Posted on March 20, 2010 by Nik

Sold – the soul of Google, and you

Google Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin disparaging the commercialization of search engines said. “We expect that advertising-funded search engines will be inherently biased toward the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.” They had a vision of allowing unfettered access to the sum of all human knowledge on line.

However Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt recently explained in an interview with Charlie Rose, “now we are an advertising company!” Today 99% of Google’s revenue comes from the ads it strews on websites across the internet. Google has become the internet’s largest and most determined info-polluter – effectively killing the dream of a commercial-free internet.

This should cause us to consider the long-term cultural consequences of relying on an advertising company to organize the world’s information. For the first time in human history, a single company both controls our access and corrupts that same information through advertising. Google makes money not from censorship – although it recently proved its willingness to engage in this behavior too – but from altering our worldview through the commercialization, commodification and adulteration of our culture’s collective knowledge.
Micah White at the inimitable , from which these missives have been cribbed, goes on to say:
Sever the connection between advertising, clicks and sales. Instead of ignoring ads that annoy you, click on them. Let it be known that you are a protest-clicker, a culture jammer who is sick of what the internet has become and who is doing something about it. Clicking on advertising undermines Google’s ability to determine which clicks are real and which are fake. Advertisers will refuse to pay for protest clicks, as they already do with fraudulent clicks, and the myth of the online advertising system – that clicks translate into profit – will be thrown into disarray. With this myth under assault there will be little justification for increased online marketing.