free html hit counter Googler Blogs, Then UnBlogs - Updated | John Battelle's Search Blog

Googler Blogs, Then UnBlogs – Updated

By - January 26, 2005

BlognotfoundVia GB’d: Hmmm. Check this out. Philipp found a Google employee who was posting openly about Google, and has some excerpts from the posts on his site. Am getting smart on this but…Seems a fellow started at Google, starting blogging about Google, said some not so nice things and probably violated internal policies to boot, and then quickly blanked his posts. This is his site (ninetyninezeroes – get it?). Empty, for the most part. And no Google cache or URL info. Clearly his site is not in Google’s index – I searched for some of the strings in the text Phillip has on his site, not there. His site is on Blogger, and had been up long enough for Google to index it, certainly. So, it seems, the site has been taken out manually, something Google claims to never do.

However, I did find it in Yahoo’s cache.



And here is even more – including a discourse on Google’s benefits, and an overview of a Google party at last week’s sales conference in SF. Highlights:

“google demands employees that are 90th percentile material, so what’s with the 50th percentile compensation? the packages would’ve been decent when the company was pre-IPO, but let’s be honest here… a stock option with a strike price of $188 just doesn’t have the same value as the ones of yesteryear. even microsoft adjusted their base salaries to 66th percentile years ago when it was clear that their stock options weren’t as much a part of the total compensation package as it used to be. for a post-IPO company like google, it only seems fair that they adjust things accordingly.”

“i must say, 1500+ sales people getting drunk at a company sponsored party feels remarkably like a frat party.”

I am trying to confirm this guy actually worked at Google, and that this is not some elaborate hoax…the fact that it’s not in Google’s index certainly indicates something is up…

So I do wonder. How is it that Yahoo has it indexed, and Google does not? I’m asking. More when/if I hear more.

UPDATE: The fellow is for real, I am told by Google. Awaiting further explication on the index issue…it’d be relatively simple to test how quickly a normal blogger blog is indexed by Google….

UDPATE 2: A Google source on good authority tells me A/This was a new employee who violated some internal legal and financial policies (in his original post he talked about financial information and hinted at cool products coming up), B/He was called on it by Google management, and reacted by instantly taking down his posts and C/After sleeping on it, folks at Google sat down with him and agreed that he would take some of the more sensitive stuff out and then repost his musings. I’m told a side by side comparison of before and after exists somewhere out there on the web, but I have not found it….As for D/ whether or not Google actually pulled him from the cache or the index, the answer from Google is a definitive no, Google says that in fact their bot simply had not found the site, which had few to no inbound links – not an easy admission certainly, but one that I will take at face value. If anyone has any data about how quickly the average blog is found by indices, I’d be interested. I’m also curious how Yahoo found it so quickly. In any case, the site sure has juice now, and both the original post, as well as the new one and all the commentary, will be in the amber of the index forevermore.

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18 thoughts on “Googler Blogs, Then UnBlogs – Updated

  1. Miles Barr says:

    A fun read but nothing too revealing, it reminded me of Microserfs. The only interesting bit (for me) was the compensation part, but most searches I’ve done in the past have indicated that Google don’t pay particularly well.

    As for not being in Google’s index? Since the site’s is less than ten days old I doubt there’s anything malicious going on. The question on my mind is, did Google’s spider not get around to it, or did it find it but they’re just slower than Yahoo in updating their index?

  2. Wally says:

    Maybe he didn’t pay enough attention to the three hour HR briefing and payed the price!

    W.

  3. Khalil says:

    It this really important?

  4. MikeM says:

    Important? If you are a shareholder yes! Any insider viewpoint from inside the Starship Enterprise is welcomed from my point of view.
    1,500 drunken millionaire frat boys at a bash reminds me of how the original 49ers acted when they tapped the Mother Lode.

  5. Mark says:

    Just to say I read the blog while it was still up, and the second Yahoo cache link is a complete record of how the blog was yesterday night. So if it was pulled, it was pulled on the basis of what you can read there.
    Wouldn’t surprise me if Google pulled it – info from inside Google is so rare on the web that it must be company policy.

  6. Rob says:

    This is something that seems unimportant on the face, but it actually represents a small infraction that points to the actual power held by those at Google. Google has come to represent a very large chunk of change for many businesses. Many of those I know who are largely virtual firms get upwards of 90% of their hits from Google.

    This site was in the Google index, now it is not. It is one thing for Google to force an employee to take the blog down, re-index and automatically remove it from the database. That should be the normal flow, according to Google. This appears to be a manual manipulation to benefit Google and its stock-holders. If they manually manipulated their database against their own policy, then they changed the whole game.

    What if they decide our postings are not good for their stock value next. For instance this posting can

  7. alek says:

    Ummmmm … I too saw this before it was blanked … and yea, it’s one thing for the owner to remove his postings, but does seem kinda odd that Google would not show it in the cache, especially since I saw this referenced in a number of places in the last couple of days, so you would have thought it would be spidered – the blogger folks (from their web server logs) would know for sure if the GoogleBot came by.

    BTW John, care to disclose who at Google told you he was real – an official company source or just someone on the inside off-the-record? I thought that part of your writeup was interesting too.

  8. Adam says:

    Did anyone consider that Mark erased his posts — and requested that the cached copy be removed (which any publisher can do, incidentally)… because his friends smacked him aside the head and said “Dude, what were you smoking breaking your NDA and also talking about your compensation publicly? Get rid of that stuff before you’re in deep @*&#!”

    So much conspiracy theorizing going on, but not even that much smoke, IMHO.

    Besides, his entries weren’t even that interesting or revealing. Sheesh. Is this how starved folks have become for Googleplex infobits?

  9. pb says:

    The posts are back up, btw.

    If a URL goes from having some HTMl to having no HTML, does Google still conside rthe URL to have th first set of HTML? Is itpossible that the blogger didn’t even request that the Google cache be cleared but that the cache cleared itself?

  10. John says:

    Comparing the Yahoo cache (the “even more” link) with the curent version of the blog, what he removed is this (suggests a new product in 2005, in the lines of gmail and google groups):

    ” they started off the day with a financials presentation, which was actually quite
    interesting. of course, i understand that they obviously will put a positive spin on
    everything, but the weight of the raw numbers is undeniable. both google’s profits
    and revenue are growing at an unprecedented rate even while they are increasing
    their expenditures on capital and human resources. not to mention that google has
    been primarily focused on the u.s. market and is now turning their full attention to
    the global marketplace.

    so after the interesting financials, the products team gave presentations reviewing
    product performance in 2004 and giving sneak peeks of the products we’ll unveil in
    2005. if you guys thought gmail and google groups were cool, you ain’t seen nothing
    yet!”

  11. Its ironic. The blog is on Google’s own service, but because Google wants to give Blogger no unfair advantage, it never got indexed. Meanwhile Yahoo did index it, because, since MyYahoo has an RSS reader, it gets blogs indexed faster.

  12. Scott says:

    The problem may be that what he divulged publicly on his blog, even if vague, may have more widespread disclosure implications due to Reg FD. The bottom line is that if inside information is disclosed in any way to any one in the “public,” whether accidentally, inadvertantltly, or ignorantly, then the company is required to publicly disclose the information to *everyone* in the “public.” I can now imagine the lawyers at GOOG furiously trying to determine just how much detail they might now have to publicly disclose (in a press release/SEC filing?) to provide “fair disclosure.”

    As I posted in another blog on this issue:

    “So, here’s where it gets interesting: was the information too revealing (and if so, the implication may be that GOOG is a screaming buy even at it’s current lofty price) or were they just concerned that he talked about things that shouldn’t have been publicly discussed (perhaps, for regulatory or competitive reasons), even if they were ‘vague?’”

    I agree with one of the other posts: he should have paid more attention during the HR briefing.

  13. Scott says:

    Just speculating, of course, but to expand on what GOOG may have been concerned about, and to answer the question asked above, “It (sic) this really important?”, from Reg FD:

    “The final regulation, like the proposal, applies to disclosures of “material nonpublic” information about the issuer or its securities. The regulation does not define the terms “material” and “nonpublic,” but relies on existing definitions of these terms established in the case law. Information is material if “there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable shareholder would consider it important” in making an investment decision.38 To fulfill the materiality requirement, there must be a substantial likelihood that a fact “would have been viewed by the reasonable investor as having significantly altered the ‘total mix’ of information made available.”39 Information is nonpublic if it has not been disseminated in a manner making it available to investors generally.”

    Clearly, there is “a substantial likelihood” that a “reasonable shareholder” would consider what Mark disclosed in his blog to be important.

    Further, from Reg FD:

    “Under Rule 100(a)(2), when an issuer makes a covered non-intentional disclosure of material nonpublic information, it is required to make public disclosure promptly. As proposed, Rule 101(d) defined “promptly” to mean “as soon as reasonably practicable” (but no later than 24 hours) after a senior official of the issuer learns of the disclosure and knows (or is reckless in not knowing) that the information disclosed was both material and non-public. “Senior official” was defined in the proposal as any executive officer of the issuer, any director of the issuer, any investor relations officer or public relations officer, or any employee possessing equivalent functions.”

    And to those who may think, “But, he’s just a regular employee…it’s not like he’s the CEO or CFO,” I offer this:

    “An issuer’s officers, directors, and other employees are subject to duties of trust and confidence and face insider trading liability if they trade or tip.”

    Maybe it’s much ado about nothing (although, I suspect more than a few hedge funds would disagree), but I’ll bet GOOG ran up some legal fees the last few days.

  14. Wally says:

    Look, he’s just some self-important jerk who thought it was ok to discuss his employers business and compensation policies in public a few hours after all the non-disclosure stuff was explained to him (‘boring presentation’ as he described it). He got the smack he deserved, and was lucky to still keep his job.

    Employers deserve loyalty from their employees, who should leave if they don’t like it. Within legal bounds of course, nothing wrong with whistle blowing on safety/corruption/discrimination grounds, but that doesn’t apply here.

    W.

  15. Slashdotter says:

    hey Wally – he used to work for Microsoft. I guess “self important jerkdom” is common trait amongst that lot.

  16. Harry says:

    John, It’s true that Google doesn’t index Blogger sites very quickly, and yet curiously, Yahoo! does. My blog site, beereditor.blogspot.com, which gets fairly good traffic since it links from my main site (beernet.com), is still not indexed by Google and it’s been up for several months, yet Yahoo! picked it up right away. Just FYI…. love your site, very informative. Harry

  17. localudal says:

    you don’t need to be a google employee to get smashed. Take me with my blog http://goolocalizations.blogspot.com. When discussing some blatant mistakes in google localizations, I used a word ‘Schmoogle’ (couldn’t upload a ‘Schmoogle’ gif into blogger, but it’s OK, too late to complain) My blog was getting like 10 to 30 cents a day of AdSense impressions, it was so invisible. But everything ended when it was mentioned and linked at Linux Today. Now I’m getting 3 to 5 times more visits, and exactly $0.00 every day.

    BTW, Yahoo index referred above is empty

  18. Just to say I read the blog while it was still up, and the second Yahoo cache link is a complete record of how the blog was yesterday night…