Google: Multi-billion dollar self-dealer?

Google is starting to communicate with the blogoshpere, in its own way!In my “Google (almost) on the radio!
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor on
Google is starting to communicate with the blogoshpere, in its own way!

In my “Google (almost) on the radio!” yesterday I noted: “Has Google been reading my Digital Micro-Markets Blog countdown to Audio Ads?”: 

Google acknowledges at the Inside AdWords Blog: "There's been a lot of speculation about what we're doing in radio advertising so we thought we'd give you a quick update regarding what we've been working on since the acquisition of dMarc Broadcasting earlier this year."

Following Google’s “response” to my countdown to AudioAds, Google “responded” to Central Desktop’s story earlier in the week about Google’s own AdWords placements for its own products and services: 

Since it's a common practice across the industry for companies to promote their own products and services through their own web presence, there is much precedent to do this.

Yes, even Yahoo does it, with big graphical ads on its homepage. When Yahoo self-promotes on its own home page, however, it is not inserting itself within a blind auction amongst its real, paying customers.

Google is correct to assert that it is not unique in promoting itself within its own advertising placement vehicle for third parties. A Google AdWords self-promotion at Google.com, however, IS unique in a key way; The house is playing against the paying players.

Google insists, however, that it is playing fair, even while playing against its own customers:

our ads are created and managed under the exact same guidelines, principles, practices and algorithms as the ads of any other advertiser. Likewise, we use the very same tools and account interface.
As does any advertiser, we aim to give our campaigns a budget which is in line with their value to us in terms of the increased traffic we might see. We actively monitor and manage the success of our ads by adjusting ad copy, keywords, bids, and so forth in the same way any advertiser who is concerned with their account performance would.
That said, there are no special buttons to push or levers to pull that give our internal account managers special treatment or leverage. Quality Score is automatically evaluated in the same way for our keywords as it is for any advertiser's keywords. Likewise, the potential to show up in the top spots above the search results is the same for Google's ads as it is for any other. We rely on the AdWords system to let relevancy and usefulness to our users be the driving force behind our ad placement. As such, we do not intentionally try to secure a top position. In fact, we generally aim for a more 'conservative' position.

Google’s pleading that no specific special treatment is accorded Google’s own AdWords placements for its own products and services may be factually correct.

A simple phrase put forth by Google, however, belies the disturbing implications of Google’s insertion of itself within multi-billion dollars worth of blind auctions among third party paying customers:

there are no algorithm changes to 'smooth the way' for Google's ads 

There may be no Google-induced “algorithm changes,” but the algorithm may inherently favor Google from the get-go!

In “The Google riddle: Organized, useful, but impossible to comprehend,” I underscore that Google’s paying AdWords customers are left in the Google black box dark:

Google’s cheery “Welcome to AdWords” marketing speak FAQ “Concerned about costs? Don't worry—AdWords puts you in complete control of your spending” does not put forth a realistic portrayal of the uncertain nature of the Google dynamic, competitive auction pricing system.

Google’s Inside AdWords blog post is also an unrealistic portrayal of the supposed "neutral" nature of Google’s multi-billion dollar AdWords self-dealings.


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