Google's AdvertisingGoogle has been wildly successful by every measure. But it has some critics too.
By: Amos Gewirtz, Sibley Scribe
In recent years, Google has flourished, in almost every respect. When RankDex began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it was run out of a modest lab at Stanford. After many years, name changes, countless software changes, and one of the largest IPOs in Internet history, Google has ballooned into a $72.6 billion company, with nearly $10 billion of profit, last year.
Google’s dominant market position has led to criticism of the company over issues including privacy, copyright, and censorship. Most recently, controversy over the role of advertising, not only in Google primary web search engine, but also in its subsidiary company, YouTube, has taken center stage. Claims by critics of Google’s alleged “heavy advertising” have brought to light numerous questions, especially in regard to the ethics of some advertising methods.
A recent video, posted by angry YouTube “protestors”, highlighted some of the issues that many users believe to be a problem. Among these were that YouTube, many believe to rank videos more highly if the uploader paid the site prior. The critical video, ironically, was posted atop the “from YouTube” list on the main page of the site.
Along with these concerns, other people attacking Google take aim at its excessive advertising. A former Google engineer James Whittaker, had some harsh criticism for Google through a post he published on Microsoft’s official blog, shortly after ending his 3-year long Google career. He believes that Google moved from a company that focused intensely on creative technological innovation to one that is obsessed with advertising and trying to “beat Facebook” in the social networking market.
“The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus,” he later said.