Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Google Advertises Your Homepage Modules

Google has been spotted advertising a couple of Personalized Homepage gadgets in US Google results*. For example, when you search for joke of the day – note the gl=us parameter at the end to show US-results** – the top sponsored link right now is this:

Jokes on your Homepage
Add jokes and other gadgets to your
Google Homepage, free. Try it now!

Above AdWords ad will take you to Google’s “add module” URL... where they offer you to put a gadget onto your Google homepage. Other queries that worked here with the gl=us parameter appended were Sudoku Puzzle, Weather, and Hangman*** (which other gadget ads can you find?).

It’s interesting to note that Google does advertise their own service but not (or not exclusively) their own gadgets... these are third-party gadgets which now happen to end up being pushed by Google. That’s certainly an extra incentive for developers to use the Google modules framework over competitor’s products such as Netvibes or Pageflakes (certainly, Google doesn’t do this for altruist reasons). Stefan Juhl, the module developer who alerted me to these ads, puts it this way:

I’m not kidding you! Google has really begun to promote my website via adwords - FOR FREE. What makes this even better is that the ads also show up in adsense on my website, so I get paid to have my services promoted! I know this sounds unbelievable but it is true!

Just imagine the incredible new “SEO” possibilities. Say you have a website about weather, but you don’t have a big budget to spend $100s on AdWords. Now you can create a gadget that’s useful but also links to your weather site, one way or another****. You submit the gadget, wait a little, and maybe now have Google finance your AdWords campaign... and if you’re lucky, you’ll even appear in that blue box above the organic top result for in a Google search for “weather”. Stefan already noticed a “decent increase” in traffic to one of his websites, adding that gadget usage too “had increased significantly.”

*Well, at least I figure this must be Google advertising, as no one else ought to be allowed to display “” as address.

**Kudos to Ionut for telling me about that parameter!

***It’s amazing how many ads Google registered for other keywords, too. While figuring out a couple of modules they advertise, I hit on other Google-ads for keywords like sports, sms, chat. They sure eat their own dog food, though I got a suspicion it’s not the last time that there’ll be a discussion on how fair this practice is, considering they’re about the only ones who can use the “Google” keyword in ads, which may increase the percentage of people confusing the ad for an official search results (despite the “sponsored links” disclaimer and the distinctions in color and position that makes things so clear to searchers like us).

****Indeed for better or worse, many to most modules these days end up being glorified website promotions.


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!