Google Automat: Web-Based User-Assisted Classified Advertising

Many sources including Battelle, Jarvis, Ali, and nicely summarized by Susan Kuchinskas at report on a new Google (new and Google–aren’t those words mutually inclusive?) code named “Google Automat” that was discovered in a patent application by John Zappe at Classified Intelligence.


A key component would be Google’s ability to upsell classified ads, according to Peter Zollman, executive editor of the Classified Intelligence Report. “The way you make money with free classifieds is through add-on services,” he told “Google will be able to offer contextual advertising next to the classifieds but also, they could give you the option of paying more to have it displayed at the top of the list or with pictures or something like that.”

The service would likely make use of Google Base, the online database that briefly went live on October 26. After a user entered information about the product or service, Automat could generate either a standalone Web page with the merchandise information or a text ad.

Zollman adds:

“They’re certainly planning for an all-out assault on classified advertising. They have made that clear with the URL, among other things.”

The Patent Application
OK, now to the patent application itselfhere it is:
Title: System and method for providing on-line user-assisted Web-based advertising OR as a PDF file (with images).
Patent No.: 20050216335
First Published: September 29, 2005; First Filed: March 24, 2004

Abstract: A system and method for providing on-line advertising is presented. An interface guiding on-line advertising creation is presented. An advertisement is created from at least one of user inputs and stored data and includes information describing at least one item. An advertising creative is generated in association with the advertisement and includes a hyperlink reference to the advertisement. The advertisement is hosted on-line as a Web page and the advertising creative is placed on one or more targeted Web pages.

From the Background of invention:

Placing creatives and advertisements on-line for access by the general Web community can be especially problematic for individual or small advertisers. Advertising creatives must be integrated into other Web content to effectively drive Web traffic, but advertisers are generally not able to unilaterally add creatives to other Web pages. A third party Web content provider, such as a search or advertising engine, is needed. Small advertisers may not have an online Web presence, and, therefore, traditional Web advertising that drives Web traffic to the Web site of the advertiser is not possible.

Therefore, there is a need for an approach to providing Web-based user-assisted advertising. Preferably, such an approach would guide a user in the creation of advertisements describing offerings of goods or services, creatives associated with the advertisements, and advertising budgets. Such an approach would also help create and host a Web presence for individual and other advertisers. Such an approach would also facilitate driving Web traffic to hyperlinked advertisements through targeting.

Again, you can read the text here or view the 22 page application with images (cool!) here.

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