Corporate Blogs: The New Editorial Page?

by on June 18, 2007 · 0 comments

Google’s public policy shop today officially joined the blogosphere, joining Cisco (February 4, 2005), Global Crossing (November 7, 2005), and Verizon Communications (October 2, 2006), each of which already have corporate policy blogs. The maiden post, by Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s director of public policy and government affairs, promises “public policy advocacy in a Googley way.” It’s one in which users will “be part of the effort” to help “refine and improve” the company’s policy positions. The blog already has 12 posts, done during the company’s internal test. The most recent – which I suspect provided the occasion to officially launch the blog – is a short summary of the official Google position on network neutrality.

McLaughlin stoked controversy among bloggers (including this one) when in February he publicly suggested that it would be OK for broadband providers to charge other companies for quality-of-service guarantees “as long as it is done in a non-discriminatory way.” The Internet search company went all-out to put out that fire, insisting that it hadn’t changing its position on the hot-button telecom subject.

For the record, the Google blog states that the company’s official position is that prioritizing all applications of a certain type, like streaming video, is OK. By contrast, prioritization of packet delivery based on the ownership or affiliation of the content – and charging a third party – is not OK.

The Google Policy blog already has some criticism from its co-corporate policy bloggers, including Verizon and Cisco. Incidentally, the companies disagree with Google on Net neutrality. Verizon’s John Czwartacki says:

So I opened Wikipedia and learned that in Cricket a “googly” is a trick pitch, essentially a spinning curve ball designed to fool the batter or wicket guy or whatever he’s called in Cricket.

So to prevent the tragically creative from accusing your Googley blog of also being “googly,” I’d parse out that term carefully.

Cisco’s John Earnhardt urges tells McLaughlin to:

Aim low…. Your stated goals are very high, and that is to be commended, but it is an awful lot of pressure to put on a blog…and your team.

For me, the most noteworthy part of the Google policy blog so far is its collection of videos of visits by presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain and Bill Richardson – that have traipsed out to the Googleplex in less than four months. Hmm… I wonder if The New York Times editorial page, or CBS, can boast that kind of traction?


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