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On Google Advertising Itself  (View post)

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, December 6, 2006
11 years ago9,357 views

>>Central Desktop says, “if you are trying to advertise a product that is competitive to Google, then you’ll never be able to receive the Top Ad Position, no matter how much money you bid and spend.”

Of course you can't beat them. It's their site and search engine, so you're going to get pointed to their offerings first. If you don't like it, don't use them. I don't see how that can be considered unfair. In fact, as a user of Google services I find that to be convenient.

Yahoo does the same thing (try searching mail, classifieds, answers, etc.)

It's a company that wants people to use their services. And if it became too obtrusive in pushing its own services, people could switch to competitors if they got annoyed.

egon [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I don't see how this is unfair either. In fact, I use this very thing to my advantage sometimes. In Firefox I just type in "calendar" and hit enter instead of searching for it or typing in "calendar.google.com" or whatever it is, and it brings me right there to Google calendar. People really need to quit complaining about stupid crap, there's nothing wrng with what they are doign. By this theory, carmakers should take all of their brand name badges off their vehicles.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Counterexamples.

books:


img67.imageshack.us/img67/4928 ...



intranet:


img234.imageshack.us/img234/86 ...



desktop:


img67.imageshack.us/img67/4377 ...

darthbob [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

My guess is that Google actually follows its on rules on buying keywords – and actually bids on them and maintains top position thru having the best effective cpm. Given the power of their brand they probably get great ctr's for anything they bid on.

Has anyone with a decent ctr tried to outbid google to see if they can secure the top position for any of their keywords?

John Honeck [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Perhaps they are just protecting the branding...

Seeing ads show up is so a part of the search experience that I'm thrown off when I do a search and it returns few ads. Maybe it's now to the point where if they leave it blank or show an inferior ad it's harming the user experience. Part of the quality guideline may say that for a search term of certain popularity, ie) Calender, we'd expect an advertiser to be willing to pay $X for that spot. If no such bidder exists they insert their own products because they know the landing page etc is what the searcher is looking for.

There is always discussion about ad blindness but perhaps they have done such a fine job branding the ads that without them we'd suffer a longing for them, unlike the ole' days with banner ads which would immediatly initiate a back-button response.

Steve [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Unlike Yahoo, Google didn't initially build its empire on email, news and calendar gadgets. As a former Yahooligan, I was drawn to their email, not their search, and the rest of their products soon followed. Google to me was nothing more than search. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there (few though they may be) who still believe that Google is just a search engine. How will they know about Google Calendar unless Google tells them? And why would they listen unless they're looking for it? For me, their top billing is completely justified and thinking that a competing company should be able to trump that seems a little arrogant.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I know those screenshots look kind of fuzzy, but if you click on any one of them you'll see the claims are false. Google is just an advertiser like anyone else.

[Up] blogoscoped.com/forum/78519.ht ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Good screenshots Ionut, you've disproven one crucial claim by Central Desktop.

Isaac Garcia [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Here are the screenshots that back-up my statements in the blog article I wrote:

centraldesktop.com/isaacgarcia ...

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

If you make a statement like:

"if you are trying to advertise a product that is competitive to Google, then you’ll NEVER be able to receive the Top Ad Position, no matter how much money you bid and spend."

and I prove you that someone had the top position ONCE even if Google was also in the list of ads for a competitive query, then your affirmation is FALSE, sir.

The antonym of NEVER is ONCE.

Isaac Garcia [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I based my article on the results of the screenshots I provided above.

Isaac

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Ionut, do you have a link that I might be able to follow from Germany to see those results on Google.com? Of course, you can also FTP-upload them to this blog, and just tell me you made them yourself.

And Isaac, while your screenshots may illustrate why you reached the wrong conclusion, you should also be able to admit that you were wrong... PROVIDED Ionut's screenshots are real. Anything else is like saying "because this dice rolled a 4 twice in a row, it can only roll 4s".

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

books:
google.com/search?q=books& ...

intranet (try to refresh):
google.com/search?q=intranet&a ...

desktop:
google.com/search?q=desktop&am ...

note the mysterious gl parameter that shows geolocated search results.

Isaac Garcia [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

whatever makes you happy

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Ionut, thanks, I tried your gl parameter earlier but didn't get any Google ads. Now it worked... I could see the Google ad was second. (Refreshing a couple of times switched the ads though, and the Google ad disappeared again.)

Isaac, wonder if you'll update your post with a correction (e.g. using <del>...</del>), not to make any of us happy, but for the sake of serving your readers the truth (as far as known & possible).

Isaac Garcia [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

While it may appear that international results may vary and differ (probably related to whether or not Google offers certain proucts in localized languages) I'm satisfied with the materials that I've provided that inspired me to write what I wrote last night.

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

You're satisfied with sensationalist inaccuracies?

/lk [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Isaac,

Even though what you wrote is wrong?

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Isaac, don't construe what people are saying as a personal attack. The point is what is really the case is you *often* won't get the top ad spot. But that doesn't mean never. This would make that statement inaccurate.

Never say never ;)

As for the localized languages you mentioned, in the US I am seeing both books and desktop showing non-Google ads/services in the top spot (a Lenovo ad appears for "desktop" and an amazon.com ad for "books"). It looks like you don't have screenshots for either of those, but they are valid counterexamples to the top spot claim. If you like, I can post the screenshots of them.

Isaac Garcia [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Update: This post was originally written around midnight 12/05/06. Perhaps my search queries for the keywords listed above yielded Google Ads in more premium positions b/c other Bidder's AdWords accounts were largely used up throug the bulk of the day? It's 9pm 12/06/06 and Google is consistently appearing in the 1st or 2nd ad position (mainly 1st) for all of the search queries listed above with the exceptions of "start page", "dining" and "restaurants" which are not yielding any Google Ads at all.

I think many of you are missing the point completely. My concern lies in the fact that Google is trumping top bidding ads with their own product ads. This is unethical and potentially an abuse of power/position. Think of it as "AdWord insider trading." This does not occur on any of the other major search engine.

Sure, I'm free to take my business somewhere else (I'm not though b/c Google continues to yield positive results for us), I understand that. But the point is not about what I'm able to do....but everything to do with the false-sense of security that many naive advertisers (and from the likes of the comments I've received, naive users) might have about how the system works.

Isaac

Ryan Rollinson [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I think the point is, though, that Google isn't "trumping" anyone's AdWords placements. It appears that they're simply inserting their own text-ads into the AdWords rotation for relevant search terms. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that, while currency may not change hands, Google does internally account for those ad placements when they're determining profitability for their services. For example, if Gmail brings in $X in revenue through context ads, and costs $Y to operate (hosting, personnel, etc.), they track the $Z that the AdWords placements in Google search results for Gmail are worth, and subtract that amount from its revenue when determining how "profitable" Gmail actually is.

It would be unreasonable to expect any company to deliver its competitors' ads in a more prominent position than its own--does the New York Times put a Washington Post ad on its front page? I doubt that if you searched Yahoo! for "mail," you'd find a Gmail search listing above either a search result or ad for Yahoo! Mail. Same with MSN and the Windows Live services. I think it's admirable that Google allows ads for competing products *at all*; the fact that (as the above screenshots prove) they often/occasionally/sometimes even deliver competitors' AdWords results ABOVE their own is downright Googl-ish of them!

As for the "NEVER" controversy, I think that refusing to acknowledge that you've been proven wrong is a little cowardly, not to mention damn near libelous.

Ali McMillan [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Checked Yahoo --

You only see "Gmail" if you explicitly search for "Gmail." Nothing referring to Gmail appears in any search results for "mail".

Obviously there's no google ads in Yahoo's ad service. I doubt they buy any space on it.

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Thanks for pointing out the counterexamples, Ionut.

I'm not familiar with this particular issue, but my guess is that darthbob is correct.

Stefan Juhl [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I believe I was once told by one from the Adsense team that they're actually paying the search department for the use of search in "adsense for search". Unfortunately I couldn't find any info on this at the moment. But if it is so I'd expect that different Google departments pays for those ads.

It would be logical if each department have their own budgets and need to "make their own money" as well as pay for adwords since it would otherwise mean that a non-profitable department could make Google lose adwords revenue.

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

11 years ago #

I don't know how google handles this, but in many big business it's a common practice that one departement has to pay for the service of another departement.

So for example the IT departement has to pay the Backoffice for writing the bills. And I think the google Calendar Departement has enough money to bid for the top position. If they have not enough money of their own the finance departement of the holding(I assume google is a holding) can give them a credit in order to help google calendar get a better start and bring in a ROI earlyier.

John Honeck [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Is it unethical for GE to advertise lightbulbs on an NBC TV show? Does that ad push other advertisers out of the spot?

I'd say no. And as Stephan Locher points out its common business practice for one business unit/division/office to pay for the services of another.

Nothing to see here folks.

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Hi Ionut,

Try to search for "chat" on google.fr where for french people it means chat for chatting or chat for a cat.

After searching this word on google, you can see that google advertise for all video.google.com cats' movies hehe.. :)

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Yes. It points here: video.google.fr/videosearch?q= ... .

Tres jolie.

Brandon Lockaby [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I like it, because it makes the sponsored links look more qualified, telling customers that they're there to help :)

pacificdave [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

And the confirmation:

adwords.blogspot.com/2006/12/g ...

I found this most interesting especially after following this thread.

Andrew Hitchcock [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

This forum is famous!

mattcutts.com/blog/im-on-debun ...

:)

pacificdave [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Yeah, that was a pretty good post by Matt. I don't think it was meant to be funny but I was kind of chuckling afterwards.

Dave J [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Isaac Garcia said, "I think many of you are missing the point completely."

I think you are the one missing the point. You made an absolute statement ("never"), which has been disproved by numerous examples. Your refusal to retract your statement and change it to "often" or "usually" or some other non-absolute statement erodes your credibility and dillutes your entire message.

What you are trying to say (about Google monopolizing top positions many times) may have some validity. But because you refuse to back down from your absolute statement, no one will listen to the rest of your message because you come across an an extremist who refuses to back down even after being shown what he has said is inaccurate. The longer you insist on an absolute position that has been shown to be wrong, the more credibility you will continue to lose.

Look at what the people have been saying in their posts. They admit that very often Google ads appear at the top. Yet everyone focuses on the few times your assertion is proved wrong.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

(Dave – Isaac did post an update to his post by now, and in this thread.)

Jared Barden [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

If Google is bidding against you for a certain keyword, and the money they spend goes right back into Google, that strikes me as a little unfair.

How do you compete with Google in terms of ad spend if you really want your keyword to gain the #1 position and Google is bidding against you? That could get awfully costly.

I do think that Isaac's original assumption is flat out wrong, but I do feel that it is a slightly unfair advantage on Google's part. But it is their system, and they are free to do what they want.

John Honeck [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Obviously Google wants to maximize income, it's their nature as a publically traded company.

Transfering funds from the Calender department to the Adwords department doesn't add to that income. If anything it costs them money as they've pushed a paying advertiser out of the mix. I'd be more inclined to believe that they would have their ads be put in last as a minimum threshhold, if they don't get enough high quality ads to fill the spot they'll push theirs.

One could argue that they are playing in this just to drive up prices of the other bidders, therefor balancing out the loss of one ad in the column. As ockham's razor would predict, wouldn't it just be easier for them to modify the adwords algo for the entire system than play games with bidding on a few keywords to raise income?

With all this in mind, I'd have to speculate that they are playing by the same rules as everyone else, as the benefits to it being any different are few. If they just wanted adspace, they could slop on the top of everything anyway (see Yahoo) or fill the PSAs with google ads when no other's are appropriate. If they wanted to drive up costs to other publishers, they already have a mechanism to do that with the twist of a knob.

Lawyer [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I hope google sues you for slander/liable! Because that is exactly what you have done. Correct the information!

Jason Grant [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Hi guys,

Please note one thing here (very interesting post by the way):

The 'books' example returns Amazon as the top result (if anyone can compete on 'books' keyword with Google (whose Book program is in very early stages) then it is the biggest online book retailer in the history of the human kind.

For the 'desktop' query we get Lenovo as the company above Google. Now that is fine as Lenovo produce hardware and not software, hence we get Google in the most relevant position (second) since desktop software is something you can only get after you get the hardware (either way these are non-competitive services).

For the 'intranet' keyword you got Google as second option in the sponsored links. I don't know why Google should be in this one at all (please shed some light on this one)? Either way you also are getting a non-competative link to what Intranet is to Wikipedia there, so I am not sure what these examples are supposed to prove or show.

Can someone enlighten me here please?

Thanks,

Jason
www.flexewebs.com

Lawyer [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I hope they ban your adsense account as well for illegal acts- Slander/Liable

You violated adsense TOS!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Jason, searching from Germany I get www.adenin.de as only top ad. Refreshing, the ad disappears completely. Results often differ from time to time and in different places. Which Google URL do you see being advertised for "intranet"?

Jason Grant [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Organic search: Wikipedia link for Intranet.

Sponsored links only crop up every now and then on top (side links link to all sorts of non-Google places – never got a Google sponsored link for this key word). I am not sure why I should get Google sponsored link for 'Intranet'?

Thanks,

Jason
www.flexewebs.com

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Well, the ad for the Google for Your Domain service (as seen in Ionut's screenshots) makes sense for "intranet"... or at least, it's connected, because it can be a company homepage.

Jason Grant [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

This is a VERY interesting one in my opinion. This is a great example of Google using AdWords directly in competition with Microsoft (over their own product!).

google.com/search?q=ie7&gl ...

I have also made some test cases from my own side at this location:

flexewebs.com/102.html

Perhaps it is worth having a comment or two there as well.

Thanks,

Jason

James [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

So much for "don't do evil"

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

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