Google convinced less, still promises little.
March 10, 2005
Google is still claiming that Autolink is all about “user convenience”—what a load of crap.
The ‘net as it exists today would never have happened if people couldn’t sell products online. If the search engines swipe all of the product links and send them to Amazon etc., pretty soon it will be just Google and Amazon—and the rest of it will look like NSFNet, circa 1991.
All of the rest of us won’t be there to steal from anymore.
The fact is, we let Google scrape our content to sell context sensitive ads against on the search results, and they pay us back with traffic. Fair ‘nuff—if I didn’t like their traffic, I could shut them out with robots.txt.
I even let them sell ads against my content directly, and pay me for the privilege. Fine and dandy, and if I decide I don’t like it, I’ll opt out.
Autolink is greedy, however. It uses our content as a backdrop to sell, and returns us nothing for our efforts. It also offers us no opt-out facility. In what sense is this not evil?
The pressure continues to mount. Micropersuasion covers Walt Mossberg’s WSJ article and Google’s still waffling response.
“I’ve had long conversations about this with senior Google officials, and they say they are actively considering changing the way the AutoLink feature works so it might not actually alter the Web pages themselves. They note that the feature is a work in progress. But the Google officials also insist their first principle is user convenience.”
How big a hammer has to come down on them before they start to get it?