Google has a lot of excuses for why they profit from piracy, but what is inexcusable is how YouTube profits from hate videos and war porn. It is difficult to understand how Lady Gaga and other artists slated to perform on the “YouTube Music Awards” would be able to turn a blind eye to this evil, no matter the fee and no matter how much “promotion” a media giant like Google can bring to bear.
The Problem from Hell is Easily Solved
What is difficult to understand about YouTube’s hate problem is how Google could just ignore it–particularly when these videos no doubt violate some policy that Google pays lip service to. Fortunately, the Anti-Defamation League has compiled a list that Google could easily use to enforce violations of their dormant terms of service when it comes to hate speech.
I tried YouTube searches by picking a few names from from the Anti-Defamation League’s “Bigots Who Rock” list returned thousands of search results, some of which were “YouTube Mixes”. Understand–this is not some shady website controlled by skinheads in some other country. This is Google’s flagship entertainment platform that they want you to believe is just like television (see “Google Boss Claims YouTube Has Already Overtaken TV“).
Others were easy to find based on results from some of the ADL list, and almost all were monetized–apparently meaning Google profits from these hate videos. When a search result is monetized on YouTube, it is widely thought that YouTube keeps 100% of the revenue because the search results are not associated with any particular artist.
Here’s one example of a search for the white supremacist group Bully Boys, returning a large number of videos and a Google ad for a Google product on a Google platform. Any of the usual Google excuses ring hollow–Google is in 100% control of every aspect of this monetization of evil.
YouTube’s distribution of hate videos is not limited to “Bigots Who Rock”–YouTube also is a platform for Holocaust deniers, including movies by the well known anti-Semite David Irving:
The Jihad Will Be Monetized
YouTube has a remarkably insatiable desire for money while also demonstrating and unwillingness to abide by any level of standards and practices worthy of a media company marketing itself to children. YouTube is the communication medium of choice for another group of anti-Semites.
With a rudimentary knowledge of jihadi armies, it doesn’t take long to locate a variety of videos from the various terror battle fronts around the world, all of which glorify the jihad or are “martyrdom” videos. A search for Abu Khattab, for example, returned recruiting videos for jihad in Syria aimed at Denmark–and monetized by Google with ads for fellow Gang of Four member, eBay.
The recruitment video was not far from a martyrdom video for a Danish jihadi “martyred” in Syria. (This is not hard to figure out given the massive number of books that Google has scanned, pages crawled and homes photographed–Ibn al-Khattab, for example, was a well known terror commander in Chechnya and Dagestan.)
Then there is this video posted by the Al Furqan Brigades celebrating a terror attack and sponsored by Shell Oil and Goodyear–undoubtedly without their knowledge.
These are but a few of the tens of thousands–if not hundreds of thousands–of monetized jihad videos available on YouTube. It should be a clear indicator that terror groups routinely use YouTube as a mode of recruitment and communication.
The Negligent Evil
Any artist participating in Google events–or city permitting Google Fiber–has to ask themselves just how badly they want to take the king’s shilling and whether they are willing to turn a blind eye to the horrors that are readily available to children on YouTube.
Do I think that Google are racist or anti-Semitic as a matter of corporate policy? Absent further information, I would think not. But I do think that the company’s executives just don’t care. And I leave it to you to decide whether indifference to hate is worse than hate itself.
The Food and Drug Administration has very clear guidelines for drugs you should not buy over the Internet. One of those drugs is RU 486 (or Mifepristone). Google is very much aware of the illegality of selling this particular drug, because it was one of the drugs that they were busted for in the multi-year and multi-agency sting operation that resulted in a federal grand jury in Rhode Island. You know, the one where Google took $500,000,000 of the stockholders money to pay a fine to keep their senior executive team from being indicted for violating the Controlled Substances Act.
The other problem with the illegal drugs advertised on YouTube is that there’s no telling where these drugs come from or what ingredients are actually present. ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer recently reported on this public health issue perpetuated by Google–and the potential for wrongful death claims.
The FDA states:
The drugs on this list have important benefits, but they also have serious known risks. As a result, they are available in the U.S. only under specially created safety controls. If these drugs are bought over the Internet or from foreign sources, these safety controls are bypassed, placing patients who use these drugs at higher risk. In addition, drugs bought from foreign sources are generally not FDA approved.
And when it comes to RU-486, not only does the patient require a prescription, the drug must be administered under a doctor’s care. (Of course cyberlibertarians would no doubt point to prescriptions as just being an evil government monopoly that props up doctors with crony capitalism–you know, kind of like copyright.)
Google not only distributes commercials for RU 486, they also monetize the commercials and split the money with brands–this time with Farmers Insurance, no less.
And don’t miss that Google ad in the upper right hand corner for US Trust–the private banking arm of Bank of America.
And of course it wouldn’t be YouTube without a DIY instructional video on how to induce an abortion at home:
Even though Google paid $500,000,000 of the stockholders money to keep their senior management team from being indicted for promoting the sale of illegal drugs online, YouTube still have vast quantities of Human Grown Hormone and steroid commercials:
[Editor Charlie sez: Here’s a recent “content warning” video embedded from YouTube:
So YouTube makes it look like they are screening violent videos, but all they are really doing is grabbing users email addresses to sell them other stuff and preserving Google’s monopoly over video traffic by allowing grotesque videos to drive traffic to YouTube through referring sites.
YouTube–the #1 music destination online–is also the home of all sorts of grotesque videos, monetized by YouTube and Google. Try searching YouTube for “beheading” and you’ll get the idea. 544,000 search results all available for streaming directly into your home, right now, all over Internet television.
Not only is YouTube available at home, but it’s also linked to Google’s education apps, government apps, and by the Android. And these are not just an odd video here and there, these videos account for millions of views.
Some of the beheading videos are behind YouTube’s easily defeated “content warning” screens, which just means that you have to log in with a fake email to see the video (and that gives YouTube even more data about your viewing habits). Google will no doubt act like this “content warning” excuses the monetizing of the videos.
There is no excuse.
The BitTorrent Billboard advertising campaign story has taken an interesting turn spawning a satirical response spoof banner ad campaign appearing on sites such as Grooveshark, Mashable, MediaFire and Rollingstone.com. The banner ads read “All your content are belong to us” and “Instead of paying artists, we spent money on banners.”
Clicking on the faux ad banners lands on the site RightTheMusic.Org that presents internet piracy fun facts such as “Worldwide, 432.0m unique internet users explicitly sought infringing content during January 2013” and provides an additional click through the source of the quote.
AS REPORTED ON AT TORRENT FREAK:
AS REPORTED ON AT SOFTPEDIA:
AS REPORTED ON AT ADLAND:
Google has long been criticized providing the advertising dollars that fuel a large variety of bad behaviors online from selling illegal drugs, to human trafficking to plain old copyright infringement. This is not mere Google bashing—remember, Google’s senior executive team paid $500,000,000 of the stockholders money to keep from being indicted for selling illegal drugs. Google itself admits disconnecting 46,000 illegal sites from its Adsenses/Doubleclick ad networks—even if Google made a mere $10,000 each from those sites, that’s over $1 billion gross.
And who can forget the drubbing Google took from members of Congress and Firedoglake over the teen-oriented prostitution app on the Android platform as advertised on YouTube. (Not to mention the sugar daddy dating site and YouTube channel that is in the middle of the murder investigation of a Google executive.)
Why do they do these things? Apparently for the money.
The hypocrisy of Internet utopians engaging in such behavior is striking—there must be an awful lot of money involved to make it worth the risk. Which also is strange because we’ve also been led to believe that display advertising (the vast majority of Googe’s ads on pirate sites) doesn’t generate significant revenue on a per click basis.
The YouTube Effect
When it comes to a monopolist like Google, however, there’s always another possible explanation—the “YouTube Effect”. When Google acquired YouTube, Google used its monopoly revenue from the text-based search vertical to extend and subsidize that monopoly into video search and now into a competitor to broadcast and cable television. And of course used its text-based search results to favor its own YouTube product over other competitors until there are none left.
Now that we have the benefit of public documents like the Google nonprosecution agreement for selling illegal drug advertising and the Megavideo criminal indictment that confirmed the giant pirate site was an Adsense publisher, it is easier to understand why Google is so reluctant to just get out of these criminal business lines altogether.
Apparently for the money.
Watchful Waiting After the Doubleclick Acquisition
Google perfects its dominance over display advertising by using the assets it acquired in its 2007 purchase of Doubleclick. When the Federal Trade Commission approved the Doubleclick sale to Google, the approval came with strings:
“The market positions of Google and DoubleClick suggest that the combined firm could engage in a number of potential anticompetitive strategies to further enhance its positions in the various markets at issue….We will closely watch these markets and, should Google engage in unlawful tying or other anticompetitive conduct, the commission intends to act quickly.”
One of those “anticompetitive strategies” includes the practice of tying, or bundling, products and services by a firm that has the market power to force their customers to acquire products or services together, i.e., so that the monopoly good is tied to another product regardless of whether the customer would prefer to get the tied product from someone else.
Google’s various products including YouTube, Android and Gmail are all monetized by Google’s advertising platforms, and one can anticipate that Google’s ability to maintain dominance in these product verticals (video, mobile and email)—not to mention its desires on dominating television—requires maintaining a dominant position in display advertising. According to Bloomberg:
Google’s share of the display ad market reached 24 percent during the first quarter in the U.S. with its closest competitors, Yahoo! Inc. and Facebook Inc., each holding less than 10 percent market share, according to research firm IDC.
Facebook, the largest social-networking service, lost its lead to Google last year and is expected to expand its market share at a slower pace. Facebook will grab 16 percent in 2015, up from 15 percent last year and less than 3 percent in 2008, EMarketer, another research firm, estimates.
Google took 47 percent of total U.S. digital ad spending in the first quarter of this year, according to IDC.
Given that Google is constantly striving to increase its dominance in display, one can easily understand why having control over as much ad inventory as possible is a key concern, particularly if that inventory can be locked in—or tied—to the Google advertising platforms.
The Online Advertising Ecosystem
The ecosystem for display advertising online is at its core a simple attempt at matching buyers and sellers in a supply and demand relationship. One would expect market forces to demand more simplicity and transparency over time. But like the derivatives market as evidenced by Enron, credit default swaps and other “too big to fail” insider transactions, the trading market for display advertising has become more complex and opaque, more difficult for the average stock holder to understand.
Not to mention the average cop.
When participants pay a premium for secrecy, stockholders would do well to wonder what in the world is being done with their money.
Here’s a high level example:
The core transaction involves websites or “publishers” with advertising space or “inventory” and advertisers who have advertising to sell.
The Cola Company buys inventory (and audience) from Dimitri’s Kittens and Sunshine
Cola <——————-> Dimitiri
Cola gets the audience they want and Dimitri gets money
The Internet being God’s gift to middlemen, it should not surprise you that a middleman evolved between Dimitri and Cola, called the ad network. Ad networks aggregate inventory and sell it to advertising agencies, whose media buyers are responsible for delivering the brand’s audience.
Notice what has happened here: The brand is no longer directly connected to the publisher. So the brand is now relying on their advertising agency to deliver the audience as represented to them by the ad network. The brand pays the ad agency who takes a markup on advertising it buys from the ad network that takes a commission from Dimitri.
Right about this time, Dimitri realizes he can make a lot more money if he has more inventory, so he goes to his cousin Vlad who runs Ass Kicking Torrents out of Bulgaria. He redirects his site to Vlad and no one is the wiser at the ad network because he’s now able to deliver the key demographic that Cola’s ad agency wants. The ad network is happy because the business in kittens and sunshine seems to be very good and the network makes more money.
The ad agency is happy because they get the audience they want and make more money from the increased inventory. The brand is none the wiser and is happy to keep paying for the audience they want—assuming that they were interested in that segment of the audience that fit the demo but also was being served ads while engaged in real time shoplifting.
But nobody tells them that.
To be continued in Part 2: Google’s end to end dominance of online advertising.
It turns out that the Washington Post’s brush with the anti-copyright crowd really is the gift that keeps on giving. Recall that the Post’s “The Switch” blog posted a manufactured story about how great Google is and how piracy is actually “Hollywood’s” own fault (whoever “Hollywood” is these days) at least according to PiracyData.org, a new site that comes from the Google funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Scott Cleland had a good catch in his post Brito & Google: BlameThePiracyVictims.org:
Notably, Mr. Brito and Mr. Dourado, co-creators of the PiracyData.org website, just last month were two of four individuals nationally to win an “IP3 Award” from Public Knowledge for advancing Public Knowledge’s Internet commons view of the “public interest,” i.e. that content generally should be shared publicly for free online.
Ah yes, who can forget Andrew Orlowski’s excellent story on the EFF-Public Knowledge love fest, “The Great Circular Award Ceremony–Now With Added Astroturf” (both funded by Google in part). So will anyone be surprised that these fellows were included in the great circular motion?
Of course–we noted earlier that the author of the manufactured news post on The Switch was Timothy B. Lee whose name appears prominently on the Google Shill List.
Right close to Public Knowledge (“Google has contributed to Public Knowledge for years….”).
Maybe you actually don’t need a scorecard to tell the players because they all work for the same team.