Salesforce.com has hooked into Google AdWords via an acquisition of San Francisco-based startup Kieden Corp. (for an undisclosed sum) to deliver a service that allows companies to create, manage, and measure their search engine marketing campaigns from within Salesforce. Kieden's AdWords, now Salesforce for Google AdWords, search marketing application was launched at the end of May and is built on Salesforce.com's AppExchange platform.
Salesforce.com sees big money in slicing off this vertical--which should be lesson to any AppExchange partner who goes into a space that Salesforce finds more than just a little interesting. You will either get bought or crushed by Benioff and company. Like other platform vendors, Salesforce runs the risk of alienating developers supporting its platform by being a king maker and leaving others who inhabit a similar product space to dangle in the wind, unless they have a far superior solution to what Salesforce offers. But that goes with the territory--no one expects Salesforce.com (like Microsoft) to create a more level playing field and more opportunities for loyal developers by staying out of potentially lucrative application categories.
How big is search engine marketing? According to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization, the spend in North America was about $5.75 billion in 2005 and will reach $11 billion in 2010. Salesforce.com is looking at expanding beyond Google to other ad platforms, such as Yahoo's.
Salesforce for Google AdWords is available to all customers for a free 30-day trial, and is slated for general release later this year. The monthly subscription fee will be $300 per organization per month.