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We live a world that talks about winners and losers all the time. Trouble is it’s OK to lose big because “Hey, we’re only human and we love to give second chances. Here, have a boatload of taxpayer money to pay your executives who don’t deserve it and have a nice day!” Meanwhile, when a company actually does well there are those to who simply can’t stand a winner that has earned its power. We citizens of the Internet world know that the biggest winner, and as a result the biggest target of haters, is Google.

I read a bit of a rant from a journalist over in the UK and

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I encourage you to do the same. It is likely to polarize readers pretty quickly. The author uses the following terms to describe the search giant:

  • WWM – World Wide Monopoly

  • A threat to the livelihood of individuals and the future of commercial institutions important to the community

  • A classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits

  • Delinquent and sociopathic, perhaps the character of a nightmarish 11-year-old

  • Having a brattish, clever amorality

Well, you get the picture. He is apparently upset about how Google uses its weight to get things done. I can see how that is annoying in many cases but the name calling bit is kind of over the top don’t you think? In North Carolina where I live, if you said those kind of things about anyone you might hear a good ol’ fashioned “Them thar is fightin’ words!” I’m sure Google considers these kind of evaluations like that of a gnat and ignores them or swats them away. What’s interesting to me is that in this world, you can be successful but don’t you dare go past whatever standard of “enough is enough” that some group somewhere has established to fit their own agenda. We want success but if someone else gets it in a way that we don’t like we whine. You can only be as successful as I think you should be. Huh?

I see Google differently. Sure they’re the 900 pound gorilla. Sure there is a bit of bully in them. This bully however is created in many cases just from sheer size. Oh and by the way, they have competition. I look at search like the Big 3 for automobiles in the US. There are huge barriers to entry and the competition is not large in number due to the very nature of the business. Google, however, unlike the automakers who apparently have adopted the Three Stooges as their mascots, has simply done a better job at search than Yahoo, Microsoft, Wikia Search, Lycos, Alta Vista etc etc. by creating a product that helps people get more done at the time that it was needed. They have simply done a better job. Because of that they have won big.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a business if Google hadn’t done what it has done. So as for the destruction of industries that is called progress. It’s called change. If there was nothing created as a result of the destruction then there is a problem. That’s not the case with the Internet though. The world economy is shifting and Google is helping it happen.

In this world of business, if you create a better mousetrap then you catch more mice. Google catches a lot of mice but they do a lot of good too. Last year, Google’s gift to me for the business I did with them was the chance to help out a local school through I have an incredible book of letters from kids who benefited from them “forcing me” to help. I would not have done this on my own. They could have sent me a box of t-shirts but no. They helped me to help someone. I am grateful and the kids were ecstatic. No mention of these kinds of things from Google haters is there?

I am not a Google apologist. They are far from perfect. We all are. I just don’t see the point in sitting around and wringing our hands about fairness. Nothing is completely fair. Why do we want it or expect it? Google does a pretty good job in making sense of the Internet for a lot of people. That is actually a good thing. Are they not supposed to make money along the way?

So where are you? Google hater, supporter or do you just tolerate them? Is Google a bully, an enabler or amoral? I bet you have an opinion so please join the discussion.

There is evidence that small business is starting to see the value of social media for their operations. As it has been with search marketing it is likely that a majority adoption of the practice will take a considerable amount of time but it looks like the movement is underway, to a degree.
So why not announce that “Small Business is Using Social Media!”? Well, that would imply that there is widespread adoption of the discipline which, at this point in time, just isn’t true. A study conducted by Sage Software and AMI-Partners is covered over at
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icle.aspx?R=1007121">eMarketer and while it’s interesting, it’s no coming out party for small business and social media across the board.
The study reports that 260,000 small businesses across the US and Canada are employing social media tactics in their business to one degree or another. That’s a pretty good size number but if you take it one step further and calculate the percentage of small businesses using social media in 2 countries it is a little less impressive. Assuming 25,000,000 small businesses in the US and 2.5 million in Canada, that means that just under 1% of these business are using social media. Now many will debate these figures but if you cut the number of total businesses in half, well you do the math. These are not widely adopted practices quite yet.
So what are those who are in the game doing?
Most of them used professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. General social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook were also widely used, followed by niche communities and job sites.

Twitter has not been readily accepted as a small business tool yet but there are those who are having success using it. So why are they using any social media at all? The most prominent reasons are responding to customer questions, networking and education. What most are not doing is looking to sell through these channels which is interesting considering some of the success that can be found with a small business that gets it.
So what’s it take to get the little guy involved? Well, extra time, money and people for one. With social media being so time intensive the barriers to entry get higher as a business gets smaller. In the future it is going to be critical for small businesses to decide where they want to put their scarce resources so they can maximize their ROI. With a constantly moving target however that is increasingly difficult so the future of small business and social media will be interesting to watch.
Your thoughts?

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