Google Reputation Management Disaster With Open Social

Gmail ClownGoogle just walks into reputation management and trademark problems one after the other, and today is no exception.

Not too long ago it was their attempt to force people to give up domains legally registered using the acronym “g.m.a.i.l” or gmail, which Google uses for their email service.

The Polish Poets are still in business, and apparently Google also lost in other countries.

So today news is breaking about Google’s new “Open Social” platform for social media web developers. The big problem is that Google don’t own the trademark, or even a lot of the concept behind it, and they certainly don’t own their own SERPs (search engine results pages)

Google Open Social?

I first heard about Google’s OpenSocial development platform on Techcrunch. In fact I had also read their earlier post but at the time the initiative did not have a name.

But as far as I can see, Google does not own the phrase “Open Social”

Open Social Web

The Open Social Web “Bill Of Rights” was launched September 9th 2007

Brad Fitzpatrick, formerly of Six Apart, and with Google since August 2007 was mentioned as being involved with Google’s new initiative in the Techcrunch article from September, and was also mentioned on the Open Social Web Bill of Rights website and one of his articles was referenced, but at that time he, or Google were referring to the “social graph”.

Open Social? – Cool Concept & Name – I will Steal That

Well that is what it seems to me that Google has done.

Whilst the Google technology may well enable many of the concepts from the published Bill of Rights, that doesn’t mean they should be able to take the named concept and use it to name a product, especially based upon their previous history with trademarks and domain names.

From the Open Social Web Bill of Rights

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web
Authored by Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington
September 4, 2007

I wonder what they think of their concept stolen by Google to turn into a brand?

I personally think signing something like this over to Google y default is a disservice to the internet, and Google does not own the internet.

This is similar to allowing one company to brand “Freedom of Speech”

Google Don’t Own Their SERPS

I was glancing at my stats earlier, and noticed that I had some incoming traffic for terms like “Google Open Social”

Google Open Social

That is actually my post on Open Social Web but also covers lots of reasons why Google owning control of a blogging related service such as Feedburner doesn’t make it more open and actually can harm the development of the service.

Google’s Idea of “Open”

Google’s whole idea of “open” is to have the data available to them to index.

  • They don’t really care about privacy
  • They don’t care about copyright
  • They just want access to all your information

Sometime in the future, Google will have control of how your personal profile is represented online, and in many ways how it is portrayed.

Take for example their innocent little bar of green commonly referred to as “PageRank”, and how as I have written I have been “Defamed By Google

I continued to monitor how Google were representing the “quality” of my website online, with their mass downgrade of many sites, and their supposed change of heart for the innocent.

If this really is a war purely on paid links, and I have clearly stated I do not sell PageRank, then why am I still being defamed?

How do I repair the publicly repaired reputation of my website?

Reinclusion Request

As I believe I haven’t done anything wrong, I can’t honestly file a reinclusion or reconsideration request.

Google, Please Repair My Social Profile

If Google ultimately have all your online activities inter-connected and indexed, they are going to know absolutely everything about you online, and they are quite capable of making mistakes.

If you haven’t read Cory Doctorow’s amazing portrayal of Google, when he asked “What If Google Were Evil” in “Scroogled” I suggest you reserve 20 minutes to do so.

Google $700 per share? I don’t honestly care, though the higher they are, the harder they fall.

Update: Somehow I submitted the wrong URL for this one to Sphinn, so here is a usable button

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  1. says

    That was an awesome article (the “Scroogled” one). My my, that does paint a scary picture!

    Oh and also…your page is not nearly XHTML-compliant. I mean, neither is mine but that’s why I don’t say that I am. Just a thought since I actually did click yours to see. I find that not too many people care about it, and only those that do would even click the link in the first place.

  2. says

    It’s weird how Google seem to be turning into a lumbering animal with little concern or care for where they land their feet.

    What happened to the “do no evil” mantra? Where did that go?

    So we see Google edging towards social media. And why is this? The way I see it, Sponsored Links are to Google what Windows is to Microsoft — about the only things that make them money.

    While ever people are using social media to find things, they’re not searching using Google.

    The problem for Google is they’re sending out totally mixed messages about the value of social media, or how they value social media.

    On the one hand, Google Universal is supposed to reward websites and ‘blogs that have lots of social traffic, like comments. But then they penalize ‘blogs that do well in social networks and via social media venues like Digg, StumbleUpon et cetera.

    So the question is: assuming Google do release their own social media portal, will they be as quick to ‘vanish’ articles that go global from their own service?”

  3. says

    I’m delighted to have found this blog. You right on to call out Google on this usurping of Open Social name. I hate to say it but I have grown very weary of Google’s business practices as of late. I hope these are just mistakes of a young company that’s having trouble dealing with their enormous success, but every day I these “mistakes” seem more premeditated and disregarding… surely someone attorney at Google would have spoken up that they just can’t take someone else’s name… right? Or what, or perhaps some attorney did speak up, only to say “yeah, let’s just take it, we’re Google, we can do whatever we want”.

    Careful Google, you can’t keep this up forever.

  4. says

    I really enjoy reading your posts(and have subscribed).

    I have one question. Is google trying to become the Microsoft of the internet and dictating how we all use. I get the feeling they trying to force all web page owners to do it all ‘their or else’. I am new to blogging and at present don’t really care about google’s ranking of pages. To me Alexis is a real indication as to how my pages are performing. Is Alexis relevant now?

    cheers les

    Your site has been reviewed by the radical blogger = you can see the results here:

    It may take several hours for the front page article to appear. You review however has been published.

  5. says

    Google just collecting information in each and every way. They care about your privacy, they collect each every infomation using Gmail, Reader, Google talk, these all service are spyware to collect maximum information. They are using there Pagerank in a wrong way. Don’t see your Google pagerank now!.

  6. Cruise Control says

    First let me say you have an excellent blog!!! You are stating a welcome truth.

    As for the Google Empire, I have always felt that they had too much say and control with what is allowed or indexed on the web.

    Per other comments, they almost remind me of businesses wanting to sell their inventory at Walmart, they have to meet all the price settings as dictated by Walmart, or no sell to Walmart, I remember watching a CNBC show on Walmart, rings almost of Google.

    When will Google take over Walmart?

    As for the powers that be at Google, what Lord Acton stated

    Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely

  7. says

    Google Open Social? Please.

    How about starting with a little “social responsibility” first.

    Professional athletes may not want to be role models… too bad, they are. They don’t have to like it. Doesn’t matter. Because of the influence they wield, they have a social responsibility to behave as such.

    How about you Google? With the flick of a switch, the turn of a dial, you have a direct influence on millions of people, many times on a very personal level.

    How about recognizing the responsibity you have for the influence you wield and behave accordingly? How about acknowledging the possibility that it may have been you that made a mistake.

  8. says

    Excellent post. I would love to hear what Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington think about this.

    Maybe they are too busy talking with their lawyers to comment ;)

  9. says

    Andy, I love your posts and comment regularly on them. This is one of the best that I have read. I can not but feel that this is getting to be a David vs Goliath situation. Having been a corporate man all my life, I still do not understand how Google is still not getting into damage control mode. There are too many bloggers complaining and G does not seem to care. Does not augur well for their future. Yes, it is immaterial what their stock quotes at. We have seen a lot of companies who had that and lost it.

  10. says

    This is definitely great material :) I sphunn u :D I wonder how will they perform.. but then again, when you got the money, it’s most likely successful.. it’s just the matter of how much you wanna pump in?

    • says

      Igor I should stick that next to a PayPerPost logo ;)

      As far as the quality guidelines go, I am convinced I comply to both the letter and the spirit.

      I don’t even plan to charge more now I have sitelinks ;)

  11. says

    Hi Andy,

    18 months later, and the “Google Wariness” continues. To be fair though, as they evolve further into the corporate behemoth, it’s difficult for them to maintain their “do no evil” mantra, despite their best efforts.

    Besides their attempt to clamp down on Google-branded domains (which they are still failing at), they have also recently cut out the free PPC budgets to charities, thus sinking further to the dark side…


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