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The Almighty Buck

Google Allows Sponsored Rankings...In Ads 234

Posted by Hemos
from the not-that-big-a-deal dept.
A number of written that the sky is fallen because Google is allowing sponsored rankings. Of course, if you read the article it's the sponsored links on the right side of the page - where the ads have always been.
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Google Allows Sponsored Rankings...In Ads

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  • *yawn* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:37PM (#3036147)
    Boy, people are really stupid.

    I mean... what do these idiots want -- everyone to be listed randomly in the advertising section of each page, regardless of how much they paid? That just ain't the way advertising works.

    I actually find the advertising useful on google.com. Hell, when I was searching for flower delivery companies online with google during vday week, I wasn't sure who to go with -- but the advertising results gave me several great options and I wound up using two of them.

    • well if you actually use these ads you should support outcomes based on relevance values, not user-irrelevant data such as contribution amount.

      • well if you actually use these ads you should support outcomes based on relevance values, not user-irrelevant data such as contribution amount.

        That's what the search results and the directory are for. They are what draw in the visitors and provide value. The advertisements are presented seperately from the results and are the source of income which make the ranked results possible. Like the previous poster said, that's how advertising works. If you want prominant placement of your ads, you pay a premium.

        ---
        Extra! Extra! Read all about it [slashdot.org]! Slashdot editors censor dissenters [slashdot.org].
      • Re:*yawn* (Score:2, Interesting)

        by neuroticia (557805)
        Like the guy before me said, that's what the search results are for. Personally, I like Google's ads. The search results they provide often fall within the spectrum of what I'm looking for, and are worth checking out. If they don't, then I can freely ignore them and move on. They take up so little of the page.

        I find Google's practice MUCH more appealing than banner ads, search results that have been paid for and that aren't clearly identified as sponsored or "advertisement", or worst yet- popups/popunders.

        -Sara
      • Re:*yawn* (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nelsonal (549144)
        Only successful companies can continue to advertise. You didn't see many .com ads during the superbowl, did you? Amount spent advertising can be a user relevant piece of information. Except for ads paid for with VC funds, which ended pretty quickly anyway. A long period of advertising signals that a company is a mature business, with profits and should be around for some time.
      • Re:*yawn* (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MadAndy (122592)
        That's what they're doing. The news article doesn't give an accurate impression of what's happening. Google chooses which ad appears on top, no matter how much you offer to pay. And as usual Google chooses by relevancy and click-thru count - so the ads that float to the top are those that the Google's visitor is most likely to want to see.

        The only difference is that the ads that do happen to appear at the top get charged more, which is fair enough, as they're appearing in a more effecitve space. The ads are still text-only, fast loading and still reasonably unobtrusive. And this is geared solidly towards showing relevant ads only, which is good for everybody.

        The reason I don't often click on ads these days is because I don't want another credit card, have no interest in yet another casino or any of the other ads we've already seen over and over again. Anything that introduces more variety and relevance in advertisers is a great move in my book.

      • Re:*yawn* (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Zathrus (232140)
        Yes, because when you search for "Floral Delivery" then obviously the absolute top match is the one company you want to use.

        Uh huh.

        This is exactly the kind of search where web ads are useful. Google only display's relevant ads (you're not going to get an ad for computer hardware in the middle of that hunt for flowers... barring pretty, fluffy floral computer cases), so it actually gives you additional information - the companies that are big enough to afford advertising and who you may want to do business with (or, alternately, who you may want to avoid because you want to give your business to a smaller company).

        Like many others, I fail to see anything to complain about with this. It makes logical sense from all three points of view - Google's, advertisers, and searchers.
    • two of them? one for your wife - one for your mistress?
      .
      • I want to be able to sort posts by funny, insightful etc.

        To see funny (or whichever you want) posts, go into your preferences and give a +6 bonus to comments rated funny and -6 penalty to all others (adjust as you see fit) then view comments rated 5. Crude but effective. I guess it's effective; I haven't tried it. =)
  • by lw54 (73409) <lance.woodson@com> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:38PM (#3036150)
    Under a new feature scheduled to launch Tuesday night, the rankings of a search engine devoted to advertisers will be determined in part by how much Web sites offer to be listed in specific categories.

    Before, all advertisers paid a set fee and were randomly displayed in random order. Now there highest paying customers are shown first.

    While I wish they didn't do this, as it affects our advertising budget, I think this is logical and I support their decision to make money. After all, if google doesn't make money, they'll go under and we'll all lose access to the best search engine.

    • by bentini (161979) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:57PM (#3036244)
      Actually, it's even better than you describe it. The highest paying customers are probably shown first. However, they also factor in how good the pages are (as judged by how many people click-through the links), so the most popular pages are shown first, even over money. Therefore, if I search for a product name: say, purify (a program to check C code dynamically), and there are 10 people who have paid more than that company to sell products branded purify that are not at all what I or anyone else want (spam spam spam spam), it still won't show up.
      They've instituted a safeguard so not only is spamming not useful, it's barely an option. The items that people are most often interested in are the ones that you'll see most prominently.
      Go Google!
      • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @12:59AM (#3036572)
        The old system was CPM, you paid per thousand impressions. The new system that they added on top of the old system is CPC, you pay for the clickthrough.

        In Overture (goto.com, renamed) you are ranked by bid. If I want to close out a category, I can try to sneak in some irrelevant links (irrelevant with poor wording, for example) to minimize clickthroughs. I've still blocked a space from the competitor, but I likely pay little because I won't get clicked on.

        The reason that this makes sense for Google is purely economic. Right now, in popular categories, their adwords are over-subscribed because people can't win the search terms. In unpopular categories, people just optimize for Google and get in the real results, not paying for ads.

        A CPC deal allows much cheaper rates for unpopular terms (5 cents/click compared to 8-12 cents per impression based upon placement), while allowing competitive categories to be bid up.

        However, the click-pop isn't a user-benefit, it's a Google benefit. The old system moved the clicked on ads to the top (where Google charged more, but you got better clickthrough so it was fine). The new system takes into account your CPC bid and click throughs.

        That makes sense. If I am willing to pay 10 cents a click but get twice as many clicks as your 15 cent ad, I pay Google more per page, so Google wants to run my ad.

        The real system is likely not that simple, because Google's bid-protection automatically down-bids you to be 1 cent above the person below you. Therefore, like on Ebay, you can bid the max that you are willing to pay.

        It's an intelligent system. Google is entitled to run ads. Their advertisements are clearly marked as ads and separated from the editorial. The problem with search engine ads isn't that they run ads, or even targetted ads, its that the search engines intentionally try to confuse you as to what you are getting. The other problem is the bait-and-switch strategy. Several meta-searches built up user bases by giving great results with intelligent use of the engines. Once they got users, they switched to completely CPC systems to leverage their userbase until they got fed up and left.

        Repeat after me, there is nothing morally wrong with ads. Poorly done ads that slow my connection make me leave your site, but I haven't been robbed. Making money is not morally wrong.

        Alex
    • I don't believe it's been random (as you described) for awhile, if ever. Well, the initial placement (say if 25 widget manufacturers advertisers simultaneously place ads to fall under searches for widgets), is an equal rotation, but for awhile now, the practice has been to place ads with higher "click-thru" rates over time higher.

      So if the Widgets R Us' ad is getting the most click-thrus by users looking for widgets, then their ad would start appearing at the top of the list.

      It's a sort of ad-relevance ranking that fit pretty well with the general google page-rank method I think.

      I'm not opposed to google allowing ppl to pay more for better ad placement in that right column--i don't feel like it interferes, misleads, blah blah blah etc. with the quality of my searches. the right column of ads is clearly distinct from the search results. it's not like they're allowing ads to masquerade as search results.
    • I found your comments highly ironic considering you have what appears to be a plain text sig, but is actually a link :)

  • Waste of Space (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Drinahn (555664)
    This would only be worthy of comment if it were actually worrying. ie if a given company's pages were ranked higher due to payments to google rather than doc relevance.


    Given that it isn't the case, this isn't worthy of comment.


    Hold on! I've commented! Damn!

  • Product Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by piersevent (201870) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:41PM (#3036163) Homepage

    For crying out loud people, here's the link [google.com]

    • Re:Product Link (Score:3, Informative)

      by trenton (53581)
      Yeah, and it's wrong. The story has more recent info. From your link:
      You can't be locked out.

      Ads go up instantly. Your clickthrough rate and CPC together determine where your ads are shown, so better ads rise to the top. That means no one can lock you out of the top position.

      But, according to the article, you can pay to get better placement. The dude with more cash will get better placement. Or, at least, that's how I read it.
      • Ahh.. but yo bid on the click through price. Meaning, an ad that bits 10cents with a 10% clickthrough is worth the same as an add that bits $1 with a 1% clickthrough rate.

        If the first person bids 11cents, they've now locked out the person paying much more.

        So, no, you can't get locked out strictly on price. You have to suck as well.
  • by EricKrout.com (559698) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:43PM (#3036167) Homepage
    I don't see why you linked to another search engine for the story.

    You could have simply gotten the information from the horse's mouth [google.com].

    Linking to an article that tries to stir controversy and sway readers away from Google is highly sketchy. Google has nothing to hide by this, and even the Slashdot editor who posted this story admitted that it's nothing more than they've already BEEN doing.

    They sell ads that show up on the side. We'll always know which results are real and which aren't. The real ones show up in the middle; the results that are paid-for advertisements show up on the right in colored boxes and are clearly marked as advertisements.

    Most of the time these "advertisements" are more often useful things than typical gimmicks that you find with image banner ads (i.e. click the monkey - win cash!, if this is flashing you won $100,000, etc etc etc).

    It's fine when you dump on Microsoft because they're evil ;-)

    But don't sling mud at Google. They're just trying to stay profitable so we can continue to use their great service.

    EricKrout.com :: 9 Out Of 10 People Use Me [erickrout.com]
    • (i.e. click the monkey - win cash!, if this is flashing you won $100,000, etc etc etc).

      awww... it's not flashing! :(

      well, maybe next time...

    • Most of the time these "advertisements" are more often useful things than typical gimmicks that you find with image banner ads (i.e. click the monkey - win cash!, if this is flashing you won $100,000, etc etc etc).


      Hear Hear!
      Quite often when I do a search its the Ads that show up what Im after. As keywords get ever more generic it can be difficult to find products in the sea of information. On the odd occassion when I can't find a companies web address chances are they'll show up in the Ads as often as the search results.
      The day google take the money of the 'slap the monkey' guys is the day I give up on the web for good.
  • Not really... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AllMightyPaul (553038) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:43PM (#3036169)
    The ads that people complain about so much aren't really that obtrusive. They are highlited to stand out (and make it easier to avoid them) and say "Sponsored Link" next to them. You have to be pretty daft to think that a sponsored link was an actual search result.

    Hopefully this new advertising system won't make it harder to distinquish between real results and advertiser's links. Just as long as I can get the relevant results I'm used to, I don't think I care.
  • Lousy Journalism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ByTor-2112 (313205)
    The last sentence of the article sums it all up, and is typical crappy journalism:

    The company has been listing results from advertisers under a similar format since 2000, but it previously sold space under a fixed pricing system, which prevented sites from boosting their rankings with more money.


    Sounds to me like excite is just jealous because their business model failed.
  • by MathJMendl (144298) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:46PM (#3036184) Homepage
    At first, this article concerns me. "Search engines" like Overture that charge for listings seriously affect the quality of the services, as well as their integrity. Google, though, has clearly distinguished advertisements as what they are, labeling them as such and using different backround colors from them. For this reason, I respect Google, and have continued to use it (as well as for the fact that it is the best search engine and is closely integrated with the ODP, which I sometimes edit for).

    The few key points that prevent me from worrying me about this are these:
    Google also intends to maintain strong firewalls between the business and search sides of its operations.


    "We take our editorial integrity very seriously, just like a newspaper does," Kordestani said.

    Google will display up to eight advertisers on the far right-hand side of its Web page under a shaded section labeled "sponsored links."
    They will continue to distinguish between search engine results and advertisements and keep the ads separate from the results, to the right side of the screen. For this reason, that article and the title of this on SlashDot seem to be alarmist and misleading. Google is maintaining its integrity, at least for now.

    One might also note that Excite, which published this article, uses Overture for its results, and labels them "Search Results for: [term]." Might they have a bias?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      One might also note that Excite, which published this article, uses Overture for its results, and labels them "Search Results for: [term]." Might they have a bias?

      This story has nothing to do with Excite!! It's from the AP (Associated Press) Wire. Jeez guys, quit looking for conspiracies ... Excite! just happened to publish it because they subscribe to the AP service.

      Here is a link to the most updated AP article on the subject:
      http://wire.ap.org/APnews/main.html?SLUG=GOOGLE-AD S

      Give it a break!
  • huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:46PM (#3036186) Journal
    Okay, so google still looks the same, still works the same and hasn't become clogged with ads. What's wrong here? Why is this a /. story?

    I guess Hemos just wanted to use the dollar icon on the front page. *shrugs*. Nothing to see here, please move along.

  • I'm a little confused... how does this differ from what they currently do with the "featured (or is it sponsered, I forget) link"?
  • What's the big deal? Same thing, but now Google can ask somebody to pay more money for the same add because they want it to be.. "more" relevant than the other adds.

    At least it isn't like.. *ahem* some other search engines who provide links for paying customers first, then the rest of the "riff-raff". Frankly I thought the add links were already quite relevant. Of course, I don't even click on these adds, but I appreciate that they keep out of my way when I'm searching for something! I'll keep on appreciating it as long as Google realizes that they have something truely golden in their search engine itself and don't sell out like the other guys.

    The Google Appliance [google.com] is an example of a great idea, and a good way to keep the money rolling in. :) Considering the price [slashdot.org].. :P While not completely selling out to the pop-under and flash adds that everyone else is peddling.
  • by The Famous Brett Wat (12688) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:51PM (#3036205) Homepage Journal
    I haven't read the article, but I intend to comment on something a little more general than just Google, so bear with me. Actually, the first time this practice really struck me was on eBay, but I've since realised it's way older than that.

    The practice that I'm talking about here is that of selling relative rankings in an advertising medium. The beauty of the system is that the value of advertising really does "float free" in the marketplace, but at the same time empowers the seller of the ad space to keep prices up without looking greedy.

    In the case of eBay, they keep adding new "features" you can use to increase the relative profile of your auction. Each of these features costs money, of course (other than a couple of basic ones which are included in the cost of a basic auction). Rather than ratchet up the prices on these features, eBay seems to prefer to add new, fancier features which cost more money. But note: these new features have the side effect of making the older features less valuable because they aren't the biggest eye-catchers on the block anymore. This means that the cost of the highest-profile feature keeps going up, even if all the prices of existing features are static.

    In searching for precedents to this, I remembered the plain old printed White Pages (TM in various locations, no doubt) telephone directory. This doesn't accept ads, but over time they've gone from "every listing looks the same", to "pay extra for a bold entry", to "pay even more for a SUPERBOLD entry", and so on.

  • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:53PM (#3036219) Journal
    How dare they put unobtrusive advertising on their search engine? I want more annoying pop-up ads, transitional advertising pages, flash animations, and javascript so my mp3's skip. Even better if the ad covers the content, so I have to move it so I can get two paragraph of links to 404 errors.

    God damn them, damn them all to the fiery pits of hell!
  • by El Camino SS (264212) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @10:54PM (#3036228)

    Its all about cost/benefit analysis...

    The last time I checked, google is allowed to make a profit. Google is also allowed to fail miserably if the customers don't like it.

    Goes right back to the free market world, and costs.
    So if "the cost" of trying to find something on the net gets too high on google, then google will be forced to find another source of revenue when their customers leave.

    Simple as that. The market is a harsh place. If we love our google, we have to pay for it. Otherwise, no money means no google. So you have to scroll down the page. Well, that is a cost of freeloading. Ask the people who used to pay for Lexis/Nexis (sp?) what solid, usable information costs.

    Even abcnews.go.com has banners before you get to the news. It is coming. Really, it is a minor annoyance, and not much more IMHO. I certainly won't stop using google. I hope the make all the money in the world, they serve a real purpose on the net.
  • I repeat what a lot of guys have said: I don't mind these ads, as it keeps google in business.

    Sometime, I click on these ads to help keep money come to google.

    I request all those who want to keep using google to do the same.

    A .com that I used to work for closed last year. I know the pain.
  • A number of written that the sky is fallen because Microsft is allowing smart tags. Of course, if you read the article smart tags are only implemented in the latest version of thier browser - where new features that some people like and others don't have always been.

    Quick, post something nice about AOL now!
    • A number of written that the sky is fallen because Microsft is allowing smart tags. Of course, if you read the article smart tags are only implemented in the latest version of thier browser - where new features that some people like and others don't have always been.

      Agreed, no big deal. I'm still using Netscape 4.7, it just gracefully fails to render most of the modern junk that I don't want to see anyway.

      Al.
  • Non-issue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by saberworks (267163)
    This is such a non-issue. They're not intermingling these sponsored links among your search results - rather, they're completely separate from the content (as they've always been). This doesn't affect users of the service, it affects advertisers (who may have to pay more to be listed at the top of the RIGHT HAND COLUMN). Big deal.
  • Google plans to turn away companies trying to buy a listing under categories unrelated to their main business. For instance, Google already has refused advertising from credit card companies that tried to buy listings under the "Palm Pilot" category, said Omid Kordestani, the company's senior vice president of worldwide sales and business development. Even if it already has been active for sometime, and only on the right side of the page, at least we won't have to stare at "MAKE MONEY NOW!!!!!" ads across the side of the page every time we search for the happy fun ball.
  • Timeline (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rajeevishere (416066)
    1. Google_in_the_old_days didnt differentiate between results using who pays more principle.
    2. Then they introduced sponsored links, NOT results.
    3. Now for the first time, they actualy *rank* , the sponsored links based on who_pays-more.

    I am not a star gazer, but it is hard to miss the current over here. Google sucessfully cashed in on the Page Citation Model [stanford.edu] , now for the Pre-IPO Google Inc. bsuiness sounds more interesting.
    But lots of new cool stuff keep appearing on those pristine pages..i would surely like to see that continue. And..boy! do these things really mess up their interface.
  • Damn it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner (324) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:00PM (#3036259) Homepage Journal
    Though I've absolutely no intention of doing a thing about it, I'm going to sit here and complain and bitch because someone who is providing a free service to my lazy ass has the *balls* to try and make money off of it!!!

    I thought slashdot collectively stopped caring about this kind of non-issue pap back in 1998.

    - A.P.
    • I thought slashdot collectively stopped caring about this kind of non-issue pap back in 1998.
      where have you been the last four years?
      ;)
  • hardly obtrusive (Score:3, Informative)

    by spir0 (319821) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:01PM (#3036263) Homepage Journal
    I've never noticed the ads before. I had to go back and look for them after reading this.

    I agree with others who say this isn't newsworthy, but to comment, the excite article does say explicitly that the sponsored links are "on the section of Google's site that's devoted to sponsored links" - ie... the side.. in really small writing.

    why didn't anybody kick up a stink when yahoo started putting on pop-up windows? or when groups.yahoo started making you click thru an ad randomly when reading message?

    google has to make money from somewhere.. may as well be little tiny ads that nobody notices.
  • English? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "A number of written that the sky is fallen because Google is allowing sponsored rankings."

    Come on. Many thousands of people read this site. Is it really that difficult to phrase things in proper english?

    "A number of [people have] written that the sky is fall[ing]/[has fallen] because Google is allowing sponsored rankings."

    Was that so hard?
  • by cswiii (11061) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:10PM (#3036299)
    from the article:
    Popular online search engine maker Google Inc. is introducing a new program that allows Web sites to be displayed more prominently by paying more money - an advertising-driven system derided by critics as an invitation to deceptive business practices.

    Remember, the deceptive business practise could be on either side -- Google or the advertiser.

    About a week ago, I was looking for a good deal on a pair of quality Vasque Sundowners [google.com]. In searching for that, two coloured ads appeared above my search results, each offering the "best selection" in Vasque footwear.

    The only thing is, one of them had no Vasque anything in stock.

    Strangely enough, I just did the same search to try and prove my point, but only the REI ad appears anymore; The two-bit footwear company no longer has an ad up there. Now, this might well mean that their ad rotation is over, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

    On that note, how hard would it be to make a search engine smart (ethical?) enough to search a website to assure that the keywords people bought have something to do with the products on their site? Or is that just counterproductive to a coherent business model?
  • by SamIIs (65268) <SamIAm@nOSPaM.math.gatech.edu> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:12PM (#3036310)
    We all really really like this company. Google has a LOT of fans on Slashdot. Why is that none of you think that actively supporting a company you like is a Good Idea?

    I make an effort to click on an ad when it follows from my search anyway. If I'm looking for Linksys's support page, and it turns out that LinkSys has paid for an ad at the side, I'll click through. It's not so hard.

    I want Google to survive, so I'll glance at their ads, and I'll use them when I can.
  • I'd be grateful if they'd let us choose to prevent our query-result from taking paid-ranking into consideration. Sometime we use google for academic and scientific queries, and ranking commercial sites higher in this case will greatly affect the accuracy.

    Say letting us to specify the catagories while searching e.g "aspect catagory:academic" to prevent unwanted commercial info.

    It actually help google's client accurately focusing on right market segment, thus make their money-spent worthy.

    Your view in this is greatly appreciated.
    • I'd be grateful if they'd let us choose to prevent our query-result from taking paid-ranking into consideration.

      Google isn't using paid ranking, they're ordering the text ads according to who paid more for them.

  • Overture? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by modulus (67148) <ajschumache2@nOsPam.wisc.edu> on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:14PM (#3036314) Homepage
    What's interesting about this post not what the article claims to be about. The article, running on an Excite web site, is fairly clearly written deceptively to make Google look bad. It throws in what amounts to an ad for these ridiculous Overture people.

    A quick google search on "Excite Overture" leads to an article about how Overture is the company that runs paid ads on the Excite search engine.

    So this story is not about how some people are stupid and think google is shady, but about how some people at Excite apparently are both stupid and shady.
    • Re:Overture? (Score:2, Informative)

      by tupps (43964)
      This wasn't written by Excite. It has been pulled of the 'wire' from AP.

      Nothing sinister from Excite. My guess you can find this news article on a bunch of sites, and will be in the computer section of tommorow's paper.
    • Re:Overture? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Evro (18923)
      The story was not written by Excite. This is not some devious "make google look bad plot." It's an AP article. Read it here [washingtonpost.com] if you prefer, or here [ap.org]. Do some basic research first next time, ok? Additionally, these "ridiculous Overture people" are a real boon to small businesses because they charge per-click rather than per-impression, so you only pay for actual results. CPM sucks, CPC is better. Commission (such as linkshare) is really the best way from a client point-of-view.
  • A number of written that the sky is fallen because Google is allowing sponsored rankings. Of course, if you read the article it's the sponsored links on the right side of the page - where the ads have always been.

    See this is the problem with assuming causal/effect realationships. The writers correctly determined that the sky was falling but failed to realize the actual cause was that Slashdot editors actually READ the story and CORRECTED peoples inflamatory assumptions.
  • ... Google has joined the "Axis of Evil."

  • It's hard to blame google, the world out there is like that...

    - Radio stations play more songs from those companies do most advertising

    - Supermarkets charges suppliers 'placement-fee' if they'd like to have their goods placed at better position on shelves.

    - Publishers pay to get good books reviews.(*cough* Amazon*cough*)

    - Oil companies pay to get politicans work for them.
  • Can't blame them (Score:2, Interesting)

    I sure as hell can't figure out how they've survived this long with their "Make No Money/Spend Lots of Money" business strategy.

    I mean really, how much money do you think Google pulls in through their ads? Do you think that cost per month can even pay for their electricity costs for powering and cooling 8,000 machines? How in the world do they do it?
    • Licensing (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tazzy531 (456079)
      Google, like a lot of the .coms that are still alive, don't make their money directly off of the consumers/users. A good majority of their revenue is from licensing deals with other companies. Yahoo is one of the biggest client of googles. They leverage google's search engine for yahoo's web searches. This alone could bring in a couple million a year. In addition, a couple weeks ago, there was a posting on /. about Google's search/document caching system that they are selling to companies for 20k.
  • Hey Hemos, why don't you do a little research before spouting off in support of your favorite Linux-based search engine?

    The ads appear at the top of the search results. Observe this search [google.com] for computer software. Of course they are quite plainly marked and it's not a big deal.

    I just find it interesting that slowly, but surely, Google is doing away with the things that made it unique in the field (at least from a commercialism standpoint).

    Oh well...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:36PM (#3036380)
    Here's the cached version [google.com]
  • by dinotrac (18304) on Tuesday February 19, 2002 @11:55PM (#3036428) Journal
    The interesting part of the article to me is that Google is aggressively looking for ways to make money (like good little capitalists are supposed to be doing) without compromising their integrity (which good little capitalists are supposed to do, but many seem to grow tired of reading the book before they reach that part).

    It's sadly quaint to work on the proposition that high integrity is an asset to a money-making company. Google appears to understand this with their refusal to dilute the value of their search results.

    Here's hoping that they prove to the world that making money hand over fist is consistant with that attitude, maybe even derived from it.

  • Car Shopping (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Perdo (151843) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @12:04AM (#3036450) Homepage Journal
    Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 10.8). Formatting screwed due to this!

    MSN search order:

    http://carpoint.msn.com/homepage/
    http://yellow pages.msn.com/simplesearch.aspx?KWD=a utomobile+dealers
    http://www.invoicedealers.com
    http://www.autobuyingusa.com
    http://www.carsdirec t.com
    http://www.dealernet.com/
    http://www.autob ytel.com/
    http://www.autovantage.com/
    http://www .kbb.com/

    Yahoo! search order:

    http://www.chicagocarshopping.com/
    http://carta lk.com/Classifieds/index.html
    http://www.avis.com/
    http://www.nationalcar.com/
    http://www.enterprise.com/
    http://www.dreamcarrentals.com
    http://www.alamo.com/
    http://www.thrifty.com/
    http://www.ecars.com/
    http://www.dollar.com/

    Google search order

    www.autobytel.com/
    carpoint.msn.com/
    www.edmunds.com
    www.aeclassic.com/
    www.csi-auto.nl/carshopping/
    www.carshopping.nl /
    www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.cfm?lesson=EM17 6& page=teacher
    www.cars.com/
    www.tex-net.net/cartips_info.html
    www.womanmotorist.com/cntshopping.shtml

    What has more relavance? Who purchased their way on to who's list? Who's searching technique was exploited to earn higher marks?

    Oh no! When I think about all the crap I learned in High School, it's a wonder I can think at all. Although my life of education never hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall.

    God forbid anyone makes you use the processor between your ears to filter information instead of spoon feeding processed pasturized iradiated crap into your hamburger mind.

    Can't do a propper search? You don't even need to be on the internet. It is in fact dangerous for you to be here. You are probably the type of person that responds to spam mail.

    In other words, Google is a good company but they need to earn money too. Otherwise they will be weak and get purchase by Microsoft or AOL just like every good online service.

    Remember when hotmail was run on Linux? Remember when ICQ passed its first million users? Remember when Hitbox, Realplayer and Gozilla! didn't track the crap out of you?

    Let Goggle Be Google and spend your time worrying about The DMCA, Microsoft's Monopoly and the kernal forking

  • It was funny: about 2 months ago, I was reading some of their documentation on their site, seeing what all I could customize, and I noticed these boxes with ads that were supposed to be on the right... I had never seen one, probably because I always use the strangest search terms possible to get good results. I re-ran my most recent search, and ... nothing. So, taking a clue from the spam I get in my disposable accounts, I searched for "Viagra."

    Colorful ad boxes all down the page...
  • As long as they're clearly marked as ads, which they are, who cares which one is more or less prominant? Gee. If one sponsor pays me $100 and another only pays me $50, which do you think I will give more preference to? Its simple supply and demand folks. Chill.

    -Restil
  • by Fweeky (41046) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @12:33AM (#3036532) Homepage

    CSS 2 Selectors [w3.org] provide enough power to nuke most banner adverts, and, if you're clever enough, remove these text ads.

    CSS 3 Selectors [w3.org] should be even better, and let you do it on a per-website basis, which might be useful if your rules to nuke Google ads are too general to apply to all sites.

    You will need a browser that impliments them, though; Opera and Mozilla support most CSS 2 selector syntax, but IE6 does not.

    You can use the same techniques to override ugly colour schemes, change font styles and sizes and even include content. Just define it all in a user stylesheet; that's what it's there for.

    I might revive my banner killing user CSS actually, it worked quite well.. but I don't think I'll bother with Google :)

    • I really don't know why people would want to get rid of google advertisements. Google is the only site on the net whose ads I pay any attention to. The ads are obvious, targeted, and (get ready for this one) they are NOT annoying. I think anyone out there who strips google ads is an idiot, because it hurts our favorite FREE search engine, and you will miss ads that are actually USEFUL.
      • Indeed. However, knowing the capability to remove them is there as a default part of most browsers is useful, and can be extended beyond just nuking ads (making text larger, changing typeface, changing base colours etc).

        Trying to remove adverts in a standards compliant way is also rather interesting, since you start to notice all the hacks sites use to make your life difficult.. even SlashDot uses some JavaScript to dump a webbug and the banner on you.

        To get people started:

        a img[width="468"][height="60"] {
        display: none;
        }
  • eBayGoogle? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CarbonJackson (540580) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @12:56AM (#3036566) Homepage
    It would be interesting to see an "eBay style" of advertising, especially on Google. Advertisers would have the opportunity to see openly what other advertisters were bidding and for what sort of placement. They could then decide whether or not to bid up. A new advertiser steps up with a higher bid? Goodbye to the old bidder. Not enough impact from your bid? Reduce or retrace your bid. Of course Google could set minimum bids to cover their costs, or spark interest.

    The next step would be for Google to step up and show users exactly what each advertiser was paying for each user's mindshare.
  • As has been said in the story lead, this will only effect clearly marked advertisments on the side. As a potential small advertiser starting looking just a few days ago I can say this new system is helpful. First is paying for click through only. The second is they now will report expected clickthrough's with phrases (and complete complicated queries) and not just keywords. Helps targeting.
  • Zeitgeist (Score:2, Interesting)

    Slashdot "Screw rich advertisers +PR, we want objective and quality links!" [google.com], and maybe we get it into the Google Zeitgeist [google.com] :).

    Seriously tho, sites that use text ads like Google and scoop (and k5 soon) already have my respect for being cool techie sites. Not showing me banner ads (which Mozilla easily blocks anyway) shows that they respect me.

  • ...and they know that they have millions of diehard fans out there because they are good. The day they stop being good, the fans will go away, just like they did for altavista and countless other search sites.

    if the paid ads in google are likely to compromise on the quality of my searches, i'll search somewhere else. simple!

    which means that unless they are very dumb (and we already took care of that in subject itself), google will not let the ads piss off its users.

    so we can continue to keep google as our homepage and let them make some money for that.

  • Google is doing well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PotatoHead (12771) <doug.opengeek@org> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @05:00AM (#3037016) Homepage Journal
    Their ad ranking methods make sense are affordable and do not get in the way of the real search.

    Kudos to them for keeping their values while allowing a decent business model to evolve.
  • that the article is hosted on Excite.

    Which you may remember was recently bought by (i believe) Infospace, a subsidiary of Microsoft
  • you know, I don't recall ever seeing an ad on Google. So I went and typed in "flowers" -- there they were. I tried "Linux", "Windows", "Microsoft", and "Internet" --- I didn't see anything for those. The only other time I'd heard of Google ads was the Ximian ad for KDE
  • What I've wondered, is what stops a competitor of yours finding your google (or any one else's) click-thru ad and repeated hitting it with an automated program till your budget is gone?
  • (1) Most importantly, the advertisements are still unobtrusive, text-based, clearly marked as advertisements. In google, unlike other search engines and "free services", most of the bandwidth you use to download the page is used for downloading useful information, not ads. No banner-ads, no ads which make the page colossal and unwieldly to download even for a broadband user.

    (2) Ads are still positioned strategically. If you type in "Mercedes Benz", you get text-based ads which are relevant to Mercedes Benz, not some little porno-ad or something else unrelated to what your looking for. The unified, integrated browsing experience is preserved.

    However, on the down-side, their ads still more "get your attention" ads than informative ones. For example, the Mercedes Benz ad is:

    "MERCEDES BENZ - Get FREE Price Quotes on New & Used Cars - Click HERE!"

    Right away, the capital letters make it difficult to read and seem like a cheap spam-scam e-mail you get. This isn't really google's fault, but that of the people who pay them to put their text-based ads there. So it fall on us, and google, to educate them.

    While these flashy things may work on the stupid user, most people on the Internet aren't stupid. Lets qualify that -- most people don't stay stupid. Everyone starts out stupid. Most people reading this probably followed through on a few of the too-good-to-be-true SPAM e-mails which promised free-mojo or whatever. But after a few times of being duped on the internet, people realize that anything on the internet which talks of getting anything "FREE" is usually: (1) an outright lie; (2) a scam; (3) qualified in some way...(i.e., the "free" adult sites which want you to submit your credit card number, when you don't want to do that). There are a few exceptions, such as "Free" software. But most users can eventualloy tell a real "free" deal from a scam. Usually, the difference is that people who are really giving something away for free -- whether it be free porn, free books, free music, or fee software -- don't flaunt it.

    Furthermore, even if these ads fool people into clicking on them, that's as far as it goes; once people realize there is no free deal, they leave.

    Now, of course advertisements have to have the effect of drawing your attention to them. But they also have to have the effect of saying something meaningful about the product, which can be interpretted by the user. HINT: saying "GREAT DEAL ON NEW COMPUTER" doesn't tell me a thing, except that its probably NOT a great deal. Something like, "Gateway 2GHz computer for $1000" does tell me something. Also, quit it with the $999.99 thing.

    In short, advertisers have to stop treating us like we're dumb. Because while most people who start out on the internet are dumb, they wise up quick. Now, to illustrate, let me create 3 advertising examples and critique them.

    1: The typical "we-the-advertisers-think-your-fucking-dumb" ad.

    "GREAT BUY! GREAT DEAL ON GATEWAY COMPUTER! MUST CLICK !NOW! TO GET IT!!"

    Note, the fact that the ad tells us almost nothing about the product they want us to buy, except that its a computer and we supposedly get a good deal on it. This ad is clearly aimed towards stupid people. And whether or you do get a great deal, the impression I get from this type of ad is that its not a great deal and they're trying to fuck me up the ass. Also notice the use of ALL CAPS and !EXCLAMATION POINTS! in this ad. Two more indicators of a useless ad.

    2: The ad that tries to inform the novice user.

    "Get a Gateway computer with a color-printer, CD-writer, DVD-player, and scanner for $1000"

    This ad doesn't list any real specifics -- just stuff that's usually standard. But it does tell you the price, and some of the accessories you get. This is something that might be valuable for a novice, who's probably looking for a "well-rounded" system, and can't really comprehend fine details like MHz, RAM, rpm, etc. Those type of details would simply confuse the novice.

    3: The ad aimed at the knowledgeable user.

    "Gateway computer with 2GHz CPU, 512MB DDR RAM, 2x40GB 10,000rpm SCSI hard drives, 128MB Quadro-4 GPU, and standard accessories for $1000"

    Now, this ad clearly tells the intelligent user something: namely, alot of details which really tell you how good of a system it is. This type of ad is very useful to knowledgeable browser. Of course, its useless to someone who doesn't know what a GHz is, or what rpm is. Its also useless to someone who doesn't know what is good for these types of values. Even advanced users have difficulty comparing the "speeds" of different computers in MHz'. For example, if you want the best CPU, do you get a MIPS CPU used by SGI which runs at 600MHz, or an AMD 1.9GHz MP CPU? Well, most of us probably know that the MIPS is better, but that's just out of experience or hear-say. We can't really quantify it.

    Summarizing it all, in short, the best types of ads are #2 and #3, the worst #1. It is reasonable that ads should combine #2 and #3.
  • Searching Google for google [google.com] results currently in two news articles about the matter:

    MSNBC: Google unveils new program that lets Web sites bid for advertising [msnbc.com]
    Washington Post: Google Introduces New Program [washingtonpost.com]

    Both are almost identical, and somewhat criticize Google's actions: Online search engine maker Google Inc. is introducing a program that allows Web sites to be displayed more prominently if sponsors pay more money - an advertising-driven system derided by critics as an invitation to deceptive business practices.

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