Will Google corner the 'paid link' market, too?

Will Google Corner the Paid Link Market, Too?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

UPDATE: I pointed out Monday how "Google's new ecommece engine can mislead consumers," underscoring that its new AdWords Pay-Per-Action (PPA) text link format encourages the "blending" of paid for ecommerce transactional links into publisher editorial, but does not require any upfront "advertorial" disclaimers by AdSense publishers for the Google ad product being shown to consumers "blended" with "objective," non-paid for content.

I cite the Better Business Bureau to indicate how the new Google "paid link" modus operandi is not in the spirit of best online business practices.

Now, Google's Matt Cuts warns that Google is "going to be looking at paid links more closely in the future," the paid links of others, that is, with the aim of penalizing any Web site that uses paid links in any way Google doesn't want it to.

WHY? Because now that Google has its own, competitive "paid link" product in its new PPA model, it wants to corner that online advertising market, too!

In the words of SEO Black Hat, "Its a war. Google has cast you as the enemy. Make sure you are prepared."


APRIL 9, 2007: Google's New Ecommerce Engine Can Mislead Consumers

Google is “excited” about its new Pay Per Action Advertising (PPA) “pricing model.”

How excited will consumers be, however, if they are unwittingly mislead by the inherent ambiguities of the new Google advertising and ecommerce engine, to be distributed via the ubiquitous Google AdSense network.

Google touts the new formula to AdWords advertisers: “Increase your advertising reach while paying only for actions that you define,” such as an ecommerce sale.

Google’s own description of its PPA AdWords product illustrates how the “text link format” implementation of Google PPA ads are designed to take on the characteristics of a publisher's page, with the goal of blending the ad with other publisher content:

What is the text link format for pay-per-action ads?

Text links are hyperlinked brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher's page. Publishers can place them in line with other text to better blend the ad and promote your product.

For example, you might see the following text link embedded in a publisher's recommendatory text: "Widgets are fun! I encourage all my friends to Buy a high-quality widget today." (Mousing over the link will display "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads).

Though the maximum length of a text link is 90 characters, we've found that shorter links perform better because they allow the publisher use the link in more places on her/his site and in different context. The maximum length is 90 characters but less than 5 words is best. Even better, just use your brand name to offer maximum flexibility to the publisher.

Google encourages AdWords advertisers and AdSense publishers to “blend” paid for ecommerce transactional links into publisher editorial, but does not require any upfront “advertorial” disclaimers by AdSense publishers.

Google’s own example put forth for emulation by AdWords advertisers and AdSense publishers shows that unsuspecting Web surfers reading AdSense partner editorial, "enhanced" by Google PPA embedded ecommerce links blended within the publisher content, will not know that the editorial content they are consuming is an undifferentiated mixture of both publisher editorial text and Google AdWords paid for advertising text.

The Google solution to disclaim its embedded advertising within publisher content depending upon whether unsuspecting readers “mouseover” the unidentified as advertising Google AdWords ecommerce link, or not, is not in the spirit of best online business practices determined by The Better Business Bureau (BBB).

According to the BBB Code of Online Business Practices, Truthful and Accurate Communications Principle, “online advertisers should not engage in deceptive or misleading trade practices with regard to any aspect of electronic commerce, including advertising, marketing, or in their use of technology; They should not make deceptive or misleading representations or omissions”:

Online advertisers should disclose their advertising or marketing to be such if failure to do so would be misleading. For example, if material information in an advertisement appears misleading because it is difficult to distinguish between editorial content and advertising, the advertising should be labeled as such.

The Google text link format for pay-per-action advertising within editorial content should be labeled as such, in a clear, direct and upfront manner.

Why is Google being deliberately mousey with its new AdSense PPA ecommerce engine?

ALSO: Google clients ‘frustrated’ by unprofitable AdWords buys and Google IS a monopoly and Does Google SEO success ’suck’? and Google DoubleClick merger: Who wins, who loses and Google: Technology driven or people driven?

Editorial standards