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Google Accused of Privacy Gaslighting by University Scholars

Google published a blog post alleged to suggest that blocking cookies harms privacy. Two Stanford University Affiliate Scholars rebutted Google’s statements point by point and accused Google of gaslighting privacy.

PhD Researchers Accuse Google of Being Disingenuous

The two researchers, Jonathan Mayer  and Arvind Narayanan authored a public rebuttal accusing Google of being “disingenuous” (insincere) about its stance on privacy.

Firefox recently accused Google and Chrome of a similar insincerity in its approach to privacy, asserting that Chrome’s privacy mode “does not prevent third-party tracking.

The researchers offered these four arguments against Google Chrome:

“1) Cookie blocking does not undermine web privacy. Google’s claim to the contrary is privacy gaslighting.

2) There is little trustworthy evidence on the comparative value of tracking-based advertising.

3) Google has not devised an innovative way to balance privacy and advertising; it is latching onto prior approaches that it previously disclaimed as impractical.

4) Google is attempting a punt to the web standardization process, which will at best result in years of delay.”

Is Google Gaslighting About Privacy?

Gaslighting is defined as a psychological trick where a person is manipulated into doubting reasonable facts and observations.

The professors offered a powerful line by line rebuttal of Google’s statement. They alleged that Google is manipulating facts in order to make it appear that blocking cookies harms privacy.

For example, the researchers quoted this statement from Google:

“Technology that publishers and advertisers use to make advertising even more relevant to people is now being used far beyond its original design intent – to a point where some data practices don’t match up to user expectations for privacy.”

The researchers then rebutted it:

“If the benchmark is original design intent, let’s be clear: cookies were not supposed to enable third-party tracking, and browsers were supposed to block third-party cookies. We know this because the authors of the original cookie technical specification said so (RFC 2109, Section 4.3.5).

Similarly, if the benchmark is user privacy expectations, let’s be clear: study after study has demonstrated that users don’t understand and don’t want the pervasive web tracking that occurs today. “

As you can see, the researchers backed up their rebuttal with a link to research and authoritative documents to prove that their points had valid foundations.

SEO Community Is Aware of Privacy Controversy

Bill Slawski tweeted his approval of the rebuttal. He remarked how the rebuttal was well supported.

Screenshot of a tweet by Bill Slawski on the issue of Google and Privacy“It is nice seeing a well written and supported argument refuting a statement from Google about whether blocking cookies harms privacy.”

Stanford University Tweets Support for Researchers

The Stanford Center for Internet & Society tweeted about the article, letting the article speak for itself.

Screenshot of a tweet by Stanford Center for Internet & SocietyIn a statement last week, @Google argued that blocking cookies harms privacy. Affiliate Scholars
@random_walker and @jonathanmayer say Google’s reasoning is lacking, and its conclusions incorrect.

This About More than Privacy

This topic goes beyond the issue of privacy. The heart of the privacy discussion is how will Internet companies founded on Free earn back their investments?

The Internet was founded on ecommerce and selling display ads. However this model has evolved into a sophisticated surveillance model that enables marketers to target specific kinds of consumers, an ability that fetches a premium advertising price.

Monetizing information and services while keeping it free is what this is all about. Finding a solution that protects consumer privacy is the challenge.

Read the statement rebutting Google here:

Deconstructing Google’s Excuses on Tracking Protection
https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2019/08/23/deconstructing-googles-excuses-on-tracking-protection/

Pay Per Click (or PPC advertising) is a form of paid digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked.

The term PPC can apply to paid ads on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, today we’ll focus on Google Adwords which helps your ads stand out to search engine users, displaying them at the top and right-hand side of Google’s search engines. We’ll also explore Google Display Network which displays your ads on relevant websites your customers and prospects land on.

Google Accused of Privacy Gaslighting by University Scholars How Does PPC Advertising Work?

Once you have an amazingly written ad spiel, you can bid on a series of search phrases or keywords you want your advert to appear for. What placement your ad gets depends on two things: your bid price and your quality score. Your bid price is how much each click will cost you – so if you bid €1.50 and 100 people click on your advert, it will cost you €150.

Your quality score is decided from a number of factors including: your land page copy, your click metrics, your website’s metrics, amongst others.

Sounds simple enough?

Not quite, to get great conversion rates (people actually buying/signing-up for your offerings) takes a lot more than getting people to click on a link.

The term PPC can apply to paid ads on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, today we’ll focus on Google Adwords which helps your ads stand out to search engine users, displaying them at the top and right-hand side of Google’s search engines.

We’ll also explore Google Display Network which displays your ads on relevant websites your customers and prospects land on.

We’ll take a look at the benefits of both services to help you decide the best fit for you business and the best way to reach your target audience.

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