Google gets a taste of it's own Autolink Medicine

32 comments
Thread Title:
Butler rewrites Google pages and adds functionality
Thread Description:

Mark Pilgrim of DiveIntoMark.org has written a Firefox extention called Butler that dramatically alters the pages on many Google services. Features include:

  • removes ads on most Google pages
  • fixes fonts on most Google pages
  • Google web search:
    • adds links to other search sites ("Try your search on...")
    • in news results, adds links to other news sites
    • in movie results, adds links to other movie sites
    • in weather results, adds links to other weather sites
    • in product results, adds links to other product sites
  • Google image search:
    • adds links to other image/photo/art sites
  • Google News:
    • adds links to other news sites
  • Froogle:
    • adds links to other product sites
  • Google Print:
    • Removes image copying restrictions
    • adds links to other book sites
  • Google Toolbar Firefox page:
    • adds links to other Firefox-friendly toolbars

Is it Spyware?

Mark asks if it's spyware? Why no, it's not!

No, Butler is not spyware. It does not track the pages you visit, display ads, hijack Amazon affiliate links, log keystrokes, steal passwords, set cookies, "phone home," or install any bundled software on your computer. It is simply a Firefox script that modifies a few Google services in ways that I find useful. If you don't like it, you can easily uninstall it.

Will Google Love it?

Of course they will, it's for the user right? and it seems to me that if those people want to block Google Ads and rearrange the pages, and if they want to go to other engines then they were going to do that anyway right Marissa?

This is cleary an attack on Google's widely condemed Autolink feature that allows users to change links on your pages to those chosen by Google. Google still have not deigned to take part in the discussion and frankly, Marissa Mayers comments on the subject were insulting at best. You can find links to code that disables Autolink here.

thanks bb

LMFAO....

Comments

Is Marks' plugin just as evil as Google's?

Come now, let's hear it straight:

Either they're both evil or they're both okay.

Personally, though I don't believe I'd personally find Mark's tool very useful, I think (for the most part) it's just fine ethically and so on.

Though I must admit that I'm not quite sure of the Google Print aspect; that seems to be a tool specifically designed to foil copyright laws. But I'd have to see it in action.

I guess what amuses (but doesn't surprise) me is your slant: had you said, "Mark Pilgrim has created a tool every bit as evil as the autolinks. Like autolinks, it CHANGES WEBMASTERS' HOLY CONTENT!" then you'd at least be consistent ;)

Lastly, I doubt Google will bat an eyelash over Mark's tool. Did they do anything to TinFoilHatMan when he made his own AdWords-free Google search tool? Didn't think so.

Twist twist

Adam, read into my post whatever you like, ommisions, and "how i would have expected you to write it" really dont count very much as far as im concerned..

I just think it's very, very funny...

And no, it wont do any damage to Google, yes it's as bad (i would respect Googles right to make money on their own pages and not have links inserted to competitors) but that's not the point.

The point is that with Autolink, it is who is doing it and what that could lead to with other major players that unlike Mark, are able to seriously impact the web with their tools.

IE

Anything similar to run on IE? :)

Firefox counter to Google Autolink

Google, which has so far staunchly defended its implementation of its Autolink toolbar feature, faces a major challenge as a new Firefox extension has been released which adds similar links to Google's own pages. As covered in Google releases new...

This is a privacy turf war - Google vs. the rest of us

(This apparent internal memo was emailed to us at the Google-Watch-non-plex. We immediately assumed that it was a forgery. Yes, most of it is true, except for that "Echelon" line, which is too much to swallow. But then we saw Sergey's old home page at Stanford, where he says, "A major research interest is data mining and I run a meeting group here at Stanford." Hmmmm. We figured we'd better pass this along, just in case it all turns out to be true.)

_______________

Our game plan for mission creep on link hijacking

1. Currently with the toolbar you can search on Google, Yahoo, or MSN and include the keyword isbn with one or more keywords from the author or title of a book. Out pops the ISBN number in the snippet, for easy linking straight to Amazon, or wherever we decide the user needs to go. This last point is crucial. Cut a deal with Amazon to publicize this particular user convenience, under threat of switching our redirect from Amazon to Barnes & Noble. Amazon must carry our water on this because it would be embarrassing if we pushed it. In the meantime we can still emphasize that we're not receiving any money from Amazon.

2. Once the uproar over the toolbar subsides, we have to migrate the link hijacking to those who don't use our toolbar. The first step is to serve up our cache copies with our own linking inserted into the copy. We already highlight the search terms, and we already have an opt-out NOARCHIVE option for webmasters, so this move should be easy. The fact that this opt-out is required on every page on that webmaster's site means that few use it. Rumors that our indexing algorithms are less enthusiastic about such pages can be encouraged by planting posts on various forums.

3. For years we've shown maps to a person's house when their phone number is placed in the search box, and only a few pundits were upset. All we had to do is point out that this information is available from other reverse directories and map makers. Besides, we already have an opt-out, which conveniently ignores the fact that the same number embedded in web pages is still produced by searches. These pages are often more interesting because only web search engines can find this information. The next step is to determine whether any of the snippets for any search result have full names or telephone numbers, so that we can highlight these and link to maps and/or another search. Lots of local ads will fit on one of our map pages.

4. After the above three have been implemented, it won't even raise an eyebrow if we start linking keywords inside of Gmail text. If those privacy advocates get upset again, we can just open up Gmail to everyone, and the stampede to sign up for Gmail will drown out the critics. Notice how we've already stopped deleting Gmail in the trash folder after 30 days, now that the critics have dispersed.

5. The Gmail Social Networking Team that's working on that Echelon contract says that we cannot hope to keep the Gmail invitation scheme going forever. We have to find other ways to harvest email addresses. Google Alerts has given us tens of thousands of additional addresses, plus excellent profiling information. But our competition is using RSS in this area, which is much more efficient and much more private. Sooner or later both the Gmail invitation scheme and Google Alerts will be too obvious. If and when we are pressured to provide opt-outs for controversial features of any type, we should require an email address like we used to for the Google phone number removal.

6. Already when our crawlers see a robots.txt disallow for directories, and we know from external links the URLs of pages in those disallowed directories, we go ahead and list this URL in our index. This is one fat foot in the door, and only a couple of posts on a couple of forums have even brought up the issue. Now is the time to sneak the other foot in. Stop honoring the disallows in robots.txt, but do it over a period of two years by tracking it on a per-site basis. Webmasters won't know when to jump, like some idiot frog sitting in a pan of water heating up on the stove. In two years we'll have a much more compelling index than Yahoo or MSN. Provide an opt-out form that requires an email address from webmasters who object.

Keep our billions coming, GoogleGuys and GoogleGirls!

Thanks a load, Sergey & Larry

Damned if they do, damned if they don't

Google Blogoscoped has a nice conclusion to its blog on the Butler

Quote:
Now the catch-22 in Mark’s approach is obvious: would Google complain about his Butler add-on, they’d be offering arguments that could be used against their Toolbar, effectively hurting their own product. And if they don’t react, they’re allowing Mark to set an example of what’s possible and legal to do in terms of changing Google’s content, opening up a door for others to follow. Just imagine Microsoft would be implementing such Google ad removal as default behavior for Internet Explorer 7 – they’d be depriving their competitor of nearly all of their revenues. The AutoLink discussion continues.

Irony, It can be sweet

Maybe Mark's extension won't damage Google, true, but maybe it will make them think.... again.

This is just the start ...

I have my own plans that I won't go into too many details about right here and now ... :) But, I can this much: This is just the start. Just the start. There are FAR more to come. Google have opened the box and trust me, unless they completely back out of this it will trigger tons of stuff that goes far further than what Google does now. Google legitimize it.

Great for the users. A nightmare for publishers.

From a publishers point of view I don't like it too much but too me there is a huge difference between a centralized system like Googles made for the sole purpose of them hijacking our content for commercial reasons (I know, thats now how it's advertised yet ... but just waite and see ...) and a free script (as above) or a plug in you pay for. To me the question really is who is "hijacking" and changing the content and for what purpose (beside great user experience).

From a user point of view this is great. I want to be able to shape "my" web, set up easy access to the resources I need on a daily basis and filter out any clutter I really don't need.

Lycos Denmark developed a tool a couple of years back that was great. Unfortunately it was pulled due to lack of use! It was too complicated to understand for most people. Basically you could with this tool go to any site and grab any object on the page (for example a certain table cell, a picture, headlines or whatever you wanted. The system was very "intelligent" and able to keep track of objects even when HTML on the page chaned!). On your my.lycos.dk page you could then (drag-and-drop) arrange each object into collections. I did a collection of all the forum areas I watch and such. One of my friends did a page with a huge collection of "girl of the day" sites (actually, just the pictures). The creative options where endless.

I had a big argument with Brett Tabke about this tool when I told him I used it on WMW too. He hated it and wanted to ban it. The thing about it was, though, that the way the tool worked all request for objects on my compiled pages was technically mad from my browser and IP so there was simply no traceable common identifier for users of this tool. GREAT tool :)

Anyway, this is just to illustrate from a users point of view how great tools like this can be. The question is will the users win? If we look at the web as a whole and IP rights in particular I think history has proven that users "win". Just look at the music industry and how "well" they have handled users demand to be able to ue music in new formats - the music industry wouldn't give it to them, so they just took it! Let's not repeat the mistakes of the music industry for the entire web. Let's work WITH the users and not AGAINST them. But, at the same time, lets not get fooled by commercial businesses that claim they are all on the user side when in fact they are just trying to hijack our content and abuse it.

G$$gle is a business not a charity

I like what Mark did. It helps provide options and and also refocuses attention on what Google is doing. Google does not care about our well-being. It is our job to protect ourselves.

Commercialization of AutoLinks + data mining

You've got a lot of valid points there, Mikkel.
While I'm not sure that all (or even a majority) users will
see the benefits of being able to customize their own web
surfing experience, I'm fairly certain that bundling (read:
masking) such features with otherwise useful tools (such as
the Goo toolbar) by default will more or less enforce the
practice reducing "user choice" on a broad scale to a merely
academic concept.

Goo being the current search market top dog, it's quite obvious
that the countless comparisons to Microsoft that have been voiced
over the years aren't very much off the mark at all.

However, regarding monetization of features like AutoLinks, I
expect this to be less about Goo hijacking web publishers'
business by pointing users to their own affiliate links or
something. They might try this stunt, but it would probably
mean the end of their web wide acceptance. Goo may be a lot
of things, but they've never been dumb in PR matters.

Actually, this AutoLinks stuff seems to be the first time they
appear to be heading in the wrong direction on this score, so
the jury's still very much out on whether they will actually
persevere in this matter and simply endure the flak they're getting.
But even if they don't, they'r sure to come up with something less
blunt but just as effective as a monetization tool at some later
point.

Consider: Goo presents this as being "all for the user, no
commercial interests involved yadda yadda". This, while technically
correct (or a "white lie" at best), successfully obfuscates the plain
fact that they have been a data mining company from the very start.
Their search engine is merely the conduit for data streams, which is
where the real money lies. They might still go against this "we're
the purveyors of surfers' happiness" principle and try to hijack
web publishers' business, but that would probably provoke a PR
disaster unheard of before in the history of the Net. We should
rather assume that they're too smart for that.

Most people, even in SEO/SEM, don't seem to be entirely clear about
what data mining actually is about. A lot of fuzzy concepts abound,
but only a few people seem to realize the commcercial potential
inherent in owning the world's largest database of trackable and
verifiable user behavior.

Take AdWords: a great revenue stream for Goo, true - but offhand I'd
estimate that the overall value of the data generated from that
venture alone probably beats the AdWords revenues by factor 6 or
more if properly processed, analyzed, calibrated and marketed.

Search being the prime common denominator of all WWW activity, it's
the most powerful source of (marketable) information re users'
online behavior, shifting interests, market trends and purchasing
decisions extant.

And they're doing it already: just look at how marketers are paying
through their noses for PPC and AdWords, based on what are, after
all, still fairly primitive, generic keyword stats offered by the
search engines!

But this is mere peanuts compared to what they can make in addition
by hawking verifiable market analysis reports, economic prognoses,
etc. Ever had a look at what price prime market studies by Forrester
Research are sold for? Size this down to cater to smaller businesses
on a global scale, and what you will get is probably a business
model just as lucrative (if not more so) as the weapons industry and
organized crime combined ...

Of course, Goo aren't the only people who've realized this - both
Yahoo! and Microsoft/MSN have a long history of grabbing and
analyzing data streams to further monetization. So yes, we will
probably see a lot more happening on those lines in the foreseeable
future.

Will ordinary people care in any big way? Probably not. Look at
privacy: excepting a smallish elite, nobody would give a damn about
it until spam, DOS trojans, spyware, phishing and phraming came
along on a large scale - it was only when it hit people right in
their wallets that they began to worry about it. There's no rational reason to expect this to be different.

Butler FireFox Extension: Turnabout is Fairplay

Putting Google on the horns of dilemma, is Butler the Firefox extension. It does things to Google's web page for a change like: add links to repeat the search on other search engines, strip out most of Google's ads and

autolink/smarttags/yahoohooks/aol-leads/earthlinkers

You could make the argument that link incursion is a good thing for the users in the short run, but in the long run it is very detrimental. Why? Because autolink/smarttags/yahoohooks/aol-leads/earthlinkers will compete with and potentially overwhelm site advertising. Some websites may be able to adapt to a subscription model, but many more will just close up.

ISPs will not even need a toolbar to do this, they will just inject links at the proxy level.

Either they're both evil or they're both okay.

Is fair comment, but its more complex [and simpler]than that.

Users and by the same token webmasters are under "attack" every day. From unwanted emails to phishing to blog spam, everyday, day after day. However these "attacks" are just fly's to be swatted away. Usually they are little guys targetting lots of little targets, sometimes they are little guys targetting a big target as in this FF ext.

Lets be true, the difference between some kiss my ass FF hacker targeting one [google] website is a whole different game to one omnipresent corp [that be google] targeting *every* website.

I can cope with swatting a few fly's, an 800 gorilla running straight at me teeth beared is another matter.

The correct answer is that they are both wrong but only the google escapade is evil. Unless you prefer a world where four legs are good but two legs are better?

Disagree on two critical counts

I still respectfully believe that an action is either evil or not in this sort of context. You can talk about scale and scope and such, but that's begging the question.

I also, of course, still disagree that the autolinks concept is evil Rather, I'm quite frightened of what will happen if Google backs down on this issue; I think it'll be a long-term blow for consumers, an indirect blow for content producers, and a shattering blow for the internet and intellectual property sharing/mashing/growth as a whole.

But, as we've noted before, it's like abortion and the death penalty and prayer in schools and gay marriage and all that stuff; both sides of each issue are passionately convinced that they're right, they both strongly believe in the importance of the fight, and -- while intellectually understanding the others' argument -- they have trouble fathoming how others could believe the way they do. Sadly, it's sometimes hard to find middle ground.

Try this

>You can talk about scale and scope and such, but that's begging the question.

Lets imagine I live next door to you, I play my music a little too loud a little too often. You have kids, it wakes them.

If you knocked on my door, explained the situation and asked me to "keep it quiet" that wouldn't be evil at all. If on the other hand you called a bunch of your friends, came mob handed and kicked my door down.... then that would be evil.

It might just be me but life, every interaction you have, every choice you make *has* to take scale and scope into the equation, otherwise we would all just be bullies, no?

We have to distinguish between the act and the actor

I think that's partly what's being lost here.

Google, by being a bigger entity, has the greater ABILITY to do evil. This, however, does not affect the (imho) context-neutral aspects of a given tool. Either empowering users to change the Web sites they see is evil or it's not, IMHO.

So, if you assume that such empowerment is indeed evil, then Mark has a slight potential to be evil and Google has a huge potential to be evil in this situation.

But the action is the same.

Take something severe like bullying. If Big Barney beats up on Little Johnny, the action is evil (or at least bad). If Big Barney beats up on EVERY kid in the entire school, that makes BB more of a villain and a worse person, IMHO, but doesn't make the act itself (beating someone up) any better or worse.

The act -- of which scope comes into play -- is independent from the actor.

That's also why I'm frustrated with anti-autolinkers claiming that "if Google gets away with this, others will do [x]" with [x] being the same thing, [x] being something horrifically worse, or sometimes [x] being completely different.

Either [original x] is evil or it's not (in concept and/or application; I happen to feel that it's zero-percent evil in concept and 16% evil in Google's *application*).

This whole idea of assigning extra responsibility and blame to Google simply because it's a 100 ton giant isn't right, IMHO. In a way, it'd be like burning Tim Berners-Lee at the stake because "Yes, you create the legitimacy for people to make and link to textual and graphic elements and you're just OPENING THE DOOR to shock-the-monkey Flash ads down the road! Sure, Tim, YOU may have noble intentions, but once you make HTML, others will use it for evil means." Bah humbug. Judge the tool for what it does, not what it might do, what it could do, what others could do with it, what version 2 will do, etc. Life's too short.

is it evil? that's the wrong question

Adam, lets remove morality from the argument for a sec. Personally, I do not care if google is evil or not. I don't think they are evil or good. What Google is is damn powerful -- Google has the ability to change the net by its actions.

Autolink is the net equivalent of strip-mining. When this gets turned on at full steam the big boys will make a lot of short term profit while tearing at the very foundation of the net.

If I dig a hole in my back yard nature will not be permanently damaged, if an enormous organization decides to level all the mountains it will have a major impact.

large scale embedded advertisement = the end of the web

Arguing about it being evil or not is missing the point. Is a comet hitting the earth evil? Who cares?

Well, I've argued the other issue, too

I believe that the (consumer double opt-in) autolinking concept is excellent and benign and I believe that Google's implementation is minimally harmful to some sites and beneficial for the Web on the whole.

You and others keep pointing to this great horrible threat of "large scale embedded advertising." I think it's an unfounded fear. Frankly, the sort of user who affirmatively asks to have 9 butlers and clicks on each of nine autolink buttons in a row is such a moron or obsessive-compulsive person that they're not a very fine shopping candidate anyway.

But, you argue, other companies won't be as noble as Google! They'll overlay Web pages without double opt-in! Well, if toolbars are downloaded without consent, then I trust that ISPs and browsers will have increased built in tools to kill the adware. If even opt-in toolbars plaster ads or obnoxious overlays to a degree that users are annoyed, they'll uninstall the toolbars. Can't easily uninstall them? Again, that's a different problem.

I don't believe in slippery slopes, at least not in the scare-tactic way they've been boogeyman'd about here.

Ethics, shmethics

Couldn't agree more. All this religious and moralistic terminology effectively does is divert attention from the real, tangible issues at hand. It paralyzes all and any forces of potential resistance and wastes valuable resources on irrelevant issues, effetively aiding and abetting whoever is powerful and unscrupulous enough to relentlessly exploit this pseudo debate.

If web publishers get ripped off by embedded ads on a large scale (regardless of how "goody-goody" Goo may pitch their AutoLinks and their corporate agenda currently), pop goes web publishing.

Ethics, shmethics 2

Er ... unfortunate synch. Couldn't agree more with littleman, was what I meant, of course.

Darn, and I thought I was just really persuasive

Has anyone thought that autolinks might make sites MORE useful for consumers, causing them to spend more time on those sites or revisit them more often? ;)

POP goes Web publishing, but in a positive, new way.

That site that has great content and a sleek look, but doesn't link any of their restaurant addresses to maps? With the gToolbar, I can continue using that site instead of defecting to a competing, more ad-laden site that DOES link their addresses.

By making the Web more usable for consumers, Google ultimately makes the Web more inhabitable for consumers... and that's good for publishers, too.

motivation = huge earnings potential

Can you understand that there are *billions* to be made by embedding ads in web content? The motivation is there, all that needs to happen is general acceptance.

'Slippery Slopes' may also be a silly construct, the real measure is ability and payoff.

Hunch:
I bet it isn't MSN who does it next, but it is going to be someone like AOL, or EarthLink -- someone who has a lot to gain and will not need a toolbar to do it.

Let's say AOL does it...
"Well, customers have a choice, they are not forced to use AOL. This is an opt-in feature we provide for our customers."

AOL is in a slow decline anyway, they are not thinking long term.

Side:
(part of the problem with being a public company is that they are always thinking quarter to quarter -- short term profits rule)

The theory of "spending more time on a given site"

is in some ways a fallacy, Adam. People get sidetracked really easily online. It's a rare person who can go to a site, not find exactly what they need there, go back to a SE, go to the next site, find what they're looking for, and go "home". Most people I know (maybe I have a really oddball acquaintance base? - though I doubt it, they're mostly "normals"....) hit a SE, find a site, look around, go back to the SE, go to another site, see a link with a catchy title which has nothing to do with the search they were in the middle of, hare off into the wilderness and 3 hours later they still haven't bought whatever they thought they wanted to begin with. I think the sort of thing Autolink proposes will simply expand on that behavior, which does not at all help anyone who's trying to sell something online.

Contrary, btw, to most of the folks here on TW I am not involved in any way with SEs except as a user; and my sites are not involved with SEs either, since I primarily develop for non-profits and family sites. If I as a user do not want some large company deciding to twitch my online experience it's a perfectly viable attitude.

Then again, at this point as long as I personally am not using IE, I don't have to even think about it. So I would guess that makes my input basically worthless.

Yet more junk? No thanks!

Indeed, attention deficit is a regular pest these days and it makes people immensely vulnerable to all sorts of sh--.

Nor are your obervations in the least worthless: after all, nobody knows what may happen to browsers like Firefox, Opera etc. some time in the future. Plus, if it's your ISP who embeds ads there's little an ordinary, clueless surfer can do about it offhand.

But even if you're not catering to commercial sites I guess you too wouldn't be enthused seeing your visitors diverted and essentially hijacked by all sorts of junk you didn't care to put up of your own accord.

Because "anything that's good for surfers must essentially be great" is a simplistic fallacy in its own right. It takes (at least) two to play this game: where would anybody's surfing experience start if there were nothing to surf in the first place? All rights to the visitor (and his or her potential mediator), none to the publisher? How's that supposed to work out?

Yours is an excellent case in point illustrating that the Web isn't, after all, only about greedy merchants unfairly vying for surfers' hard earned dollars. And if, as a searcher, you require some service online (be it free, non-profit or commercial), one thing you certainly don't need is even more invasive distractions by some third parties' tricky adware.

The search engines are guilty of doling out more than their fair share of junk across the board already - no point in embracing their pressing for even more of the same.

fantomaster, you have some good points there

I have a hard time sometimes framing what I want to say without immediately pissing off 90% of the people I'd if not rather convince at least like to not alienate (hoof and mouth disease....), and you made some points that I wanted to but couldn't phrase "kindly".

As a "user" (oy, that sounds pretty bad, but I guess we know what I mean....) I really want several things: I want relevant results for a keyword phrase (I gave up one, two, three keyword searches quite a while back *sigh* - more on that below); I do NOT want thinly disguised aff dreck at the top of the search for that phrase; and I want the sites I visit from my search to NOT inundate me with useless information/ads/links (and that's not the SE's fault of course, and it's another whole discussion too). That's not easy any more....

[Back to the keyword numbers in search engine entry boxes: a long time ago and in another country, you could input one or two words in the box, surround them with double quotes, and be taken to really relevant results. That doesn't happen much any more, which is pretty sad. These days, the best searches happen with a five-word phrase engineered for specificity, followed by a comma separator, and then another word or two pointedly specific to the industry or area you want to search on - and goddess forbid you use quotes (which will almost instantly get you the page telling you your terms are too restrictive, try again - which gets you the top 10% of all the crap sites out there whether they come close to what you searched on or not).

I use google almost daily. It's getting harder and harder for me to find what I'm really looking for. I don't like msn or yahoo - I REALLY detest the "gateway experience"! (not being a novice at anything on the net....) - and the rest of the bunch don't provide enough results or enough quality results on a regular basis. Mostly these days, I resort to typing into the address bar a flying guess at a domain name - and y'know what? Nine times out of ten, I get what I'm looking for the first or second try. Pretty soon, I won't need the SEs at all.

But that's just me. There's a whole world of "users" out there who really haven't a clue....]

3 partners

>>POP goes Web publishing, but in a positive, new way.

No.

You have to convince web publishers this is a good thing first, otherwise they will quit producing content if they think it is going to be trod upon.

There are three partners in this, users, Google and webmasters. Right now the users and Google are not treating the ones who actually produce the content as partners, they are being treated as serfs.

Web parasites

Exactly - what's often ignored in this debate and others is that the people actually doing the work, creating content (only a tiny fraction of which is commercial, let's not forget!) and slaving away to make the Web what it is, must participate in a major way or it's a goner.

This is strongly reminiscent of the time worn "copyright/copyleft" debate including all the hoopla about information not being a commercial (bad! bad!) commodity but everybody's "birthright" yadda yadda - a wildly utopian, totally onesided position usually pitched by people who have never written or drawn or composed one single original line of their own. And as usual, the people actually investing both inspiration and perspiration weren't invited to the party.

Remember the dotcom frenzy with all those inherently rotten "business models" offering everything for FREEFREEFREE? Pop went quality Web publishing then, too, when the bubble finally burst. And good riddance. (Well, it did resurface to a large extent - but not for freefreefree any longer.)

If I'm a quality content producer (let's forget about the others for a moment), I'll also be smart enough to resent other parties harping on it just like the bloody vultures they are a) without asking for my express permission in the first place, and b) without giving anything in return. Who loves parasites? Except maybe other fellow parasites?

so exactly it

perhaps that's finally a good way to explain to people who don't get the argument.

Google are moving from being symbiotic to parasitic. No further comment necessary

>from symbiotic to parasitic

That is a very good way to describe autolink.

Scoble

Scoble bows to peer pressure and tries to join the "user centric" bandwagon without actually doing so...

Very amusing.

Get a clue.

Threadwatch.org just can't seem to let it go. They are still rambling on about Google AutoLink. Today it is Mark Pilgrim's new Firefox extension - Butler:Mark Pilgrim of DiveIntoMark.org has written a Firefox extention called Butler that dramatically alters the...

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