GE, over the land

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:47 am by George Smith

Starting at mid-week, DD’s semi-old “GE & Jeff” tune jumped about 700 views, making it the most popular thing I’ve done, a position formerly held by “That’s Logistics,” a spoof of UPS made after the failed al Qaeda toner cartridge bomb plot. (The latter continually benefits from people looking for the “logistics song” when UPS runs them in commercials. Paradoxically, it highlights that Google search algorithms have made an environment were simple copying and imitation become signally important. While it results in a lot of creative parodies, the main beneficiaries are people who sit in their bedrooms with webcams, brainlessly playing, singing or miming along to whatever current tune is in the charts.)

But I wandered there.

Anyway, “GE & Jeff” was boosted by a post on Crooks & Liars on General Electric, and how it’s used its clout to become a big beneficiary of bank rescue programs.

Writes Susie Madrak:

General Electric, the world’s largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government’s key rescue programs for banks.

At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government.

The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.

As a result, GE has joined major banks collectively saving billions of dollars by raising money for their operations at lower interest rates. Public records show that GE Capital, the company’s massive financing arm, has issued nearly a quarter of the $340 billion in debt backed by the program, which is known as the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, or TLGP.

“Jeff Immelt is also one of the people pushing for the Grand Bargain,” she concludes. “Isn’t that nice that someone so compassionate is looking out for us?”

Also interesting at Crooks & Liars is a recent post on how consultants, teamed with Google AdSense marketing, have drained advertising revenue away from political websites. This comes at a time when more money than ever is pouring into political advertising.

Formerly, political websites on both sides had benefited from direct ad buys. Now, Google and consultants have put themselves into it as middlemen, taking a slice of the pie by mediating the advertising over unrelated sites and audiences, directed only by information found in cookies.

The author of the post, John Amato, points to a Washington Post piece on the matter, one for which he was a source as the ad buy guru at C&L.

“Surging spending on online ads has spawned a new generation of campaign consultants, skilled in new targeting tools and less inclined to spend money on Web sites merely because they support a partisan message,” reads the WaPost.

Ads called by the reading of cookies from your browser temporary directory are the cheapest and, from my experience, least effective form of advertising.

It is rationalized thusly:

Zac Moffatt, digital director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, said most of its online ads are bought that way.“We’re not buying a site. We’re buying an audience,” Moffatt said. “The power of the Internet is targeting.”

“This is happening from both sides of the aisle, but let me say that his excuse is absolute crap,” counters Amata at C&L. “Who do they think their audience is? It’s us, morons. Our readers and others like us are the most knowledgeable and can become great activist assets for any campaign or targeted meme so it behooves these super consultants to make sure to include our sites into their mix …”

“If you’re sick of Google and consultants taking over the world then I’d suggest in the future that all readers should make a mental note and when unions, political action committees and campaigns at the state and local levels, or whoever ask you to help out make sure to tell them to support the blogosphere or you’re not interested,” Amato concludes.

A few years ago GlobalSecurity.Org started a “revenue sharing” program with its bloggers at SITREP, of which I’m the biggest (compared with a variety of nobodies from Rand, Heritage and other places that used to be big names), using Google ads.

After awhile and analyzing Google’s metrics on these ads, I concluded in an article here, that the only beneficiary was Google. And that it would be about seven years before I saw the search giant cut me an initial check.

The ads Google spun onto my SITREP blog were senseless, unlikely to generate any clicks from a readership of my pieces. They were garbage come-ons for military challenge coins, supplies for preppers and others envisioning starting their own militias after the coming collapse, spy schools, Chinese prostitutes, and more recently — and this is unintentionally hilarious — Mitt Romney.

More recently, I bought an ad campaign off Google/YouTube for “Rich Man’s Burden.”

Regulars will recall, as “audience targeting advertising, it was equally laughable and worthless.

Google advertising returned a minimal number of views, half of which — but which were still charged — did not appear to be actual views at all.

That video is here and the ad campaign results can be visualized by clicking on the icon to the right of “view number.” This will unfold a chart of views versus time.

By clicking on “show more events” under “Key discovery” you can see where the ad campaign started — at the letter “I” — and where I ended it, where the line flattens. (It amounts to 65 views by Google’s count, only half of which actually watched for more a second. The music doesn’t actually begin until old-style second film countdown is about done.)

Half of the rise were apparent non-views counted as views. The rest of the rise, from the letter “H” to the end of line, is through views coming from embeds here (and at GlobalSecurity) and native search.

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