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Perhaps you’ve heard the news: MC Hammer is launching a new search engine! Exciting! He has lots of press behind him, and 13,000 people liked the CNN story alone.

For the sake of argument, let’s set aside the obvious jokes and the Sisyphean task of competing against Google, and just look at what they have to date.

CNN says they’ve been working for two years on this project. What do they have to show for it? A signup form. Hey, that’s OK — a lot of startups begin with a signup form.

But wait — for a search engine? In the early days of the web, I don’t recall Yahoo! or Lycos ever signing people up before offering search. Google didn’t either. Cuil (that’s right, it doesn’t exist anymore), such as it was, didn’t pre-register. And if they’re pre-registering people in the state of California, they should have a privacy policy, right? It’s the law! Nope, sorry. No privacy policy.

A simple whois lookup shows that is registered — and hosted — with GoDaddy. Competing with Google almost automatically excludes GoDaddy from your hosting options. If I were in Hammer’s place, I’d start to see some red flags.

Looking at this as an investor and consumer, if there’s no privacy policy, and they’re collecting names and emails, what possible function could this “search engine” have other than to collect, aggregate, and sell your personal information to third parties? That is, of course, the popular thing to do these days. I won’t begrudge them that, but two years to develop a signup form that very well may unlawful, on a platform that couldn’t withstand their launch day, for the purpose of turning their users into a rich vein of data to mine?

I couldn’t touch that.

Posted October 26, 2011. Tagged: , , ,


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