Yo Google! Your Lawyers Are So Stupid, They Copy AT&T!

I had an unfortunate head desk moment this morning on reading that Google Ads (such as the ones to the right on your screen) reserves the right to pull their service if you engage in “any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Google’s reputation or goodwill.” This looks suspiciously like the terms of service my fellow travelers on net neutrality slagged AT&T for using.

In both cases, I expect that the intent is not to yank people who say nasty things about the parent company, but to reserve the right to yank the service when someone does something revolting. “Look, NAMBLA uses Google Ads, Google supports pederasts.” or “Look, the worlds worst spammers have AT&T connections, they support spam.” By why can’t my lawyer colleagues just say so, instead of writing something so broad that it covers even general criticism? Yes, “tarnish” is one of those words of art that all us legal folks understand has a very specific meaning. But it doesn’t do a damn bit of good when folks who are trying to understand the terms of service are not lawyers, which — outside of DC — covers most of the user population.

I have no doubt that the usual suspects will be out baying for blood and denunciations like the staff of the Clinton and Obama campaigns after a rival campaign staffer sneezes funny. So even though I did not give a rat’s patootie on the AT&T terms of service (being a lawyer and understanding what it meant), I shall now both condemn Google for being so stupid and test their policy by making several derogatory comments about GoogleAds.

[Begin OUTRAGEOUS accent]
Hey, GoogleAds! I fart in your general direction! I wave my very naughty bits at you! You are so lame, you copy terms of service from AT&T!

Now change your TOS to something sensible or I shall taunt you some more.
[end OUTRAGEOUS accent]

Did the ads on the screen disappear? No. Good. Can we consider this settled and actually get back to real policy?

Keep this up and I shall need to make a major speech about “Terms of Service In America” and invite us all together for some major healing.

Stay tuned . . . .

You've Got Mail!

I’m sure getting a lot of junk mail lately. In the war between spammers and spam filters, the spammers are winning. I remember Paul Graham speaking five or six years ago at the AI lab about his ideas for Bayesian spam filters. I don’t think there was a single person in the room who didn’t think, “But why don’t the spammers just send their message in an image?” Well, pretty much all mail clients and many institutional filter’s have implemented Paul’s ideas anyway. It worked for a good while, but now of course the bad guys are sending pictures. I feel that I’m missing something important in not understanding why it has taken them so long.

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Shout Out to our Spammer Friends

Just a quick thank you to all those spammers out there who tried to use Wetmachine’s trackback feature to pump up the ratings of your worthless “hold ’em poker” web sites in search engines. While not a single one of your trackbacks were allowed through (thanks to the space-age technology of regular expression pattern matching), your rejected trackback submissions, all 16 thousand of them, take up space in our database.

So, thanks to you all, I’ve had to disable the trackback feature. I don’t think this hugely cripples the site, since we had only 5 legit trackbacks out of the 16,000+ in the database (leading to what has got to be one of the worst signal-to-noise rations I’ve ever seen).

It’s just bottom feeder greed, as usual, dumping shit in our communal water supply.