Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Information Revolution or Cynical Manipulation?

I recently spotted some ads on the tube for Information Revolution. The headline of the ad was something along the lines of "70% of internet traffic goes via one company" and then a simple url as mechanism to get involved (complete with authentic ".org" domain). Intrigued, I visited the site. After a little while it dawned on me that this is nothing to do with information protection, per se, but is a thinly disguised campaign by the search engine Ask Jeeves.

It's easy to see how Ask Jeeves arrived here. In the absence of (I assume) a solid reason to claim that they are different or better than Google, Ask Jeeves needed to find a new angle. There are many people concerned, if not deeply paranoid, about information protection and rightly so. However, the sinister behemoth being indicted here is Google, themselves usually associated with being a champion of free-thought, primarily by seriously challenging Microsoft. And that's where it falls flat for me. I guess it will make a few people think about the Google monopoly. But change an indoctrinated nation's search habit? Not convinced.

I'm not completely decided here - this campaign treads a fine line between being a genuine champion of the people and a cynical ploy to get attention by a desperate business. I'm erring towards the latter. Any views? Please vote!

1 comment:

Rob said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

That campaign is awful. The anti-google backlash would've come ages ago, if they hadn't kept proving they were the best, over and over again. You can't invent these movements - unless it's clear they're a joke, which this one isn't.

Worse still, it appears to deliberately poke people's fears about privacy, yet provides no evidence of any wrongdoing by Google, other than the fact that they're 'big'.

Very cynical. And an abject failure, as the comments on the site's blog show.

They should've done something more like stoplateness.com - and kept tongue firmly in cheek.