This could be a watershed week in the Google era. The June 28 rumored launch of a Google online payment system, last known as GBuy (see my Google GBuy specifics: 'Could be a game-changer' ), is setting up to represent more than just another Google “limited invite,” or “test,” or “beta.” Last week, Google set in motion an eBay style marketplace affiliate network, “Content Referral Network” (see my Google goes for the hard sell: New 'Content Referral Network' targets higher click-throughs, ad rates and new GBuy transactions ), most likely designed to serve as a platform for GBuy enabled product sales.
As I discuss in “Will new Google CPA ads and GBuy online payment system turn the Social Web into a marketplace? “,The Google Content Referral Network, a Cost Per Action, commission-based affiliate network currently in testing, and Google’s impending online payment system, or GBuy, seek to solicit and enable third-party online retail transactions, for a fee.
Such a scenario pits Google not only against eBay, but against Amazon.com as well. Google will no longer merely place passive ads against content, it will be actively pitching product sales via its Content Referral Network. As I describe:
While Web publisher partners in the Google AdSense network simply display Google ads in a hands-off manner, Web publisher partners in the Content Referral Network are being asked to actively promote the new Cost Per Action (CPA) Google ad units by aggressively soliciting the desired “actions.” In other words, Google Web publisher partners in its Content Referral Network will not receive any payment from Google, unless they are able to convince their Web visitors to both click on the new Google CPA ad units and then complete the targeted transactions, generally product purchases.
Google aims to use its Content Referral Network as a “virtual salesforce.” For the first time, Website publisher partners are being asked to not only place ads against their Web site content, but also to act as “virtual salespeople” for the products and services offered for sale via the new Google CPA ads.
Google suggests that its Content Referral Network publisher partners must use a hard-sell with their Web site visitors, if they want to earn commissions from the Google CPA ads. Advised solicitations include:
- “I recommend this product”
- “Try JetBlue today”
A Web site publisher that becomes a “virtual salesperson” for Google, however, risks negatively impacting its relationships with its own visitors. Google CPA ads will be more intrusive than Google AdSense ads and Website publishers will no longer be uninterested parties in the hosting of the ads.
Internet users are finding that “Ads by Goooooogle” are almost ubiquitous online, given that Google has succeeded in making AdSense a go-to monetization model for Web properties of all sizes and styles.
While Internet users currently seem to accept the Google position that Google ads enhance user experiences at third-party Web sites, such an acceptance may be tested as “non-intrusive” and “relevant” text ads are replaced by “intrusive” and “irrelevant” product pitches.