White noise

April 22, 2007

By Charlie Devereux, liveblogging from The Democratic Image symposium

Here’s an example of the “white noise” Mark Sealy spoke about yesterday – the proliferation of information thrown at individuals involuntarily every time they go online.

Ask.com launched a marketing campaign in which they have tried to use the all-pervasive popularity of Google to turn some people against them (and instead use their own search engine).

In a classic case of ‘astroturfing‘ they have mimicked a grass roots revolution, jumping on the issue of the monopoly that Google holds over the dissemination of information over the web.

Unfortunately for ask.com their decision to appropriate some of the new Web 2.0 / ‘democratic’ tools that have become so popular has backfired disastrously. On a website they created for the campaign they allowed the public to comment and the public has reacted with vitriolic spite, with many who found themselves on the site feeling they had been conned into thinking it was something it wasn’t.

But the question is: has ask.com still profitted from the furore and am I contributing to it by writing this post?


One comment

  1. You need to ‘listen’ to what Ask has to say. Giving the worlds information to one company (Google) is not just profiting them, its destroying the web.

    openDemocracy should give us the facts on Google’s domination.

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