Last week, Google made a bold move that some worry may block audiences from information and harm individuals. This move sent controversial shockwaves through the investment community and mainstream media! It was unorthodox and raised many questions!
Or maybe not.
The bold move? It issued its first quarter 2010 financial results on investor.google.com and said that future financial performance numbers would be announced on the web site. Shocking for a web company in this day and age of the web, no? Right. No. And the mainstream media and investor community that was so outraged? That would be Reuters. And… well, mostly Reuters. We at Search Engine Land happened upon this story on Friday morning (April 16th) and we had a bit of fun with it amongst ourselves. It read a bit to me like a press release itself for, well, press releases. What kept it from seeming more journalistic was a striking lack of sources and an abundance of, to use a technical term, crazy talk.
“some worry that this trend [of issuing earnings statements on a company web site rather than via a press release] may harm individual and less-sophisticated investors who cannot access the blogs and websites as quickly as professionals. Others worry that not everyone will get the information.”
Questions: who are “some?” Who are “others?” Are “individual and less sophisticated investors” really less able to access blogs and websites than “professionals?” Seriously? Part of an investor’s professional training is to learn how to click a link or type a URL into a browser?
This same sourceless yet all-knowing “some” apparently worry that this move could therefore “disadvantage some investors”. And as Dominic Jones pointed out, saying that “the statement posed a brief obstacle for the media, analysts and others hungry for Google’s numbers” is like saying air poses a brief obstacle to forward movement. OK, he didn’t say that exactly. He called it “ridiculous”. And unless the faceless “some” has some inside knowledge that all of the media, analysts and others hungry for Google’s numbers have spent their entire lives in caves, devoid of electricity and light and therefore have no knowledge of the web, it’s unlikely many of them would call clicking a link an “obstacle”.
But Jones’s most telling point is around the core assertion of the Reuters article: “It [the move] may also suggest the company is headed down a road that could hurt companies that distribute press releases.” Jones points out that Reuters itself recently bought a company that distributes press releases (yet failed to disclose that in the reporting of the story).
So my initial read on the Reuters story wasn’t so far off. It was a bit of a press releases for press releases.
I’m not even going to get into the notion that Google is now headed down a road that might impact another industry. Surely that’s something they would never do.