What happens when your platform outgrows this place? We learn that Google has retained the services of DCI Group, which specializes in “corporate-financed grass-roots organizing,” such as setting up front groups to “agitate for a client’s position, placing letters to the editor with key newspapers, and using phone banks to generate calls to politicians.” At least that’s the nice description. Others call it “the phony seed bed for the most noxious astroturf organizing and general baboozlement in contemporary politics.”
The group, generally known for its ties with Republicans, made a YouTube video spoofing Al Gore’s documentary about global warming, and its clients happen to include the multinational oil company ExxonMobil. Notable, of course, given Google’s efforts to stop global warming, which includes supporting a new 100+ mpg hybrid car — and given Google’s other ties with Gore, including the partnership in Current TV. So what happened to Google’s “do no evil” morals? Maybe they’re reading Machiavelli, who once said, “politics have no relation to morals.”
Most start-ups don’t think about the politics of Washington, DC until they are quite big, and Google is the latest to go through this. There’s always the Craigslist model, which we’ll leave for another time.