Space Ramblings

Google’s Eric Schmidt is Wrong, Brands Don’t Provide Information Credibility

I’m sure it’s what the executives wanted to hear, that the internet is a cesspool and the way out is by spending ad money to develop brands with credibility, but Eric Schmidt’s comments are a predictably deceptive load of crap. Yes brand names are probably going to be more trusted, but they aren’t in any way inherently more trustworthy.

The internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday. Speaking with an audience of magazine executives visiting the Google campus here as part of their annual industry conference, he said their brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.

The internet was always a “cesspool”. Yes it’s gotten worse lately, especially with organized groups operating out of places like 4chan but brands don’t have much of a track record as the solution. Gawker Media is one of the best known blog brands, but it frequently and casually prints things that are completely inaccurate or untrue, just to bring in traffic. And when it comes to mainstream media brands, should we really count the kind of hoaxes that have been printed and distributed that way? Is the New Republic a brand that has any credibility?

And when it comes to using brands as trusted messages, should we really go into the whole viral video area which involves trusted brands planting unbranded advertising content on video sharing sites, especially Google’s own YouTube?

It is way too easy to fake something on the internet. On the other hand the counterpunch to that is that the internet makes it a lot easier to bring people together to expose the fakes. Something a lot of the brands aren’t too happy with. Without the internet, the CBS evening news brand might be a lot stronger and Dan Rather might still have his job. So brands are overrated, transparency is underrated. The internet is a cesspool but out of that cesspool you also have the potential for creating transparency and it’s transparency not branding that provides credibility. And you can’t buy transparency with AdSense ad buys.

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