Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Google Embraces the Dark Side

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jul 02, 2007

This is why I don't run Google ads:

Does negative press make you Sicko?

Lights, camera, action: the healthcare industry is back in the spotlight. (Not that it ever left the stage.) Next week, Michael Moore's documentary film, Sicko, will start playing in movie theaters across America...

While legislators, litigators, and patient groups are growing excited, others among us are growing anxious. And why wouldn't they? Moore attacks health insurers, health providers, and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst...

Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through "Get the Facts" or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek.
Some commentary:

Cary Byrd at
How convenient! This ad rep just happens to take the side of U.S. healthcare companies against Moore and "negative press," and just happens to be in a position to directly benefit from advertising dollars from these self-same companies. (See "Google ad rep tells U.S. healthcare companies how to beat Michael Moore").
Abe Olandres:
If it were Yahoo or Microsoft, we wouldn't react that much (just read all that blog posts ). But for a company who promises to do no evil, their position is totally a 180-degree turn away from it. (See "Some Googlers shouldn't be allowed to blog").
The Daily Jive:
Google has a solution for the healthcare industry in the face of Michael Moore's amazing "Sicko" bombshell. Buy ads. Pay attention: This is what selling your soul sounds like. (See Untitled)
Amy Bellinger (responding to Google's assertion that "Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore's movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue):
Google doesn't even allow individuals to purchase ads critical of large companies.... So, apparently HMOs criticizing Michael Moore is okay, but random-guy-with-a-website criticizing a large corporation is not okay. 'Democratic,' indeed. (See Not so democratic after all: chokes disintermediation)
Steven Hodson:
Regardless of how one feels about Michael Moore or his new movie Sicko the fact that Google has decided to throw its weight against him by actively promoting its service and influence to the health care industry is wrong and is setting a very dangerous precedent. (Google's misuse of power - no surprise here)
Yeah. Nothing like the combined riches of a multinational industry to ensure that there is balance in the media about issues like health care. But they're at such a disadvantage, it sure is a good thing Google is there to help them when the going gets tough.

Poor disadvantaged health care leeches.

As for Google? Now officially evil.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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