Google 'Yellow Pages' competing against AdWords clients' sponsored links

Last weekend, I discussed a Google “Yellow Pages

Last weekend, I discussed a Google “Yellow Pages” strategy unfolding in “Google targets $100 billion Yellow Pages industry?” and “Google Yellow Pages?: Google SERPs map enhanced local directory listings.”

Google is “buying” its own “Sponsored Links” to promote use of the Google map and local product; Google’s own “Sponsored Links” are competing directly against the “Sponsored Links” of large Google AdWords customers targeting local searchers.

A search for “Miami spa” yields a SERP with a Google branded “Sponsored Link” as the top “Sponsored Link” in the right “Sponsored Links” column. The Google ad is in the number one position, out of eight “Sponsored Links.”


The Google branded ad outranks “Sponsored Links” of Google AdWords customers operating in the local directory space: a "Sponsored Link" is ranked number three, a “Sponsored Link” is ranked number four and a “Sponsored Link” is ranked number six (Google has a 5% equity stake in AOL).

Three of the other four “Sponsored Links” in the right hand column represent individual spas. The last “Sponsored Link” promotes eBay.

The eBay “Sponsored Link” is as follows:

Miami Spa
Whatever you’re looking for
you can get it on eBay.

The Google branded ad is as follows:

Find a Local Spa
Locate spas in your area-
Find it with Google Maps

Clicking on Google’s “Find a Local Spa” leads to a Google Maps general spa category SERP, rather than a targeted match to the specific, localized search.


In my “Google's biggest risk: competing against AdWords and AdSense customers” I cite the Google – eBay relationship and signal the risks Google faces in seeking growth through promotion of its own services which also compete against AdWords and AdSense customers' services:

Google’s overreaching mission to organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible, and, of course, to then sell ads against the world’s accessible information, may end up to be a self-defeating one…

As Google wants every single company and service as its advertising client, or publishing network partner, however, all complementary products and services also represent Google customers or partners, or prospective Google customers or partners.

eBays’ reaction to Google’s launch of the Google Checkout online payment system may portend a rocky future for Google.

Although “Google Speak” has repeatedly put forth that Google’s online payment service is not competing against eBay’s PayPal, a week after the launch of Google Checkout, eBay placed the payment service on its “Payment Services not permitted on eBay” list.

eBay is one of Google’s largest customers and Google is at risk in competing against its own AdSense and AdWords customers.