Google’s gold, Google’s rules

I don’t know why anyone expected it to be any different. Google is paying for results, not research:

The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google; its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; and his family’s foundation since the think tank’s founding in 1999. That money helped to establish New America as an elite voice in policy debates on the American left.

But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had chaired New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.

The statement disappeared from New America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington offices where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab.” The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.

Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms. Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a larger corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr. Schmidt serves as executive chairman.

Ms. Slaughter told Mr. Lynn that “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,” according to an email from Ms. Slaughter to Mr. Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team — nearly 10 full-time employees and unpaid fellows — would be exiled from New America.

While she asserted in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, that the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work,” Ms. Slaughter accused Mr. Lynn of “imperiling the institution as a whole.”

Now we have Fake Funding to go with Fake News, Fake Traffic, and Fake Ads. I don’t have any problem with Google expecting the people it funds to obey them and sing from Google’s songbook, only with the pretense that things were ever going to be otherwise.


How SJWs react to defeat

An attempt to converge Node.js was successfully beaten back. But the SJWs who attacked it aren’t giving up.

After years of battling a string of systematic failures of governance and leadership, the Node.js community, one of the largest collectives of software developers on the internet, reached a breaking point.

Node.js steers the ship for the powerful open-source web technology. It’s relied on by dozens of Fortune 500 companies, like Microsoft, Netflix, and PayPal, for their critical infrastructure and core operations.

Its stable governance isn’t just necessary for the businesses that rely on it, but also the core community that develops and advanced the widely-used technology.

But Monday saw a stream of resignations, one after the other throughout the day from Node.js’ technical steering committee (TSC), a group that manages the day-to-day governance for the Node.js project. A third of the committee had quit their positions by the end of the day, including its first woman member. Three of the resigned members said they will stay on the core technical committee (CTC), which oversees the project’s core collaborators and code contributors. One person has left the project entirely….

The community’s reliance on a code of conduct acts as the de facto HR department for the project, which lets participants and members contribute while treating others with respect. It’s meant to ensure a workplace free from harassment and unacceptable behavior, while promoting sharing of ideas in a constructive way, and to foster community growth.

But that code of conduct, as Kapke pointed out, doesn’t allow the stifling of free speech or marginalizing of people’s views or opinions that might be disagreed with. It’s designed to bring together a diverse range of people from different cultures, beliefs, genders, and backgrounds from across the world to work on a project and be treated fairly — a core value of any global collaborative open source project.

“There’s better value in having diversity than having some individual have the free speech that would work against others,” he said.

That toxic culture in Node.js’ governance has led to an inclusivity problem.

Williams’ began an inclusivity group of about a dozen people, an initiative aimed at ensuring fairness for everyone who wants to contribute to the community. The group eventually disbanded, accusing the leadership of “continued derailment” and opposition to proposals that the group argued would make the community more cohesive.

All the women and non-binary people left the group, as did several men, following the disbandment last August. Many have decided to leave the Node.js community altogether.

“Driving away contributors can be fatal in the open source world where most developers are essentially using their free time and volunteering to contribute,” said Rudolf Olah, a web developer, in a blog post. “It is already difficult enough to attract contributors to smaller projects, and larger projects, such as Node.js, need to be careful to make all contributors feel welcome,” he said.

Note that they left the “inclusivity group” immediately after their attempt to unseat a former director from the steering committe failed. Now they’re switching tactics, attempting to create pressure from outside, while at the same time trying – again – to fork the project.

Moments after the failed leadership vote, Kat Marchán pushed the button that created Ayo.js, a new open-source project forked from Node.js. Ayo.js — a hat-tip to the Io.js (pronounced the same) project that forked from Node.js three years ago over a similar disenchantment over the software’s stewardship under its founding company Joyent — was born this week.

Days old, it’s already got a dozen developers and over a hundred people involved on the project’s chat platform, said Marchán.

Of course, the SJW fork is going to fail – again – because people who are diverse and inclusive aren’t capable of running projects without the straight white males they disdain. If they could, they wouldn’t have to use codes of conduct, inclusivity groups, and trust & safety councils to take over existing projects.

The steering committee really needs to clean house and encourage all the SJWs to move over to the fork as quickly as possible.


Fake Ads

As Facebook has already been caught multiple times, Google has been caught faking ad traffic:

The WSJ is reporting that Google is issuing refunds to advertisers over “fake traffic,” and are now working on new safeguards against the issue.

Google’s refunds amount to only a fraction of the total ad spending served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to repay its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of the total ad buy.

The company says this is appropriate, because it doesn’t control the rest of the money. Typically, advertisers use DoubleClick Bid Manager to target audiences across vast numbers of websites in seconds by connecting to dozens of online ad exchanges, marketplaces that connect buyers and publishers through real-time auctions.

As we at Adland have argued for years now, digital paid media is a fraud due to the many incidents of fake traffic, bots, and the smoke and mirrors that blind the less tech savvy clients. Last year, Russian bots earned 180 million by fake-watching ads all over the Google empire.

Google has participated in efforts to clean up the digital market, joining the industry initiative Ads.txt project launched back in May by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. They’re hoping to bring trust back into the digital ecosystem. But in the arms race between consumers who use ad blockers and ad networks making ads unblockable, unskippable and even more intrusive, the consumers are staying one step ahead. More importantly with each new fraud brought to light and the hundreds of millions wasted, it’s hard to believe clients take Google at face value much longer. Advertisers are finally figuring out that this is a house of cards, built by pretty graphs in slick interfaces that look great on paper but in reality does very little to drive sales.

Google’s latest crisis comes at the same time that it is removing content creators from the ability to monetize their content, policing Youtube like never before. Google’s policing doesn’t end there, however. In Professor Jordan Peterson’s case, they banned him from his entire account, including mail and calendar.

Bloomberg reports that Google has just begun their biggest crackdown on “extremist content”

The new restrictions, which target what Walker called “inflammatory religious or supremacist content,” are expected to hit a small fraction of videos, according to person familiar with the company. YouTube says it uploads over 400 hours of video a minute. Videos tagged by its new policy won’t be able to run ads or have comments posted, and won’t appear in any recommended lists on the video site. A warning screen will also appear before the videos, which will not be able to play when embedded on external websites. YouTube will let video creators contest the restrictions through an appeals process, a spokeswoman said.

If the appeals process is anything like what Adland encountered, then it will be labyrinthian, time-consuming and arbitrary. The only reason we were un-banned from Adsense the first time around, was because we knew someone who knew someone that worked at Google in Ireland. These days, the only replies we get are automatic. Adland.tv the domain has even been delisted from Google search completely, which we managed to fix, and we’re currently being heavily deranked for no apparent reason. Or perhaps these articles are the reason.

In dealing with international brand boycott of Google advertising, and cleaning house so that they no longer fund terrorism by running pre-roll Super Bowl ads on ISIS videos, Google is now again apologising and “tweaking” their system.

The ad economy is increasingly a) monopolistic and b) fraudulent. I have never used AdSense or Facebook ads because I have never seen any indication whatsoever that they are effective or reliable. I did try using BookBub four times, but after they rejected both A THRONE OF BONES as well as Jerry Pournelle’s THERE WILL BE WAR for ad campaigns, I stopped using them.

What I have found to be effective is a) this blog, b) Larry Correia’s book bombs, c) the Amazon giveaways, and d) the two mailing lists. In other words, direct marketing. Indirect marketing, be it advertising in magazines or the various social media ad schemes, only appear to benefit the owner of the advertising vehicle rather than the advertiser.

Notice that YouTube still puts ads on videos it has demonetized. Such as those produced by Ron Paul.

Former US Congressman Ron Paul has joined a growing list of independent political journalists and commentators who’re being economically punished by YouTube despite producing videos that routinely receive hundreds of thousands of views. In a tweet published Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange tweeted a screenshot of Paul’s “Liberty Report” page showing that his videos had been labeled “not suitable” for all advertisers by YouTube’s content arbiters.


The crackdown cometh

Google is amping up and automating its YouTube crackdown:

Starting on Thursday, Google will police YouTube like it never has before, adding warnings and disabling advertising on videos that the company determines crosses its new threshold for offensive content.

YouTube isn’t removing the selected videos, but is instead setting new restrictions on viewing, sharing and making money on them. A note detailing the changes will go to producers of the affected videos on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Alphabet Inc. company.

Google outlined these moves in June, but the implementation comes as debate about extremism and political speech is front-and-center in the national spotlight — and when tech giants like Google and Facebook Inc. face deeper scrutiny over how they moderate information distributed through their digital services.

“These videos will have less engagement and be harder to find,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, wrote about the plans in a June blog post. “This strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.” A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on the changes.

The new restrictions, which target what Walker called “inflammatory religious or supremacist content,” are expected to hit a small fraction of videos, according to person familiar with the company. YouTube says it uploads over 400 hours of video a minute. Videos tagged by its new policy won’t be able to run ads or have comments posted, and won’t appear in any recommended lists on the video site. A warning screen will also appear before the videos, which will not be able to play when embedded on external websites.

I’ve already seen reports that videos that even contain the word “SJW” in the video, not merely in the title or description, have been demonetized. So, it’s not exactly hard to know which elements within Google are behind this.

So far, the saner elements are not prevailing.

This will, of course, have precisely zero effect on our plans for Voxiversity. We anticipated this and more.


Cloudflare CEO ponders his action

And the answer is, no, Mr. Prince, you were not right to pull the plug on a Nazi website.

I helped kick a group of neo-Nazis off the internet last week, but since then I’ve wondered whether I made the right decision…. At some level, it’s easy to fire Nazis as customers. They don’t pay you much, if anything, since Cloudflare offers a free version of its service. Our terms of use give us broad discretion to choose whom we allow to use our network. Beyond the horrible content, the Daily Stormer began claiming that we secretly supported their ideology, causing a major distraction to our team. Firing a Nazi customer gets you glowing notes from around the world thanking you for standing up to hate.

But a week later, I continue to worry about this power and the potential precedent being set. The reality of today’s internet is that if you are publishing anything even remotely controversial, your site will get cyberattacked. Without a massive global network similar to Cloudflare’s, it is nearly impossible to withstand the barrage. Only a small group of companies—names you know, like Facebook , Google and Microsoft , along with a handful of others you may not, like Cloudflare—have sufficient scale to keep their users online.

The upshot is that a few private companies have effectively become the gatekeepers to the public square—the blogs and social media that serve as today’s soapboxes and pamphlets. If a handful of tech executives decide to block you from their services, your content effectively can’t be on the internet.

Before terminating the Daily Stormer, Cloudflare’s policy had been to stay neutral to the content that used our network. We’d comply with the law in the jurisdictions where we operate, but we wouldn’t bow to political or public pressure to boot anyone off our network. And make no mistake, there is pressure: Hackers actually tweeted to us asking that we get out of the way so they could take down the Daily Stormer.

When standing up to government requests or angry Twitter demands to silence unpopular speech, it was powerful to be able to say we’d never terminated a customer due to political pressure. I’m not sure we can say that anymore.

Dear Mr. Prince,

In answer to your question posed in the Wall Street Journal today, the answer is no. Here are five reasons why:

  • You sacrificed Cloudflare’s moral authority and neutrality.
  • You contributed to the increasing fragmentation of the Internet.
  • You threw away any chance to meaningfully oppose the growing movement towards national Internet sovereignty. How can you possibly claim that China and Turkey, or any other government, don’t have the right to thought-police you when you are thought-policing others?
  • You encouraged other big tech companies to do the same, thereby leading tens of thousands of people to initiate backup plans in the event they are deplatformed for their opinions.
  • You gave in to the SJWs and informed them that you are susceptible to their pressure. You can safely expect further demands to functionally deplatform other sites under attack.

I am no fan of the Daily Stormer. It is obnoxious and their writers have personally attacked me on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to invite the site back to Cloudfare, while at the same time making a public statement that Cloudflare will no longer thought-police Internet content and will not deny its services to any site that is in compliance with the law.

Sincerely,
Vox Day


Google unvanishes stats prof

Zerohedge helped Salil Mehta get his email, blog, and other accounts back after they were vanished by Google.

Yesterday we reported that in a shocking, and unexplained move, statistics professor Salil Mehta, adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown who teaches probability and data science and whose work has appeared on this website on numerous prior occasions, had been banned by Google on Friday, with his email, blog and other Google-linked accounts wiped clean and no longer accessible.

As we discussed yesterday, it was not clear what Salil did to provoke Google:

On Friday afternoon East Coast Time by surprise, I was completely shut down in all my Google accounts (all of my gmail accounts, blog, all of my university pages that were on google sites, etc.) for no reason and no warning.  A number of us were stunned and unsure, but clearly we know at this point it wasn’t an accident.

As Salil explained, he had never engaged in political discourse, and his content was purely math/statistics-focused: “My background is clean, and without a political or social agenda.  I am not promoting any specific viewpoint.  I teach probability math and that’s it.  Have worked with both the Obama administration and advised on polling statistics for the Trump campaign, am an adjunct professor at three top universities, an editor of the peer-reviewed journal of the American Statistical Association, and wrote a best-selling statistics book (all the proceeds of which I gave to charity!)”

And yet, Salil’s attempts to get to the bottom of his purge were fruitless:

I have followed their common “appeal” form but no response for three days.  Also connected with one of the VPs over the weekend and it still takes time until receiving this today!  Just more of a reflection of how cold a company can treat someone very poorly: without any information, and lack of ability to move forward in their life (can I get real reasons if any, can I get advance notice, can I get my contact list back from gmail, and why are university properties unrelated to my blog shut down?)

We are going to be looking back on this time in Google’s history and those of other social media and know that they have done some very immoral and confusing things, and it has hurt their public reputation with decent people who wanted to grow into the next future with them.

Until yesterday, Google’s only response was a generic form statement it issues to every account that is “in violation of its Terms of Service.” That changed yesterday, because after our article detailing Salil’s plight went viral, and was read 300,000 times, Google responded and as of this morning, has restored all of Salil Metha’s accounts.

That’s great and all, but the irony of someone being unvanished because he did NOT engage in any Constitutionally-protected political free speech is sizable indeed. Most people are not going to have the online might of Zerohedge behind them, or happen to be a politically unblemished minority professor who worked with the Obama administration, which means that most of us are beholden to the goodwill and commitment to Internet neutrality of the various social media giants.

Since these corporations are heavily converged, since SJWs always double down, and since the executives who are not themselves SJWs have repeatedly shown themselves to be too weak to stand up to much direct pressure from their internal SJWs, it is imperative that everyone who is to the right of Salil Metha have a backup plan already in place and already implemented starting right now. That means everything from email addresses, websites, and payment processors to ISPs and domain registry alternatives.

If you want to be accessible by our rapid response program and you are not VFM, you have four alternatives.

  1. Follow me on Twitter. This is the least preferable option since I anticipate a massive, multiplatform strike will be the next step after the surgical deplatformings and demonetizations prove ineffective. I am reliably informed that SJWs inside Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Paypal are already putting this plan together and are now working on figuring out how to sell it to the decision-makers at their respective corporations. Saner heads may prevail, in fact, they probably will prevail at Google and Paypal, since the executives there understand that further fracturing the Internet is not good for their future growth, but there are no guarantees, and as we know from our experience with Amazon, even a rogue strike or two by employees acting without permission or approval cannot be ruled out.
  2. Follow me on Gab. This is safe, but not necessarily timely, particularly if you’re not already actively using Gab.
  3. Sign up for the Book Club. You’ll get 1-3 book announcements per month. This is the least disruptive option that ensures you are rapidly contacted.
  4. Sign up for the Daily Meme Wars. You’ll get six emails per week, five with the Meme of the Day, and the sixth containing a summary and a poll to vote in the meme of the week. This is the option I’d prefer people to select, because #DailyMemeWars has proven to be increasingly effective social media artillery.
You can, of course, do any combination of these or all four if you see fit. But the important thing is to do at least one of them. And remember, you can always reach me at my infogalactic email if my gmail address is vanished.

The tech crackdown is weakness

As well as an opportunity to foxnews the f——- at Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and the other social media giants.

This year, the world’s largest social network will see a decline among teen users in the U.S., according to a forecast by EMarketer. It’s the first time the research company has predicted a fall in Facebook usage for any age group.

EMarketer predicts 14.5 million people from the ages of 12 to 17 will use Facebook in 2017, a drop of 3.4 percent from the prior year. Teens are migrating instead to Snap Inc.’s Snapchat and Instagram, the photo-sharing app that Facebook owns, the research company said Monday in a statement.

Facebook has continued to grow around the world, with more than 2 billion users this year, but younger people are finding it less compelling, said Oscar Orozco, a forecasting analyst at EMarketer.

The Facebook/Twitter business model is an intrinsically fraudulent one, propped up by debt and ideology. Which means, of course, that their decline will be unexpectedly fast once it begins. And it is coming soon. Twitter has already ceased to grow. Facebook will follow suit soon. All they will succeed in doing is fracturing and further decentralizing the Internet, which will serve us, not them.

The reason they are cracking down hard now is that they realize their window of opportunity to do so is closing. This is why there is no reason to panic when another deplatforming happens. All that a deplatforming accomplishes is to ensure that a new platform will come into being to replace it.

Remember, there was a time not all that long ago when SJW fans of John Scalzi bragged that his blog traffic was vastly bigger than mine. Now that mine is more than 5x his, he switched to bragging about his 111,329 followers and 178 million annual Twitter impressions… and I am now on pace to equal or exceed his 2016 monthly average of 14.8 million Twitter impressions this month.

The world is a dynamic place. It will knock you down, but when you get up again, hardened by the experience, the experience only makes you that much more formidable.

That being said, the next anti-Right tech strike will be more systematic and multiplatform. I expect that if I am targeted, my accounts will be vanished from Twitter, Blogger, and Gmail simultaneously,  (I don’t really use Facebook or Paypal) which is why I am already set up with more reliable alternatives for literally every social media and payment platform, and have arranged for direct email access to every VFM, Book Club, and Daily Meme Wars member. If you want to make sure that you’re immediately alerted and provided with the alternatives, I recommend signing up for either the Book Club or if you don’t mind daily emails, the Daily Meme Wars.



Don’t argue with Damore

You’d think a reporter would be aware that he was overmatched when he went to interview the author of the Google manifesto:

During an interview with Business Insider, Damore, who was fired from Google for publishing a viewpoint diversity manifesto, claimed he “was simply trying to fix the culture in many ways. And really help a lot of people who are currently marginalized at Google by pointing out these huge biases that we have in this monolithic culture where anyone with a dissenting view can’t even express themselves,” he continued, adding, “Really, it’s like being gay in the 1950s.”

“These conservatives have to stay in the closet and have to mask who they really are. And that’s a huge problem because there’s open discrimination against anyone who comes out of the closet as a conservative,” Damore explained. He sparred with Business Insider’s Steve Kovach, who tried to claim that Damore attacked women in his manifesto.

“I was simply talking about the population level distributions. And I specifically call out that we should never treat an individual differently based on this because there’s so much overlap,” stated Damore. “The document was simply trying to address why there may be fewer women in technology than men. And it never said anything about the women at Google being any different than the men at Google.”

This prompted Kovach to reply, “Not at Google. But broadly it made assumptions about women as a general population though, right?”

“It didn’t make assumptions. It stated scientific facts about the population level distribution,” Damore responded.

“OK. I mean, that’s obviously up for debate too,” Kovach claimed, forcing Damore to explain, “Not really. I mean, these are empirical facts.”

“The population level distributions are not up for debate,” he continued. “Those have been documented hundreds of times.”

Clearly Damore did not realize that Mr. Kovach did not like the population level distributions. Therefore, they were an assumption, ergo subjective, consequently wrong. You’d think these SJWs would, sooner or later, get suspicious about the statistical improbability of their being absolutely right every single time.

Of course, if they grasped statistics, they wouldn’t be SJWs blithely refuting empirical facts as one man’s assumptions.


Unintended consequences

This is why it never pays to overreact to what other people are doing. Be patient and observant, and you’ll see that there are usually silver linings and new opportunities that are exposed by every action, however ill-intended:

Earlier this week, internet hosting provider, GoDaddy, announced it had cancelled US neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, for posting an attack on Heather Heyer, the protester who was murdered at the Klan rally in Charlottesville last week. Google and CloudFlare likewise cancelled its registration after the site tried to move its hosting over to their respective services.

But while these hosting services are being congratulated by some – and condemned by others on free-speech grounds – for ensuring that those looking to commit violence have to work slightly harder to get access to their like-minded Nazi communities, those who own the means of transmission – namely Google, Facebook and Twitter – are still preventing the rest of us from accessing information that allows people to make sense of the world around us.

Earlier this month, Google altered its algorithm – allegedly in an attempt to address the ‘fake news’ problem – and in doing so, a broad array of anti-establishment news organisations, whistleblower, civil-rights and anti-war websites were censored from its search listings. But most people were too distracted by the opinions of some low-level engineer on Google’s diversity hiring policies and its intolerance of conservative views in the workplace to take notice.

The data released by WSWS shows that since Google altered its algorithm, Wikileaks experienced a 30% decline in traffic from Google searches. Democracy Now fell by 36%. Truthout dropped by 25%. Its own traffic dropped by 67% percent over the same period. Alternet saw a 63% decline in traffic. Media Matters saw a 36% drop in traffic. Counterpunch.org fell by 21%. The Intercept fell by 19%.

In May, WSWS was ranked 5th in Google searches for the keyword ‘socialism’. Today the WSWS is nowhere to be found in the top 200 searches for the same keyword. In addition, Google blocked every one of WSW’s top 45 search terms.

Aaron Kaufman, director of development at progressive news outlet, Common Dreams said that Google Search as a percentage of total traffic to the Common Dreams website has decreased nearly 50 percent since May.

Of course, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, as I have conclusively demonstrated, if you shoot at Nazis, you’re mostly going to hit leftists.

Google is not the only player in this censorship game. Earlier last year, anti-establishment information services – Renegade Inc included – experienced a 20% drop in traffic to its Facebook pages, after the social-network altered its algorithm, again, allegedly in an attempt to crack down on ‘fake news’.

Perhaps these leftist sites should stop attempting to push Fake News. It’s interesting to note that since this crackdown on Fake News, the traffic here has observably risen. I doubt there is any actual connection, but it is an amusingly timed coincidence.