Google recently found itself having to defend its self-insertion (via Google ads for Google products and services) into the AdWords auction system its business model depends upon (see “Google: Multi-billion dollar self-dealer?”).
Google also recently found itself obliged to take a break from self-inserting “tips” for Google products and services at the top of Google SERPs (see “Does Google play fair?”).
What about Google’s self-insertion into the AdWords auction system for Google promos within the AdSense publishers network?
The Google AdSense sales pitch to publishers touts a Web content enhanced by Google ads experience:
Thousands of web site managers take advantage of our Google AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to the content on their sites… enhancing the experience for their users…
Google AdSense is a fast and easy way for website publishers of all sizes to display relevant, unobtrusive Google ads on their website's content pages and earn money. Because the ads are related to what your users are looking for on your site, you'll finally have a way to both monetize and enhance your content pages.
Below is a screenshot of a Google AdSense “Ad by Goooooogle” for a Google service “enhancing” the content of a story about the same Google service posted at a Web publisher within the Google network.
A Google ad for Google Books is the number one Google AdSense ad and it presents as literally part of an editorial story in "The Stanford Daily" about Google Books; The story cites a Stanford public relations representative.
The Google self-promotional ad copy about Google Books is complementary to the story copy in support of Google Books.
The Google self-inserted AdSense ad for Google Books:
Get Your Books in Google Add books to the Google index; Free book scanning, extra revenue & more. books.google.com
“The Stanford Daily” Google Books story copy adjacent to Google Books ad:
"We actually believe that this project will increase revenue for book publishers,” Andrew Herkovic, director of communications and development, Stanford Libraries, said. “The project is not intended to allow free downloads of a best-selling novel or to take away from someone else’s income.”
The project idea was initially developed in 2001 by Herkovic, Stanford librarian and director of academic information resources Mike Keller and Google co-founder, president and Stanford alumnus Larry Page.
Readers of “The Stanford Daily’s” story about Google co-founder, president and Stanford alumnus Larry Page’s Google Books project are effectively being “tipped” by Google to “Get your books in Google.”
The close adjacency of the Google AdSense self-promo for Google Books to editorial copy about Google Books also appears to be in contradiction with Google's AdSense policy aimed at avoiding the “suggestion” of a relationship between publisher content and Google ads:
Can I place small images next to my Google ads?
We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated…That's not a good experience for users or advertisers…
Google’s self-dealings within its AdSense network are of potentially more concern than its AdWords self-dealings at Google.com.
While Google’s self-insertion within its own AdWords auctions and its self-promotional “tips” at the top of Google SERPs impact search engine marketing and search engine optimization efforts of companies, Google’s self-promotion throughout the ubiquitous AdSense publisher network of third-party Websites may unduly influence unsuspecting readers.