Posted June 30, 2007 1:48 pm by with 15 comments

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Readers of Google’s Health Advertising Blog awoke this morning to a post that has stirred up both confusion and controversy. Lauren Turner, Account Planner for Google Health, has boldly gone where no Google blog has gone before by putting on some movie critic shoes and attacking Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”

Several Google Blogoscoped readers were shocked by Turner’s blog post – to the point that some of them became suspicious that the post was a phony created by a hacker. It didn’t help that the email address in the post – googlehealthadvertisingblog – doesn’t seem to exist. (I tried sending them an email myself and received an error.) Additionally, there is no way for readers to leave comments on the site itself.

All email errors aside, the blog post does seem to be genuine. In Google’s defense, “Sicko” attacks the very industry that Google’s Health Advertising Blog targets. Turner apparently felt obligated to rush to the defense of Google’s health industry clients. The post is less of a movie review than it is focused on building and maintaining client relationships. Still, ”Martin” from Google Blogoscoped isn’t impressed:

”Making political statements is so unlike Google… If this is genuine, this would be [an] all-time low in sucking up to prospects and customers.”

I have a feeling that Google’s criticism will only add to the hype of “Sicko” – and it’s that same hype which fuels the success behind all of Michael Moore’s films.

  • It is really not that hard to track down the person who left the comments’ IP address. It is likely some angry readers are jumping conclusions due to the fake comment.

  • I agree tracking is not so hard, but tracking does not let you reach target at all. Because people may connect from other place.

  • I’d chalk it up to an aggressive member of the sales force – or even aggressive sales management – long before I’d look to a political motive. It’s a lot less “don’t be evil” and more “don’t be clueless.”

    Salespeople are always viewing the world through a very tactical, very can-I-make-my-numbers-this-month lens — where nearly everyone else saw controversy, they (or just Lauren, who authored the post) saw a chance to make some money off of Big Health(tm).

  • I don’t see where the problem is.

    It’s a blog and there is something called “freedom of speech”

    Additionally I don’t think she Lauren is expressing Goggles position on the film, all she is doing is expressing an opinion.

    Even Googlers are entitled to them.

  • Pedro, Googlers are of course entitled to freedom of speech but you have to be careful when you’re representing your company.

    Also, I doubt Michael Moore will mind as Brittany mentioned, it’s just more hype for the movie.

  • agree with Refugee.
    you can say anything on the comment, but take a look at the company’s face.

  • webmaster

    Hey people, please, tell to google guy(s) that PENALTY for EXTERNAL SEO FACTORS is NONSENSE, because it opens the way for de-SEO – techniques to downrank sites of competitors! Hey, everyone can programmatically (in special way) spam guestbooks, blogs, directories, “bad neighborhoods” with links to downrank their competitors! It seems that Google programmers don’t understand simple logical things… shame on google programmers!

    Google MUST remove algorithms of PENALTY for external SEO techniques immediately! Or there will be a lot of google de-SEO firms very soon, which will heavily undermine corporative google image in the following way:

    “We are offering services for downranking your competitors in google
    – Sandboxing $299
    – 30 Filtering $99
    Any website or separate web pages with PR lower than 6. Guarantee.”

    Shame on google programmers!

    If google do not remove penalties for external factors, then it will have BIG TROUBLES very soon. Many webmasters will say good bye to PARANOID Google, and will say hello to CLEAN Yahoo!

    2-3 years ago there was a possibility just to write a good high-quality and relevant articles, create web pages, follow guidelines and that was enough to appear in top google search results. It was a significant advantage of google – to rank sites not only for internal SEO tricks & backlinks, but also for _relevant_ content. 2-3 years ago the factor of relevancy of content was important as well as the factor of amount of relevant back links.
    Nowadays, algorithm of google is completely different than 2-3 years ago, and the factor of back links is significantly more important than relevancy of content! A lot of high-quality sites were downranked, undervalued or just partially disappeared from top index for no obvious reason. I read a lot of google patents, and I must admit that there are serious logical mistakes and contradictions in fundamental assumptions of many algorithms. I call them NOISE ALGORITHMS, because while performing “smart” filtering and evaluations of site rankings these algorithms introduce a lot of unnecessary informational noise and disorder, instead of just finding relevant content.

    It sad to say, but nowadays google reminds me the old AltaVista.

  • Jim

    Brittany said “I have a feeling that Google’s criticism will only add to the hype of “Sicko” – and it’s that same hype which fuels the success behind all of Michael Moore’s films.”

    Actually ,it is much more than hype which fuels – could it be he deals with topics that resonate with many of us. His presentations are well crafted, high value productions and he often gets in the face of “the man”. His point of view is anti-establishment just when the establishment seems about to overwhelm us. A necessary voice I’d say and I applaud his efforts.

  • Jim, he’s a sensationalist. He takes issues that people care about and creates “documentaries” that are really editorials. He’s the Rush Limbaugh of film. It’s still extremism pure and simple. He presents only information that supports his position, often at the cost of the more accurate big picture.

    However, it’s exactly that tactic that gives him so much success. Like him or hate him, you’re going to be talking about his films. That’s the hype that Brittany was talking about.

  • With the bought out media and the bombardment of promotional ads for barely tested pharmaceuticals, we need someone like MM to show the other side, or the general public would remain blind to what’s been going on that is being hidden. Since there are no checks and balances in our government anymore, we need someone to tell the people the truth, so we can at least be informed. People ARE starting to wake up, which is why his films are successful. Just my $.02 which is really worth $.0008 now I think.

  • It looked to me like the Google post wasn’t saying anything more than the movie is an attack on the health care industry. This is true, so why can’t she say so on Google’s blog?

    I don’t think she was trying to do anything than offer a service to people who want to counter negative press such as that from Moore’s movie.

  • Jim

    Org says”offer a service to people who want to counter negative press such as that from Moore’s movie.”

    Jesus, we’re talking about more than negative press. Negative press is what paris hilton was getting, negative press is what elected officials try to create for their opponents when they campaign i.e. has little or nothing to do with truth. This is a narrative point of view with some numbers to back it up and clearly an issue that affects us all.

    You sound like those nimrods on pennsylvania ave that say it is negative press to show body bags and caskets coming home from the invasion of Iraq. The caskets might be a negative image but they certainly need to be seen – Sicko might be negative but it too needs to be considered.

    As for the Google blogger that might be it and we’ll sure miss that champion of the unfortunate.

  • PTB

    This is one huge reason why some Googlers shouldn’t be allowed to blog.

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  • i give it two thumbs down too

    sir jorge’s last blog post..Role Models Review