Devin Reams did some fancy math-o-matics and found that Google actually runs a higher percentage of ads on search results than MySpace does on its home page. Google, with much more available space ( 1,012,000 pixels) runs 277,475 pixels of ads, or 27.4%, while MySpace has both less space (640,000 pixels) and fills 24.3% (or 155,700 pixels) of it with ads.
And yet, is it even a question which website has more annoying ads? Or which website pulls in billions of ad revenue? Looks like Google, by not annoying the hell out of the user, is getting rewarded with megabucks, while MySpace can be an eyesore. Check out Devin’s screenshots to see the difference.
The message to all publishers? Respect your readers, and they’ll respect your need to earn a paycheck.
Google has opened up its AdWords print ad program to all AdWords publishers, beginning the first auction of adspace in 28 magazines. The first auction ends February 20, and covers specific issues coming sometime between May and September. The magazines are divided into three categories:
Car and Driver
Road and Track
Sport Compact Car
Martha Stewart Kids
Martha Stewart Living
Women’s Health & Fitness
OXM - Official Xbox Magazine
The Inside AdWords blog says:
… bid on full, ½, and ¼ page ad units. The deadline to submit a bid is February 20th, after which your bid will compete against other advertisers’ bids to appear on the publication’s page. Similar to the online AdWords auction, you’ll never pay more than the maximum price you set, and you may end up paying even less. After the auction closes, we’ll contact the winning bidders and work with them to deliver print-ready ads to the relevant publishers. For more information, be sure to check out our FAQ too.
The FAQ shows the ad sizes:
For the moment, you can’t specify the position on the page. Google is running a very big text here, encompassing close to 90 individual magazine issues and an unknown amount of space. If this program is successful, well, I don’t need to tell you how big a deal that could be. The stock market should be watching this one very closely.
UPDATE: Inspired by Philipp, I bid on ¼ page ads in every tech publication on the list, on the off chance the bids are actually low. I might bid higher, but I doubt it, unless people want to take up a collection. I guess we could test if print advertising is actually at all useful.
As reported by Ars Technica, the telco and cable industry are trying to coopt the concept of network neutrality, saying that their multi-tiered broadband is somehow part of it, and not the problem for which neutrality is the solution. Basically, telcos are saying that they can charge extra fees for “Quality of Service” for certain services, and that will be neutral because it allows everyone to use the same internet pipeline, but those who need more of it can pay for that.
Isn’t that the same thing they were saying a week ago? Users pay for a pipeline. If their services are not getting the full speed of the pipeline, a pipeline they pay a monthly fee for, then they are not getting the services as promised. I don’t see how the telcos can charge extra for QoS and say they aren’t delivering a lower quality of service for everyone else, and I don’t know how a telco can claim to be delivering a certain number of megabits per second and deliver less, and not be cheating the customer.
This is going to be a long fight, I predict. Neither side is backing down as long as there is this much at stake.
Byron Dorgan (D-ND) sided with Google and echoed their claim about payment.
Referring to a recent Washington Post report in which a Verizon executive said Google and others shouldn’t expect to enjoy a “free lunch” on its pipes, Dorgan said such reasoning was flawed. “It is not a free lunch…(broadband subscribers have) already paid the monthly toll…Those lines and that access is being paid for by the consumer.”
As we have pointed out in previous coverage of the issue, the telcos have largely backed away from any ideas about degrading or limiting Internet service. Instead, their plan seems to call for the creation of a multi-tiered Internet experience, where users could pay additional fees for quality of service (QoS) guarantees on certain services in order to ensure better performance. The network operators claim that this model preserves the idea of network neutrality because they would do nothing to hinder regular traffic or prevent access to any services. You may recall that this was the exact model proposed by entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who argues that it is fairer to everyone by letting those who require QoS guarantees pay for the privilege of having them—much as a shipping service charges more for guaranteed overnight delivery, but will still deliver a package for far less if you are willing to wait.
Expect network operators in both the telco and cable industries to continue spreading FUD about network neutrality even as they pledge to accept it. Consumers are unlikely to see any obviously abrasive measures taken by the network owners (such as blocking or degrading Vonage, for instance, or slowing access to Google), but are likely to start seeing offers to “upgrade” their Internet experience with some type of preferred QoS offerings that would come on top of their monthly access charge. If done right, this would not necessarily be a bad thing, but it is certainly an area to watch closely. The reality might turn out to be that several years down the road, default Internet packages will indeed be network neutral, but will also be wholly undesirable.
Google shares slipped $17 on reports that Google was thinking of paying a billion dollars to Dell to bundle its software. Under the plan, Dell would preinstall Google’s Toolbar and Desktop suite on 100 million computers, with Google paying as much as $1 billion over three years in fees. The Journal explains one of Google’s other deals, with HP:
Google pays it $1 for every PC that ships with a Google toolbar — a strip that sits atop a browser and enables users to easily operate Google’s search engine — and another 75 cents the first time a home-computer user taps the service, says a person familiar with the matter.
We can say all we want about viral marketing and how great the Google brand is, but if Google has to pay a billion freakin’ dollars, then maybe that whole word-of-mouth thing isn’t working as much as we’d like to thing. Google prides itself on growing out of quality, but it looks like installations of its software aren’t reaching the levels they expected. I never thought I’d see the day where Google had to buy customers.
This is exactly the sort of thing we’d expect from Microsoft, but we get it from Google. I can only hope that at least the deal is only for Windows XP PCs, as Google’s desktop search and sidebar in Vista would just be redundant and confusing to users.
As you can see in the snippets below, it looks like this all happened after a bidding war with Microsoft. Is it possible Microsoft’s new strategy is to get Google to “win” bidding wars and tear through its war chest as quickly as possible? Together with the AOL deal, aggressive bidding with Microsoft has cost Google five billion dollars, or 82% of its entire revenue for 2005.
Considering the same software Google is paying a billion dollars for will be on ever Vista PC, the only real loser here is AskJeeves, which previously had a similar deal with Dell.
Bob Kaufman, a spokesman for Dell, the world’s leading personal computer maker, said his company is evaluating Google software that PC customers could use to search both the public Web and for local information stored on their PCs.
“We can confirm that we are running a test with Google that could include a Google-powered Dell home page, Google desktop search and a Google Toolbar,” Kaufman told Reuters.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said Dell and Google are in talks to put Google software on as many as 100 million new Dell PCs following a bidding process in which Google edged out Microsoft and after Yahoo Inc. withdrew.
By some estimates, for Google to win broad product placement for its search software on major PC makers could require it to jack up customer acquisition costs by hundreds of millions of dollars from nearly zero now, analysts said.
“Where do you find almost 90% gross margins?” Hoefer & Arnett analyst Martin Pyykkonen asked, referring to Google’s current highly profitable business. “If it costs you more to acquire traffic, it could hurt margins,” he said.
Older Dell products used MyWay as the default search provider. The change to Google will probably kill off about 1/2 to 1/3 of Ask Jeeves reach.
The Wall Street Journal also notes that on top of Google wanting to load up their software they also want the default search box in Dell’s Internet Explorer browsers to point at Google
I may have rushed this one. While the issue exists, it appears that a large number of people do not have this problem. Understand that while reading this, and read the update at the end.
Possibly the most important thing web developers need to learn about Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 beta is that it breaks one of their favorite advertising options: Google AdSense.
I noticed this today, that none of my ads were appearing in IE7. Considering that by the end of the year, IE7 should be available for almost all versions of Windows, unless Microsoft wants to face the ire of developers everywhere, it had better fix this. According to a poster at Digital Point, the bug is not evident in the version of Internet Explorer in Windows Vista build 5270.
Oh, and Chitika doesn’t work either.
UPDATE: I’m also seeing those ad links within articles, the ones that hotlink random words to useless ads, not working in IE7. Example on this page.
UPDATE: According to Robert Scoble in the comments below:
This is NOT intentional behavior. The IE 7 team is working on this as we speak. Remember, this isn’t even a full beta. It’s an inbetween test release so that we can find things like this that don’t work right.
I also received an email from Google PR, and they said:
If you want to view Gmail on a mobile phone or similar device click here.
A warning: When you reset IE7, you lose everything. You lose history, temporary files, stored passwords, home page, every freakin’ thing, except your favorites. So be prepared if you do.
So, while not everyone is going to have this problem, others have, and have expressed their fears that many of their visitors will never see their ads. I doubt a large enough number of people will have this problem, at least not enough to seriously affect people’s livelihoods.
Google has hired away Udi Manber, chief algorithms officer at Amazon’s A9 and former Yahoo chief scientist. Lately, not only is Google the resume delivering spot of choice for big brains with new degrees, but they’ve been scoring some of the top talent at their competitors as well.
A9, while not exactly threatening the big 5 search engines, has gotten great press (and accolades from myself) for innovations on interface and leadership in collaboration with other search engines as part of the OpenSearch program, and I’m sure the loss of Udi will hurt. He is replaced by Intel VP David Tennenhouse.