Department of Justice Calls Google's Bluff


Denied! Barry Schwartz at the SEW Blog reports that The US Department of Justice has rejected Google's claim that a subpoena for search results violates user privacy rights. This article quotes the government brief which states that "no individual user of Google, or of any other search engine, need fear that his or her personal identifying will be disclosed." The article also quotes the Center for Democracy in Technology policy director Jim Dempsey who, in support of Google, stated, "It's never been a principle of law that people can read your e-mail as long as they don’t know who you are."

Oral arguments in the case start on March 13th.



"no individual user of Google, or of any other search engine, need fear that his or her personal identifying will be disclosed."

IMHO information given to any party outside Google constitutes disclosure, even if that party is the government of some country, be it USA, China, or any other country.


That news is old. ;) I'm used to seeing TW scoop nearly everyone, but that InternetNews article that Barry links to is two days older than this South African piece from the 25th. And WMW covered it on the 26th.

great post DG

Thanks for that helpful comment. It would be great if everyone could post the fresh stuff like you did last time, but not everybody has the talent for that. (By the way, what was that last post of yours? I got tired after going back 6 or 7 pages looking for one...;-)

I wasn't nit-picking, or at

I wasn't nit-picking, or at least not trying to. I only noticed because it came up on my RSS reader, and I thought my reader was ganked again, duplicating titles. TW is on my list of sites that I trust to provide the fresh stuff.

Momentary blip on my part. Ignore my lack of freshness. (completely missed a thread here awhile back and asked Aaron if he was covering it).

Also highlights a problem with news alerts and RSS feeds. I get loads of duplicates, then a few days later a news site writes a near-duplicate article, everyone's RSS feeds pick them up, and it's 'news', all over again.

another good point, though.

Anyone care to take a closer look at how RSS readers discourage two-way communications? How aggregators do not (yet?) include a post form for comment or trackback, and how (less)likely information consumers using RSS aggregators are to contribute to the conversation?

Hey DG of all of the sites contributing feeds to your aggregator screen, how many are you logged in to as you are TW right now? Did we provoke that? Huh? ;-)

Information Overload

Part of it has to be due to the sheer amount of information available with very little navigation needed.

RSS reduces traffic to blogs? It certainly eliminates the need to navigate to the site to see what is new. Much easier to scan and pan now.

RSS increases traffic to blogs? Maybe, but I'm pretty sure that RSS drives better motivated traffic.

>>logged in. Here and WMW. That's about it. I hit cron every now and then, see what is new and then visit if I am interested in the topic. I stay logged into TW and WMW pretty much around the clock.

I think DG has a point,

I think DG has a point, personally.

TW used to break a lot more stuff, and it used to be a lot more entertaining as well.

Yeah I l know I could try to make a difference, and post stuff, blah de blah, seems to me though, most of the folk who did make a difference have buggared off when Nick did.


Nick was the voice of

Nick was the voice of threadwatch and he had a knack for finding the best and freshest stuff. In order to do that though he worked really damn hard, harder than I think "we" collectively are currently. All you have to do is see the post counts for last year to see what has changed.

The people who were here before are for the most part still on here.

Why stay on Threadwatch though if this isn't the one stop shop for the freshest news ?

I asked myself that awhile ago, perhaps you are too. I stay here because the posters on here have the best conversations about the topics we are interested in. Go anywhere else and its just "How do I write a press release?", "Whats the fastest way to make money?", and "Tell me all your secrets so I can copy them... please". That is to say when the posts aren't "clever" oneliners or surreptitious promotions.

Quality > Quantity

Agree with you webprofessor.

Agree with you webprofessor. I do have a certain TW addiction, but it's dying.

I reckon in the here and now though, I get more from interesting stuff from my bloglines than this, call me a cynic.

Not quite the community it was. Just saying....

Incoming: rant

I, for one, am sick of hearing people whine about Nick leaving Threadwatch, and how good it *used* to be. The fact of the matter is, had Aaron not taken it over, Threadwatch would be dead. Aaron doesn't make much money on this site, and that is the sole reason Nick abandoned it. Yes, there is a different feel, but different is not bad.


Yet another soul-searching this-community-is-dying thread

>The people who were here before are for the most part still on here.

No, I think not.

TW was dying before Nick left. It's dying not so much because of any particular person or lack of participation by [insert brand-name nick here]. I think there's an on-going shift in where and, more importantly, how we like to gather and share our industry news. This time, I'm not going to say that evryone has moved to private forums because I don't believe they're hotbeds of activity either.

Lack Of Coffee moment

Yeesh, I make one post before I get my morning caffeine requirement and this is the result? ;)

>>on-going shift in where and, more importantly, how we like to gather and share our industry news.

I think that's it. I check the aggregators in the morning. I click 'refresh' on TW and WMW while I'm on the phone. I read certain blogs not because I expect earth shattering industry news, but because I want to know what space my friends are currently interested in. I check mainstream media RSS feeds because I want to know how far behind the mainstream media is behind. I'm sure many people do the same thing.

Yeah, TW feels different. Different isn't bad.


Probably not the best time to be bemoaning how quiet things are at the moment. NY SES?

thread forked for RSS discussion

claus has picked up the RSS issue over here.

how can threadwatch make enough money...

that somebody can be enjoined to take proper care of it?

Things were going downhill fast in the last few months of Nick's tenure as well.

I'm not sure that freshness is the number one concern for me - it's more a quality and pertinence issue.

One thing I will say though is that the addition of things like the crappy javascript which prevents us from opening links in new tabs (i.e. the main window goes to the link as well - forcing me at least to turn javascript off every time I visit really tick me off.

And yes I have written to Aaron about this tick.

I hope one of the marketing geniuses among us can figure out a way for Threadwatch to make money to put somebody bright on it full time without spoiling its character (for an example of a spoiled site visit anything in the network - no don't, it will take five minutes to get control of your browser again - even with adblock on - I shiver to think what IE get au naturel).

A big thank you to all of you volunteer editors for keeping the dream alive.

Ronsard I am not having an

Ronsard I am not having an issue with opening links in another tab. I am using Firefox 1.5

I'm tab happy too.

I got the tab thing working fine for me too. Using Omniweb 5.1.3

>>for Threadwatch to make

>>for Threadwatch to make money to put somebody bright on it full time without spoiling its character

not sure if it's anyone's business but aaron's in terms of how to monetize this although one potential way would be to aggregate all the blog feeds (presumably an opt-in policy), have editors decide which ones get published, and then work out a rev share policy. still problems in incentives being manipulated although i think it's pretty manageable and could conceivably create more of a community atmosphere.

tabs update

Thanks Brad and webprofessor for letting me know about your own experience. Firefox under Mac OS X here.

Turns out right click-contextual menu-open in new tab works for me too. What doesn't work is command-click. Same thing on the Windows box (with shift-click).

Other sites (staying on technology Macsurfer or Google news) don't exhibit this behaviour.


Interesting suggestion kidmercury.

What we really need is the best of what's out there on the 700 other SEO sites and threads. My link to Macsurfer is an example of a useful daily aggregrate of everything going on in the Apple world in a single spot categorised. Only problem is Macsurfer is more comprehensive than selective.

While some of this can be automated, what it all needs is a dedicated editor with three or four very active and discerning forum readers feeding that editor.

Nothing yet to replace human analysis.

For an idea for automation, one could set bots up to monitor the principal forums for the piping in of significant minds (Danny Sullivan, fantomaster, Black Knight, Aaron himself to name just a few) in substantial posts (not just one or two liners) which the editor could then read through. This would save combing through a lot of junk.

Well I think on the finance

Well I think on the finance front that is an issue that should get sorted out to make the site more appealing from an economic perspective.

I am thinking Massa's marketplace idea could work...perhaps charge a $100 minimum listing fee to filter out most of the garbage that gets listed elsewhere...of course I would still need a bit of feedback on that idea (how would I integrate that idea with this site, etc.).

I think the ad feedback mechanism needs nuked unless advertisers specifically ask for it. At NYC SES I spoke to multiple prospective advertisers and none of them wanted to be reviewed. And to be honest I really can't think of a ton of businesses and business models in this market that would want an active review unless they were giving away their whole product free and just looking for exposure with it. Generally most businesses want to give you a cripleware or dumbed down version of their offering because they feel that giving something away is equivalent to losing it. Some asshats have even contacted me requesting that I help them find free marketing opportunities in exchange for them email spamming me.

Even those that could afford a review and would potentially want one would most likely best be marketed by casual comments in the Moniker frequently has been...but if you dig deep enough through the comments here I think someone claimed that they thought Moniker sold their email address to someone who spammed them.

I think the AdSense ads are garbage and will likely be pulling them soon.

As far as Ronsard's email goes, that was 1 of about 700 I got last week...and I didn't reply to that one yet. Sorry. I lost 8 pounds over the last couple days...and slept most of 33 hours straight with probably the worst flu I have ever had.

get well soon...

I know you've got a lot on your plate, Aaron. You've got to find a way to clone yourself - at some point, running the businesses you're running - they are not automated drivel adsense spam sites - you'll need employees. I know you'd rather manage it all on your own, but you can't. You are already giving up tens of thousands in income monthly by not either creating your own larger organisation or joining one. But it's not about the money as much as it is about the stress.

It's something that I'm having to deal with in my own business. I've got a couple of people working for me and need a few more. Working them in is one of the big goals for this year.

I do have to say coming in every morning to face over 100 emails (some face five hundred) is madness. Don't go to the office for three days and enjoy 500 (that's not counting the filtered spam).

On that note - could you please fix the new comment notices to do several things:

1. Tell us in the header the title of the thread.
2. In the body of the text, give us the new comment.

It would make the email notification really useful, rather than feeling some kind of mindless bot assault. It's difficult to determine which messages are coming from which thread if one has commented on two busy threads.

Either that or tone it down to a single message until the visitor revists the thread.

The email notification mess is one reason I stopped commenting so often here, as it becomes a full time activity checking all these emails, reopening the threads, deleting the emails.

The programming fix isn't that big. We aren't working in Drupal or I'd offer to have my programmer do it. Maybe somebody else has done something similar and can pass Aaron the code?

Take care of yourself Aaron! Health is paramount to work and to play.

>>I am thinking Massa's

>>I am thinking Massa's marketplace idea could work

While there are a lot of things I disagree with Bob Massa about, I do listen when he suggests marketing and revenue generating features.

Sounds like it is worth trying.

OT but relevant

I just read this whole thread about DOJ and Google (!) ... Well... TW has a way of providing space for very interesting discussions, even when they go totally off-topic relative to the original post.

I personally like TW because of the informal and friendly atmosphere. That's caused by the people posting and commenting, and the way they do so, not by the particulr selection of topics. As we can all see here, the discussion itself is sometimes far more interesting than the topic.

Of course, during the past year a lot of people have chosen to post on their own sites more than on forums but by and large I personally feel that the important industry events are mentioned here.

>> monetization
A year ago (well, tomorrow) I gave away a few thoughts on site monetization here, perhaps it's still relevant?

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