It’s the small things that will cause your PR teams headaches.
I’m sure someone at Google thought it was OK to copy a page Yahoo did. Details on TechMeme, thanks to getting kicked off by Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawodny. Maybe even thought the page came from Microsoft. Hint, it didn’t.
It’s at the top of TechMeme. Is on second page of Digg. On first page of TailRank.
But it gets worse. The person doing the copying didn’t even copy the HTML very well. Not good. Especially for a company that prides itself on hiring PhD’s and keeping out idiots. Hey, one got through the hiring process.
But, so far, they are way too slow to react. Matt Cutts, who over the weekend, debunked a bunch of other things, has been silent. The Google Blog is silent too.
Here’s how I would have handled it.
1) Found out who did the page and get them to publicly apologize.
2) Buy the Yahoo team they copied pizza lunch and beer tomorrow. Even better, have a limo show up and take them to a nice steak dinner.
3) If #1 isn’t possible (it might be an outside vendor, I found at Microsoft that often was where stuff like this happened) then have someone like Matt or, even, a VP like Marissa, apologize on behalf of Google.
4) Explain that this isn’t acceptable Google behavior (evil, even) and that steps are being taken to keep it from happening again. Just by saying “that’s evil” will be good enough to tell all Google employees that this kind of thing won’t be tolerated in the future.
It’s the little things that define companies and Google is being defined right in front of us.
For my part? The folks I’ve dealt with at Google are ethical, straight shooters, who wouldn’t dream of copying someone else’s work. This has got to be ripping them up. Tough day ahead for Google PR. It’ll be interesting to see what they do, if anything.
Rex Dixon thinks it’s smart to copy. I can see his point — developers are “inspired” by others all the time. But sheer copying? No. It’s unethical, for one. For two, if you’re going to copy you better add some value. Hint: that means making sure your HTML and images are better than what you’re copying. Not worse.
UPDATED: Google has updated the site in question.
UPDATED 2: Matt Cutts of Google answers back. Note to self: don’t point out someone else is copying if you’re guilty of such transgressions yourself!