No, clearly you're not. ;-)
Personally I've been commenting about for years and tend to get the "you're too paranoid" thing, so on I go about my business. However, I've noticed in the past year that a few more folks here and there are not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Regarding companies and their relationships with various constituencies, I've seen too many large companies for too long abuse their power. Often they don't even see it as abuse. They see it as protecting their share and promoting their business strategies. Often, very often, that is done in the name of doing right by their customers and constituencies. (On a mirco level, one example might be how affiliate aggregators simultaneously and on the same Web site tell publishers they get the highest possible prices for their inventory, while telling advertisers that they can get them the lowest possible rates for the highest quality traffic. I always wonder how many actually believe that...)
Speaking of which. :P
Really? Are they not there primarily to assist Google in managing their constituencies, and keeping people worried about doing too much of what actally works? The battle of perception in the war on spam is at least as fierce and filled with twists and turns as the actual site level stuff going on.
Seems to me a fair characterization that G provides only the amount of information required to keep people partially informed, and worried. Partial listing of backlinks. Disruption of supp's monitoring. Unclear info on penalties. "Suggestions" about what G might not recommend. Etc.
Googlers can't even always get their stories straight on when/why/how buying TLA's is OK or not OK. One suggests that they have no issue. The other suggests it's to be avoided. Man, it's enough to give a poor Webmaster indigestion. ;-)
Hmmm, I'm not the oldest of old timers around here, but my sense is more that Googlers tend these days to pop up when the rablerousers start taking things down paths of discussion that might be viewed as unpatriotic, errr, wait, I meant, not moving in the direction G might perfer.
That comment gets me. Really? ;-)
Hmmm, lemme see, I'm a search engine company and I got a problem. I've moved the entire focus of my search unit to fighting spam. Problem is, it's a tough battle. What can I do? I know, I can acquire goodies to give away to wm's and entice them to GIVE me as much information as possible. Don't chase; make them come to me. More I give the more I get. Gmail, analytics, and so on. Pretty soon they'll all be drinking, umm, sorry, joining in and providing detailed information about not just one, but quite possibly all of their sites. The better I make the information, the more HELPFUL I become, the more I get. Oh dang it, did I let it slip out the other day that I might actually use the information they provide? For example, if one site owned by a webmaster comes under a dark cloud, I might be inclined to look at that Webmaster's other sites in our central information archive.
I know, I know. Sounds a bit over the top huh? Well, I'm not saying that Webmaster Central doesn't provide some useful information.
But suggesting that we're not paying attention because we choose not to use something, when we understand exactly what G is providing, and how it might be used, is precisely the sort of tactic that this thread relates to.
Google is amassing an enormous amount of information on surfers. For a while it was anonymous surfing information. Indeed, your ISP knew more, as MC recently pointed out, because they can associate your name and account with your surfing habits...
Webmaster Central is like an ISP in terms of what they know about those who sign on to WCentral, only worse, because they have access to: Your your G checkout and banking information, your WHOIS historical data, your registered sites, your Adwords sites, your tactics, your searches and Web behaviour, your domain registrations, your non-adwords ad buying, your Performics affiliate account, your affiliate sites...
Are you kidding me? Increasingly, G is not just my business partner and enabler, they are my competitor. Everything that G does and says must be viewed, IMHO, as I would view the comments of a competitors. Not necessarily evil. But certainly not my friend. They simply are what they are. A company that seeks to control access to the world's information.
They have my respect. They cannot have all of my information. As it is, I can't seem to avoid giving them more than I care to.