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Google Sells Out To Spammers 28 March 2002 Edition
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Most people consider the search engine Google to be a good Internet citizen and one of the more ethical players in the marketplace.

Unlike some of its competitors, the company makes clear distinction between paid advertising and the results of a search submitted to its database. It has also resisted the temptation to turn its pages into graphics-heavy works of art laden with advertising banners and dross -- a decision which has endeared it to many users.

Late last week there was a huge outcry from the Internet community when Google yielded to the bullying tactics of the Church of Scientology and pulled links to a site critical of the religion.

Clearly sensitive to the bad press this produced, Google quickly did an about-face and restored most of the missing links, effectively reversing much of the damage done just a day before.

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So Google is one of the Net's good guys right?

Well I'm not so sure.

Over the years I've operated a number of websites, some of which have been funded in full or in part by advertising revenues.

However, despite the limited amount of ad-dollars out there, I have never stooped so low as to invite or accept advertising from spammers or the companies that produce and sell "spamware."

But it seems that Google does.

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    One of the keys to the company's ability to make a dollar out of advertising in the post dot-com crash era has been its simple, user-driven AdWords service.

    Advertisers can sign up and get their small text-based ad listed on pages that match chosen keywords. It's fairly cheap, quite effective, and a good little money-spinner.

    It seems however, that they're not too selective about just whose money they're prepared to take.

    Submit the search term "bulk email" (screendump) and just look at the ads which appear down the right-hand side of the page.

    "30 million Emails for $95, 650 Million Addresses for free"

    Sure sounds like an ad for spamware to me -- and some of the other direct-email services advertising on that page might appear to have the vague odour of canned meat to them as well.

    I find it quite amazing that the Net's "good guy" has decided to sell-out to the spammers and spamware merchants at a time when so many other lesser sites still refuse to accept such "bottom of the barrel" ads.

    What do you think?

    Should Google take whatever it can get in the way of advertising revenues, or are its standards slipping in the quest for profits?

    Have your say.

    Aardvark's Garage Sale
    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    First up -- I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export oriented) market. I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing "waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.

    Second up -- I've still got 30,000 7am.com shares (representing about 30% of the company) that I'm looking to unload. I'm afraid I can't offer much information on the state of the company -- they haven't spoken with me for ages so it's a bit of a pig in a poke. However, they survived the most critical part of the dot-com crash and are now claiming to have nearly 250,000 websites in their ticker network so that's got to be worth something. Any sale would be subject to other shareholders exercising their preferential rights -- but all offers will be considered.

    Thirdly -- I have an RC model helicopter here that I have built but never flown. It's a Robbe Mosquito Basic with a JR X-3810 radio, JR piezo gyro, OS46FSH engine and a Dave Brown flight simulator. Everything was purchased brand-new a couple of years ago and is in pristine condition (having spent all that time in a box in the storeroom). Since I haven't had any time to fly it in the past two years I figure there's little chance I'll find time to fly it in the next two years, so out it goes.

    Anyone interested in any of these things should drop me a line.

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