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Search Biz: Google Gets NYC Directions Wrong; Google’s Privacy Headaches; Wal-Mart Doesn’t Want Your Links
From the “How Not To Promote Yourself” file: Google is advertising its Google Maps service on the New York subway system with a few well-placed ads that give directions between points of interest in the city. Only the directions they’re giving aren’t always right.
As AdAge points out, one ad tries to help people find their way from Grand Central Station to Madison Square Garden … but the directions actually send you to Times Square. D’oh! Not exactly how you inspire confidence in the accuracy of your maps service there, G.
But that’s hardly the biggest headache Google has at the moment. The International Herald Tribune recaps the privacy battles that Google is facing across Europe. The most visible of these battles seems to be over Google StreetView, which is being fought in both Germany and Switzerland. StreetView isn’t the only concern: The IHT article points out that the European Commission wants Google (plus Yahoo and MSN) to purge user logs after six months, and a data protection agency in Switzerland is asking Google for more details on how it manages its users’ personal information.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., privacy groups are asking questions about Google Flu Trends, the recent tool that uses search patterns to estimate where the flu is spreading. CNET points out that two privacy rights groups are asking for more information about Flu Trends and how it impacts individual user privacy. The CNET article points out that Google doesn’t reveal any personal information in Flu Trends, only a single score for each state.
Finally, one more from the “How Not To Promote Yourself” file: Wal-Mart lawyers are going after sites that post the chain’s “Black Friday” specials, as well as anyone that links to the sites that post these deals. According to Techdirt, the most recent DMCA takedown notice was sent to deals aggregator SearchAllDeals.com. Nevermind that letting people see your Black Friday deals might be good for business, and that linking to the specials only gets Wal-Mart more attention and eyeballs. The Techdirt piece sums it up nicely:
So, we have Wal-Mart, whose employees think deal sites are helpful, getting its lawyers to send out bogus takedown notices over content that isn’t copyrighted, and then sending them to search engines that don’t even host the content in question.
It makes you wonder how much the lawyers are charging Wal-Mart… and if the fees are being paid out of the legal budget, or the marketing and promotions budget.
Sounds like maybe Wal-Mart needs to sign up for its own search marketing services to learn the value of backlinks and buzz.