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Google's Undisclosed Movie/ Self Promotion  (View post)

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

Monday, July 16, 2007
12 years ago6,223 views

I also get this in the UK:


mrrix32.googlepages.com/borne. ...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Just to add to that, it only seems to appear in the UK if you use Google.co.uk.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

The UK URL works from Germany too (I see everything except Mrrix's question mark icon, which I guess is some Firefox extension?):

google.co.uk/search?hl=en& ...

With Google.co.uk it works for [jason bourne] as well as [bourne ultimatum], [bourne supremacy] and [bourne identity].

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Well, it's clearly not a search result. The blue background is not the same as for AdWords and it's not disclosed as an ad. So it's more like a promo. If you look at the URL, you'll notice this parameter: oi=prbx. prbx could mean "promotion box".

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Yeah sorry the question mark is the "Site Advisor" extension (I think)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Ionut: it's a search result, it's just not an organic web search result. But that's all a matter of definition, of course. I think your logic is "search results are neutral; this isn't neutral, so it's not a search result." But search results aren't always neutral. And when Google is trying to sell ads, for instance, they will tell you that they're happy to include what they call "paid search results" (e.g. Lauren Turner's post google-health-ads.blogspot.com ... ; also see google.com/adwords/learningcen ... , which talks about differentiating between a "paid or unpaid search result"). Google also calls their image previews on top of organic web results a "result" at google.com/help/interpret.html . But in the end, what matters isn't what Google says elsewhere, what matters is what they tell the user who's looking at anything inbetween that upper and lower "results" bar, because it should be disclosed as something else if it is indeed meant to be something else. And the Bourne result isn't disclosed as something else.

On another note, Google also sometimes "forgets" to disclose their AdSense as ads. I'm currently trying to reach their AdSense support over this, because it looks really bad and happened on this site (and when you start to add your own disclosure on top of AdSense, then it will be redundant most of the time because *usually* Google discloses AdSense as such).


blogoscoped.com/files/blogtv-a ...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I thought you couldn't buy search rankings

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

It may be not an an organic web search result, but it looks just like normal one-box result, and since Google show movie thumbnails it looks very similar to organic result too – it has a blue underlined title, two lines of description, a thumbnail on the left, link to the video with a "+" icon and a green URL. Very hard for average user to distinguish. And no disclaimer what so ever.
I'm suppressed, to be honest, I thought Google was stronger about it ideas, than that. I think that's an another signed of worse, more big-corporate like times for Google. That just shows you that you shouldn't relay on any company's good intentions and nice image, because things change very quickly as companies get bigger.

DaveH [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I made a help group for the game:

groups.google.com/group/ultima ...

feel free to use it once it gets rolling.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google now sent me the following statement (though it doesn't really explain anything):

"Google is continually testing ways of providing users with opportunities to access Google products and the blue box around the Bourne Ultimatum is an example of that."

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think all big corporations have a department that makes up paragraphs which sound important but convey minimal information.

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I can't see it on any of the links anymore. I think maybe its been taken away.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Ah, thanks James, updated the post...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

No problem, I wonder if it was related to your message Philipp?

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

It still shows up here:
google.com/search?q=bourne+ult ...

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Sh*t!

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Yep, and here: google.co.uk/search?q=bourne+u ...

Looks like they have just restricted which search terms will trigger it.

Elliotte [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

A comment on your update, Phillip: "It’s possible Google disabled this now – I can’t reproduce this anymore on any of the query variants that worked earlier today. If so, it’s good Google listens to feedback."

Yes, I agree that it is good that Google listens to feedback. But I still have to question why such a "result" ever appeared in that manner, to begin with. It seems so blatantly, so apparently against everything Google has ever stood for.. it should have been internally obvious to Google not to do something like that from the very start.

So why did it happen at all? What kind of people is Google hiring nowadays, that they don't really understand this fundamental Google premise? Or is Google purposely, slowly, consciously trying to change the public's acceptance of what was formerly an "evil" tactic, by gradually introducing things of this nature?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

(Added another update...)

Rob [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Search for a movie and get a link to a promotion the producers are running in something that's visually obvious to not be a search result... holy cow?

CVOS [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I remember back in the 90's when excite.com would sell its top 'organic ' rankings to advertisers.

excite.com hasn't done much since.

mbegin [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

It nows says "Google Promotion" in the upper right corner of the blue box...

google.com/search?q=bourne+ult ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Search for a movie and get a link to a promotion
> the producers are running in something that's
> visually obvious to not be a search result... holy
> cow?

It *is* a search result, Rob – it just happens to be a promotional search result. And it is a paid result (an ad), by all means, as an exchange of goods took place – Google in return received a product placement of Google in the movie "The Bourne Ultimatum". In other words, Universal Pictures offered a piece of the 'artistic neutrality' in return of Google handing out a piece of the 'information access neutrality' of search results... and do you really think a blue background color alone will communicate all this to the majority of users? And whereas movie product placement simply suck, I don't think the makers of the movie ever provided public statements like the following from Google's Sergey Brin:

<<It’s an important issue, something people should be concerned about. We’re dedicated to separating advertising and search results, and we want people to understand the distinction. The more awareness among the entire world’s people about these questions – their ability to understand results that are tainted versus those that are not – the better. It’s not enough for us to improve the search engine so it provides better results from more web pages>>

* hollywoodreporter.com/hr/conte ...

** google-watch.org/playboy.html

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> It nows says "Google Promotion" in the upper right corner
> of the blue box...

I'll add another update to the post now...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google press support followed-up with another email to tell, <<we just added a "Google Promotion" label to the blue results box triggered by the Bourne Ultimatum [linked] to make it more clear that this is not one of our objective search results or an ad, but an experiment promoting Google products.>>

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

"Objective search results"; I like that term, because it makes it clear that other search results are not objective.

In contrast, the opposite of "Organic search results" would be "Inorganic search results", and only a small percentage of the population care about organic things.

(Yeah, I know, even the objective search results are the result of subjective criteria).

Kid Croesus [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Regarding this quote:

<<Yes, I agree that it is good that Google listens to feedback. But I still have to question why such a "result" ever appeared in that manner, to begin with. It seems so blatantly, so apparently against everything Google has ever stood for.. it should have been internally obvious to Google not to do something like that from the very start.
So why did it happen at all? What kind of people is Google hiring nowadays, that they don't really understand this fundamental Google premise? Or is Google purposely, slowly, consciously trying to change the public's acceptance of what was formerly an "evil" tactic, by gradually introducing things of this nature?>>

I think this is unfair...Google has become a huge corporation and every corporation has turnover – it will be increasingly difficult to disseminate every corporate policy to every new Googler...have you worked in a big company? It is hard enough to know what everyone is doing in a 30 person company, much less a 10,000 person company. This is probably the result of some Hollywood deal maker business development guy, who doesn't realize that he has crossed an admittedly blurry line.

When you get to this size, the measure of a company (or government, or armed forces) is not whether you make mistakes, but how you deal with them. As long as they keep trying to do the right thing, we should forgive them their trespasses.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> It is hard enough to know what everyone is doing
> in a 30 person company, much less a 10,000
> person company. This is probably the result of
> some Hollywood deal maker business
> development guy, who doesn't realize
> that he has crossed an admittedly blurry line.

I wonder if there is some central team watching over "search results integrity" though. (Google/ a Google employee once said they do have a team working on Universal Search/ integration aspects.) I mean, while there's 10,000+ employees, it would seriously surprise me if all of those have the power or tools to change something within the search results... so this change seems to have been approved by *some* team/ person within Google who's watching over SERPs, right? And that key person or team – if such person/ team exists – did a strange decision.

Plainly put I think if Google doesn't want to continue ruining their own image they should not allow Hollywood type deal makers to have the power to fiddle with SERPs. (So far if you look at the still minimalist homepage, those type of business deal makers still don't have the last word within Google, or that homepage would have turned into a blinking portal long ago.)

Elliotte [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

>I think this is unfair...Google has become a huge corporation and >every corporation has turnover – it will be increasingly difficult to >disseminate every corporate policy to every new Googler...have you >worked in a big company? It is hard enough to know what everyone is >doing in a 30 person company, much less a 10,000 person company.

Yes, and to echo Philipp's comments above.. there is a difference between some new hire somehow not receiving the memo about how sponsored and organic search results should be clearly and properly labeled... and that same new hire going out and somehow being able to change production code, so that the normal "sponsored links" text that appears inside a colored box above the SERPs somehow disappears. For someone with enough power at Google to change that box NOT to know what Google's policies are, is a pretty grave corporate error.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

My question to Google:

-------
You once said, "our ads are created and managed under the exact same guidelines, principles, practices and algorithms as the ads of any other advertiser. Likewise, we use the very same tools and account interface".
adwords.blogspot.com/2006/12/g ...

Can you tell me how you created the "Google Promotion" which is attached? I want to see if I, as another advertiser, can create the same promotion for my own products.


blogoscoped.com/files/bourne-u ...


-------

They answered this:

<<The Bourne Ultimatum promotion is not an ad, but one of the many tests we run to provide users with opportunities to access Google products. Independent of this promotion, Universal is running paid AdWords advertisements on Google.com to promote the movie and the online game.

This is a collaboration to develop a new, more engaging form of movie promotion based on our mutual areas of expertise. Universal offers content while Google provides engaging consumer technology. For The Ultimate Search for Bourne with Google, Google built and implemented the platform and Universal Picture and Big Spaceship built the game. In general, we choose to work on projects that enhance user access to our products and services and which we feel enhance the user's web experience. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on our specific screening criteria for potential collaborations>>

Google links to Answers.com for definitions of "promotion", among them:
"Advertising; publicity."
"Single element of an advertising campaign"
"Selling techniques, including advertising, printing, and salesperson commissions."

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

LOL, "this movie promotion is not an advertisement its errr--- a promotion". I love that! ;)
But seriously, as you said above Google advertised their own services using normal Google adwords – it would be much more normal to make a special cross-promotion there, than to use special rules to advertise some commercial movie and say that everything is ok, because they decided to not call it an ad.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Why did they have to make the game all flash? The Da Vinci code game was great and it worked the very first time I played.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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