Questions Raised Over Google House Ads & Employees Advertising Via AdWords

Google’s had questions raised over the fairness of house ads that it runs for its own products and services plus the ability for employees to run their own ads through the Google AdWords system.

Why Can’t You Out Bid Urchin & Other Google House Ads? at our Search Engine Watch Forums
started with a question as to why Google-owned analytic tool Urchin seemed to have a lock on the first place spot no matter how much a competitor was willing to pay. Suddenly,
it seemed, that was no longer the case. And word came back from Google via forum rep AdWordsAdvisor that nope, house ads get no special treatment, no special buttons pushed
and no special strings pulled.

I was a bit more dubious and cited several examples of house ads that seem to have plenty of sticking power. Personally, I have no problem with Google promoting its own
products. But as I’ve written before, doing this by taking away available space from other advertisers
doesn’t feel right.

Meanwhile, AdRank, Affiliate Marketers and Max CPC at the WebmasterWorld forums gets into the issue of Google
employees being able to run ads. Google responds via AdWordsAdvisor that yes, Google employees can have accounts. In fact — and quite reasonably — those involved with
AdWords are encouraged to do so in order to better understand what advertisers go through. No special treatment or knowledge is given, Google says.

Still, also quite reasonably, a number of people have concerns that letting Google employees advertise creates natural conflicts. But Google counters that most of these
accounts are apparently very small and used more for testing purposes than heavy competition against other advertisers. FYI, Yahoo employees apparently also can have accounts.

Skimming the discussion, I didn’t see one other tricky issue raised. Not only can Google employees have accounts but they are also given credit to run these. That came up
back during last year’s Mark Jen firing. Jen, during his short time at Google, was running ads for his blog
on Google. Comments on InsideGoogle’s coverage of the
Jen case explained:

Google employees get a free, very limited delivery AdWords account. A single ad is not shown anymore when the advertisers’ spending limit for clickthroughs has been reached
– this being a very low limit indeed for the “free” accounts. They’re there so that the employees know what the company is offering, and how it works, no big deal.

FYI, InsideGoogle appears to be down at the moment, so you can see the comments also in this

version of the page.

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