-engineer and to stomp out SEO-spam companies. I doubt this will happen – Google doesn’t care about search, it’s an advertising company.
Pinky: “What are we gonna do tonight, Brain?”
The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky – Try to take over the world!”
Microsoft never seems to run out of ways to make its antipiracy Windows Genuine Advantage campaign more annoying. WGA is a “service” that checks the validity and activation status of your copy of Windows before letting you download some upgrades. Endless updates to WGA itself seem to account for a significant fraction of Microsoft’s “high-priority” update downloads.
My windows Genuine Advantage experience, which doesn’t provide any discernible advantage to anyone but Microsoft, hit a new low today. I fired up a Vista laptop that hadn’t been turned on for awhile, and of course it immediately downloaded a batch of updates, including a new version of WGA. When the software ran, it opened a browser window (requires Internet Explorer). A bar across the top of the page congratulated me on successful validation, but the bulk of the Window was given to an ad for a $159 upgrade to Vista Home Premium. It’s bad enough that Microsoft is using what is supposed to be a security update process to try to extract more of its customers money. But this particular pitch was completely pointless since the system was running Windows Business, from which an “upgrade” to the Home version makes no sense.
In 2004, the State Department’s report on global terrorism showed a decline in international attacks, a result which was hailed by administration officials as proof of the efficacy of the president’s strategy. Soon after, we learned that the State Department cooked the books and undercounted — by half — the number of people killed in terrorist attacks.
In 2005, the State Department decided it didn’t want to publish the report on global terrorism anymore.
The good news is, due to an outcry, the document is back. The bad news is, well, all of the news is bad.
A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a nearly 30 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 to more than 14,000, almost all of the boost due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday….
Based on data compiled by the U.S. intelligence community’s National Counterterrorism Center, the report says there were 14,338 terrorist attacks last year, up 29 percent from 11,111 attacks in 2005. Forty-five percent of the attacks were in Iraq.
Worldwide, there were about 5,800 terrorist attacks that resulted in at least one fatality, also up from 2005.
The figures for Iraq and elsewhere are limited to attacks on noncombatants and don’t include strikes against U.S. troops.
If, in 2004, an initial report showing a decline in attacks was proof that Bush’s strategy was working, doesn’t an increase in attacks a few years later necessarily show that Bush’s strategy is failing?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top aides earlier this week had considered postponing or downplaying the release of this year’s edition of the terrorism report, officials in several agencies and on Capitol Hill said.
Ultimately, they decided to issue the report on or near the congressionally mandated deadline of Monday, the officials said.
Yes, how wonderfully gracious of them. Rice “decided” to follow the law after considering a plan not to. I guess we’re supposed to be grateful?
As Kevin Drum put it, “They considered postponing a congressionally mandated report because it might be inconvenient for the president’s war policy? Is there some kind of ‘political sensitivities’ exemption in the law?”
Maybe it was in one of the signing statements.
Of course, the deadline for producing the document was Monday, but Rice instead chose late on a Friday afternoon, beating the deadline by a few days. I can’t imagine why, can you?
Quotes from the President, April, 2007:
“Day by day, block by block, Iraqi and American forces are making incremental gains in Baghdad,” he said.
April 20, 2007
The maps show the dramatic changes taking place in Ramadi, which happens to be the capital of Anbar province. The red-shaded areas in the first map show the concentration of al Qaeda terrorists in the city two months ago.
April 20, 2007
Iraq’s leaders have begun meeting their benchmarks — and they’ve got a lot left to do.
April 20, 2007
And what I’m telling you is, according to David Petraeus, with whom I speak on a weekly basis, we’re beginning to see some progress toward the mission — that they’re completing the mission.
April 10, 2007
Just as the strategy is starting to make inroads, a narrow majority in the Congress passed legislation they knew all along I would not accept.
April 4, 2007
And General Petraeus, who is a reasoned, sober man, says there is some progress being made. And he cites murders and — in other words, there’s some calm coming to the capital.
April 3, 2007
Sounds like things are going great, right?
And then, just two days after Democrats passed the bill through conference committee, the White House puts this “I guess we didn’t really mean it” story out.
The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.
The entire function of the pom-pom waving was to extend the occupation: to scare Democrats into passing a supplemental with no timeline attached.
But the bluff didn’t work.
And suddenly the bad news is being printed as well:
In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.
Oost-Europese werknemers kunnen vanaf 1 mei profiteren van een hoge Nederlandse werkloosheidsuitkering zodra ze hier na een half jaar werkloos raken.
Het voordeel kan oplopen tot meer dan tienduizend euro. Voor bijvoorbeeld een Pool ligt de WW hier ruim zes keer hoger dan een uitkering in eigen land.
Uitkeringsinstantie UWV bevestigt de berekeningen. VVD-Kamerlid Stef Blok is geschrokken en wil maatregelen om WW-toerisme te voorkomen.
Als een Pool na zes jaar werken in Polen een half jaar aan de slag gaat in Nederland, heeft hij na afloop recht op zes maanden WW. De uitkering is hier minimaal 900 euro per maand; in Polen zou hij recht hebben gehad op een uitkering van 141 euro per maand.
De constructie is lucratief, omdat voor de Nederlandse WW-uitkering ook het arbeidsverleden in Polen meetelt. Hierdoor kan de uitkering langer duren dan de periode dat de werknemer in Nederland heeft gewerkt. Bovendien is de uitkering gebaseerd op het laatste, hoge Nederlandse loon.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, the US. government failed to take advantage of millions of dollars in foreign aid from its allies, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The US has collected about $126m and used just $40m of the $454m in cash that was offered, the newspaper reported, citing US officials and contractors.
Some offers were rescinded or redirected to organizations such as the Red Cross. Other offers were tied up in bureaucracy, the paper said.
More than 1 700 people died during the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane and its aftermath, and many were left homeless. Nearly 20 months later, more than 100 000 households on the Gulf Coast still rely on the US government for housing.
The Post said its report was based on cables, telegraphs and e-mails from US diplomats that were compiled by a public interest group and given to the Post. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington received the documents from the government via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Kuwait made the largest offer – $100m in cash and $400m in oil, the Post said. The Kuwaitis ended up instead donating $25m each to the Red Cross and a private Katrina aid group because it seemed to be “the fastest way to get money to the people that needed it,” The Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah, told the Post. The oil donation was not collected.
A 27-year-old Millersville University graduate filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the college for denying her an education degree and teaching certificate after a controversial Internet photograph surfaced last year shortly before graduation.
The picture shows Stacy Snyder of Strasburg wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic “Mr. Goodbar” cup. The photograph taken during a 2005 Halloween party was posted on Snyder’s MySpace Web page with the caption “Drunken Pirate.”
“The day before graduation, the college confronted me about the picture,” Snyder said Thursday. “I was told I wouldn’t be receiving my education degree or teaching certificate because the photo was ‘unprofessional.’ ”
Snyder said she apologized for the photograph, but Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, and Provost Vilas A. Prabhu refused to issue the bachelor of science degree in education and teaching certificate Snyder earned.
Instead, the college issued Snyder a bachelor of arts degree in English.