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Google Blogger Is Gone

By - February 08, 2005

Mark Jen, the fellow who reported on internal company activities at Google, is gone from the company. I pinged a Google rep and he confirmed it.

This is a clear message to Google employees. I imagine any who are blogging, are re-reading their HR policies about now…

I guess someone who violates the rules like this will, I imagine, be dealt with in various ways by various companies. I wonder what Yahoo might have done in the same situation, or Microsoft? The information on the site, which was taken down and then redacted, was really not that big a deal. At least, it seems that way to me. But one never knows.

Is this such a clear case of violation as to merit firing? Perhaps he left on his own accord, we may never know as I imagine he signed something on his way out the door. In any case, I’d be interested in what others in similar situations – Scoble, Jeremy – have to say about this. I’d also be interested in the views of various Google bloggers out there. But I imagine this one is a third rail….

Ev, any thoughts now you’re outside the wagons?

Update: Mark is blogging again. Read the comments.

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  • http://willets.org Kendall Willets

    It’s the Suede/Denim Secret Police
    They have come for your uncool niece…

    (Dead Kennedy’s, BTW)

  • http://www.platinax.co.uk Brian

    I feel sorry for the guy – it’s hard not to read it as “male white corporate oppression”.

    (Sonic Youth, BTW – when they were worth listening to)

  • http://foo Annoyed visitor

    Quit linking to feeds instead of sites. It’s astoundingly annoying.

  • http://www.capnken.com/wisdom Cap'n Ken

    From a practical standpoint, do you think it’s a good idea to start blogging ANY inside dish on your new employer starting the FIRST DAY of your new job?

    This kid moved down from Seattle to take a Google job, but he seemed to be acting like he was on a reality TV show or something. Yes, Google is probably a pretty cool place to work. And, yes, buses with mobile wireless Internet access are a great way to ride to work. But come on, dude. You were there to work for Google, not write about Google.

    Clearly he made blogging life at Google a priority. Even if he’d not have written anything the company might consider inappropriate, if I were a manager, I’d have to question whether his job or his blog was his primary concern. And I doubt he’d added much value to the company in the two-week span he was there, so there’s no great incentive to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    It was just a stupid move on his part.

  • http://battellemedia.com John Battelle

    Sorry about linking to the feeds, my bad. Will fix as soon as I can.

  • http://www.jobsinsearch.com Mike Taylor – JobsinSearch.com

    Having wrote about employee blogs recently in the Jobs in Search blog: http://www.jobsinsearch.blogspot.com this does not really surprise me.

    When I was a recruiter for a company we always got employees to sign confidentiality agreements.

    I don’t know the ins and outs of this case but if someone agrees not to reveal sensitive company details, and puts something on a blog site, then there is probably only one outcome.

    Mike Taylor – JobsInSearch.com

  • http://www.macromedia.com/go/blog_jd John Dowdell

    “In any case, I’d be interested in what others in similar situations – Scoble, Jeremy – have to say about this.”

    For what it’s worth, I have insufficient data to form a useful opinion on that contract between Google and a new employee.

    The balance point for “being an individual within a group” can vary with different groups, different individuals… I’m not sure one rule would apply to all.

    Regards,
    John Dowdell
    Macromedia Support

  • MikeM

    The guy gets through the 14 interviews beating out hundreds of other applicants so he had some value. He begins a blog, from the service his new company owns, he makes a couple of questionable posts and instead of a good tongue lashing he gets axed?
    Sergey could have gone down to his cubicle and tapped him on the shoulder and just said knock it off. Jeeze!

  • Sam

    They did mention that there were some concerns from other Google employees. Though every is focusing on Mark’s right to blog, nobody has really considered that Mark just came from Microsoft, who just released MSN Search, a competitor to Google’s main service. With his early comparisons of Google to Microsoft’s pay package, perhaps some of those employees went to HR and asked not about blogging but about their pay packages? And why it wasn’t comparable to Microsoft’s? If something like this happened, higher ups at Google would have to be concerned about the disruptive effect of Mark’s blog in the future on current and future employees.

  • jp

    It’s almost always the case that a company wants to fire someone and then they go look for a reason. The poor judgment Jenn displayed on his blog, could definitely have been present in his work.

  • http://ladycascadia.journalspace.com/ Lady Cascadia

    Mark Jen is NOT the first person to get fired for inappropriate blogging! Back in October 2004, Ellen Simonetti, a former Delta Airlines flight attendant from Austin, Texas made international news headline for her sacking. What was her “crime?” Posting some cheesecake pics of herself in uniform on her blog “Diary of A Flight Attendant.” She’s now taken up the cause for so-called “Blogger’s Right.” As admirable as it sounds, I don’t think she is going to go far. You could blow off Simonetti as just plain misguided, but Jen should’ve known better since he works in the high tech sector. So his firing is no one’s fault but his own.

    People do NOT get fired for blogging per say. It’s for saying and doing inappropriate things on it. Nowadays most employment is ‘at will’ so the company has the right to fire anyone they feel is damaging their image or ability to remain competitive. Me? I work for a major fortune 500 company by day, but my blog is and will always remain an after hours affair. It’s much more interesting that way AND keeps you out of trouble cuz let’s face it most of us can’t make money off blogging and we all have to eat.

  • http://ifindkarma.typepad.com/relax/ Adam

    I met Mark Jen on Tuesday and chatted with him. He was nice, articulate, and seemed like a genuinely good person.

    So I went home and googled for “don’t be evil”. The top hit was Wired’s January 2003 article on “Google vs. Evil.”

    I had forgotten about that article. My favorite paragraph is this one:

    “‘Evil,’ says Google CEO Eric Schmidt, ‘is what Sergey says is evil.’ Of the Google triumvirate, Schmidt makes sure the company stays on course financially and strategically; Page keeps busy in the R&D lab, cranking out new features; and the 29-year-old Brin, in his role as Google’s conscience and head policymaker, spends his days gripping the moral tiller – and in so doing, imposes his worldview on everyone else.”

    There are roughly 3000 people working at Google, and roughly 6 billion of us not working at Google. I’m glad Google sent him back to our world, where some smart company will be able to put his skills to better use…

  • http://www.wedalert.com Steve

    I agree with Mike, that his blogging probably was in conflict to his confidentiality agreement. Also, spending so much time during his working hours was not a bright move.

    Steve

  • http://www.mneptok.com mneptok

    In any case, I’d be interested in what others in similar situations – Scoble, Jeremy – have to say about this.

    I wouldn’t, frankly.

    Scoble is an apologist buffoon. He talks about how great it is that his company allows him to blog, and then turns around and does nothing but butt-kiss the Redmond monolith. He’s about as fair and objective as a Ballmer press release.

    I’d be interested to hear the opinions of employees whose views diverge from the corporate party line. Not Scoble.

    Is this harsh? Yeah. But then I’m tired of seeing Scoble applying lipstick to the various Microsoft pigs.

  • http://www.figby.com/ Michael Moncur

    I can’t help being cynical:

    1. Get a job at Google.
    2. Post inappropriate content, get fired.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

  • Someone else

    “He begins a blog, from the service his new company owns, he makes a couple of questionable posts and instead of a good tongue lashing he gets axed?”

    It’s my understanding that they talked to him first, then he bitched about getting talked to, then he got fired. Regardless of whether he’s a nice guy or not, he sounds like an idiot.

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