Thank you for all the feedback from last week's column. As I'm sure you're aware, life sometimes throws us curve balls and occasionally, you just have to take a swing. For the record, I was being sarcastic with my column last week.
I had hoped my column wasn't just laced with sardonic tones, but layered heavily.
Judging by the majority of the responses I received, most of you got the humor. For those who didn't, or only read the headline and first three sentences, please continue on to the punch line at the end: "futile, a foolish waste of time, and absolutely missing the point."
Any attempt to stamp out Internet porn because you find it offensive would be like trying to block out the sun because you find the rays harmful. Near as I can tell, the sun block plan only worked for Mr. Burns in episode 128 of "The Simpsons."
Even more insane is the policy of holding search engines responsible for the links being served on the results page. Everyone who has ever done business in China knows that the Chinese government has its way, and (for the time being) who are we to be the judge and jury on enforcing their policy?
We can think it's silly and a complete waste of time, along with missing the point, but haven't we smartened up on trying to tell other governments how to operate?
The last time the Chinese government sought to censor Google results (Google, MSN, and Yahoo all censor their results in China) people were out in front of Google's office protesting. I was the guy standing there with a sign pointing the crowd toward the Chinese Embassy in New York as it seemed like a much better place to be protesting.
Just because the search engines had to lie down and take the censorship doesn't mean Google's headquarters were the right place to protest. Standing outside in the cold waiting for a TV camera to swing by seems like an odd form of self indulgence -- but if you must -- at least go to the right place.
There's quite a bit of controversy over things like censoring search results, whether it's in China or the Catholic Google opt-in model. Then again, anonymously threatening me for writing about my opinion in last week's column seems a bit contrary to the point so many censorship protestors attempt to make.
At the end of the day, censorship is a touchy subject for everyone. Some people feel that too much time is being spent downloading porn (see episode 1206 of "South Park") and more time should be spent doing things like taking a more realistic approach to life.
You see, dear readers, that is the beauty of living in the United States. You can download a ton of objectionable content on Tuesday, and then spend the entire day Thursday complaining about it. If we wish to do business in other countries, we have to respect their policies until they choose to change them.
Very truly yours,
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!