The Google URL

Just saw something surprising on a Pontiac commercial: They flash the Google home page and say, “Google ‘Pontiac’ and find out what’s new,” or something like that. It went by in a second but I was amazed. Note that they didn’t say, “Go to,” which tells me that they must believe that most people don’t put in addresses, they Google to get where they’re going. Once upon a time, sites tried to become keywords on AOL and then a few poor souls bought RealWords (that was what it was called, wasn’t it?). Those were closed taxonomies and their days are over. Google, of course, is open to influence. And so Pontiac is open to Google bombing. Imagine if Dell advertised to find its site via Google rather than an address. We could all link to this and it would be what’s new for Dell.

: UPDATE: Steve Baker says this is why he’s using Ask, instead.

  • Leon

    Google’s goal, I think, is to create the sensibility amongst web surfers that there are two Internets – one which is too large, too unamanagable, too dangerous (for children, for example) and one which is socially friendly, and with the website that yiu are likely searching for. Hence a hermetically sealed Google Internet which advertisers will be more than willing to support.

  • Max Kalehoff

    Ahhhh. Finally moving up North. I noticed this back in January, down in Florida. I wrote a piece about it in my monthly Search column in MediaPost here:

    Pontiac’s taking advantage of this with Google, because Google exposes a lot of positive discussion about its brand – mostly in fan forums and shopper/research boards. Also compare that to the Google paid results, specifically Pontiac’s partnership with one of the most robust online auto communities:

  • Tom B

    Come to think of it, it’s a way to track their TV advertising, since you can tell who googles it, clicks on the ad word at the top or off the search. Not sure what they find out or hoped to find out when they did it, but they can have some tangible measurement of how many people paid attento to the add.

  • Mark Fletcher

    The risk for Pontiac is AdWords. Wannabees are attaching themselves to searches for successful branbds by basic yet clever use of AdWords. By telling consumers to Google Pon tiac they are inviting people to look at the rest. Pontiac is their brand and so Pontiac is all the should promote.

  • cab

    By 51%-43%, those polled disapprove of the program, disclosed Thursday in USA TODAY. The National Security Agency has been collecting phone records from three of the nation’s four largest telecommunication companies since soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    The first poll was done a few hours after the news broke. Pure propaganda for use by right wing pundits, “see the public likes being spied on” Wake the F up already.

  • PG

    Mark –
    indeed. See how mazda bought the “Pontiac” and “Pontiac solstice” keywords

  • CaptiousNut

    I think Jeff is reading more into this than there is.

    It’s an add for two products, Google and Pontiac. They likely split the costs of the add in some way. Pontiac gets part of the ad subsidized and Google perhaps reaches some new customers.

    Not a very large percentage of the population uses Google. They don’t advertise hardly at all – just like Jeff’s favorite company Dell back in the 90s. This ad is probably just a toe in the water for Google and an attempt to reach some of the older TV watching luddites.

    If there’s an iota of economics in the subject, Jeff will bungle it nine out of ten times.

  • Bond

    have a look at

  • Mark

    This is indeed true. I was watching my 15 yr. old the other day and this is EXACTLY what he does when he is jumping around to various web sites.

    I guess it helps to weed out typos and the ocassional moving about of content.

  • Marcelo Calbucci

    The name of the company was RealNames, founded by Michael Arrington.

  • Jason Kolb
  • adslfan

    are you afraid Michael Dell will fight you in an alley and beat you up and
    take away your wireless internet.
    he can probably do that. hes powerful and rich and still worth billions.
    kinda like dr.evil in austin powers. he can also buy starbucks every day
    and it won’t hurt him.

  • Angelos

    Mark F and PG – my first reaction too.

    So should I put “Pontiac” somewhere in the websites for my 2 businesses, and try to get some linkage?

    This could be really bad. I remember searching for parts and general info (to see if anyone else had the same problem) for my old RX-7, and there were dozens of “.ru” addresses (which I never click on, from past experience), and 100s of other useless ones.

    I guess if someone is smart enough to know what is garbage and what is not, they’ll just type anyway. But how many barely-computer-literate people will get curious, click somewhere else, and get hacked/botted? Great, that first blue link is But curiosity killed the cat, too.

    As crappy as AOL and Compuserve are/were, at least their Keywords were guranteed to take you to where the advertisement said. If this is Google’s attempt to recreate that same experience, it won’t end well.

  • Search Engines WEB

    That Google – Pontiac strategy has been going on since January.

    One possibility is, since Google is branching into Media Advertising, this could have been a special advertising partnership between Google and Pontiac.

  • MDensana
  • Bloe

    Come to think of it, it’s a way to track their TV advertising, since you can tell who googles it, clicks on the ad word at the top or off the search. Not sure what they find out or hoped to find out when they did it, but they can have some tangible measurement of how many people paid attento to the add

  • Gillespie Pontiac

    We have benefited tremendously from that commercial. In Chicago, the commercials say google Pontiac Chicago. We are on the first page of google for those keywords so it has been huge for us.

    Chicago Pontiac Dealer: Gillespie Pontiac Chicago IL, New Car Prices, Pontiac Pre-Owned Used Cars, Auto Financing & Service

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