Tag Archives: deception

Google’s Advertising Revenue Is Under Major Threat In Australia

Earlier this month a court in Australia reversed a lower court’s decision and ruled that the ads Google allows to run on its search engine are “misleading and deceptive”. I wrote more about this in another post – click here.

After this ruling by the Federal Court, Google was caught completely off-guard (typical Google arrogance of course) and they definitely were not expecting it to go in that direction. It also extremely worries Google and could set a threatening precedent to their business model. Google is concerned that the Australian court’s decision could be copied by other courts in different countries and it will hurt their bottom line. Google’s ad revenue is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia alone.

Google will fight the court’s decision tooth and nail to avoid this from spreading and to make sure their money-making machine is protected. The company has less than 14 days to appeal the decision to a High Court. What Google is most concerned about is protecting their money and not making sure that their users are protected. This isn’t the first time that the company has gotten themselves in deep trouble over their ad business. The US government forced Google to pay up half a billion dollars for aiding and abetting a con artist commit his crimes (I will post an update story on this soon ,which I forgot to post).

The point is that Google has repeatedly shown that they are willing to accept money from every advertiser, every company, and even criminals if they can get away with it. They obviously have very little ethics and I sure wouldn’t trust them. Be careful clicking on those ads.

This Australian legal battle against Google is a very interesting one to watch.

ABC News in Australia did a fantastic report on this story. The video is below and if you want to read the transcript, you can go to their website – click here

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Google Fails To Convince The Public That Google Plus Isn’t A Failure

English: Google+ wordmark

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how Google’s latest attempt at social networking with the launch of Google Plus is a massive failure for the company. To catch up on that post, please click here

Okay, so yesterday Google responded to the embarrassing news about Google Plus by denying that it’s a virtual ghost town. Google vice president for engineering, Vic Gundotra, gave an interview with the New York Times. In this interview, Mr. Gundotra doesn’t really say anything new that we haven’t already heard from CEO Larry Page. I guess they haven’t learned from mistakes, so they will continue using the same lies to try to boost up their numbers. When one is desperate, they are willing to say and do anything.

Mr. Gundotra said that he has never seen anything at Google grow so fast as Google Plus. Hmm, perhaps – but has anything plummeted as fast as Google Plus? It’s true that Google Plus sign-up spiked by over a 1000% on the day of its public launch, but it soon almost completely died after a few days. After people satisfied their curiosity and saw that the product is absolutely useless, they hightailed out of there. It burned out so quickly.

Mr. Gundorta refused to give the New York Times any useful data that would indicate good health for Google Plus. He gave nothing to counter the Wall Street Journal’s reporting about the dismal user engagement on the site and said nothing about how people intertwine Google Plus has part of their daily routine.  This is what the New York Times wrote,

“About 50 million people who have created a Google Plus account actively use the company’s Google Plus-enhanced products daily, Mr. Gundotra said. Over a 30-day period, he said, that number is 100 million active users”

Google Plus-enhanced products”? WTF? What this means is that if somebody signs-up for a Google Plus account and that’s the only thing they ever do – it’s fine. As long as they are also still using other Google products and services, then it will still count as engagement on Google Plus. So if you use YouTube, you’re using Google Plus; if you use the search engine, you’re using Google Plus; if you use Gmail, you’re also using Google Plus.

Does Google think the public was born yesterday? Do you think we’re that stupid? Ha-ha. Only a really desperate company would try to boost up their numbers on a failed site by counting activity on a totally different site.  Just face it, Google Plus is yet another attempt at social networking that’s failed – and this one is a colossal failure.

Mr. Gundorta made sure to point out what Google is most proud of, which is “ad engagement” on all Google websites. He claims that socially recommended ads have a higher click-through rate, and this has been successful for Google. If a friend recommends a microwave to you, then research shows that you are more likely to click on an ad about that microwave. This is true; you are more likely take something more seriously if a friend recommends it to you. However, this doesn’t mean that Google Plus is successful in the least. All it means is that Google wants you to sign-up for a Google Plus account, give Google your friend contact list, and then start “+1-ing” (Google’s version of the Facebook “Like” button) anything you enjoy anywhere on the Internet. Those +1 buttons are pretty much everywhere. Google will then take that information and use it to serve your contacts advertisements. You basically become like a celebrity endorser of products – except you won’t have a multi-million dollar contract.

It’s so sad that Google cares so much about monetizing our personal information for huge profits and not, first and foremost, creating a great social atmosphere. Look, the reason why Google Plus sucks so much is because it’s a lousy product. Nobody I know uses Google Plus – nobody says “Hey, what’s your name on Google Plus? How can I find you on Google Plus? Let’s chat on Google Plus”. Ha-ha.

Google Plus is indeed a ghost town and nobody cares to ever use it. Even if Google can share your “+1s” with your friends to achieve higher click-through rates for ads – it won’t matter if there aren’t people “+1-ing” in the first place. Nobody is sharing anything on that lonesome site, which is why Google is hiding the real engagement numbers that matter.

Mr. Gundotra said,

“We have started the social engines at Google and we’re about to step on the gas”

Aww, how determined. Take your time stepping on that gas, Google. You already had about 9 months – take another 9 months if you must.

For more information:

New York Times, “Countering the Google Plus Image Problem” – click here

Mashable, “Google+ Enhanced Ads Are Up to 10% More Effective, Says Google” – click here

SFGate, “So THAT’S What Google+ Is Really About: Advertising (GOOG)” – click here

Atlantic Wire, “Google Fails to Convince People That Google+ Is Popular, Again” – click here

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Google Tricked And Lied To Apple Users To Make It Easier To Later Spy On Them

Yesterday, I posted here how you can better protect yourselves against Google by making sure your iPhone’s settings are set to maximum security. My post, which I titled “How to block Google from tracking you on your iPhone“, gave you steps for you to follow. In addition, I provided you a link to the Business Insider website that has the full 10 steps. Here is a link to the post I’m referring to – click here

Let’s take a closer look at step number 7, which advised you to do the following:

“This screen will pop up. Hit ‘Never.’ That means your browser will never accept any cookies. (Google’s trick took advantage of the “From visited” setting. That setting means you only want cookies from sites you visit. But Google and other ad networks found a way to deliver their cookies anyway.) Then hit ‘Safari’ to go back to the last screen.”

This is a critical step because, as already pointed out to you, Google was able to circumvent Apple’s security setting through a loophole in the “From visited” setting. What Google figured was that Apple designed their browser to only accept cookies from the actual page users are on if the browser thought users trusted the site enough to file out a form. Google then deliberately manipulated the browser to accept Google’s tracking cookies by changing a code to trick the browser into thinking that the user was filling out a form when in actuality they were not. For an illustration on how this works, you can click here

Alright, if you thought that was bad enough – wait, it gets worse! Let me tell you just how disgusting and low Google was willing to go. Google not only targeted innocent unsuspecting users of Apple’s web browser, who thought that they were not being tracked, but Google also intentionally lied and deceived them too!

Google didn’t just secretly go and change the security setting of Apple users’ browser – they also gave false advice to innocent people to follow, so that Google could carry out its tracking and manipulate the browser.

How did Google deceivingly set people up to be later victimized? Okay, here are the sordid details explaining what exactly Google did:

Google knew about the loophole in Apple’s Safari security setting as early as 2010, as reported by Tech website Gizmodo.

Google has something called an “advertising cookie opt-out plugin”, which was supposedly developed by Google to give people a way to block third-party cookies (hmm, whatever!). So anyway, this plugin was developed for users of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google’s own browser named Chrome.

Conspicuously missing from this list was Apple’s web browser, Safari, which Google decided not to include. Google claimed that they couldn’t yet create a similar plugin that could function on Safari – but they reassured Apple’s users that their browser already has a built-in default setting which effectively blocks tracking anyway.

Then, Google told Apple users to double-check if they are truly protected from tracking cookies by checking their settings. Google gave them a 3 step instruction to “confirm that Safari is set up to block third-party cookies“.

This is what Google told Apple users in step 3:

“Make sure the ‘Accept cookies’ setting is set to ‘Only from sites you navigate to’. You can also set this option to ‘Never’, but this will prevent many web sites that rely on cookies from working.”

Wow! The level of deception is absolutely abhorrent! Now that we know what Google did to Apple users, this last step Google provided to innocent people makes more sense in hindsight. Google deliberately gave unsuspecting and trusting Apple users the wrong advice to make them more vulnerable to spyware and tracking!

What Google did is morally and ethically corrupt – it should also be illegal!

By the way, that “advertising cookie opt-out plugin” page has now been edited by Google to hide the evidence. Some time between February 14th and 15th, Google found out that the Wall Street Journal was in the process of writing a story about the tracking of Apple users – Google then immediately edited that page so that the instructions for Apple Safari users is no longer there.

But they couldn’t hide it fast enough because a non-profit consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog took screenshots of the page before it had been edited and after it was edited by Google.

This is a screenshot before Google edited the page: click here

This is the screenshot of that same page after Google edited it: click here

The advocacy group has written a letter to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) detailing what they found. The group is calling on the FTC to take actions to punish Google for clearly violating the consent order the company agreed to last year.

According to Walter Isaacson’s bestselling authorized biography on the late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was a fierce defender of the iPhone. Steve Jobs was “willing to go thermonuclear war” against Google to defend his products and users. Sadly, Mr. Jobs passed away last year from cancer – but this doesn’t mean Apple users are not fighting back against Google. One man has already filed a lawsuit against Google (click here)

For more information on all of this, please click here

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