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KinderStart Suit a Non-Starter

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, June 26, 2006 at 9:18 pm

KinderStart, the company that sued Google for deindexing its website and is trying to get others to join it in a class action, is getting its day in court.

In advance of the hearing scheduled for June 30, KinderStart put out this very funny press release:

At 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 30, 2006 in United States Federal Court, 280 S. First Street, Courtroom #3, San Jose, California, a drama will play out between KinderStart.com (a site for kids zero to seven and their parents) and the giant of the Internet, Google, controlling up to 80% or more of ‘Net searches worldwide.

The hearing is open to members of the press and the public. Cameras are not permitted in the courtroom.

If the Federal judge rules in favor of KinderStart on any of the nine counts, sunlight will finally begin to lift the dark and secret shroud that covers the Googleplex.

Google’s co-founder Larry Page declared that a search engine should be “like the mind of God.”

“It’s clear Google is acting like god as they determine what we mortals shalt and shalt not see,” stated Victor Goodman, Founder of KinderStart.com.

Goodman continues, “Is this company that censors speech and ideas in China now doing it in the USA? Google decides what news we get, what sites come up, and what sites disappearā€”in effect, what we buy and think. This case is about far more than Kinderstart; it is about our freedom to know, speak and choose without a self-appointed Gatekeeper.”

KinderStart.com is the lead plaintiff in a class action filed in Federal court on March 17, 2006.

Oh, how ridiculous is this, let me count the ways. Let’s just overlook the hyperbole and melodrama of the copywriting, and skip right over to:

  1. Google is not the Internet, it is a company with a proprietary product. It owns the product and the intellectual property of that product. Although it is available for free (if you don’t count having to look at ads), it is not a public good.
  2. There is no such thing as an inalienable right to be indexed. Do alcohol and tabacco companies sue Target because Target “acts like a god” by choosing not to stock those products?
  3. “Censorship” is when the government interferes with freedom of expression in the public sphere. Otherwise it’s called editorial discretion. The Chinese censorship issue is not only a red herring, but also a false analogy.
  4. And, anyway, what are they trying to accomplish here? On the off chance that they win the class action and Google is forced to reinclude all the de-indexed sites, it will open the floodgates to so much spam that it can’t possibly benefit any legitimate sites.

For background:

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Category: Google

2.8 Billion Searches Conducted on Google in May

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 6:38 am

Nielsen/NetRatings just released its May marketshare figures for the search market. According to Nielsen, Google pulled in just a little over 49% of last month’s searches (down from 49.8% the previous month), or roughly 2.8 billion queries. Yahoo followed with a 22.9% share and 1.3 billion searches. MSN Search, with 600 million searches, lagged in third place with 10.6%.

Total number of searches, however, was up dramatically for all of the top search engines. Yahoo, for example, handled 34% more queries than it did 12 months ago and says the battle for search industry dominance is just getting started. “We’re three steps into a marathon,” according to Yahoo executive Bradley Horowitz, the company’s vice president of product strategy.

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Category: Data

MSN Has Self-Esteem Issues

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 at 9:25 am

MSN is second-best, even in its own eyes, according to a hilarious post by Philipp Klöckner, in which he sets out to prove, successfully, that MSN Search results are so easily manipulated that anyone can outrank the MSN site search.msn.de on a search for the term search.msn.de.

Source: Philipp Lenssen’s Google Blogoscoped

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Category: Uncategorized

Random Stats

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, June 19, 2006 at 11:17 pm

There are now more web documents online than there are people on the planet.

Americans keep their computers on 9.2 hours a day, TVs on 8.9 hours a day, says the Harrison Group says. (I, of course, keep my computer on 24 hours a day — but that doesn’t mean I’m actually on it that much. Usually when my TV is on, I’m actually watching it.)

Rosner Research says that 30% of 18-24-year-olds worry about getting harassed or stalked online. Meanwhile, 78% of young people have a personal web site or blog. (And 85% of people 25 and older are sad to learn that they are no longer considered “young people.”)

HitWise said recently that Google sends about 1% of its traffic to eBay. In turn, 2.7% of Google’s traffic originated on eBay.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, advertising on newspaper web sites rose nearly 35% in Q1 2006 from Q1 2005, while print ad revenue rose 0.3%.

Bill Tancer of HitWise postulated that general keyword searches in the main index make up about 80% of all Google traffic, followed by image search at just under 10%.

Some other interesting stats on ZDNet’s IT Facts blog.

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Category: Uncategorized

Can an Embedded Blogger Stay Objective?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, June 19, 2006 at 10:07 pm

Oh my. Apparently the entertainment industry has embedded bloggers now. Let’s just hope these embedded bloggers don’t give away any information that could harm this country’s most important economic product, lest we play right into the hands of those anti-U.S.-cultural-domination zealots. Now if I could only make myself care.

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Category: Blogging