Roundup / Google Partnership

Comments

Michael Alexander 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Hi Tom... it's been awhile.

What do you know about this new "partnership" between the Roundup newspaper and Google? In order to read an entire story, one must now fill out and submit a survey form, or as an alternative, promote the page on social media (Twitter or Facebook?), presumably so that someone else will then visit the page and be faced with the same Hobson's Choice - either a) submit to a survey in order to read the redacted text, b) send out a link to the page to all your social media "friends" and "followers" in order to read the redacted text, or c) just fuhgeddaboudit.

And, not to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but I find one element in all this very interesting, and another quite curious... the interesting item is that the Roundup / Google committee has opted to use heavy-handed, in-your-face, government-style redaction of the text in the article, a la IRS / NSA / FOIA / etc., rather than the more friendly pop-ups used in other paywall-type news sites... and secondly, I find myself wondering if it's more than coincidence that on the same day this announcement appeared online, I noticed a story in our local paper originating from the Cronkite News Service, an arguably left-leaning petri dish for the growth and indoctrination of pro-Big Government journalists?

If you have the low-down and feel comfortable sharing it on this thread, that would be great. If not, I will understand and, as I mentioned earlier, just fuhgeddaboudit.

m

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Ronald Hamric 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm sure John Naughton can shed some light on this. I too noticed the change and do not ever fill out those types of surveys. If it becomes necessary due to inability to read the posts, I will simply go elsewhere for my information.

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Pat Randall 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't like it either. I have enough problems with a computer without them adding to it. (: I don't give out my email so miss a lot of things. But if I didn't have an email I would miss it anyway. I don't think it will be long before we have to pay extra for everything on the computer like TVs. I still haven't figured out how come a few years ago we had to buy a box or hook up to cable in Mesa or we wouldn't have any TV. If you bought the box the govt. would give you a refund of $50.00. I went the cheap way bought the box then it wouldn't work on the antenna on the tv so had to buy another antenna. It was a new TV so should have worked. Got 3 stations. Why would the govt. pay you $50.00 to buy the box? It all seems a little scarey to me. I finally had to hook up to the cable so I could watch TV while I am in Mesa. Big discount if I combined my phone and hooked up a computer. Now I pay $150.00 a month for the 3 of them.. Is there something wrong with this picture I am painting for you??

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Hi Mike,

"Hi Tom... it's been awhile."

That it has; good to hear from you.

As you might expect, I am not in the decision making loop re the Roundup, so can't help you, Ron, or Pat out there. However it will defintely help all of you to read the article announcing this change and the reason given why it was necessary. What it says you can take to the bank. Here's a link to the page:

http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/?page=2

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Bernice Winandy 7 months, 2 weeks ago

You guys are right -- the new thing with Google is a pain (I won't say where since this is a family newspaper). However, perhaps we are stuck with it. Does Payson get paid by Google?

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Bernice,

You and I must have posted at exactly the same second. Read my post above.

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Bernice Winandy 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Tom, you can't read the article without answering survey questions. I guess Ron is in a Catch 22 situation. :-) By the way the article says (if I remember correctly) that you will only have to take part in one survey in a 24 hour period. That is not true, I have had to submit to more than one survey in a 24 hour period. So what does the article say concerning 24 hours? Do I remember correctly?

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Michael Alexander 7 months, 2 weeks ago

My experience on this end is the same as Bernice's, Tom... the content of the article is still redacted until and unless I submit to an unsolicited, self-serving, commercially motivated and potentially invasive survey... or I can "invite" all my social media friends and followers to visit the page, which exposes them to the same paradox - either knuckle-under to Google's latest take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum, or simply do as Ron suggests and take our patronage elsewhere.

Pardon my gross Angle-Saxon vernacular, Tom, but this totally sucks.

The only upside that I see to this is that, knowing Google's rather anal fixation on hits, heuristics and human behavior, the Roundup portion of the partnership will soon have access to the traffic numbers (but only those which Google allows them to see). Depending upon how much transparency (or trust) there is in the relationship, those figures may help determine if the paid advertisers on those unseen, click-thru pages are, indeed, getting their money's worth.

Personally, if it were anyone but Google, it might not bother me at all to fill out the survey... but I don't live under a rock - over the last couple of years, Google has gotten just a little too cozy with too many of the surveillance arms of our ever-expanding federal government, and I simply won't support that trend. I'll continue to use their search engine because it's free and it's the best there is, Microsoft's Bing hyperbole notwithstanding. But I will not click on one of their paid links, nor will I ever patronize one of their promoted advertisers, even if the product or service is exactly what I'm looking for - and it always is, because as we all are beginning to realize, Google knows everything.

OK, that's all... gonna go hang up my tin foil hat. :)

m

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Rex Hinshaw 7 months, 2 weeks ago

John, As was mentioned before...the once in 24 hrs. thing is not working. The survey questions come up every time you change threads.I don't trust google...after it caved to China on censorship. I know it costs money to maintain this website , and I would hate to see it go away....but I think that the present set-up should be modified. I will hold judgement.

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 1 week ago

Sorry, folks. Nothing to add. Already told you all I know.

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Bernice Winandy 7 months, 1 week ago

Do you think we will have to answer survey questions to be able to post on the Roundup Blog?

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 1 week ago

Bernice, the system is up and running since Tuesday; it's Friday and we're not doing it now, so I guess that answers that question.

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John Naughton 7 months, 1 week ago

Thank you for voicing your concerns about our recent partnership with Google Surveys. We have always made every effort to publish local news in a responsible manner, and have provided this news product free of charge to the online reader for many years. However, it is no longer feasible for us as a company to continue these services without charging a nominal fee for the service due to costs involved in its production.

We explored various methods of achieving this goal with minimum impact on the reader and determined that Google Surveys was a better option than installing a paywall (which each reader would have to pay for an annual subscription to read the news). The vast majority of local people do not want a paywall, and it is much more costly to implement and manage from our perspective. Not only would we need to charge accordingly, this method would also make it much more difficult for out of town visitors and prospective residents to access our site. Our local business community is dependent upon these visitors for their businesses to thrive.

Google Surveys is no more intrusive than performing a search on the main Google search engine (or any other search engine for that matter). The surveys have no access to your personal identifiable information, email, financial information, etc.) and answering one question a day gives you 24 hours uninterrupted access to our entire website.

If you have internet provider access in your home, your provider tracks every single action you perform online and stores the history of those actions in its database. Google Surveys, by comparison, is asking generic survey questions that do not require the provision of personal or financial data and is less intrusive. It may seem inconvenient for the couple of seconds it takes to answer the question, but we believe the value gained is far greater than the inconvenience.

You have the option of fine tuning the behavior of cookies from any site on the web through your browser preferences, including the option (in Firefox) of telling sites you do not want to be tracked, using private browsing mode, and the origin and manner in which your browser handles cookies.

While we understand your point of view, and hope you will continue to be an online reader of the news and information we provide, we hope you will understand that it is costly to maintain the staff and equipment needed to produce the news, information and platforms upon which they are made available.

Should you not wish to continue reading news online, our annual newspaper home delivery subscription is very reasonable and offers complete third-party anonymity.

Thank you again.

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Ronald Hamric 7 months, 1 week ago

John, Thanks for providing the information. Felt it was a business decision from the beginning. As a rabid "capitalist" I am very aware the no one, anytime, gets something for nothing unless, somewhere, some time, someone is getting nothing for something. ;-) Don't begrudge you for the business decision and will see how my attitude towards Google changes over time. You have in fact given us a great service and product with this electronic edition of the Roundup and for that I am grateful.

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Pat Randall 7 months, 1 week ago

Glad I went in and paid for my subscription to the paper for about the 40th yr. Got it while I lived in Mesa too. The arrests and Tom's article weren't on here so have kept getting my paper delivered. I will NOT answer the google questions. Will just have to go to the table and spread out my paper.

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Michael Alexander 7 months, 1 week ago

I'm with you, Pat... I buy my paper off the rack at WalMart... I probably wouldn't even have noticed the whole Google thing had I not followed a link on Twitter... I don't know, maybe it was Facebook... either way, I couldn't get to the story without jumping through a Google hoop, and it just irked me.

Like Ron, my enmity towards Google has grown lately, mostly due to their complicity in allowing agencies within our government, among them the IRS and the NSA, to use Google's considerable resources to spy on everyday, average Americans, resources that are much more invasive and comprehensive than the commercially-oriented opinion surveys we've been discussing here. The facts are out there... the stories have been written... they're just difficult to find... try to Google them.

So, until I see a little less monopolistic arrogance, and a little more advocacy for people as opposed to corporations and / or government, I'm simply choosing not to contribute to their coffers, if and when it's convenient for me to do so.

I do appreciate Mr. Naughton's argument in defense of the program, though, particularly since I am acutely aware of how hard it is on firms that operate primarily on an advertising-based revenue business model. All one has to do is look to the paid advertising in virtually any newspaper to see which sectors of the economy are and are not participating in "The Recovery." But even after all of that, I still can't read his remarks without feeling a disturbing twinge, a haunting reminder of what many thought to be the long-dead history of an oppression made possible in part by a compliant press, run by otherwise good (business)men who found that they could justify a "lesser" wrong only by comparing it to something worse.

In other words, rather than use the invasive surveillance techniques and information gathering practices of internet service providers as justification for more of the same, Google should use its industry dominance and political influence to help eliminate these activities altogether.

imho :)

m

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robbin flowers 7 months, 1 week ago

Can the Round Up add a option, so people could respond, "It is none of your business."? I get the why, but it is obnoxious, none the less.

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Bernice Winandy 7 months, 1 week ago

Would that be a truthful answer? Is one obligated to answer truthfully?

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 1 week ago

A corporate executive was told by his doctor that he had two choices: Either quit his job or die of stress induced illness.

He quit, but he told the doctor after a few weeks that he felt he had to do something, otherwise he'd go nuts. The doctor told him to get a low-key job doing something he thought he might enjoy.

The man remembered a job he'd had as a boy, when he worked in a canning factory where they made jams, jelly, and marmalade. He remembered the bright colors, the clean smell of fresh fruit, the soft gleam of tall stainless steel steam kettles, the warm scent of freshly made jams, the glitter of jars moving along overhead belts filled with still warm products, the slap-slap-slap of the labellers.

He went there and got a job. All he had to do was sort oranges as they came down a belt. Some went to the wrappers and boxers for shipment to retail stores. The rest went to the canners for marmalade.

Two weeks later he was back at the doctor's office with a bleeding ulcer.

"My God!" The doctor said. "What happened?"

"The stress is killing me."

"Stress? What stress?"

"Oh, it's terrible! it's terrible! Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!" :-)

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Michael Alexander 7 months, 1 week ago

LOL! The moral here...? Make a decision... and make it one you can live with!

L8r m

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don evans 7 months, 1 week ago

Want to see how BIG GOOGLE really is? I had no idea they were GLOBAL in their facilities. Check out all their USA and World locations Here> http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/index.html

And if you don't think their data is retrievable by the Fed's and their new facility in UTAH, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya. Keep on using Facebook, Twitter etc. The Govt. thanks you for making it easier.

I can live with the short Roundup/Google survey, just fib...LOL What I hate are all the pop up ad's and sound advertisement video's that start showing up on the Roundup Web site.

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Pat Randall 7 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Naughton, What we really want is internet with google and all the other good things on a computer, just no advertising of any kind anywhere. Think you could handle that for us? Not just the Roundup part but all of it. (:

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Bernice Winandy 7 months, 1 week ago

Good one again, Pat. You are correct, nothing is for free.

Mike, wonderful picture!

Now if there is something you don't want the feds to know, don't mention it on the internet. Have we entered the "big brother is watching" age?

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Pat Randall 7 months, 1 week ago

Did anyone wonder why a few years ago we all had to be on cable or someway connected to something like a box in your house that hooked to the inside tv antenna and the govt. would refund you up to $50. for the box? I have a house in Mesa and lived in Mesa and Gilbert for over 40 yrs and could get all the local stations with nothing but the built in antenna on the TV. We never had an outside antenna on any of the 8 houses we lived in at Mesa or Gilbert. The house in Mesa is now connected to cable and I feel like someone is always watching and listening to what is going on in my homes, both in Payson and Mesa. No I am not paranoid. Think about it. Why did the govt. offer to refund the $50.00? I bought the box to begin with but could only get about 6 stations. Without it, nothing.

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Tom Garrett 7 months, 1 week ago

To put this all in perspective, I would be perfectly content, and in fact happy, to pay an annual fee for Google, much less for the online Roundup. I feel that Google has added a great deal to my life with some of the things they do absolutely free of charge.

Just last night I spent two hours going out on Google Earth for which I would gladly have paid a few bucks. I spent two fascinated hours looking at places where I have lived in the past. The privilege of being able to actually look at the house where Mom and Dad brought me after I was born, my Grandmother's place out in the country on Staten Island, the house in England where Lolly and I lived four four years with the kids, Brasher Falls in upstate New York just a few miles from Canada where I spent the best summer of my entire life, and a few other places that mean a lot to me, put a smile on my face. A few years ago that was science fiction; when you moved you never again saw the places that meant so much to you for so long. Ours is the first generation to be able to do such things. Am I happy to pay for that somehow or other? You bet!

I look upon the online services I receive from some places as something I should support, and do support with a substantial donation every year. I donate to Wikipedia without fail, and there are a few others too. On one of my computers I am reading some of the best books ever written, books that would cost me a lot —if I could find them — and doing it free. I donate anonymously because I worry about someone getting my name and sending me letters, but I donate. Two minutes at the post office to get a money order and that's that. I believe in the pay-as-go system. I am happy to be a part of it.

I thank John for sharing the reasons for the need to find another source of revenue to keep the online Roundup going. Frankly, I would be lost without it, and the few seconds it would take to respond is little enough. However, I do agree that anyone who is disturbed by it can just subscribe to the paper edition. I do. Always have. Glad to get it, as I said on another string. I often go to the New London Day online edition and wish they would handle matters the same way; a quick click on an opinion poll takes no time at all, and having to subscribe once a year, while the cost is very low, is something I will not do because it cannot be done by mail, so I have to put up with only being able to read three articles, same as with the online Arizona Republic.

I much prefer this method. The way I feel about it, as long as the questions are easy to answer and take only a few seconds, no personal data is collected and I don't have to send money online, I am more than happy.

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