Monday, April 23rd, 2012

It Only Gets Worse

eye spy Remember when Google was supposedly all about cutting-edge math and decent places to work?

Take a look at the website Adweek.  Without signing in, try to read one of their stories.  Pick any one.  It won’t matter.

What you get after clicking a headline there is undoubtedly a sign of what’s clearly next in the evolution of the commercially-run internet — compulsory data disclosure.

Clicking any AdWeek story now lands you on a page where you get an opening sentence or two, then must choose between answering a marketing question or “liking” the story page on a so-called social marketing platform.

The culprit here is Google, which is now pushing its “Google Consumer Surveys” onto “content providers.”

Why am I being asked this question?

The website you are visiting is using a survey, powered by Google, to enable access to its paid content. Answering a quick question here gives you immediate access to the content you want without having to pull out your wallet or sign in. These surveys contain questions written and provided by survey creators that want to conduct market research. The website you’re visiting earns money from the surveys that appear. This service makes market research fast, accurate, and affordable, helps to fund great web content and enables you easily and quickly get access to it.

Your answer is anonymous and is aggregated with all other anonymous answers to the question. It’s not connected with any information about you, and is not used to develop a profile or to deliver ads. Once the survey is complete, an aggregated report is provided to the survey creator about the specific question it asked. Like ads on the web, some surveys may be delivered to you based on the interests and inferred demographics associated with your browser. You can click here to review or edit these, or to opt-out.

This new level of coercion is both an obvious affront to the fading dream of an open, democratic internet and a new source of revenue and targeting knowledge for both Google and the most money-oriented websites.

TCT urges everybody to take all possible steps to combat this ridiculous maneuver. Opt out, give wrong answers, use ad blockers, boycott sites that adopt GCS, and, most importantly, advocate creation of a public, not-for-profit internet that leaves the Facebook and Google pirates, as well as the overclass manipulators for whom they whore, in the dust.

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