Tag Archives: google

Germany: Leistungsschutzrecht, or how to make sure you’ll never need to change anything about your business, ever.

You’re a newspaper publisher who’s been around for a century or two. Well, not you personally (hopefully), but your publishing house. You’ve been living a sheltered life, mostly; declining ad revenue was easily shouldered by downsizing your regular staff and crushing freelancers with outrageously low fees for their time, effort, and work.

The reason for said dwindling revenues is this new kid on the block, The Wobble. It has been around for a couple of decades, but you never took it seriously, ignored it as best as you could. But your audience (the readers) and your customers (the businesses paying for ad space) liked the new guy; The Wobble became more and more popular. Deep in your heart you knew, already back in the late 90s, that its capricious nature might prove more resilient than you’d like. But what the hells, let’s ignore it some more.

Ten years later you concede one of these new-fangled thingies, a Web Site, might be in order. Yeah. And let’s put these articles online! That’s the thing to do, nowadays. Apparently. So businesses continue buying your print ad space, as well as online ads! To make your brand more popular amongst them weirdo dudes who are on “Social Media”, you’ll also add some buttons and stuff and include loads of metainformation for them “Search Engines”. Whatever they are.

At the same time, refrain from investing in the people who actually write and research the content you distribute. These Reuters and DPA and SDA online feeds are handy; after all, The Wobble and its friends won’t want to read real articles. Rehashes of news should suffice to rekindle the urge to subscribe to your paper-version paper, and thus ensure more revenue from advertisements.

Also, ignore the opportunities your new potential friend The Wobble wants to share with you. Reduce your perception to two of its warts: Facebook and Google. Then first sue Google for sharing headlines you made freely accessible on your web site, pretty much asking for it through SEO marketing. Your bank account doesn’t explode yet? Well, step two is to lobby with your government. Ask your governmental warden to tell The Wobble’s wart to pay for re-sharing content’s headlines (not full articles) you originally shared yourself.

Instant success! Also make sure to publish it in your on- and offline papers as a grand success for all reporters, journalists, photographers, and editors. You know, the guys and gals you pay less and less, and kick out of secure jobs more and more often. The people who would provide you with premium content you could make a living from if you both let them, and started talking with The Wobble rather than seeing it as a parasite.

But hey, what’s to worry about? Why make friends with the guy who’s been living nextdoor for thirty years? There’s always the warden to fall back on. So you won’t have to adapt or develop. Ever.

So Google+ threatened to remove my profile.

Well, yes, they did. Apparently, the nick-name I’ve been online with for 12 years doesn’t cut it. No matter I put it in pee-goes – “ ”, that is – with my full private name cosily wrapper around it. No matter I’ve been a beta tester with Google Mail in the past, with the exact same name, and have been invited to beta-test Google+ with my nick, too.

No matter hardly anybody who’s heard of me via Facebook, Twitter, various blog comments, too many forums to count, my very own web site, my publications both in print and on the wobble will ever find me without that nick-name in quotes. Possibly neither of my co-workers of the past 10 years. Or, at least, recognise me immediately, thus perhaps adding me without a second thought. Thus adding to Google’s pool of relevant information, rather than irrelevant spam.

I’m told the real-name policy is meant to reduce spam risks. I love the irony.

So I can only assume Google+ is not about being social, at least not on the web. Google apparently wants to know everything about your meat, not what you’re known for on the wobble. Using many of Google’s offerings from day one (sometimes, day -42)? Having paid for software with this very Google account, using Google Checkout? No matter, we don’t want the full picture, we just want to nail your ass in real-life.

But hey, great. I was into the Google deal, was prepared to share my personal info for great services in exchange. Nothing comes for free, and I accepted to have Google know shitloads about me in exchange for what they had to offer. If they don’t want the data pertinent to my actual life, I guess I’m off scott-free. They now have a Google+ profile no longer directly linked to anything relevant I did online, published or shared online, not even a nick-name that has been properly registered for real-world use. Make that two nick-names. That’s two levels of profiling they’ve just dropped because the spelling looked funny to them. Two levels of relevant metainformation they could have sold to companies, or used in-house.

Or, at least, they just ruined any incentive for me to use their product, thus providing paying for with more information. After all, it used to be quid pro quo, no? My info for using your services. Having a social service that still wants to know everything about me (they asked for a scan of my ID, plus cell phone number) while making it impossible for acquaintances to hook up with me … Well.

The deal’s slightly off when a company that makes money off online profiles bans online personas.