Dirson has a screen shot of Google employee Mark Jen apparently advertising his blog on Google: Mark Jen Shows AdWords In Some Searches. Jen's blog received much attention after it disappeared for a few days after he made some critical remarks about his new employer.
Why advertise a blog that itself appears to generate no revenue? Conspiracy theory speculation is renewed again that this is some type of Google PR stunt, especially given that the text of the ad used the verboten word of Google in it. How could that happen, without Google's help, InsideGoogle wonders?
Well, Google definitely does prevent ads that use its name in ad copy from going through automatically, at least inintially. However, making use of the exception request, I got a copy of the ad in question up and running within a few seconds.
First, I copied everything in the original ad, submitted, and got this warning back from Google:
Due to trademark reasons, we do not allow advertisers to use 'google' in their Google AdWords ads. This term may be trademarked either for a certain product or service category and may apply only in certain countries.
However, I was also able to request an exception using links provided. I put nothing but the word "test" into the exception field, then submitted. This apparently sent my ad off to Google's editors for review. And despite being active, it didn't show. That made me think that the ad definitely wouldn't show until the review was finished.
Not so. I made a second ad, this time with the only difference being the initials SEW added to the title. This way, if it worked, it would be clear that I got the ad up. And voila, it went live:
So -- proof I could get an ad up with the word "google" in it and make it seem like it was done by Jen because I used his domain in the "display" URL. Had you clicked on it, you would have gone to Search Engine Watch.
In a further change, I then edited the ad to remove the SEW from the title, leaving me with an ad exactly like the one assumed to be from Jen:
The point of this is that anyone can make an ad for anything and point anywhere, at least for a short period of time until Google's editors review the ad -- a process that can take from hours to a few days. So seeing an ad isn't proof that anyone is advertising on anything.
Having said this, it could be Jen's ad. A comment at the InsideGoogle post notes that Google employees all get a limited delivery AdWords account. So perhaps he did decide it was worthwhile to drum up some publicity for the journal.
Meanwhile, Jen blogs onward, explaining that he works on the Google AdSense program as an associate product manager and thrilled that features can move out the door quickly. A feature advertisers have wanted for ages is the ability to pick and choose exactly what sites carry their AdSense ads. How about that feature getting out the door quickly! In another post, he also denies that his blog is a PR stunt.