Search News - 13/14 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google – It's Getting Too Much

By | Google News, Uncategorized | No Comments

Ok, even I am starting to get a bit sick of this. Nearly all of the new developments in search engines, online media and digital marketing seem to be coming from Google, and so every week I have at least one post dedicated to this giant.

This despite the fact that Google late last year sacked a lot of engineers and supposedly cancelled a lot of their upcoming projects and R&D. If the Financial Crisis hadn’t happened, perhaps I would be writing about Google every day!

Either Google has the most amazing PR people, other tech companies aren’t doing much, or Google really is the worlds biggest online monopoly, but today has Google announcing yet even more new developments.

Christine Varney, of the US Government, has voiced suspicions of Google being the overwhelming monopoly in the online search market, and it is starting to get more and more obvious.

Anyway, what is this new Google tool? Well, if I am honest, it isn’t really brand new – Google actually bought Grand Central Communications two years ago, but yesterday they re-branded it Google Voice, adding it to their arsenal of Google products.

Google Voice is a service which manages incoming calls on phones, and is apparently used by hundreds of thousands of people in the US (available only in the US). The new upgrade released yesterday, takes this one step further by utilising Google technology to automate transcripts of voicemails and even offers discounts on international calls.

Is this outside Google’s normal remit? A Google  representative said this:

“Google is all about helping you manage your information and one of the big holes right now is in the management of voice communications,”

I thought Google was all about managing online information, but I guess in this day and age, if you can put it online, then Google can have a go at managing it. While all these tools are kind of free for us to use, I guess it doesn’t bother the average consumer too much. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but Google’s overwhelming expansion, now into almost an offline area, raises even my suspicions.

As a post script, another Google product, Google Reader, also got an upgrade today, but I am quite sick of writing about Google products now, so all I will say about it is that they have enabled comments in Google Reader, the place where you share your articles and blogs, as another way of helping organise online information.

OK, next week I am going to focus on reporting stories and developments from other online companies…

Attempt to Make Internet Advertising More Interesting

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Today, (or yesterday seeing as it is in the US), Google announced changes to its ad serving platform which aims to increase relevance of online ads. This beta version is called ‘interest-based’ advertising, and will be used on Google’s partner sites and YouTube.

The ads will associate categories of interests with your browsers, based on the types of pages you generally visit, and serve ads accordingly. E.g. if you are interested in cars, you won’t only get car-based ads when you are on car pages or sites, but you could see car-based ads on any Google Partner site you visit. Google is also proposing that you can tell them what categories you are interested in, so they can tailor the ads to you.

The obvious question people will be asking will be about privacy. Google supposedly allows you to opt out of the advertising cookie (if you don’t ‘already disallow cookies), by going here.  They have also designed a plug-in for your browser that maintains your opt-out choice. However this is probably not much use for the majority of users who don’t know what a cookie is or even suspect that Google is tracking them anyway. (They might notice the relevance of ads and get their suspicions up, but still probably wouldn’t know what to do about it).

As an internet advertiser, I understand and appreciate the reasoning behind these changes from the corporate point of view.  Companies want to better target their ads, because better targetted ads have a higher conversion rate.

But what are the benefits for the consumer? You get your activity tracked just so that they can try to sell you more appropriate things? Well, like Google says, a lot of the free online content we consume would not be available were it not ad supported, like email, YouTube, search or even Facebook. In that case, if you have to have ads on all these sites, it might be slightly preferable to be served ads that are relevant to you, rather than the generic ones.

Google Bonuses Announced

By | Google News | No Comments

While Wall Street bonuses and those of the Square Mile might be a thing of the past, Silicon Valley still has a few bonuses to give. So what kind of bonus might you expect if you worked at Google these days?…

  • Senior VP Product Management – Jonathan Rosenberg – $US1.64million
  • Senior VP Engineering and Research – Robert Eustace – $US 1.38 million
  • Senior VP, Global Sales and business development – Omid Kordestani – $US1.38 million
  • New CFO – Patrick Pichette – $US1.24 million
  • Outgoing CFO -George Reyes – $US675,000
  • Founders – Sergey Brin and Larry Page – No bonus
  • CEO – Eric Schmidt – no bonus.

When converted to Aussie dollars (around double), these aren’t too bad! How does this relate to Google Engineer salaries? Well according to this site, Google Engineers get a starting salary of just over $106,000 with a $US43,000 bonus.

This is a particularly nice payout for the new Finance officer, Pichette, who had only been with Google 5 months.

The no-bonus for Sergey et al, is in keeping with the previous few years.

Q4 Search Spend Did NOT Drop

By | Google News, Search News | No Comments

In day 2 of retrospective-post-gazing, I will follow up on my post about the suspected fall in search marketing spend in Quarter 4. Did this come about? What happened really? Google and Yahoo have both posted their Q4 results now, and it seems that all the doom and gloom was for nothing. Both posted increases in profit on both Q3 2008 and Q4 2007.

Of course, ignoring the economic crisis, this should have been expected as Q4is the consumer-crazy period of the year when everyone wants to buy everything retail,  and online marketers would naturally want to be a part of the frenzy by increasing their search visibility.

Google increased their potential to get a piece of this pie by increasing the number of ways in which you could pay for advertising, with new ad spaces popping up everywhere. They also cut down massively on costs , reducing those associated with their many side projects, in preparation for the down turn.

From Googles website, here are some of the actual figures:

Google reported revenues of $5.70 billion for the quarter, an increase of 18% on Q4 07, and 3% on Q3 08.

They also released data on the number of  paid clicks,  including Adsense, which showed they increased approximately 18% on Q4 07  and 10% on Q3 08.

Google’s operating expenses were decreased – they decreased the amount they paid out to their ad-sense partners and also their other operating costs. Notably though, their payroll related costs increased by around 20 million compared to Quarter 3, which is unexpected considering the bad news and cost cutting that has been surrounding Google since October.

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