September 16, 2019

How Much Does Google Know About Me?

Several years ago, Americans became concerned that privacy on the Internet was being compromised. The issue at hand involved an increasing amount of personal data that was being collected on individuals using online search engines like Google and Yahoo. This large body of available information had drawn the attention of the Homeland Security Agency who had been charged with the job of protecting the country against potential sleeper cells of terrorism.

The story came to national attention when government agencies began to demand access to the search records of all users of the major search engines.  At that point, the news media picked up the story, and many American citizens who depend daily on search engines for both personal and business research began to get a “big brother is watching” feeling.

It was a complicated situation.  Many Americans acknowledged that the government needed to have the ability to ferret out and put a stop to security risks that might result in another catastrophe like September 11th, 2001.  On the other hands, Americans have traditionally been tremendously protective of their liberties, privacy and their fundamental right to be left alone by the government.

What stood out to many during that struggle was Google’s courageous resistance against what was considered an undue invasion of privacy of their users. Although time showed that the Homeland Security Agency had no intention of becoming “big brother” and was simply researching how to use statistical data to find terrorist patterns in search engine usage, many remember this: Yahoo and others knuckled under pressure quickly, while it was Google who stood up in the name of protecting user information instead of immediately turning it over to Uncle Sam.

This position reflected Google’s long established business practice — to be protective of the data it collects from the users of its search tools.  That protective nature has worked to build a confidence in consumers that Google is a safe tool. As the dominant search engine in the industry, Google does have at its disposal a plethora of personal information on the millions of people who use its search tools.

Proprietary information collected by Google (and other search engines) as users browse the Internet speak volumes about individual interests, religious views, political affiliations and vocation.  Powerful analytical tools take these vast data bases of search information and translate them into profiles that would be of great interest to governments as well as marketers who could target specific populations for sales.

For Google, such information has immeasurable value as the search engines fine-tune their data. Conclusions can be drawn that indicate if search tools are working well and how the logarithmic formulas that drive those tools can be adjusted to be more in line with the Internet audience in cyberspace.  Such research will allow Google to further secure their dominant position as they make their toolset even more capable of staying at the front of the pack.

A conclusion to be drawn from this story is that Google’s protective posture regarding its massive database of search information served their purposes extremely well.  For successfully keeping this gigantic store of very specific data secure and proprietary, Google today maintains a trade secret of tremendous value that will enable them to maintain their market superiority for many years to come.

It can be argued that this represents a case of market needs serving the public’s good well.  For if Google jealously guards the public’s search information so that only it can benefit from such knowledge, they in turn protect the privacy of American citizens from the prying eyes of government agencies, hackers, marketing campaigns and even terrorists who would use that information for insidious purposes.

Some Tips to Beginning an Online Business

The possibilities for creating an online business are nearly endless. The most obvious way to begin would be to build a website to serve a particular niche in the market. Typically this is most successfully accomplished by researching and finding an underserved business niche, building a website to showcase the new business, and then reaping the profits from a growing business.

Begin by going online and Googling the search term “underserved business niches”. Spend time researching links, websites and blogs. Get feedback and advice from friends and family. Once you have settled on a business idea, it’s time to build a website to support your chosen niche market.  As content is created for the website pages, it’s important to select pertinent, focused keywords that will build your business through organic search engine rankings.  By writing solid content that is supported with quality back links between your website and other businesses, you’ll begin to establish a growing, strong page rank with Google.

Secondly, if your marketing budget allows, Google Adwords is an online option to bring targeted visitors to your website. The proper choice of keywords and educated bidding is the key to successfully marketing with Pay Per Click advertising. Along with this paid advertising, your organic (natural) search engine traffic will also help to build a solid business.

Another online business opportunity can be found by selling on eBay. Although this selling niche is not quite as popular as it was several years ago, it still remains a solid business proposition. Again, proper research is essential. Take the time to learn what kinds of goods are selling, and discover the price points that make these goods move. Determine if your margin is large enough to justify the fees that eBay and PayPal charge for transactions on their websites.

Many sellers do make a full-time income on eBay. Oftentimes this success is achieved by finding a wholesaler in the chosen market niche that offers products at a deep discount to sell on eBay. Some eBay sellers prefer to deal in goods only when they can be sent to buyers via a drop shipper. A drop shipper is a wholesaler who sells you a product at a deep discount, holds the merchandise at their warehouse location, and will ship the product after it sells on eBay to a customer.

You will buy the product at wholesale and then make money on the difference between what you buy the product for, and what you sell the product for on eBay (the margin). This is a particularly useful approach, allowing you to focus on selling the product without worrying about stocking inventory. It also eliminates the need for space to ship or provide backend support, however it’s crucial to know that the wholesaler is reliable and honest.  If there are problems with the merchandise, it is you that the customer will contact. An example of a wholesale shipping directory on the Internet is found at worldwidebrands.com.

These are but two ideas to consider as you pursue the quest of creating an online business. Many other possibilities exist for making money on the Internet but there is little up front cost required to begin these types of online businesses and for many, they have provided much success.