Google has tried hard and finally succeeded at becoming UCSB’s biggest supplier of spam; and I’m not talking about the dining commons’ stash of canned meat. No, I’m talking about the nasty stream of pamphlets and brochures that have been oozing from the Nexus fold on a regular basis. On days when the fine search engine company decides to grace us with their wit and humor, we find the poor newsstands almost adrift in a literal heap of trash. If you want a newspaper, you’re going to have to swim for it.
For a company that doesn’t allow banner advertising on its own Web site, I find the deluge of ads just a bit ironic. Perhaps if a Google representative saw the ugly mess of rain-soaked Google Labs Aptitude Tests (GLATs) on the ground he would reconsider the company’s approach. Or maybe he already has; the new wave of brain brochures is printed on waterproof paper so people can read about grey matter while standing in the rain. As the newspapers disintegrate, students can still whip out their glossy factoid page and learn about lead poisoning.
Now there is nothing wrong with advertising, every company has a right to get their message out and attract some attention. The problem occurs when a company repeatedly hammers people with unsolicited ads that cause an inconvenience. Spam is technically unsolicited e-mail that forces users to read or delete it, but these print ads that litter our campus are equally, if not more, problematic than e-mail. University administrators spend a great deal of time and money keeping the campus looking clean. Watching visitors and students alike wade through a pallet load of flyers strewn about cannot be an uplifting experience for them.
It is pretty safe to say that everyone knows what Google does. Even people that live under rocks probably know about Google, so why would they have to advertise on a college campus? It’s because they want you. They need employees, and from the looks of it, they are pretty hard up for new workers. The rumor I heard is that Google came to UCSB a month ago and was greeted with less than a handful of interested students. I guess the company conducted some interviews and went home empty-handed, later complaining to Career Services that they weren’t given the fanfare appropriate for an Internet giant like Google. Well, the next time they come hunting for workers, they want the trumpets blaring and the red carpet rolling. What better way to prepare the student body for such an arrival than to tenderize them with some hard-sell advertising?
The kicker is that working at Google is probably pretty cool. I have a friend that has worked there for over a year and loves it. Maybe UCSB is lucky to be chosen as their new mother lode of recruits – just not lucky to experience their Rambo advertising tactics.
So please, all of you EEs and CSs, go to Google. Take the GLAT. Take it again. Maybe if Google gets enough interest this time they will leave UCSB alone, finally satisfied with their new fresh meat.
Ben Krasnow is the Daily Nexus science editor.