31 Jan 2006

Google’s Sellout


Andy Kessler, former hedge fund manager and current business book author, in today’s Wall Street Journal reflects critically on the form and manner of Google’s sellout:

Look, there’s a wrong way to sell out — rappers pitching for Chrysler, anything Vegas — and a right way. Puff Daddy’s soundtrack for “Godzilla” could have been a disaster to his fans, but he chose to do a hip-hop remix of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” providing someone else to blame for the sellout. Or the Jimmy Hendrix strategy. Story has it that, despite using Gibson guitars on his albums, he signed a deal with Fender Guitars for cash and as many Stratocasters as he needed, as long as he appeared exclusively in concert and photos with Fenders. He took the deal, and with his unlimited supply of Fenders, began smashing them at the end of every concert, for fans who never knew he sold out.

Google could have kept their cool and trusted image if they’d just worked with someone else in China, someone they could smash. Eggroll.com powered by Google. Someone else to blame for those unsearchable keywords. Users in the West may not desert them, but a billion soon-to-be-online Chinese will forever associate Google with lame and censored results — search tools of the state. That’s just dumb. And totally uncool.

Also available at the author’s webpage.


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