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Monday, July 24, 2006

Google: The Online Pimp...

Here is a great example of a trend that I have been observing recently on many smaller and middle sized websites. This small dog website publisher is running AdSense on his site on all the pages. I am sure the reasons for this are many, including the fact that it bring targeted inventory, tools to sell their inventory, bringing many advertisers, and some website driven revenue.

But the downside to this is that the publisher really is making pennies on the dollar to what they could be making by really selling their brand and audience, and also the publisher has no control over the ads that show-up on their site. No matter what Google says, the publisher will have ads show-up that make no sense and/or are ads that the site may not want on the site. This concept does not make sense in today's Web 2.0 world of full user control and openness. Maybe Google should call their product AdNoSense.

The control over brand and advertisers has been a very big issue for larger sites, such as ESPN, NyTimes, and TvGuide for years now. This is one of the reasons these larger sites have been moving away from selling their unsold inventory via blinded networks or contextual networks.

Now the smaller publishers are realizing in this world of Web 2.0, that the value of the brand and user experience is much more important than the pennies that the AdNetworks or Google will bring in. Because of the lack of other options, the sites continue to leverage these tools, but it is clear they are making some hard choices.

Here is a great example of the dog site, which reaches a smaller targeted audience in the US, who is a current AdSense publisher. Because the site owner has no control over what ads are showing-up, but probably needs the few extra dollars per month, they have decided to put a disclaimer on all the ads...

Here is a quote under the AdSense ads: RE: Banners on this website, such as above: Be aware that neither controls their content, nor sanctions them.

The website owner has at least put on the site their disclaimer, it should say: 'Google gives us no control over what ads show-up on our own site. Not only do they take over 50% of the revenue generated via our visitors, but they also don't let us choose who will show-up on our own site. This does not seem like the motto 'Don't Be Evil' really is at play here, when you take a person's value they have worked hard on and give them no choices and take more than 50% of their money.

It seems like Google is in the Website Pimping business, not the search engine business.

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