Google : Friend or Foe?

Posted on April 26, 2007 
Filed Under Uncategorized

There’s a new word gaining currency. It’s called frienemy. And it’s being used by a number of bloggers to describe “do no evil” ad giant Google.

Having made online advertising frictionless for millions of pay-per-click advertisers, Google now plans to take its vast small-advertiser network into online display, print, radio and TV ads.

Mark Glaser in Mediashift asks:

And after Google gets its foot in the door for print, radio and TV ad sales, what happens next? Will the fox eat the hens in the henhouse, or continue to play the gentleman in the middle?

How is this likely to pan out?

The Daily Herald’s John Kelly thinks that Google’s Print Ads system will bring in ad sales that will be priced lower than the regular ad sales but higher than the Herald’s current take from so-called remnant merchants who sell leftover ad pages. Kelly can’t imagine a day when big clients such as department stores will be able to make long-term ad deals with newspapers without a live sales rep.

“Major retailers really depend on local salespeople to be their eyes and ears in the local markets,” Kelly said. “We do local research for them. It’s hard to quantify that, and it’s very important. You have a lot of egos involved here. There are a lot of advertisers who feel that they can get a better price through face-to-face interactions over a long period of time. And the way this [automated] model has been built it’s transaction by transaction, at least at this point. If I’m a regular advertiser, a major retailer, I don’t want to deal with this every week.”

Another skeptic of Google’s radio ads pitched in:

“For the guy down the block who has the Shed Kingdom, he’ll always need someone to come and sell radio to him to help him with creative,” Caracciolo told me. “I think [Google Audio Ads] is more for infomercial-type sales, I don’t think it’s for that small mom-and-pop business because who will do the creative for that? Obviously everyone has a microphone on their computer and can do audio editing. But you’d be surprised. A lot of people today don’t even read emails, believe it or not. You think everyone is so computer hip and savvy. But it’s not true,” said Patrick Caracciolo, local sales manager of WLIR FM in Long Island.”

The Daily Herald’s Kelly compares the new relationship between newspapers and the search giant to a courting ritual:

“This is the early part of Google courting us, and it’s hard to tell whether it will be an abusive relationship or a loving relationship. I don’t know the answer to that…For us as an industry, we have to screw our heads on differently and be open to new and different ways. And we have the option of not accepting [ads from Google] if it doesn’t work. And the system that Google has set up is very fair.”



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