Is Craig Newmark a big fat lying liar?

The following would indicate that he is. Newmark supports efforts by Google’s “Save the Internet Coalition” to shackle the Internet with regulations on ISPs that are totally unprecedented in the history of the Internet, yet he flatly denies advocating any government regulation. This is truly an amazing exchange, and it certainly doesn’t speak well for the Google Coalition’s choice of spokespeople.

Newmark’s insistence on level playing fields and the absence of prioritization raises an interesting question for me. Google prioritizes search results, based on a secret and tricky technique that only Russian mathematicians can understand. This technique creates an unequal playing field. If ISPs should be requiredy by law to randomly forward packets without any inspection, shouldn’t Google also be required to randomly order search results so as not to favor the big sites? It would seem so, so I have to ask: if not, why not?

Should the Net Be Neutral?
May 24, 2006

The “net neutrality” debate has reached a fever pitch as Congress mulls legislation that would allow Internet service providers to charge Web sites for preferred delivery of digital content.

Net neutrality advocates, including Internet giants like Google and, are lobbying Congress to preserve the status quo in which all Web content is treated the same. Phone and cable providers such as AT&T and Comcast say they should be able to sell premium tiers of service since they are investing billions to build broadband networks.
Congress is considering several competing pieces of legislation. One bill1, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), embodies the phone company view, while another bill2 recently introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wisc.) supports net neutrality. Both the House and Senate will hold hearings this week.

The Wall Street Journal Online invited Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and a net neutrality proponent, and former White House spokesman Mike McCurry, who heads a phone industry group, to debate the issue. Their exchange, carried out by email, is below.

Read the whole thing for a good laugh.

12 thoughts on “Is Craig Newmark a big fat lying liar?”

  1. Newmark comes across a total know-nothing. I don’t think he’s lying. I think he’s just an idiot.

  2. Wow, this just keeps getting better and better.

    Google is a layers 5-7 application that started as a couple of guys in a dorm room just a few years ago. While it is the #1 player in search, Yahoo, MSN, and many niche playes (including mega-cool Rollyo) are all credible alternatives. Better still, if you and I come up with a better search algorithm, we can compete.

    And if you don’t like Google’s results? You’ve got choices.

    Now let’s move down the stack a few layers. What choices do most consumers have for broadband? Answer: 0, 1, or 2… from a handful of companies (a) with no track record of Internet innovation; (b) long records of negative customer-service experiences; and (c) historical mindsets built from operating as monopolies.

    Instead of comparing Google and the telcos, why not contrast the golf skills of Tiger Woods with those of Happy Gilmore? Because that’s just as valid a comparison.

  3. As an aside, I’m a nobody, but I could have done a hell of a lot better job articulating the NN position than Mr. Newmark.

    BTW, I love the remark that he “simply doesn’t understand capitalism and the freemarket”. How much is he worth?

  4. Not nearly as much as he would be if he sold Craig’s List at market prices.

    BTW, you missed the point about Google, a company with a 70% share of any market is effectively a monopoly. And they intend to stay that way, by fair means or foul.

  5. Many of the non-Google search sites actually use Google, just as Yahoo did until pretty recently.

    No one telco has even 10% of America’s communication dollars. So who’s the monopolist?

  6. directorblue: “Now let’s move down the stack a few layers. What choices do most consumers have for broadband? Answer: 0, 1, or 2… from a handful of companies (a) with no track record of Internet innovation; (b) long records of negative customer-service experiences; and (c) historical mindsets built from operating as monopolies.”

    Or, as I just enumerated for the Phoenix metropolitan area, nine.

    Given the reasoning you just gave about Google, there’s clearly no telco consumer broadband monopoly in Phoenix. (Qwest is #2 after Cox.)

  7. House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.):

    “The FCC recently reported that 98 percent of American consumers get their high speed broadband from either a cable company or a DSL provider. This virtual duopoly creates an environment that is ripe for anti-competitive abuses, and for which a clear antitrust remedy is urgently needed.”

    How many cable lines and POTS lines you got running in your house in Phoenix? My guess is a total of two. Or less.

    Reselling arrangements (e.g., Earthlink reselling Covad reselling whomever) don’t count. We’re basically down to two telcos and a handful of cable operators, who really own the infrastructure.

    But I think you already knew that. 🙂

  8. “Reselling arrangements don’t count?”

    They count in Japan, the country neuts tout as the ideal. They have one supplier of wires and many ISPs, and frankly, we have more choice here with two suppliers of wires and several suppliers of wireless.

  9. It is pretty funny that so many NN supporters are constantly pointing to foreign broadband providers as the gold standard. I wonder how many of those providers, who usually provide subscription video over the same access links using various types of network management and QoS, would still be in business if the Sensenbrenner or Snowe bills were law in their countries.

  10. directorblue…….you mocked the statement that he doesnt understand the free market, but you didn’t refute the fact or prove that he does. How in the world could government regualtion ever benifit the consumer over the invisible hand of the marketplace?

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