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Russian Regulators Block Google Online Advertising Acquisition

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the lots-of-money-to-be-cadged-yet dept.

Google 120

An anonymous reader writes "Russian regulators will not let Google buy a local online advertising company, halting a $140 million deal agreed to in July. Google had planned to acquire Zao Begun, which has a search and contextual video and text advertising business. Begun is owned by Rambler Media, a Russian company that own various Web sites and runs a search engine. Google said it is reviewing the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and hasn't decided how to react. Slashdot has previously covered some of the issues surrounding Google's muscle in the advertising market."

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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523201)

Dear Fags, Good Night.

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523285)

Good night, Serge-Boy! Good night, Larry Ellen!

Google made a major mistake (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523215)

They forgot to bribe the Russian mafia.

Re:Google made a major mistake (4, Funny)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523275)

More like the government instead of the Mafia. China is the same too.

Re:Google made a major mistake (3, Interesting)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523805)

Is there a difference between them? :-)

Re:Google made a major mistake (4, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524499)

Luckily, the US is different. It has institutionalized bribery, just pay at election time and reap the results later. You don't even risk doing something illegal in the process.

Re:Google made a major mistake (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529149)

Actually it's "Rent Seeking Behavior" and if you are in business chances are you are doing it in some way shape or form.

Re:Google made a major mistake (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525029)

They forgot to bribe the Russian mafia.

More like the government instead of the Mafia. China is the same too.

That's what he said.

Nuke 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524327)

Got all that firepower. Let's put it to use and nuke 'em. Problem solved, so says the ostler and my favorite whorehouse.

in soviet russia, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523217)

you stink Indian.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523231)

Um, I got nothin'. Sorry.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525333)

In Soviet Russia, suck Soviet Russia jokes.

I'm Barrack Obama... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523271)

...And I approve of this socialism.

Controlled propaganda (2, Interesting)

unixarcade (513538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523297)

I imagine that Sergey Brin has already invested quite a bit of money into the Russian economy. Although if you control the advertising you control the propaganda.

Re:Controlled propaganda (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523463)

what kind of propaganda has Google put out? controlling the media is the way to put out propaganda. advertising is mainly used for branding and manipulating consumer purchase decisions. perhaps they're promoting consumerism in Russia, but it's still the media conglomerates who control TV/radio/newspaper/etc. that write the propaganda and influence societal perception & cultural attitudes.

although in a consumerist society advertising dominates our culture, it's still the media that are the gatekeepers of information and our window into the world. the internet has actually democratized the media by allowing the public to bypass traditional channels of media distribution which are largely been consolidated and tightly controlled by a handful of media corporations.

by supporting net neutrality, public internet access, open wireless networks, and generally promoting a free & open internet, Google is actually helping to decentralize media control and content distribution. YouTube lets anyone create video content and distribute it to millions of viewers. Google search also helps people browse the sea of information on the web on their own terms--compared to TV networks that restrict what you watch and decide for you what information you want to access.

Re:Controlled propaganda (2, Insightful)

eltaco (1311561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523583)

ugh, enough already. google & youtube have censored it all. whether it's as trivial as beautiful agony vids on youtube, sucking chinese censor cock to get a market share or giving commercial sites more facetime; it's all about the buck.
seeing as you don't get that, I'm not surprised you see a difference between advertising and propaganda. same shit, different "smile".

maybe you can understand these words: don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Re:Controlled propaganda (2, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523747)

I looked up this "beautiful agony" thinking maybe it's gore or something, but I'll summarize for the unaware here:

Women masturbating (presumably) and moaning with only their face shown to the camera.

Given that youtube wants to remain a family-friendly site, and your beautiful agony videos can be pretty easily found via Google, I don't see the problem. Youtube is a video site with a few rules, and they are allowed to enforce those at will. They host the content, they write the rulebook. Google is a search engine and they generally do a great job. And their choice in China was "Censor results" or "Go back to America." Given the choices, and the fact that Google informs people that their results have been censored as per provisions of the government, aren't you glad that Google is doing business there?

Baidu, leading search engine in China, doesn't inform people that their searches are censored, in fact it denies those allegations. Yet it's fairly obvious to people outside of China that the cost of doing business there is agreeing to such draconian rules.

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

Ornedan (1093745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524595)

Ah, the good old "X is not quite as bad as Y, therefore we can ignore X being bad" defense.

Re:Controlled propaganda (2, Interesting)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524865)

Noone is ignoring the fact that google is doing evil by our standards, and that censorship is bad. Yes we all get that.

But currently, its chinas country and their rules. Its far better that google is in the country, providing searches and telling the population that these searches are being censored than not, both from a business and ethical point of view.

Google staying out of china couldnt change something, and they arent doing evil by the standards of china, you cant just put the entire world under your idealised sense of morality, its not your world and you dont get to define the rules.

Now im not turning a blind eye to what china does and im not saying that by our standards its not bad (mmmmmkay), im just saying that its how things are done in China and google staying out of china would not have changed diddly squat about how the chinese government does anything. It does however provide chinese people with more information than they had previously.

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525039)

IMO, Google's behaviour in China is the least bad of the available options. To select it, therefore, is not "doing evil" even if the same actions in different circumstances would be evil. Cutting people with knives is usually evil - but not if you are doing life-improving surgery. If Google had the option of not censoring, then to censor would be evil. But it does not have that option; I can see no way it could open up that option; and therefore it is not evil.

Re:Controlled propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524825)

by supporting net neutrality, public internet access, open wireless networks, and generally promoting a free & open internet, Google is actually helping to decentralize media control and content distribution.

That claim is totally ridiculous. I wonder how many of the people who write posts like yours work for Google. Probably hundreds. Google almost entirely controls the information you get to your home from the Net and sells anything from your cooking recipes to your sexual preferences to dubious third party companies. You must be really, really dumb to appreciate that.

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528605)

actually, my data comes through lines owned by my ISP/telecom. and, no, Google's privacy policy prohibits their selling personal user info to 3rd parties. they may pass aggregate non-personally-identifiable data (i.e. how many users searched for a particular term) to 3rd parties for processing, but any personal information cannot be shared with 3rd parties without opt-in consent [google.com] .

i apologize for ruining your paranoid delusions.

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524965)

advertising is mainly used for branding and manipulating consumer purchase decisions.

advertisements are commercial propaganda

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525235)

advertisements are commercial propaganda

Where the partiality is typically fairly obvious. Unlike propaganda which masquerades as "news" or "balanced opinion".

Re:Controlled propaganda (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25530865)

the internet has actually democratized the media by allowing the public to bypass traditional channels of media distribution which are largely been consolidated and tightly controlled by a handful of media corporations.

Interestingly enough, there was an article on Slashdot sometime in the past two years (not sure when) that referenced a study that showed that the "democratizing effect" the internet has on media has actually led to *less* information being available. All of the traditional sources of media have had to reduce themselves to pop culture news in an effort to maintain viewership, resulting in crappier and less informative news.

I agree that decentralizing media is a good thing, but there are a lot of unintended consequences, not all of which are good for us (in general). Be careful what you wish for.

Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523321)

... yet again being smarter than the United States monopoly regulators in recent years.

Hey, American people: if you want to look for reasons why we are no longer on top, look straight to your government. You have looked to them solutions but they have been delivering the opposite.

Try thinking for yourselves for a change.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523355)

posting anonymously due to being somewhat off-topic...

Some of us are trying to make a change. Few of us actually care :-/

The yayhoo's we have running for POTUS this time around are more of the same or worse.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523409)

I know. I try too. While some people think they are off-base, the Libertarian party may just be the best way to go these days. At least they are honest, sincere, and not based on a particular religion. And you can't say the same three things about most political groups these days.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (2, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523453)

Sadly, all of the recent gov't events seem to point to a clear corporate ownership. The few who care are grossly outnumbered by the ignorant, the ones who don't care and the ones scared shitless.

There is a name for this (2, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523607)

... and you can look it up. It is called "fascism". Yes, that's right. What drove the Nazis. Do look it up.

hybrid (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523779)

Actually I'd think the US and much of Europe is headed towards a hybrid of oligarchy and fascism. Very elite few grandfathered in not by a blood family line but by a CEO corporate grooming leading with an iron fist a totalitarian nationalist ideology.

Perhaps we should name it... fascigarchy?

Re:hybrid (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524427)

Or even ... corporatism?

No, FASCISM! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25536759)

LOOK IT UP!!! "Corporatism" is simply a "politically-correct" way to say Fascism.

Look in the goddamned dictionary. Look at several dictionaries. Fascism has been called (pardon me for a slight misquote): "An unholy alliance between government, money, and corporations". And that was during THE SECOND WORLD WAR, over half a century ago!!

Putting a different name on it does NOT make it a different thing.

Here is another quote for you, the source of which is equally uncertain because so many have said it: "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

Good luck with that.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523549)

Wrong. A monopoly implies lower quantity of goods at a higher price than would occur in a competitive market.

However, because Google provides an 'auction' based pricing for ads, the prices are based exactly according to demand. Likewise, higher quality ads will always do better, as they are clicked more often.

Google's ad system is a dream for both business and consumers. It ensures both fair pricing and high quality based on both consumer and market demands. If only every industry was this unbiased.

Really??? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523615)

Then why aren't others doing it? Are you going to try to tell me that they haven't thought of it? Or that it's too new? Yeah right.

Sorry, dude. Hoist by your own petard. A monopoly (or near-monopoly) is still a monopoly, no matter how it got there. Once it does, it can choose to play by the capitalist rules, or remain a monopoly. Sadly, Google has some chinks in its "do no evil" armor. And they are pretty damned big.

Re:Really??? (2, Insightful)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523687)

How is Google not playing by the capitalist rules? Just ten years ago, Google was a grad student research project, and now it is the global leader in Web advertising. It's crucial to realize how Google came about, because the firm that ultimately dethrones Google will emerge unexpectedly from humble roots.

Look, nobody is forcing Internet users to rely on Google for search. The reason for Google's continued dominance isn't because it is an evil monopoly, but because Google managed to build a platform that a lot of people like. The success of Google has spurred competitors like Microsoft to invest serious cash to develop a superior set of online services, Isn't that exactly what capitalism is all about?

Re:Really??? (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523841)

Exactly.

People really ought to think of monopolies in the old Classical economic school way. As in created by the State's coercive power.

In the free market monopolies can only maintain themselves only for as long as they provide the best service for the lower price. Raise prices after dumping the competition and new competition will take you on that bid. As long as the market remains free of hindrances and regulations, including 'anti-trust agencies'.

Re:Really??? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524041)

In the free market monopolies can only maintain themselves only for as long as they provide the best service for the lower price. Raise prices after dumping the competition and new competition will take you on that bid. As long as the market remains free of hindrances and regulations, including 'anti-trust agencies'.

After you have driven a few start-ups out of business what sane investor would put money into a start up that is going to be just driven out of business?

Re:Really??? (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524123)

One who ranks his chance to make a profit higher than his chance to be driven out of business. Predatory pricing cannot be sustained for more than the short-run.

Re:Really??? (2)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524219)

how long has ms been ontop now?

faeries do not run the free market, its not perfect (hence the bailout) accept that the free market has its flaws and move on!

Re:Really??? (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524301)

I use Linux. So can anybody else. Or MacOS, or *BSD. A monopoly is a monopoly, not a 90% market share.

And c'mon, did the free market create the bailout? Did it set the interest rates that made money practically free? I'm no economist and I know that growth based on credit expansion is unsustainable and always ends with a bust. Keynesian central bankers don't seem to get it, but please don't tag 'free market' on them.

Closing on a lighter note, if the fairies ran the free market, it wouldn't be a free market, it would be Socialism. Fairy socialism, but socialism nonetheless. ;-)

Re:Really??? (1)

KDEWolf (972921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526447)

Alright. Now just copy this thread and paste it in your resumé. Now apply for Google, and you're in the way to go...

Huh? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537033)

If you think this "bailout" was due to a failure of the Capitalist free market, then you simply do not know what has been going on.

Capitalism did not fail you. Nor did the free market. What failed was a market that was no longer "free" in any real sense of the term. Just for example, the government did not enforce antitrust laws that would prevent mergers leading to oligopoly (the control of the market by a few). There are other reasons, but it is sufficient to point out that oligopoly is NOT a free market. That is rudimentary macroeconomics theory that most freshmen learn in college. Or did when I was there, anyway.

Even free markets have rules. In order to prevent abuse, for example, history has shown that it is necessary to prevent financial institutions from over-leveraging their money. (I.e., as they have done recently, loaning out $30 for every $1 they actually possess.) That is predatory and irresponsible lending, and THEY KNEW THIS. There were good reasons for the regulations that used to be in place, but of course those regulations, again, have been ignored in recent years, in favor of a bunch of cronies grabbing as much money as they could while the getting was good. (Which is really what the "bailout" is about too, of course... they soaked up and spent the investment money, then took a huge handout from the taxpayers on top of everything else. COME ON! Where do you think that money is really going?)

Having said that, is a "regulated" economy a free market? Arguably, if a responsible set of antitrust laws are in place and enforced, but other regulations are kept to a minimum, the answer is yes. Antitrust laws keep everybody working within a competitive market, which is the only kind that can be called "free". Then within that free market, regulations are kept down to what is necessary to protect the environment and so on.

It has been done... right here in the US. It works. But in recent years we have been seeing anything BUT free markets. So it is not even remotely rational for people to say (as I have heard) that "capitalism has failed us". Nonsense. Capitalism is demonstrably the ONLY system other than feudalism that has worked continuously for any length of historical time. What has failed has been the distortion and abuse of our capitalist system, by people with money and power. And that is not the same thing at all.

That is a straw-man argument. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25534311)

The reason MS is no longer on top is that people created a brand-new market in which Microsoft could not / did not know how to compete. "Regular" market forces did not defeat Microsoft... the Open Source "market" is a completely different ballgame than the corporate/commercial market that Microsoft dominates. It operates on a completely different economic model. So you are comparing apples and oranges.

You cannot say that "the market" brought MS into line, because they are two different markets today. And "the other" market plays by completely different rules. Most markets other than software do not currently have the option of going "open source". It is a contrary economic model... a DIFFERENT market. Not just the same market with new players. The corporate/commercial software market still has huge barriers to entry, and you can be sure Microsoft will work to keep it that way.

That is where you are wrong. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528087)

Once you have a monopoly (or oligopoly, near-monopoly), YOU NO LONGER HAVE A FREE MARKET. It doesn't matter how it got that way. Monopoly is monopoly, and by definition is NOT a free market. Therefore you cannot rely on "free market forces", like Adam Smith's "invisible hand", to bring things back into alignment.

Marx may have been an idiot, but if so he was a well-paid idiot. Never forget that.

Re:That is where you are wrong. (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25530265)

No, having a high market share does not make you a monopoly unless you have the power of a monopoly. Since dynamic markets (like Web advertising) are highly contestable, the ever-present threat of entry by new firms forces even the most dominant players to behave as if they weren't monopolies.

If Google were really a monopoly, it wouldn't have to work so damn hard. The folks in Mountain View could just cut prices temporarily whenever somebody got too close, and otherwise sit on their chairs and twiddle their thumbs.

But that's not what Google is doing. Google continues to develop new products and improve existing ones pretty rapidly, because it knows that it operates in a cutthroat marketplace with intense competition.

Re:That is where you are wrong. (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25534603)

Monopoly is not something to be categorized alongside free market, they are not opposing concepts. In theory, a monopoly could arise on a free market by absolutely undercutting every competitor on price, quality and everything. Arbitrary controls, laws and regulations not present, there will be more competition the more the established firm drives prices up as consequence of its privileged position.

What we usually have in real life are government interventions to protect consumers - from a theoretical monopoly that could arise maybe, someday - that actually creates and maintains monopolies indefinitely. Public buses here in Rio are an example. There's a cartel with private companies that charge high rates, provide shitty service and any competition they face is essentailly illegal.

So how monopolies get that way _is_ actually really important. Forget about Adam Smith's invisible hand and focus on the real incentive then; profit motive, the high prices signaling demand. That's what entrepreneurs chase, and if the 'invisible hand' metaphor sounds too mystical, just don't use it.

Was he really well paid? I had no idea. I'm adding 'and a hypocrite' to my sig then. :-P

I can appeciate your point (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537249)

about cartels. But again, that is beside the point. Once a monopoly exists, the ONLY thing that matters is how they act. And you CANNOT rely on them to be "benevolent", NO MATTER THEIR ORIGIN.

Pardon, one of my posts did not actually post. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537385)

Your first statement is simply incorrect. Monopoly and free market are clearly-defined economic concepts, which you can learn from any macroeconomics textbook. And they ARE, in fact, mutually exclusive. Any college-freshman-level macroeconomic text will explain this to you. Monopoly is NOT a free market. By definition. When you have a monopoly, no matter how "benign", it is STILL not a "free market". If you are trying to describe a "benign monopoly", fine, but that is STILL a monopoly, and not a free market. By its very nature it is not subject to free market forces, and you may not rely on free market forces to influence it.

I do appreciate your description of how a "cartel" has taken control of a market. But a monopoly is still a monopoly. How it got there DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is what happens after it is there. And if you are counting on "the market" to control even a "benign" monopoly, you are going to be very disappointed. Hey, man. Society has been there, done that, many times in history, and it DOES NOT WORK for any length of time. If you count on it happening now, when it never has so many times before, then basically you are praying for a miracle from above. And I do not count on those. I have faith, but not that kind.

You CANNOT "forget" Adam Smith's Invisible Hand, because in fact that describes how free markets work. If you are talking about something where the Invisible Hand does not work, then what you are describing is not a free market! You have a crisis of definition here... apparently you do not even know what a free market is. You seem to feel free to define it as you please... but that does not change the reality. Actually, macroeconomics is a fairly well-defined field of study. You cannot just come in as a newbie and call things whatever you want. You will be laughed at.

Re:Pardon, one of my posts did not actually post. (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537587)

I did not say they weren't. What I did say is that monopoly is not the opposite of a free market. The opposite of a free market is a regulated market.

Saying that 'Monopoly is NOT a free market' is like saying 'Getting all vomited is NOT a night out drinking'. Doesn't make much sense.

What I described was not a 'cartel' taking control of a market. In my example, the 'cartel' or oligopoly was created by the State. Which IS the way classical economists defined a monopoly. A cartel is also unsustainable in a free market, because the profit motive will drive members to 'backstab' each other by undercutting their prices.

While I'm certain that your knowledge of macroeconomics dwarfs my own, you can't simply ignore microeconomic factors. Simply saying 'a monopoly by its very nature is not subject to free market forces' throws out the window how prices can influence demand and direct new enterprising activity. So, monopoly sets predatory prices, it's being benign, nobody is crazy to compete, consumers cheer. Monopoly starts acting Evil(tm) and price-gouges people in the face; now there's a profit incentive to be made and competitors will take that shot. If you have a free market, it is still LEGAL to compete with the monopoly, if not, it's not a free market.

If you still want to laugh at me because I don't think 'free market' and 'monopoly' are antonyms go ahead. You'll be the first. :-)

Re:That is where you are wrong. (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537611)

You're a fool. It remains a free market as long as it can still be contested -- that is, as long as the market still has low barriers to entry for new competitors. If there are low barriers to entry and the product is relatively homogeneous (as in the online advertising business), then an unreasonable hike in prices on the part of the monopoly or oligopoly will cause new firms to form, and these new firms will "invisible hand" the price back to a fair market value.

The monopoly can only raise prices at will if it can guarantee that no new competitors can join the market. This is why De Beers, for example, is scared shitless by companies like Gemesis and Apollo. De Beers has always been able to maintain its monopoly on diamonds and inflate diamond prices because it controls something like upwards of 90% of all the world's diamond reserves and mines. Since the diamond is a limited, finite, tangible resource (UNLIKE technology services), De Beers can guarantee that new competitors can't "invisible hand" the price back to a fair value. Gemesis and Apollo, as you may or may not know, have designed ways to produce chemically pure diamond gemstones in a factory from raw carbon. Obviously, these man-made "cultured" diamonds are much cheaper than a mined diamond from De Beers. Even though there was already a monopoly, someone eliminated a key barrier to entry, and now the market is contested. The price is dropping.

On paper, in a textbook, perhaps on a college economics multiple-choice test, all of your assumptions about monopolies would be valid. But you really haven't thought it out that well.

Re:Really??? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537561)

Then why aren't others doing it? Are you going to try to tell me that they haven't thought of it? Or that it's too new? Yeah right.

More pedantry out of you. This is just a nay-saying attitude; "it hasn't been done before so it can't be done! I'm a helpless person who thinks only in terms of what I can't do!"

A monopoly (or near-monopoly) is still a monopoly, no matter how it got there. Once it does, it can choose to play by the capitalist rules, or remain a monopoly.

Or, just maybe, some business executives somewhere caught wind of this whole "federal anti-monopoly regulation" trend and realized that they can't abuse pricing if they want to retain a majority market share? Like a classical economist, you seem to assume that everything always happens in exactly the same way and that human innovation and folly can't possibly cause some variation. You're probably one of those tools that believes in the concept of the "rational agent."

Sadly, Google has some chinks in its "do no evil" armor. And they are pretty damned big.

Could you cite a source, please? Not that I care. The human race as a whole has some pretty big chinks in its "do no evil" armor; it is terribly self-serving and self-centered, often under the guise of philanthropy. And honestly, what I dislike about Google more than anything is it's trite "do no evil" motto. They're simply engaging in the behavior that produces the greatest reward; supporting social contracts. They realize that supporting social contracts is more efficient than undermining them, so they are still just profit maximizing when they "do no evil." And if you believe that greed = evil, then that means that "do no evil" = evil.

Moral definitions are so weak and vague that they don't stand up to rigorous analysis. They are a symptom of a bygone era of deity worship, and a belief in an inherent purpose and morality imbuing the universe. If we want to retain our rationality, we must admit that the human race is self-serving, and think of morals simply as social contracts that produce the greatest amount of reward and efficiency for our race.

But I've gotten off topic. I've started to criticize the entire concept of morality, as opposed to just criticizing your highly theoretical, unsubstantiated, and unsupported economic arguments.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523703)

Who in the holy fucking hell moderated this as "Informative"? There is no infor-fucking-mation in the whole comment.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524107)

Hey, I will sell you this rock that keeps tigers away. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, right?

I agree that this is amusing (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537153)

but if you are implying that I, myself, have been making post hoc then you are incorrect. Perhaps I misunderstood you, and you were just making an amusing observation about the market.

Re:I agree that this is amusing (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537497)

No, it was you. Your basic line of logic was as thus: The American economy is in decline. Russian regulators blocked a Google acquisition. Therefore, the American economy is in decline because they did not block big business acquisitions.

Maybe there is some evidence or argument supporting your assertion, somewhere, but it certainly isn't in your post. Your post is simply post hoc ergo propter hoc. You need to say why what Russia is doing is better than what the U.S. is doing.

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524553)

Blocking big corporate takeovers in unAmerican, right?

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524691)

Hey, American people: if you want to look for reasons why we are no longer on top...

who is on top? [that's what she said ;) ]

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525353)

Hey, American people: if you want to look for reasons why we are no longer on top...

Luckily, our strategy is to drag everyone right under us once more...

Re:Kudos for the Russian regulators for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25530545)

They just want a cut.

In Soviet Russia (5, Funny)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523325)

Ads block you!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529179)

Government Add you!

It's not Zao Begun (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523395)

Please, translate correctly. It's "Begun Inc."

ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.

This guy isn't a pedant (0, Redundant)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523945)

Zao is a Greek word for "spiritually alive", which gives all sorts of false impressions if you didn't know that it was supposed to be ZAO as in Zakrytoye Aktsiohnernoye Obschestvo.

Re:It's not Zao Begun (1)

saigon_from_europe (741782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524749)

ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.

Funny thing is that "zao" is adjective meaning "evil" in Serbian.

Re:It's not Zao Begun (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525123)

Please, translate correctly. It's "Begun Inc."

Or possibly "Begun Ltd"

ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.


On the other hand "GmbH", meaning "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" is often left unchanged when refering to a German company. The current approach with proper nouns is to avoid making changes unless required by different alphabets. Thus you have "The SNCF TGV" rather than "French Railways/Railroads HST" or even "National French roads of iron train of big speed."

Re:It's not Zao Begun (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528269)

Well, "GmbH", "LLC", "Inc.", "Ltd." are very well known. Also, GmbH is written in Latin alphabet.

In Russia a practice of adding company type to its name is also widely used (like "OOO Stepanov" - "Stepanoff, LLC").

But they are usually translated, not transliterated in international documents. In fact, I even remember that the official US visa application guide for Russians even had a table of company type translations.

Re:It's not Zao Begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525207)

Even thought I speak the language myself. I really thought it was a Korean or Chinese name at first.

Re:It's not Zao Begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25527271)

Aside from "Zao" actually being "ZAO", the company name means "Runner" in Russian (nothing to do with the past tense of "to begin"), pronounced "beh-goon".

ZAO "Begún" (proper capitalization & accent mark to aid in proper pronunciation).

{Closed/Private} {Shareholder} {Group/Society} "Runner".

Now, if after a while FAS reverses its decision (1)

melted (227442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523447)

Now, if after a while FAS reverses its decision, we will know that Google bribed the officials. Nearly any problem in Russia (or in the US, for that matter) can be resolved with a large enough bag of money.

ZAO, not Zao (4, Insightful)

tetromino (807969) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523469)

The official name of the company is ZAO Begun. However, "ZAO" is simply the Russian abbreviation for "proprietary joint stock company"; in the West, an equivalent formal corporate name would probably be "Begun Pty Ltd."

In any case, the summary uses "Google" instead of "Google, Inc."; and "Rambler Media" instead of "Rambler Media, Ltd." Seems rather odd that of the 3 corporations mentioned, only Begun was listed with its full official (though miscapitalized) name.

Re:ZAO, not Zao (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523715)

How is that odd?

Here's a hint, the author doesn't know a single word of Russian. The author has no idea what ZAO means and hence doesn't realize including it is strange given the other company name uses.

Sure a competent journalist would look it up, but that an article is written by someone lazy also does not seem "odd".

Re:ZAO, not Zao (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525173)

Here's a hint, the author doesn't know a single word of Russian. The author has no idea what ZAO means and hence doesn't realize including it is strange given the other company name uses.

They wouldn't actually need to understand Russian (or even Russian abbreviations) just looking at a Russian business directory should be enough to clue someone in that it means something akin to "Inc", "LLC", "Ltd", "PLC", "GmbH", etc. just that the Russian convention is to prefix rather than suffix.

Re:ZAO, not Zao (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525465)

Again, you are assuming the journalist will actually do some work.

The fact that that they don't is not "odd". I promise they didn't look at a business directory for any of the other company names either.

Google overseas (2, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523497)

Google has a fairly dominating position in the US, but other places it varies considerably. Most Japanese cell phones have a Yahoo! button on them (not a google button) and in China they use Baidu. I think the 4 different ways of writing in Japanese are probably not Google's strength.

Re:Google overseas (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523589)

I was curious about that actually.

I'm a Aussie and I got a new phone recently.
It had the Yahoo button preinstalled.

Re:Google overseas (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523643)

Wouldn't it be wild if the market forced the Japanese version of the Android phone to use Yahoo's services?

Re:Google overseas (1)

PetrusMagnusII (309326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523661)

>Most Japanese cell phones have a Yahoo! button on them (not a google button)

Actually, that's just Softbank cell phones, and although Softbank has been getting the most new users every month for over a year now, it is hardly the largest carrier, and thus there is no way 'most Japanese cell phones...' can be a proper statement.

And only reason Yahoo! can be found on Softbank phones is the CEO of Softbank originally started out running Yahoo's operations in Japan. au uses Google for their searches while DoCoMo uses Goo, NTT Communications own search engine.

Re:Google overseas (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523759)

Aren't the maps on those DoCoMo phones based on Yahoo's service? Tied with Yahoo!BB for home internet access, I'd say Google is beat in Japan.

Re:Google overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523757)

Of course, the fact you call it "4 different ways of writing" shows it's not your strength either. There's only one way, and it encompasses two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and a set of logograms. Japanese can't be written in logograms alone, and I find Japanese written using only hiragana to be incomprehensible. I assume by the fourth you meant the multiple different systems used to transliterate Japanese into roman characters.

Re:Google overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524163)

"I assume by the fourth you meant the multiple different systems used to transliterate Japanese into roman characters."

Well this transliteration is necessary for the japanese people themselves as it is what is used by computers input systems like Microsoft IME. The japanese have to use our beautiful alphabet so they can make the computer turn it into the ugly mess that is kanji.

Re:Google overseas (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525205)

I assume by the fourth you meant the multiple different systems used to transliterate Japanese into roman characters.

Hardly unique to Japanese. The same thing can happen with Semitic languages such as Arabic. IIRC Saudi road signs are notorious for some of their Arabic to English translations.

Moral of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523517)

Don't do business in Russia. As far as I can recall theres this even then the whole Sakhalin Island thing where foreign companies invested billions into the country then were kicked straight the fuck out. Is it really worth the risk? Even China seems more free at this point.

Good ole Mother Russia (1)

GrimLordJesus (1394523) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523697)

It is good to see a country standing up for itself and preventing a globalising multinational company (even google.com) from taking a well earned portion of their economy. Given the current state of all major economies, it only makes sense that the Russian GOVT is not prepared to let a major national advertisement franchise be taken up by the leaders in WWW. technologies.

Kapai Russia

Mother Russia will make google sleep with the fishes

Re:Good ole Mother Russia (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526105)

from taking a well earned portion of their economy

WTF is it supposed to mean? It's not "the economy of Russian Government," whatever that means. It's a private corporation owned by, well, its owners - the only ones who have earned something in this context.

Re:Good ole Mother Russia (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527259)

Many people think trade is a great thing, but only when it directly benefits them (this is evident in their shopping in stores and so on). Trade that benefits someone else is generally not given such praise, especially if it might hurt a third party.

Russia will break you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523775)

Russia is slowly falling back into what they feel comfortable with and what they know. They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country. Sure enough they will be back to their old communist ways. This is what the people know and I think they like it that way. Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

Re:Russia will break you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524281)

Yeah, the US would never do such a thing.

Oh, wait...

Re:Russia will break you (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525171)

Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

That's why you got Bush...twice.

Re:Russia will break you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25533121)

In Corporatist America, BUSH fucks YOU!

Re:Russia will break you (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525251)

They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country. Sure enough they will be back to their old communist ways. This is what the people know and I think they like it that way. Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

Actually "democracy" could well include making it more difficult for foreign people to visit and foreign businesses to operate in their country. Fears of people coming from elsewhere and exploiting the locals are fairly commonplace.

Re:Russia will break you (1)

jetxee (940811) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525663)

They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country.

1) The same is true about Russians visiting the US; it is an expensive, long and tiresome procedure to obtain a US visa in Russia, with a high denial rate (no guarantee, no refund). Actually, USA and U.K. are the worst when it comes to requesting visas.

At least Russian government does not require fingerprints during the application process, i.e. before the decision about the visa and for all the applicants. Both USA and U.K. do this dirty things.

Russian government does not ask stupid questions like "Are you a terrorist?", "Are you a communist?". We enjoy freedom of faith here.

Russian government does not require to list all your property to visit Russia. US government does.

Russian government does not force all the applicants to use services of a particular courier service (unreliable and expensive, known for delays). US government does.

Sure enough they will be back to their old communist ways.

2) In the communists' days, the citizen of the USSR could not go outside freely. Now they can, and go even though there are many obstacles imposed by a "free" world (not by the Russian government).

Nowdays, every time a westerner visiting Russia may just enjoy once the simplified version of the procedures they require from all Russians everytime they visit his own country.

It's fair. I think these things would go away once western countries relax their visa policies with respect to Russians. As long as they are very strict, it is fair to apply similar policies to westerners visiting Russia. Anyway, most of them come on business and can afford the inconvinience.

Re:Russia will break you (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526143)

As a Russian, I don't like the current regime myself, but what you describe has very little to do with democracy. And Russian don't exactly have free pass to America, either.

Am I paranoid? (0, Flamebait)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524463)

Google just try to buy every webspace to make Satan rules the world. A simple search with "Google"'s keyword give you 666 results. The G of Google mean 6 in l33t-speaking.

Damn, I forgot my medics...

Re:Am I paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25525189)

Yeah, well, numerology is for bullshit artists who cant comphrend that a correlation due to random facts about letters in words is not a proof of something greater when words shift. By shift of course I mean that they change meaning and spelling, so if there were some sort of inherent meaning behind them intrinsic to whatever sort of aimless transformation you put on the string in question, it would be a moot point because of the fact that the words might have changed spelling or meaning since their original creation. Does something start or stop becoming evil just because its name has changed?

On the other hand, "numerology is for bullshit artists who cant comprehend that a correlation due to random facts about letters in words is not a proof of something greater when words shift" totals to 666, so clearly I am an evil and terrible person for saying so.
Numerology is absurd. Don't bring it in here.

Re:Am I paranoid? (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525245)

Where are you doing this "simple search" at? I would be interested in see your sources for the wonderful correlation party you're having.

I'm sure they are after targeted advertising (1)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524849)

I'm sure they are after targeted advertising... as in Soviet Russia, Google searches you!

(Be kind, this is my first usage of a Slashdot meme =) )

Am I the only one that found this funny? (1)

u235meltdown (940099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525109)

Under related stories:
"Firehose:Google online advertising acquisition blocked by Anonymous Coward"
Wow, either Google has suffered in the economic crash or we have super cowards!

Damn Russian mob - hallelujah to Google! (1)

AlpinePascia (1394887) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526835)

Why do you have to think whatever is done in Russia is wrong? I do like Google and all that, but I want them to avoid becoming a monopolist. You can't be a no-evil-guy anymore, once you've gained total control over the industry. Just think for a sec of a possibility that there might have been some good reason for blocking the deal. Like promoting competition in the market instead of creating a monopolist, eh? As of now, Google doesn't have a major share in Russia, it's about a half or less, I guess. And its main competitor is a local search engine called Yandex. Of course, they suck (compared to Google), but they are trying hard to get better, believe me:) So, basically what the regulators did was 1) eliminate potential for monopoly & 2) support a homegrown business. Now, what's so dreary about it?

irony (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526945)

the entire country is a monopoly. russian government is nothing different than a mafia, complete with goons murdering outspoken reporters and opposition voices, even overseas dissidents. russian democracy is dead. that the russian government should have any apparatus called a "Federal Antimonopoly Service" is a pretty good definition of sarcasm

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