Is Google Overexposed?

There may be something far racier than Miss September in the latest issue of Playboy (NYSE: PLA  ) . The Securities and Exchange Commission might be tempted to skim past the centerfold this time and dig into an interview with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The two sing the company's praises in the interview. That may seem like perfectly natural behavior, but it may have run afoul of the cooling-off period that the SEC abides by to make sure that companies aren't hyped by insiders just before they go public. Earlier this year all it took was one overzealous interview to delay the Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM  ) market debut.

Playboy is defending the interview by claiming that it took place back in April, just before Google had officially filed to go public. However, Google's best defense may be that everyone's been talking about Google lately. Whether you love it or hate it, good luck in trying to call for a quiet period in the middle of a decibel-busting rock concert.

Ultimately it's but one more gaffe in an awkward path to going public. It's like the opening sequence to the old Dick Van Dyke Show, with one errant ottoman after another. Page, Brin, and other unmentionable four-letter-words have been muttered over the past few months as this amazing company with a questionable valuation has stumbled its way towards an IPO that may price the company in the ballpark of $35 billion.

How much is Google worth? We'll know soon. The bidding process starts today with the Dutch auction results set to be announced next week. No doubt about it. This is one wacky offering. It's an ironic one too in that it will make rival Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) even richer given its Google stake of 6.6 million shares.

Perhaps it's just fitting that this long and winding road should rifle its way through the pages of Playboy. This is also the same issue that features the controversial interview with Terrell Owens as the flamboyantly outspoken receiver questions his former quarterback's sexuality. It left signal-caller Jeff Garcia needlessly defending his lifestyle in what amounted to "I'm not gay. I'm Canadian." Oh, brother. Grow up, people!

In all this my heart goes out to Scarlett Keegan. Who? Well, Miss September 2004, of course. Will she even be noticed, smack dab in the middle of the page-turning controversies? She's a redhead aspiring to become a Bond girl. Her turnoffs include cheesy pickup lines. You know, like "Do you want in on the Google IPO?"

Incidentally, here are some of the headlines for this story that I actually nixed along the way.

  • Google in the Buff
  • Private Parts in Public Places
  • Airbrushing Google's Curves
  • Miss IPO
  • Google Talks Dirty
  • Knights in Plight's Satin
  • Google's Center Folds

If you have a favorite -- or want to come up with one on your own -- please join us over in the Google discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has Terrell Owens on his fantasy football team. He behaves just fine there. Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.


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