The blogosphere is going full tilt on a privacy report that says that Google is worst in its approach to privacy.
Danny Sullivan has the best response I see. I was hoping this report was more factual than it looks cause we need to have a real conversation about privacy. If you read the privacy report you should read Danny’s blow-by-blow response to it.
That said, Google’s PR is really stinky. Google isn’t paying attention to what normal people think of it anymore and it’s getting a bad reputation because of that. I heard it slammed over and over again for street-level views on Google Maps and no one from Google responded in most of the mainstream talk shows I heard talking about it. They should have a full-court “feel good” initiative where they have normal everyday citizens come in and meet the engineers, and look at the privacy issues.
Google’s PR is focused on the wrong things and isn’t warm and fuzzy and with big companies who are taking over our online data they need to have a warm and fuzzy feel.
Who runs Google PR? Why isn’t he or she blogging? Frank Shaw, the guy who runs PR for much of Microsoft at Waggener Edstrom is blogging and shows up to lots of events so we know who to call, or who to link to and wait for an answer. The fact that I don’t even know who to link to on this post demonstrates that Google PR is being out hustled by its competitors. This report demonstrates that in a big way.
Bad PR is a predictor of government action. Everyday Americans are getting very nervous about Google. They aren’t getting good messages from Google. No transparency. Tons of secrecy. No warm and fuzzy meetings with Google about privacy. No one responding to talk radio, which, if it didn’t have Paris Hilton to pull talk show hosts off of the Google story was getting seriously slammed.
UPDATE 2: Google’s own blog search engine demonstrates that Google is losing the PR war on this one. Danny Sullivan’s voice is nearly alone out there in defending Google.
UPDATE 3: to see just how badly Google is doing on blogs tonight, let’s look at the latest posts from just the past hour’s results:
- Google rated bottom for privacy.
- Shelley Powers: “What’s particularly scary, and I think the report mentions this, is that Google can’t understand why we’re concerned.”
- BungaTech: “So, what does the company that promises to “never be evil” have to say for themselves? Not a whole lot: Nicole Wong, Google’s general counsel explains that the company stands behind its users and is sticking to their aggressive privacy strategy.”
- Tainted Kernel: In terms of privacy … Google fails.
- InfoWorld: “Google executives were not immediately available to comment on the report’s findings.”
- Tess McBride: “Is somebody watching me? It’s probably Google… .”
- Scott Cleland: “Why Privacy is a competitive issue in FTC’s Google-DoubleClick merger review.”
What do you think?
Oh, and how should corporations fight the perceptions that come out in text? Go into video IMMEDIATELY! Get conversational. Take open public questions and answer them in chat or in Twitter or in Facebook or in blog comments or in YouTube comments (best yet, all the above). Appoint a team to answer questions 24 hours a day until the story dies down (and even then make sure you watch blog search engines to see if they start getting talked about again). Make sure every blogger knows where you’re hanging out and where to link for the best information.
Can you tell I’m hanging out with a bunch of PR professionals right now? 😉