A Level of Transparency That’s Hard to ‘Google’

Have you heard about Google’s upcoming privacy policy changes!?  When I first learned of the notion from Search Engine Journal’s David Angotti, I was a bit alarmed.  I made a comment reflecting my concern:

Why can’t we opt out? Isn’t search a “service?” Hmmm.. so if I went to a different service provider, say my fav sushi spot, will they start giving me a customized menu, limiting my selections because it’s ostensibly my style? I’m not sure I want to be ‘categorized’ without option to broaden my horizons. Isn’t the Web supposed to lead to desired info….and then some, a learning resource? I really hope G doesn’t turn into some high-end “list broker” in the future, giving out our private info for business-serving purposes…

Like many, I reacted with emotion.  It’s not uncommon.  Actually I read a good post today related to emotional branding.  One of the discussed stages relates to ‘maintaining’ consumers; ensuring past decisions, aligned with accepting your brand, are facilitated in an ongoing fashion.  As ComScore’s January data relates, browsers still adopt and accept Google for over 65% of searches; American users may not offer much vociferation regarding Google’s intentions of combining more than 60 previous policies together (as Sullivan cites in his article, other than a small niche of those opposed, there’s really no reflection of widespread rejection).  However, the European Union may not be completely accepting as of yet.  While Google’s name breaches French news, European government agencies want to ensure the Google brand ultimately has good intentions in playing Rubik’s cube with privacy policies, and is keeping the benefit of European citizens and businesses in mind.

Something you shouldn’t have to spell out for your consumers

Google assures us there’s no need to worry and Danny Sullivan, ‘sleuthing’ to the point of finding Google’s (Google, you (and browsers too for that matter) should really thank him) ostensible ‘transparency,’ may have quelled the concerns of many with his Marketing Land post.  Please read through his post; he puts in the time that (unfortunately) we all would in order to better understand the privacy policies’ implications.  Yes, we can ‘opt out.’  However, as Danny’s post elucidates, that information is not so easy to extract while opting out requires a number of steps.

Our privacy policies are rather elementary but we’ll leave it up to the consumers to sleuth their own conclusions

At the culmination of Danny’s post he asks for two things; I’m not going to tell you what they are; you need to read through the post on your own, but I will reveal that both have to do with ‘transparency.’  You would think a highly-popular brand like Google, understands the importance of such things…

Maybe, for a brand so closely associated with online marketing and search engine (optimization) penalties, it’s easy to overlook some ‘PR Panda’ insights, such as being more transparent and making business decisions based on consumers.  Actually, it’s not such a far-removed sentiment; so much that Rand Fishkin discussed such hidden factors yesterday, via his Whiteboard Friday post; I offered my own sentiments in the comments:

Thanks for inspiring brand-related thoughts, Rand.  I like these sentiments coming from this platform because the message is more powerful; while a brand can spend days, weeks, months, years… addressing online marketing/SEO objectives, brand awareness initiatives (equally important – moreso IMO) can get pushed to the wayside or altogether neglected.

I agreed so wholeheartedly with such notions that I penned a post of my own, reminding brands to ensure consumers come to super conclusions and don’t think otherwise due to neglect.

Maybe Google should ogle its level of visible transparency. It’s time for one of those updates the brand’s so fond of; or, just continue making Danny make things clearer on your behalf

Is your brand “transparent”?  I don’t mean the ‘salesy, best-practice-approach’ transparency, such as slapping a half-baked About Us page on your site.  I mean, really being transparent.  I read a good post by Jon Cooper aka PointBlankSEO on natural linking making a ‘comeback.’  Perhaps it’s time for Google and any other brands undergoing a momentary lapse of reason to reconsider what it means to be transparent and more…natural; because, it seems the trends are shifting in the favor of consumers and the genuine brands that serve the former party’s interests; being natural and transparent is becoming the new black.  Don’t get behind the times; it may get to the point where consumers no longer see fit to look your brand’s way.

Thanks for reading.

Images taken from Google Images

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