Friday, February 25, 2005

News to watch: Google toolbar and Amazon links

Ha. Finally, somebody has smacked down Google and Amazon.

If you haven't been following this story, Google has been raising eyebrows lately with a new feature in its toolbar that converts ISBNs (the "license" numbers that identify individual books) into links to

What's wrong with that? Well, if you're shopping at another bookstore, say Barnes and Noble, clicking on any ISBN will take you to Amazon. How sneaky is that? You're shopping at one bookstore, or perhaps at a publisher's website, and you're suddenly whisked to Amazon.

Now the techies at Barnes and Noble, bless 'em, appear to have foiled the plan. Check out Search Engine Watch for a quick explanation on what they've done and why it's working.

Take that, Big Guys. And try to remember, please, that there's a difference between fair marketing practices and...well...whatever it is that you have been doing lately.


Small Blue Thing said...

Yes, *Free* Market becomes so ugly when it is just too *free*...

But ISBN is over-legal, it is like postal codes, Metres System or the Alphabet... Do really they CAN do like that? :(

Blue Thing

Brenda Coulter said...

Not sure what you mean about ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) being "over-legal", Blue Thing.

By the way, I see you're linking to my blog. Thanks! I'll put up a reciprocal link right now.

Donna said...

It's business. A merger. Google pays Amazon for the right to do that. Nothing furtive going on there.

Brenda Coulter said...

This is the same technology that had people up in arms when Microsoft tried to slip it past the public it a couple of years ago with their "Smart Tags". Google picked up that ball and is running with it. Nothing illegal about what they're doing, but I wouldn't say that's the way to win friends on the internet.

I'm a daily user of both Google and Amazon, but this heavy-handed promotion is such a turnoff that I've considered supporting their competition.

That's all I meant. I wasn't accusing them of shady business dealings.

Small Blue Thing said...

Hi again,

I agree with you, Brenda. Non-legal doesn't mean "good" or "nice", at all. If bussines men were just fair... But I'm a proud follower of Marx (Groucho) when he said that 'Fair Trade' sounded like 'Military Intelligence' _just kidding.

I've taken a look into Spanish Books Law, and I've found a sort of vaccuum _it's written like this? in all about Internet index refers. But at least here, nobody in Spain owns ISBN index, so none e-bookshop or another Company could do it... unless they had "touched" the proper political keys, I suppose.

Ah, and Brenda, I'm so proud to link you... You don't need to link me _although I do understand you'll do by heart.

I'm proud to read and learn from another writer, and even prouder when both know we are quite different in many aspects of our lives. Being able to touch each other and share feelings is wonderful for me. It heals me, indeed.

Best wishes,
Blue Thing