Google recently posted an advertisement/blog entry that is highly unfortunate. Its specifically targeting ads to run against search results that returns references to the movie Sicko. I’m not against target advertising, but I found the nature of the blog post/advertising highly tuned to health companies PR firms to assist with missinformation or ‘get the facts’ campaigns. Read it and its easy to see what they’re really selling.
Sending an email to the address bounced. There was another post from the author explaining their previous post as an opinion, but they are missing the fact that they are specifically advertising misinformation (in the form of fake ‘grass roots’ and ‘get the facts’ campaigns) in the name of democratic dialog. The specific line here the author has that bothers me greatly is this: “advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue.”
Advertising is NOT dialogue. Advertising is selling. Dialogue requires communications from multiple parties. And modern advertising is not designed to be a discussion, rather its focus is to be unquestionable reality. You need the iPhone. You need to watch American Idol. If advertising is democratic, it’d be equal and not require money to achieve.
What follows is the letter I tried to send which bounced.
Google sales team…
I read your blog post about the ‘negative press’ on health care companies with the impacts of the new movie ‘Sicko, and how they should fight back with ad placements on Google.
I have no illusions that money drives Google like any other company… nor am I surprised when fake grass-roots ‘get the facts’ organizations advertise with key-word placements to contradict anything negative against their industry. I’m disheartened that Google is actually encouraging such behavior. The problem is that there is the perception that advertisements and these fake grass-root organizations provide a means for public debate, when in reality they do nothing but muddle the issues at hand, while in some cases, companies try legal means to stop negative press. I have no problem with Google being able to profit from these PR campaigns against public discourse, but to actually promote it? That’s highly unfortunate.
Okay, I guess I do have a problem with profiting from misinformation. I guess that is the point of Google; provide information and not the validity of it.