Nya-nya Goooogle

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.

  • Cal

    I keep pointing out that affiliate advertising (pay for performance) pays far, far better than adsense and gives bloggers a great way of raising money by advertising products their readers might actually use, thus increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

    I see the value of branding at my own site. People are exposed as they read, which generates awareness about products and services. They make purchases they never planned on–wow, steaks on sale! And when they do make a planned sale, they are incorporating the information they’ve seen in ads over time.

    So I’m selling both product and awareness to my readers, and the payout is much better (relative to my size). I think my sales should receive much higher commissions than search engines, because my buyers weren’t in the market and bought anyway. And I’m also providing brand awareness–whether it’s Dell coupons, or dollar shipping at Overstock, or ebag Special Sundays. So when people want to buy, they’ve been primed with information about my advertisers.

    On the up side, I can pick quality merchants and there’s no negotiating or worry about my relatively small size. Everything’s free on my end, and I only get paid for sales.

    If more bloggers and forums would look into affiliate advertising, I think we could start to negotiate higher commissions for our part in increasing brand awareness. But even without that, there’s really no reason for bloggers not to look into pay for performance advertising. My site members are on target to purchase over $200K this year. That is, if I put up some ads–which I’m supposed to be doing right now, so back to work.

  • And I don’t know about others, but when I switched from Google to Yahoo, my income went up nearly 10 fold…same site, same content, same daily hits.

    Makes you go, hmm…

  • I am aware of at least one case where Google ads were subject to political censorship — the company refused to advertise a book that was critical of Democrats while carrying ads for a similar book that attacked Republicans.

    Such political partisanship would make me reluctant to do business with Google, or those who advertise with it.

  • Think38

    Google made many of its inroads by providing a search engine that delivered better results than most of its competitors. That engine is protected by one or more patents (at least in the US) that prohibits others from using it. But when the company starts activities that undermine the effectiveness of that engine, it erodes its own value. Why use google if you can’t trust its results? When it censors results in China, it makes me wonder whether it censors my search in the US. The result is that I now use other sites, and suspect that I will never go back.

  • Speaking of search engine problems, the Chinese above means “centrifugal fans” and is PageRank enhancing spam from a Chinese fan factory. Nice to see Buzzmachine going multilingual though.

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  • – this is similar in principle to what the chaps at blogads are up to, isn’t it? Though they’re not pulling any big brands in. I think at the moment most brands are being advised to get involved in the blogosphere as bloggers, not advertisers; right now the argument that they should be ‘part of a conversation’ is more common and more compelling than the argument that blogs have a reach/precision comparable to tried and tested channels – the most popular bloggers, after all, are the most opinionated, and they’re the ones that brands will be least comfortable jumping into bed with. Or even advertising with. Jeff’s right, though, that bloggers could self-organise to create something big advertisers are prepared to trust.

  • Uups. This bit, I mean: “If we in blogs get our acts together then we can form quality networks of trusted and targeted sites for the right advertisers”.

  • Google is just no more “no evil”. Once big money is involved it’s all about interests and making more money…