Let me get this straight: at a time when we're trying to get China to finally help do something about North Korea, we're giving them shit about copyright violations? Where are our priorities??
The "bad apples" argument holds up better than you think if you remember where it comes from. Apples ripen and rot by ethylene gas, they produce it when the ripen, and produce a lot of it when they rot, and being in an ethylene atmosphere induces faster ripening/rotting. It's a positive feedback loop. When you put apples in a barrel or other container you have to be careful to leave out the ones that are starting to go bad, or they'll start a chain reaction and the whole barrel will go rotten very quickly. So, it might only be one bad apple at the start, but the whole barrel winds up spoiled.
It's just as you say with bad cops: just one of them can spoil a whole lot of good cops. But it's not quite as bad as you say; there are a lot of barrels out there with no bad cops at all.
This was my experience too. To some extent, it's because the university considers cheating such a big deal they've ratcheted up the penalties so high that they cannot bring themselves to mete those penalties out. So they lean on professors to water down their cheating claims (let alone the BS they pull with grad students who catch cheating) and the students get off with a smack on the wrist at worst, plus the knowledge that they can get away with cheating as long as there is just enough doubt.
Spying on trivial crap is not the same thing as not spying. For what it's worth, I also object to being followed in department stores to see what hats I try on, or videotaped on the street to see what shop windows I look into. Just because I can't off the top of my head think of some nefarious use for the data does not make it OK to collect it without my permission.
A simple word count would be fine by me; I must have misunderstood the fellow from Tynt when he said they were "tracking the content, not the user", as I thought he meant that they were indeed sending text.
If that's what they consider a fair trade, fine: Then they can damn well say forthrightly that that is the cost, instead of hiding it. Let me make the decision of whether reading their rag is worth being spied on.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I find a couple things wrong with this:
1) Like a number of people, I tend to highlight text as I read -- it's a good way to mark my place, and it helps overcome some of the stupid font and coloring decisions that sites make. That means you're not just telling publishers what I want to preserve and promote, but snippets of what I'm reading. That bugs me, and I can't imagine that it's useful.
2) Maybe you're not storing or tracking personally identifiable information, maybe you are -- I have no way of knowing. (I appreciate the offer of the dashboard access, but that's just what you choose to share) I have to trust you not to, and you are not behaving in a manner that makes me want to trust you: silently sending data? Asking me to opt-out rather than opt-in? Sorry, no. I've been to a couple of the sites mentioned here and had no idea that my reading habits were being monitored in this way -- that makes me feel like I'm being spied on, and I have to wonder what else you're doing that you just haven't been caught at yet. You guys launched without an opt-out, that tells me that you consider privacy concerns an afterthought.
3) Even if I trust you not to mistreat my data, how do I know that you're sending this in an intelligent fashion? I haven't done a TCPdump yet, but when I do, am I going to discover that you're sending what I highlight plain-text? Can someone who isn't you track me personally based on what you're collecting and sending? Is there any effort to make sure that the sites who use this are not being stupid and applying your tool to text on secure pages? How can I know without stopping and peering at the source for every page I visit?
4) If my choices are individual opt-out on your customers who are polite enough to offer it versus either blanket blocking or global opt-out, I'm going to have to pick global opt-out even if I don't mind the polite folks using it. Otherwise I have no control over how the less-trustworthy people use it -- as an opt-out service, your whole service is only as trustworthy as your least honest customers. And I cannot imagine that your customers who rely on ad revenue are happy to have you recommending that people who don't want to be spied on use an ad blocker.
I actually don't mind the attribution tool, I think it's clever and potentially useful -- but also something that could have been accomplished without tracking my reading habits.
If you want to be trusted and not "flamed", it's simple: make it opt-in, and give me a good reason to opt in. You make money off monitoring my browsing habits, maybe I ought to get a cut.
I think that a lot of what Microsoft would be buying would be the perception that Google no longer has the best stuff. They would be trying to use strategic payments and lots of buzz to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. This could never work under the table. As you note, most people wouldn't even notice.
But yeah, I don't think it would actually be workable: as you say, $1m is probably far too little. Microsoft couldn't even pay for Amazon to switch, I suspect. Others would refuse the move on principle, like slashdot or the IRS.
I didn't say it was *my* principle, just the principle Cuban seems to be assuming.
I wouldn't focus too much on the number involved -- the principle is that everyone has their price.
Also, in theory those top websites stand to gain that much money from whichever search engine dominates. If Bing dominated the market as a result of this move, they would not lose much money, and the bribe could well make up the difference.
More to the point: what on earth is wrong with copying good interface ideas? As a Microsoft stockholder I'd be far more upset if they *didn't* look at Mac OS when designing Windows!
"Won't mind"? That's probably the point -- they can then use this as a bargaining chip to get access to anything they happen to be short on, or political concessions. They're betting, probably correctly, that while there are substitutes for cloth, wood, petrochemicals, and lots of other raw materials, nothing short of transmutation will give us yttrium in quantity.
Me, I hate watching someone else program, it's like watching your dog take a shit. But it's a good experience for one term -- some people will find that they hate it, but some will find that they can live with it, and some will find that it works very well for them. Education works well when it bumps you out of your comfort zone from time to time.
Dude, no! Now you need it more than ever, because they're not afraid of accidentally irradiating your brain while they read your thoughts!