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Google is Buying FeedBurner this is pure Evil!

Posted by todd at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2007

I am hearing a lot of people cheering for Feedburner, sure I am happy for the folks that started the company, but this is really bad for people that are now going to be spied upon at a whole new level by the Google machine.

Have people really thought about the ramifications of this? Google will not only know what you search for, what ads you click on but they will also know EXACTLY what you are subscribed to at a very intimate level.

Google has been trying to close the loop for a long time and while this purchase is smart for them, they are now going to know more about some people than their own family members may.

They are going to be able to share that data, cross correlate and target you on so many levels that if you look at what they are collecting already is pretty damn scary.

Imagine now, that you will be tracked across the 100’s of thousands of sites using FeedBurner and they will know if your political orientation is Left, Right they will know what your sexual orientation is, they will be able to tell if you like adult sites the list goes on and on.

The question you need to ask is how comfortable are you subscribing to a RSS feed that is tracked and targeted by Google? TechCrunch

My RSS feed is SACRED and I will NEVER share the SUBSCRIBER data with ANYONE, those that are using FeedBurner will never be able to claim that!

The question is do you care and will you un subscribe from feeds that use FeedBurner?

22 Comments

  1. From Roy at 3:10 pm on May 23, 2007

    Google doesn’t scare me so I will continue to use FeedBurner.

  2. From Brian at 3:44 pm on May 23, 2007

    This happens already on the internet today. Your ISP knows exactly what web pages you visit and the traffic you bring in and out of your network. Most any site out there is going to record information from their users. You have my IP and my location. If I had a user ID, you would have even more information if I were to fill out the questionnaire accurately.

    Now, if I wanted to keep all this information away from people, I simply wouldn’t use the internet. That is the trade off one has to make when using the internet. If you are in a public place, you ARE giving people information about yourself.

    Google is no different and they collect the data at a much more detailed level because they have a specific use for it. The thing with Google is that they do not intend to use it in a malicious way, but for specific targeting of their ads. They don’t go off and sell their data to spammers, or telemarketers, or anyone really. The only way they DO use your data, is if you use one of their “FREE” services, Google, gmail, google reader, etc, etc.

    Now with feedburner, a user may “unintentionally” send some info to google simply because they do not understand what they are really doing when they subscribe to a RSS feed routed through feedburner (and ultimately google), but on the flip side, if that user never decides to use google’s “free” services, that information will never be used by google in delivering targeted ads to that user.

    I think one of your previous posts directly relates to this. You mentioned the importance of ROI as well as the ability for a podcaster to pitch a product to their audience. And thanks to your data collection and stats, you know exactly what type of a listener a show has and can sell that specific audience to an advertiser. Would an advertiser buy a spot not knowing ultimately who would hear it? Would google give you a GREAT search engine and other tools without getting information back to deliver you a specific ad?

    Google is the same. Giving away “free” products to their users in exchange for more detailed information about that user so that can deliver more targeted ads.


    Brian

  3. From GeekNews at 3:49 pm on May 23, 2007

    Never in the history of the Internet has one company had so much power in tracking what people so online.

    If that does not disturb you nothing will. Has anyone asked those that consume content what they think and how they are going to react to the ever reaching impact of Google?

  4. From Brian at 4:22 pm on May 23, 2007

    It is all relative. Does Microsoft scare you? AT@T? McDonald’s? These are all MEGA companies in their respective fields… They are scary in one way or another and each have their own tremendous power in their line of business.

    What about the government? They know tons about you through their many departments and agencies.

    Do you use google search? Gmail? Any other Google service? If you answer is NO, then you have nothing to worry about. If you answer is yes, then how do you expect to get a “free” service without something in return?

    My point in all this is that yes, to an extent they scare me, but I have faith enough in their company practices to still use their services.

  5. From Marshall Kirkpatrick at 7:33 pm on May 23, 2007

    Nice MyBlogLog widget over in that sidebar.

  6. From test at 10:12 pm on May 23, 2007

    Such a whiny little hypocrite with your Yahoo spyware.

  7. From GeekNews at 10:35 pm on May 23, 2007

    Marshall

    Your just pissed because I took you to task on your RSS Hijacking and content re-purposing you folks were doing over their.

    My stance on FeedBurner is not new.

  8. From bandersnatch at 12:24 am on May 24, 2007

    Your concerns are valid and the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    That being said, I’m happier that Google is picking up Feedburner, the same Google that told the Department of Justice to go fuck themselves (more or less) when they came knocking demanding all user data from search queries on a particular day.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=google+%2B+department+of+justice+%2B+children&btnG=Search

    Compare this to Yahoo, MSN and AOL which promptly released the same data to the DoJ. Kinda makes their commitment to your privacy not worth the paper its written on.

    So in end, I am a little bit worried. Yes. Will I stop subscribing to blogs that use feedburner? No. Google so far has proven it can be trusted with the data it holds.

    I’m always open to a stronger argument in the future.

  9. From Christian Burns at 1:23 am on May 24, 2007

    I use Google Reader so they already know what items I read, what I share, what I star, what I ignore.

  10. From Alex Leonard at 2:59 am on May 24, 2007

    I also use Google Reader, so they already know everything on that front.

    I feel Google has gained my trust thus far, so I don’t really worry about it. Heck, I’ve nothing to hide, and I’d be more concerned about ISP’s – they seem way less trustworthy.

    If people are really worried about it then they should not use Feedburner to dole out their feeds.

  11. From Phillip Molly Malone at 2:59 am on May 24, 2007

    I don’t know what your worried about. Google work for the government and the government already has those chips in our head!

    Come on!
    Molly

  12. From Anush at 4:36 am on May 24, 2007

    Google has historically stuck up for users’ privacy and rights. They risk a huge backlash if that stops. And Google is certainly more capable of withstanding the pressure of the government to share private data than Feedburner, a relatively small company was.

  13. From Susabelle at 8:38 am on May 24, 2007

    Is Google the new Walmart?

    I have kind of been on the fence about this issue, seeing both sides. But I’m leaning more towards Google becoming too large for its own good. It owns too much, controls too much, and now has a huge corner of where we spend much of our day. I still default to Google for searches (in fact, it’s where the “home” button goes on my browser). Google owns YouTube, which my family spends an inordinate amount of time on each day. Google is creating apps, is revolutionizing ad revenue streams, and now owns Feedburner, which I don’t use personally but know its power in our internet world.

    This quiet but persistent taking over of my web space is alarming when you look at it from a distance.

    So I ask again, is Google the new Walmart?

  14. From Bentcorner at 10:05 am on May 24, 2007

    They will know my political affiliation?
    They will know my sexual orintation?

    The horror!
    The horror!

    Please. Anybody would also know this if they came to my blog or saw me driving my wife to the store with a John Kerry bumper sticker on the car.

    I realize that you like to totally overstate every little thing, but referring to one Internet company buying another Internet company as “evil” is a little too much. Even for you Todd.

  15. From Technology News at 10:52 am on May 24, 2007



    This is really great news!
    I hope this will push RSS feeds into a new level.

  16. From spmat at 12:31 pm on May 24, 2007

    This is the same Google that bowed a knee to the image of Mao, gladly coughing up dissidents to the Chinese Communist party. Don’t be evil, indeed. Google cares about its users’ privacy only insofar as it is convenient for their business model and profit line. In America, all you have to do is give Bush the finger and you’ve bought yourself enough privacy cred with most of BDS-infected geekdom that you can set up AdSense toolbars in their underwear and they won’t mind.

    As the comments above illustrate, Big Brother isn’t a problem for some folks as long as they like his political affiliation. Make sure to pull the party line when your (and Google’s) politician of choice gets in the White House, because I have little doubt that Google will do what it’s told. All those promises of privacy will go up in a fog of convenient patriotism and back-room deals.

  17. From David B at 1:06 pm on May 24, 2007

    Brian, the problem isn’t trusting Google today. The problem is what do you do when the stock price begins to slide, Sergey and Larry are replaced by more “corporate” heads.

    Google, as a public company, has a fiduciary responsibility to its stock holders. The amount of data they are storing and tracking is going to be worth a mint. There’s only so long they can sit by and not exploit that data for financial gain. They have a responsibility to their stock holders to make money. Once that starts to slip, things change.

    It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. It just hasn’t happened at Google.

    I’m not saying you should be concerned about it or you shouldn’t, but be careful. If your only comfort is “I trust Google.” Things change, and you can’t take your data back. It’s theirs now.

  18. From Bjorn at 2:38 pm on May 24, 2007

    “This is the same Google that bowed a knee to the image of Mao, gladly coughing up dissidents to the Chinese Communist party.”

    Source? I know that Yahoo! has done this but I have not heard of Google doing so.

  19. From anon at 10:27 am on May 25, 2007

    Tracking??? Just look at all the 3rd party cookies this site attempts to deliver…

  20. From jemix at 12:37 pm on May 25, 2007

    don’t be scare, google just wanna be the best !

  21. From Claude Gelinas at 11:42 pm on May 25, 2007

    About the information passed to China’s Communist Party, I know about the Yahoo! episode but I had no idea that Google had done such a horrible thing.

    Regarding Google’s purchase of FeedBurner, it makes sense… from a business standpoint.

    Ethically, it’s a matter that may be considered “debatable” and for the simple reason that Google is getting very, very big. Now, imagine if Microsoft had its views on FeedBurner — that would probably be an even bigger story!

  22. From Keith Goode at 9:55 am on May 29, 2007

    I’m afraid the only way to avoid being tracked or having every major corporation and/or government agency in the world know every little detail about your life is to go off the grid altogether. Although, it’s probably already too late, frankly speaking. Who would’ve thought that the former hippies and underground revolutionaries that brought us all of these terrific technologies were actually working toward a Big Brother society rather than against it. Everyone has a price, it seems. Viva la rev… oh, hell … long live the Matrix.