The Breakdown with Brian Baker
How Google Destroyed a Thriving Business and 300 Lives in Less Than a Month
Watching the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai before Congress Tuesday triggered emotions and memories in me I've tried worked hard to move past.
Yes, like many of my colleagues on the right, I harbor a certain resentment towards Google for what I perceive to be a strong political bias held by the tech company's leadership and most of its employees. The problem is immensely complex, however, and while I'm grateful that lawmakers in Washington are at least paying attention, the depth of Google's political bias and the leverage the tech giant has against its conservative adversaries is far greater and much more terrifying than most realize. I know because I saw it first-hand.
In 2014, I was working as an independent contractor for a company that specialized in the sale of physical gold and silver. It was a challenging time in that industry, and many precious metals dealers were under intense media and government scrutiny in the wake of then-Congressman Anthony Weiner's attacks on Glenn Beck and Goldline International.
The gold company I was associated with at the time had a very close working relationship with the elites at Google - primarily because we spent in excess of $4 million dollars per year with them in advertising. We were so close with their executive team that we were asked to participate in several pilot programs for Google Adwords and various technologies related to YouTube. I saw many of the platform revisions and features that have emerged in recent years prior to 2014.
Unfortunately, my client's relationship with Google turned sour in July of 2014, and I watched helplessly as the tech giant intentionally destroyed a 25-year-old business with over 300 employees and contractors - myself included - in a matter of three weeks. How did they do it? By refusing to take our money.
The legendary Google algorithm was a worldwide game-changer, but their achievements in the areas of digital advertising and lead generation have completely revolutionized the way businesses market their products and services to consumers.
Unlike traditional media, Google's advertising platforms allow a business to target an incredibly specific and defined demographic. You only want divorced, conservative men in Indianapolis between the ages of 35-40 with a college degree? Done! Just need the ones with a net worth of $100,000 or more? No problem! Best of all, Google is cheap. Where a lead from print, terrestrial radio or Fox News could cost $500 or more, Google can deliver that same lead for less than $100.
With regard to the gold and silver industry, it didn't take long for companies to do the math and start funneling as much as 80% of their advertising budgets to digital and away from traditional marketing platforms. As the saying goes, however, don't put all your eggs in one basket. My client was dependent upon Google for roughly 70% of its lead flow by the time the relationship turned sour. Google intended to crush them, and crush them they did.
Okay, so Google decided to ban one company. Big deal, right? But what happens when the global leader in marketing and advertising decides to ban an entire industry? In the case of Google, they already have.
Several years ago, Google made the decision to ban companies associated with pornography from their advertising platform. Yes, you can still access pornography through their search engine, and the porn industry isn't exactly hurting for customers, but Google made a conscious decision to ban the porn industry from its advertising services.
Granted, no one is likely to sound the alert and scream to government regulators because the porn industry has been shut out by Google. I imagine the American people would feel differently, however, if they knew that as little as four years ago, Google executives were allegedly considering a proposal to ban ALL gold and silver dealers across the board, plus all companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition.
As of 2018, Google's rumored plans to target businesses and industries that are closely aligned with the conservative base have yet to materialize. But in the increasingly divided and volatile political climate of the Trump Presidency, I truly wonder how much longer the progressive elites of Google will choose to restrain themselves.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @naptownbri