TODAYS WILD WEST IS THE INTERNET

TODAYS WILD WEST IS THE INTERNET

As I have helped pioneer Internet Marketing in the US and globally since the mid 1990’s and even launched The Omnicom’s Groups (NYSE:OMC) first Digital Agency, Direct Partners in San Francisco in 1999 and I thought after my recent article entitled ‘TRUST REALLY MATTERS IN OUR DIGITAL AGE’ e.g. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/trust-really-matters-our-digital-age-geoff-de-weaver/ and having watched Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC this past week – I thought I should pen another article on my observations.

I have seen massive changes with the web, Internet marketing, bandwidth, marketing and other related topics as it relates to: speed, safety, scalability, privacy, espionage, antitrust, crypto currencies, oligarchies, corporate cartels, standards and accountability over the decades having worked in San Francisco, New York City, London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Australia, New Zealand and numerous other global cities too.

I was fascinated to watch him this past week, following up from the 10 hours on front of US Lawmakers in response to Facebook’s privacy scandals, online extremism, political advertising, censorship and data privacy violations last year. BUT, he certainly doesn’t appear to moving fast enough or playing a ‘hands on’ role in last years’ commitments to improve all the scandals around privacy, censorships and Anti-Trust laws.

Picture: Mark Zuckerberg is an American technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. Zuckerberg is known for co-founding and leading Facebook as its chairman and chief executive officer.

 

Importantly, it sure was an eventful week for the Facebook CEO. Mark Zuckerberg met with members of Congress to discuss the “future of Internet regulation.” again!

After last years ‘showdown’ – Mark Zuckerberg famously penned an article in an op-ed in the Washington Post last year after his last visit to Washington DC and he stated – ‘The rules governing the Internet allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed the world and created a lot of value in people’s lives’ and, he also stated “It’s time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward.”

Defining itself as a ‘publisher’ opens Facebook up to lawsuits for defamation and other liability for the content users publish, something they were previously immunized against. Importantly, all the lies, personal attacks, and smears launched by users going forward can now be laid at Facebooks feet.

Importantly, Facebook just walked into legal trap after claiming To Be ‘Publisher’ In Laura Loomer’s recent lawsuit. Notably, Facebook has long defined itself as a tech company which simply provides a platform for users’ free speech – maintaining that they’re a neutral party which is protected from legal repercussions.

BUT, “under well-established law, neither Facebook nor any other publisher can be liable for failing to publish someone else’s message,” reads the company’s motion to dismiss Loomer’s defamation lawsuit – adding that terms like “dangerous” or “promoting hate” cannot be factually verified, and are therefore protected opinions for a publisher according to the report. That said, the company claims it never applied either term to Loomer despite banning her under their “dangerous individuals” policy.

Picture: Mark Zuckerberg recently in Washington DC  meeting with lawmakers and talking about “bias against conservatives on Facebook’s platform, government regulation of digital platforms, antitrust enforcement, Section 230 liability, and data-privacy issues.”

 

Looking back at San Francisco in 1999 when I helped Pioneer Internet Marketing there (YES – four years before even Facebook opened its first office) – here is what first inspired me about building global Digital and Internet Brands AND, now reviewing San Francisco’s history of rapid growth, Multiculturalism and constantly changing ecosystem, learning from companies like: AOL, Blockbuster, Pets.com, TiVo, E*Trade, Webvan.com, Shutterfly.com, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and more – watching the massive changes that have occurred.

HERE’S MY TAKE ON THIS PAST WEEK IN WASHINGTON DC AND MY PERSPECTIVE ON THE INTERNET MARKETING INDUSTRY TODAY:

  • When I first started in the digital and interactive world – there was plenty of startups, fresh new ideas, innovators with passion and purpose and as we used to say in 1999 in San Francisco – ‘It was a Land Grab’ or ‘Greenfields everywhere – not previously developed or polluted’ BUT, in 2019, I have seen this massive opportunity and exciting untapped potential transform today to –> 4 Big Tech Companies today buying up 98% of all tech companies. (E.g. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon). AND, that makes me sad – “TOO much power still lies in too few hands

 

  • In the ‘dot-com’ days e.g. 1994-2000, I certainly never expected or predicted that Apple and Google would have moved to Communist China. And, I certainly didn’t expect to see iPhones and all the Cloud passwords transferred to China either. Especially as the US Government helped both companies with vast amount of incentives, investment, rules and regulations to help drive the US Tech Industry forward.

Additionally, back in the ‘dot-com’ days I never imagined that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth is nearly $70 billion, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is over $110 billion, among other tech moguls would be more dominant than most countries today either! Imagine the impact they both could have on our world today if they were make the world a far better place and not just take from it in the US or worldwide!

I have always personally believed that with immense success and wealth being a hugely successful public performer or company MUST come with tremendous social responsibility too!

  • I never believed or even thought I would ever see Big Tech developing groups of strategic monopolies or cartels to collude and/or buy out any or all competitors with great ideas and impact. Having Big Tech companies like: Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon all having valuations of over a billion dollars is basically ‘monopolistic’ and are being run like corporate cartels now!

I believe Antitrust laws should be applied to a wide range of questionable business activities by these American Big Tech Unicorns/ Companies, including but not limited to: market allocation, bid rigging, price fixing, and monopolies. 

Image: Jeffrey Preston Bezos is an American technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon.com, Inc.

 

  • I personally believe the future of the Internet/Web must improve all standards of HTTP, TCP, DNS and every component of todays web.

Importantly, today more than ever, it is critical that the global economy depends on a fast, reliable web and has cheap bandwidth. With bandwidth issues caused by companies like: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, Hulu, Facebook, etc. – recent research highlights that 70% of all bandwidth going from providers to consumers (that’s “downstream” bandwidth) was taken up by video.

Akamai and Internet Retailer clearly highlight e-commerce will only continued to boom. In fact, the U.S. is estimated to be $122 plus billion, another banner year for digital commerce. It is clear that customers love e-commerce and will continue to drive its growth in the foreseeable future. Importantly, I don’t see DNS attacks (e.g. Domain Name System – The Internet’s system for converting alphabetic names into numeric IP addresses -slowing down either. )

In fact, a one-second delay can potentially cost Amazon over 1.6 BILLION in sales – so, this is a massive area that has been hurting and impacting the industry and I don’t see it slowing down. In fact, DNS servers are now a primary attack vector of cybercriminals and this is a great place for new market entrants to migrate towards!

  • AI and machine learning continue to grow: Intelligence in commerce and I expect it only to accelerate more. Especially with Personalization, dynamic pricing, conversational commerce, customer segmentation, product categorization, visual search and more. The sky is the limit.

Picture: The drive towards ethical AI and responsible robots has begun

 

  • Mobile commerce is accelerating even more and is also ever-evolving. In fact, many recent research studies highlight that study expects that by 2020, the share of smartphone will grow to 66% of the total mobile subscribers. Importantly, the smartphone is the primary device for online access to information, communications, and shopping PLUS, according to Commscore, this year will be the ‘tipping point’ and sales on smartphones will rapidly skyrocket from just 20% of desktop sales.
  • Google & Antitrust Law – never would I have dreamed in 2019, 50 attorneys generals would have launched a bipartisan antitrust investigation into Google. Not since Microsoft have I seen the focus on Washington DC been so focused on Google’s dominance in the online search and advertising market. Importantly, the coalition includes 48 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. California and Alabama are the only two states not to join the investigation.

Additionally, President Donald Trump has increasingly called out Google and other technology companies for suppressing conservative voices. In August, Trump said on Twitter that his administration is “watching Google very closely.”

PICTURE: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks as Washington Attorney General Karl Racine (L) listens during a news conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Sept. 9, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

  • Facebook is also in the ‘crosshairs’ – in fact, led by Democrat Letitia James of New York, announced a similar probe of Facebook’s market power this past Friday. Facebook also revealed that it is facing an antitrust investigation from the FTC. New York Attorney General Letitia James is specifically focusing on whether Facebook’s actions have endangered consumer data, which in turn can reduce the quality of consumer choices.
  • Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency will continue to boom, as I have written before I think gold, silver and bitcoin/cryptocurrency will continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.

Especially with the threat of the next global economic crash, cybercrime, DNS servers attacked and the vital importance of ecommerce.

Here are the key points I previously made in a past article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-ad-agencies-need-understand-bitcoin-move-geoff-de-weaver/ And, I still firmly believe cryptocurrency is still going to take off again:

  1. Lower transaction fees and bank payments.
  2. Fraud prevention.
  3. Provide a better way to record and prove asset ownership.
  4. The ability to get paid quickly.
  5. Fraud-free election results.
  6. Ease of accepting international payments.
  7. Irrefutable authenticity verification.
  8. Blockchain could be bigger than the Internet.
  9. And, connected devices using smart contracts to liaise.

I firmly believe that customers are the new market-makers e.g. Advertising and Marketing agencies, reshaping industries and changing how businesses compete and win and this should be a priority!

  • Since the 2016 Presidential elections, I have never witnessed as many probes into the Tech Industry and Big Tech as today. In fact, the new probe of Google follows existing investigations at the federal level by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which are currently probing Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon for potential violations of antitrust law.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls many facets of the Internet. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data.

  • Tulsi Gabbard Sues Google for Censorship of Ads – Presidential candidate and military veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Google after the tech giant blocked her ads account shortly after the first Democrat presidential debate, when Ms. Gabbard became the most-searched-for candidate in the Democrat field.

Picture: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) – U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Elected in 2012, she became the first Samoan American and the first Hindu member of Congress.

 

I am appalled that even a ‘moderate’ and true Democrat candidate like Tulsi Gabbard now has to argue that Google could have a nefarious impact on American democracy if its behavior is allowed to continue unchecked. Again, this is the viewpoint of Dr. Robert Epstein, who stated the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe will “go all out” to influence the 2020 election. This simply is UnAmerican and wrong!

CONCLUSION:

As heightened regulatory scrutiny comes as Silicon Valley (especially Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon) have seemingly lost favor among lawmakers in Washington DC following a string of privacy scandals and growing questions about whether they have suppressed their respective markets through monopoly power and working and moving into China.

Google and Facebook are no strangers to antitrust scrutiny. The European Union has fined both companies multiple times in recent years for violating its competition laws through its conduct in ‘comparison shopping/pricing’, online advertising and mobile operating systems. Additionally, I personally believe the US must weight in and control how companies treat and fine US Companies in the worldwide marketplace. Our dominance has been challenged for the past two decades by China being continually allowed to steal US Tech IP and having Presidents and Government slow to stop some $500 Billion dollars of Tech IP annually. This is wrong, broken and must be stopped immediately. I have especially watched it dramatically expand the last decade too!

As I have previously written, in my recent article entitled (e.g. Trust Really Matters In The Digital Age: http://geoffdeweaver.com/trust-matters-really-matters-in-our-digital-age/) , Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, recently stated to news outlets, the new probe is “very important” because the United States because it has done very little to keep companies like Google in check.

According to Epstein, Google’s power needs to be curtailed in three main areas:

  1. Surveillance,
  2. Censorship.
  3. Manipulation.

Epstein said he has spoken to various attorneys general about these issues, but he wasn’t sure if they had the authority. Dr. Epstein said to Congress, the Justice Department, and the Federal Trade Commission could take much more concrete action.

Epstein said that even if Democrats swept the 2020 election—which he believed would end the federal investigations—the Attorneys General probe would almost certainly persist. He said this was why the new probe is critical. Epstein has also discovered a dozen methods Google uses to manipulate public opinion or votes, including the search engine manipulation effect and search suggestion effect.

In 2016, Epstein conducted a secret monitoring project that showed that Google hid negative auto-complete search results for Hillary Clinton months before the presidential election. His peer-reviewed research found Google’s algorithms can easily shift 20 percent or more votes among voters and up to 80 percent in some demographic groups. (And potentially can contribute up to 10 million plus new votes too!)

Epstein, who considers himself a moderate who leans liberal, warned that if Congress becomes controlled by Democrats, “Google’s power in Washington DC will skyrocket.”

“Americans see Google search results about 500 million times a day. Google controls roughly 90 percent of search. The next largest search engine, Bing, controls about 2 percent of search,” Epstein said.

Additionally, Epstein added ‘Tech giants have “a whole class of techniques” exclusively at their disposal “for shifting people’s opinions, thinking, attitudes, beliefs, purchases, and votes without people knowing, and without leaving a paper trail.” For more information read this article: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-12/google-bias 

“This is exactly what happened in Obama’s second term of office, where roughly 6 federal agencies were being run by former Google executives,” Epstein said. “Obama’s chief technology officer was a former Google executive.

Finally, as I have continually been stating the last decade, today, authenticity and trust is more important than ever and it can be the single most important sources of strategic advantage.

 

MORE ABOUT GEOFF DE WEAVER:

Super strategist who directs Fortune 500 clients to define their vision, create a strategy, and harness their internal innovation to grow their business or reinvent their products. My key skills are decades of data-powered tools including: CRM, Mobile, Social Media, PR and Digital.

Expert at building and transforming brands, businesses, and digital and physical customer experiences at scale. Adept at telling a cohesive and integrated global story across multiple audiences.

Geoff is currently ranked the Top 1% in the Advertising & Marketing Industries with his network on Linkedin and Social Selling Index worldwide. He has a remarkable reach of over 628,220,522 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections alone on LinkedIn worldwide. (and a US focus)

History of success developing and executing cross-channel global marketing campaigns to drive brand positioning, equity, and awareness while increasing engagement and sales and loyalty. Over three decades of worldwide experience gained in markets like New York City, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Taipei, etc.

Innovative entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advertising executive with vast expertise driving business growth, reinventing brands, and implementing global marketing campaigns. Always proud and motivated to act as a trusted advisor to many CEO’s, CMO’s and iconic brands worldwide.

Connect with me here:

Web: http://geoffdeweaver.com/
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