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Thursday, February 10, 2005

What happened to Mark Jens

It's now confirmed the Mark Jens was fired by Google. Jaremy Zawodny (of Yahoo fame) talks to Mark. Scoble will be talking to him later on.

In case you have not been following the controversy, here is a recap:

Mark Jens, an ex-Microsoft employee was hired by Google a few weeks ago. He started a blog to blog about his life in Google. In his very first post, he posted about how Google's pay package was terrible. Needless to say, big shots in Google had a talk with him and made him remove the post (Bloglines has a cache of it). Everyone then thought that it was the end of it.

Well, as it turns out, it was not the end of it. Rumours started floating yesterday that Mark had been fired from Google for his posts. And today, its been confirmed. As suspected, the reason was the posts on his blog.

Now, Mark obviously made a mistake. You can probably say things like this in Microsoft, because they are a lot more open about blogging than Google.

But firing him for it? It would have probably been enough to get him to edit the post. This is terrible PR for Google. Google has a reputation for being a highly closed and secretive company, but now it seems that they are also highly paranoid. What is worse is that the information is probably not very secret. This kind of information will leak out anyway when employees talk with their friends over dinner. By firing him, this information is going to spead so fast that everyone is going to know about it.

Worse, they went out of the way to remove all traces of Mark Jens from Google's index. Go to Google and search for "Mark Jens". His blog used to be on the first set of results. I'm stunned.

Everything could have been solved by asking Mark to edit his post. What does Google accomplish now? They just reinforce the idea that they are paranoid and secretive. This is just such bad PR for them.

This is a case where Google could learn a thing or two from Microsoft. No matter what the evils of Microsoft are, one thing is for sure: Their open blogging policy has done them a lot of good, with Scoble leading the way.


dkjariwala said...

Couldn't agree more.

Though Mark acted like idiot, I think Google could have handled whole situation in much better way. Anyway, I don't think this is going to affect Google as long as they continue to come out with apps like Google Maps. :)


hatke said...

For one thing, I might be biased towards Google...

I think Google has had a policy to be secretive about their 'experiments' which is what they're best at. I think somewhere in their agreements, they would have a similar clause that info would rather be closed.

The guy's blog seems to be way too casual - a hangover from Microsoft, I think.

I think he made a mistake - one he shouldnt have made. For his position, I think he was seriously advertising that he was asking for it. I think Google decided they made a mistake - and corrected it.

Possibly biased, but doesnt seem so to me...

Modifying the search index is serious though. That is a problem, they're effectively censoring info - unforgivable - true. But for that case, as a corporation liable for prosecution, they're mighty vulnerable. I don't think free info/search will ever be possible in that scenario.

Siddhi said...

Well, obviously Mark did something wrong. What they should have done was to get him to delete the particular posts or tell him to edit his posts and remove the offending part.

hatke said...

I think the point's more long-term. Of what I can make out from his blog, I dont think he's flexible enough to be reasoned with = I'd do the same thing if necessary.

Wouldnt modify the search index though. *ducks* :-)