Scott Karp tickles the soft underbelly of big Google, saying that they can’t handle brand advertising and that their print ad program isn’t going well.
Ah, the irony. Google came along and made advertising into an honest, measurable, P&L business — and companies signed up in droves, to the tune of $6 billion. But there are many more billions of ad dollars that still play by the old, unmeasurable, smoke-and-mirrors “branding” rules.
So the irony is that Google is a victim of its own success — they’re so darn measurable and accountable that they have no idea how to play the brand advertising shell game.
I think he’s quite right. And I think the answer to that is relationships and trust. Google runs on sheer tonnage. Brand advertising is about trusted environments. If we in blogs get our acts together — see my Ad Age column suggesting how — then we can form quality networks of trusted and targeted sites for the right advertisers and gain value way ahead of what Google pays us for the coincidence of words on our pages. Which leads to his second point in an earlier post:
What if the Google proletariat were to suddenly rise up en masse and throw off the yoke of AdSense?
What if the masses of sites that only make a few bucks a day off of Google decide that the chump change isn’t worth being complicit in supporting Google’s hegemony?
What if we all tell AdSense to take a frigging hike and stop living off us like leeches?
So we have to give the brand advertisers what they want: standard and reliable measurement and quality they can trust and an easy means to negotiate and place ads.