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The Bailout

By - September 21, 2008

It’s not related to the content of this site, but I am so damn mad about the financial bailout, mainly because the folks who profited the most from this mess are getting bailed out. So when I saw this post from Fred, summarizing Tom, I had to pass it along. I agree totally.

Rule #1: Cut salaries now

Part of the bailout bill ought to be that any organization which proffers securities for government purchase must agree not to pay any employee or contactor more than $1 million per year for the next four years. No cheating with trips to events on the corporate jet or other perks with draconian penalties TO THE RECIPIENT for violations.

Rule #2: No new golden parachutes

Some executives have contracts which entitle them to huge golden parachutes – especially if their pay is cut. These need to be annulled.

Rule #3: End payment on old golden parachutes

Payments on existing golden parachutes should be stopped.

Rule #4: No dividends for a year

This seems harsh to us shareholders who may have bank securities in our portfolio, but it’s not. Clearly an organization which is being bailed out needs to conserve cash to survive.

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Google + GE = Boil the Energy Ocean

By - September 17, 2008

Still ill, but I can’t help but read my email. This sounds very interesting:

GOOGLE AND GE EXECUTIVES TO DISCUSS SOLUTIONS TO ENERGY CHALLENGES

WHAT: Eric Schmidt and Jeff Immelt will discuss America’s energy challenge and announce ways Google and GE will be working together to contribute to solutions. A fact sheet with additional details will be emailed following the call at 3pm.

WHEN: Wednesday September 17, 2008, 11:20am PDT / 2:20pm EDT

WHO: The following executives will participate in the call:

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Google Inc.

Jeff Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Electric Company

And Google Knows…

By - September 08, 2008

….that what it knows is scary. Hence, this move. From the post on the Google Blog:



Today, we’re announcing a new logs retention policy: we’ll anonymize IP addresses on our server logs after 9 months. We’re significantly shortening our previous 18-month retention policy to address regulatory concerns and to take another step to improve privacy for our users.

And The Worm Slowly Turns

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If you don’t think this is keeping the folks up late at night over at Google, you’re wrong. And if they are NOT up late at night, sell your shares. From the Journal piece:

The Justice Department has quietly hired one of the nation’s best-known litigators, former Walt Disney Co. vice chairman Sanford Litvack, for a possible antitrust challenge to Google Inc.’s growing power in advertising.

Mr. Litvack’s hiring is the strongest signal yet that the U.S. is preparing to take court action against Google and its search-advertising deal with Yahoo Inc. The two companies combined would account for more than 80% of U.S. online-search ads.

Have you read John Heilemann’s excellent book on the impact of the Microsoft anti-trust deal on that company’s culture and business? It’s worth another look. Yeah, it’s called…Pride Before the Fall.

Link to Many

By - August 19, 2008

Tim brings up a very good point here. In short, he’s worried about the second click issue, write large (yep, I just linked to myself).

I’d like to put out two guidelines for anyone adopting this “link to myself” strategy:

1. Ensure that no more than 50% of the links on any page are to yourself. (Even this number may be too high.)

2. Ensure that the pages you create at those destinations are truly more valuable to your readers than any other external link you might provide.

The web is a great example of a system that works because most sites create more value than they capture. Maybe the tragedy of the commons in its future can be averted. Maybe not. It’s up to each of us.

Privacy: The Frog Boils, Slowly

By - August 12, 2008

This article strikes me as another slow drumbeat on an issue that has to be both frustrating and impossible to own for Google. The headline: “Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent” implies ulterior motives and wrongdoing. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for companies who run ad networks, and has been for a very long time. However, now that the guv’mint is involved, SOP is no longer AOK. The lede:

Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The kicker:

And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.

Or, put another way, Google bought DoubleClick, and DoubleClick uses tracking cookies. Yawn, right? Except….the rest of the world is catching on to the Database of Intentions, and the dialog as to what it means is just getting under way. The heat is being turned up, slowly but surely, and Google has to be careful to not be seen as the water in a boiling frog syndrome.

Here are the documents from the House Committee investigating online data practices.