Back in my days as an editor of the Siloam Spring Herald Leader (in Siloam Springs, Arkansas), I spent some time in Pryor Creek. It’s a nice little town, but a word of advice to Google – if you are going to serve exotic dishes in the company cafeteria, be prepared that the local term for Sushi is “bait.” It might be better to have a chicken fried steak buffet. Also, it’s probably good to know that Pryor Creek has 198% more tornado activity than the overall United States. You Googlers might want to build a storm shelter among all those servers.
In addition to Google’s takeover of rural America, it was also announced this week that Google is getting inside our computers (not that they aren’t already there). Google is partnering with Intel. The two companies announced last Wednesday a co-marketing program that will give computer manufacturers and sellers the ability to sell both PPC and display ads through the Google AdWords system. So now, in addition to getting a trial version of Quicken and some photo editing software you’ve never heard of on your new PC, you’ll be able to buy Google AdWords right out of the box.
And all of this news is right on the heels of the announcement that Google will buy the ad serving giant, that happens to own a search engine marketing firm, Doubleclick. There is also the little fact that Google Audio has now partnered with Clear Channel and is taking over our radio airwaves. Oh, and Google is doing television too – and not just YouTube (which I haven’t mentioned yet). Google has partnered with Dish Network as well.
And then there is the fact that Google offers free analytics to anyone who advertises with them. Did I mention that Google has by far the largest share of the search engine market?
As a search marketer, what does this all mean? Are we moving toward a world where the word advertising is synonymous with Google? It certainly looks that way. It’s almost impossible to realize the full implications of all of this activity directed from Mountain View, but before I get into my analysis of the pros and cons of a Google dominated world, I want to say that I, welcome our new advertising overlords.
The Pros of a Google WorldGoogle makes great products that provide great return. The more that Google knows about a campaign, the better it can become. Information is king, and Google certainly has a lot of information that no one advertiser or advertising agency could even hope to get their hands on.
With this wide breadth of advertising opportunities, Google is providing a one-stop shop for most advertisers needs. Online banners and search, radio, television truly make the media buyer’s job easier – although this can be a con as well as discussed in the next section.
Google is innovative and has relatively good customer service. I can always count of my Google reps to help me either pitch a new idea or take care of a problem. I know that for smaller advertisers customer service is still a problem, but Google seems to be very genuine about pushing customer service out front and making the customer happy.
And will Google take on Microsoft for the desktop? This could be a good thing. It seems that so far, Google’s products lack many of the telltale "bugs" we see in the products coming out of Redmond. If they can keep this up, the user experience will just keep getting better and better.
The Cons of a Google WorldLet’s pull out the tin foil hats – and they may be necessary for this future world where Google dominates. Just as it is good for advertisers to have as much information as possible, this can be a problem for consumers. Who polices Google? I know that the information they have could likely bring down large governments, not to mention individuals. That’s a lot of power to have, even for a company whose motto is "Don’t be Evil".
Recently there have been some rumblings from Microsoft about anti-trust issues with Google, especially in light of the Doublclick deal. Ironic that these allegations are coming from Microsoft - but they should know what a debilitating effect the Department of Justice can have on a business. Right now things are good, but I do worry about a monopoly. In search, it’s already a must that you advertise with Google if you want to be successful – and if Google isn’t helping you, you are pretty much stuck. What happens when this becomes the case in other advertising arenas?
And finally, I’m of the opinion that competition spurs excellence. We’re not seeing much competition to Google these days (word to Microsoft and Yahoo, STEP UP YOUR GAME!). Competition traditionally drives prices down and performance up. And as a search engine marketer, that’s exactly what I want to see.