I’d like to think that I live my life by a mantra similar to Google’s “don’t be evil.” Mine is the Golden Rule; “Treat others the way you’d wish to be treated.”
Still, being nice doesn’t mean being naive. I know most of the black-hat techniques, sneaky manipulation tactics, and, if I ever stooped that low, I would know that when you tell tales on one of your competitors, you must remove your fingerprints. Unfortunately, Google missed the “corporate sabotage 101″ class in Evil School.
It appears an anonymous submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)–opposing eBay’s exclusive deal with PayPal–might have been authored by Google.
Google’s involvement was uncovered when Australian reader David Bromage posted a comment on the blog featuring metadata remnants extracted from the document — which was previously available on the ACCC’s website but has now been removed — indicating it was written and sent by the search giant.
“It wasn’t difficult to work out who wrote the submission,” he said in the post. “Buried down in the metadata you find … Microsoft Word – 204481916_1_ACCC Submission by Google re eBay Public _2_.DOC.”
If you’re not familiar with metadata, it’s not that hard to find in a document–typically in the “properties” menu.
Failing to remove that information–when you’re trying to be anonymous–is a rookie mistake. Unless, of course, it was left in as an “easter egg.” Think about it, an anonymous objection doesn’t have much bite to it, but one that you can (easily) track back to Google? That makes the submission more interesting.
(Dr, Evil image credit: Noheat.com)