July 29, 2013
Trespass to Chattels
It's been a while since I've blogged. Let's dish, Internet.
First, an important announcement involving my Links widget. It has come to my attention by one of the websites that I am a fan of that Google Ad Services has been penalizing them because their website because Google assumed that they were cheating on their advertising statistics with another website (namely this one). The intent of posting a link on this site, especially in the Links widget is NOT harm another website monetarily, nor should any link that uses an advertising service such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc. be punished because their link appears on my blog.
I've been running websites for over a decade and posting links to websites I like for longer than that. However, to receive a takedown request from the operator of another website that is like my website--which is a small site in the boondocks of the Internet--to remove the link from my website from every page except when mentioned in a blog article, is not the fault of the person who sent me the e-mail requesting the removal of the link, nor the person who received the message to remove the link, but the fault of the advertising company who demands that the link be purged from the site.
While I was disappointed to receive the email, I wrote back to the site owner saying my intent was never to cause a "Trespass to chattels" (damage to movable personal property). In fact, it's been one of the fundamental freedoms of the Internet to share links, especially links of websites you support or are a fan of. Besides, who doesn't like a free endorsement?
Google apparently. Even with the billions of dollars they make each year, this nonchalant activity is now cutting into a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the slice of business in their business model. In fact, I'm not the only person who has noticed this chilling policy. SEO blogger Barry Adams wrote something about it last year. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation also criticized this policy.
And as far as "Trespass to Chattels", where was that policy when I ran a message board, a wiki, and a different blog and got my site spammed and vandalized by all those spammers? Was their intent to make my site look bad by associating it with products and services I did not endorse? (You know which ones!) As far as I can tell, the only thing I was told to do was install some other piece of software that was ineffective at getting rid of them, curse my web hosting service for letting it still happen, and clean up the mess manually because I wasn't going to pay extra to be "protected" from it happening.
So long story short, companies shouldn't be punished because someone who likes a product shares a link to a website of another company because of a product they were satisfied with or a service they like. And supporters shouldn't have to get emails from the product/service/company they like because a web giant can't tell a computer enthusiast blog from a spam site.
Hopefully this won't happen again. And even more hopefully, I can start cracking down on who is really exploiting this problem. Google and the Real Spammers.