A giant snakehead fish (the "Jaws" of freshwater fish in Southeast Asia) was caught by a fisherman in England. The snakehead hooked in a river caused a panic in the Midlands and created something of a "Snakes on the Plains" buzz online. The British Environment Agency tried to assuage fears of a snakehead invasion but many of us here in Islington (London SES) remain scared out of our wits secure in the knowledge the Thames River is only kilometres away.
The giant snakehead has been known to crawl on land.
Snakehead fish can grow to more than 5 feet in length. Sharp teeth make the snakehead a feared predator of other river dwellers.
FOG (Fear of Google) was one of the themes of the Orion Panel (All Star Analytics Team). London FOG reminded me of the giant snakehead fish. Consumers, corporations and regulatory bodies often have an irrational fear of Google.
They say Google will invade privacy and destroy our natural Internet habitat. Companies fear the mega-search engine will use Google Analytics, Google Conversion Optimizer and Google Checkout to artificially inflate keyword prices. In short, to rig the keyword auction. They worry Google will prey on competitors and customers alike.
With respect to privacy, Jim Sterne of Target Marketing and chairman of the Web Analytics Association put it best:
"Why would I worry about Google knowing what I search for? The privacy issue is that I'm upset the bank knows how much money I have?"
There were no conspiracy theorists in the audience. Brian Clifton, Google's head of Web Analytics, EMEA, didn't even have to defend Google's honor.
Nor did Ian Thomas, Microsoft's director oif customer intelligence attempt to exploit the climate of fear.
Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder, Future Now noted Google needs to be more transparent. Separation of church and state may be tough when Google has so many evangelists, not only in their employ but among brand-loyal consumers.
Google dominates the European and UK search landscape. As scary as the giant snakefish may be, here's the key takeaway:
The more you know, the less you fear.