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Google’s Brand is Damaged by Negotiable Principles

22 January 2009 by Mother Superior

As a brand name Google is arguably unmatched in the world. The fact that the proper noun has become a commonly used verb – ‘googled’- says it all. But while a brand can be the most recognisable in its particular arena, it does not necessarily translate into being the most successful.

Now, yes admittedly Google is by far the most successful company in its market but it still needs to court favourable opinion. If its shiny image is dulled then its profit margins could diminish and that is not a bottom line it wants.

So despite its dominant global position, Google’s board would have been concerned this week to have learnt that the search engine titan had fallen out of the Covalence Ethical Ranking survey’s top ten.

Google ranked 12th among the 36 multinational technology firms included in the study, while Intel, Xerox and Dell finished in the podium positions. Apparently, the search giant performed poorly in three criteria: human rights policy, information to consumers and support to politicians.

Why? One word – China.

The fact that Google bowed to state pressure and allowed its Chinese version to block certain search terms and websites is the reason for the black mark against its name. The Covalence Ethical Ranking survey definitely does not award points for censorship and the denial of information to flow freely to users.

The publishing of the survey is a bad news day that will reduce the sparkle on Google’s proud badge of ethics. The lesson to be learnt – don’t compromise your standards, it’s never worth it!