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Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues Forum

    
Google - What went wrong this April 2012
The Google Business Plan
SeymourJames




msg:4445944
 11:59 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

THE REALITY CHECK

Google is a business that is intent on making more and more money. Fact and not fiction. The old ethos of 'do no evil' has quite frankly been used as a marketing con. Marketing professionals have been in awe of how they have got away with it for so long. It has however been a clever message. It has targeted 'hope' and the aspiration for millions of web site owners, web masters etc. Think about that just for one moment. What have they been selling to US. Hope is a very powerful message and especially so when it is joined with a little success.

Yes so many of us fell for it. 1 year from now I will be surprised to see any organic results listed on the first page - already they dominate above the fold. On mobile devices it is game set and match already. SERPs will be effectively an adsense page. It is pretty much like that already for those who are not on a large desktop screen. This is just the last step in their business plan. A bone will be thrown in for local/places type searches so there is no revolt by a very large number of smaller businesses who if they got together could really hurt Google (think of the social impact they can have). The large businesses however will pay for adwords. They are the customer providing their revenue stream and now they are really going to milk it. Companies spending millions each year with them.

Google are desperate to avoid volume moving away from their search engine. If that happens, big businesses will not pay to advertise. They don't care that much about the middle (i.e. the majority of webmasters). They don't make money from them in accounting terms (they don't figure on a spreadsheet as a revenue stream). We are the fodder that populates their pages making it look like a Saturday market full of market stalls. It is our only use to them but in that is our only leverage. That is your reality check ladies and gentlemen. You can argue the toss but why would you expect them to continue being a social service that supports hundreds of thousands of people like us? For example, why are they going to put a small web business that aggregates products for let us say games consoles above Sony on their pages. Would you? Sony may pay them millions of dollars. It is simply naive to think they will do this now they have market domination.

Solutions and I am not being anarchic but many I know are now talking about it seriously and some are in Government institutions who are less than happy with Google practices. Let us not forget that Google needs our content. Even commercial television stations have to have some content. However, a few days or weeks of reduced revenue literally puts them in a dire position. Here is where many ordinary web masters stand:

1. Influence as many people as you can via social media to stop using Google (very hard given their market domination with the masses).
2. Organize on mass to have a Google blackout day (making their system unusable); This will really hurt and the social message goes out very loud and clear. Their competitors will have a field day. It is just a question actually of blocking all traffic from their servers to your sites. You don't have to block anyone else.
3. Pay for adwords and build that into your business model. In other words act like a real world business that cultivates traffic from all sources. You may get lucky but if a cash rich competitor comes along you are going to fail.
4. Continue to dance for your free lunch. Looks to me like the music is being speeded up and quite a few chairs in the game have been removed. I think it is now clearly a waste of time doing SEO and the ROI is negligible.

My simple hope is somebody actually challenges them seriously. Monopolies have never been good unless they are a social service.

 

Aoe2913




msg:4446165
 7:12 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have 2 very basic questions that I can't get an answer for online. So, I would like to ask them.

1) What is the year over year (quarterly is good too) increase in the population of customers using Adwords?

2) What is the average increase in spending for each customer using the Adwords platform in the same time period.

When I see analysts talk about Google, they say something along the lines of "doing their magic" to get more clicks on their ads etc. thereby raising their profit.

Food for thought about a Reuters article today covering the trial. "Google trial docs show plans for growth past search"

In 2010, Google projected it would get 35 percent of its 2013 revenue outside its core search business.

Obviously, they failed.

Late 2010 is when Panda Started.

SeymourJames




msg:4446205
 8:51 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great questions and a good point. I wish I had the answers to those questions. What I do know is the CTR per page with adwords on it has increased dramatically. I know this because of their financial statements. If CTR has gone up on adwords then CTR has gone down on organic listings. so why fight for less traffic?

SeymourJames




msg:4446313
 12:43 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of people have the same idea and are doing just that. Google have punished way too many innocent people this time whilst they announce record profits from increased Adwords CTR - this puts them for many in the same category of the loathsome banks, lobby groups, etc? I am targeting people who don't know anything really about the internet. Some are pleasantly surprised to find they have alternatives. Older folks seem to like yahoo. My point from the beginning of the other thread is to stop playing their game. Without the web masters providing quality content they don't have a business. It becomes just one big directory of paid advertisers. No company in the world sells more links than Google does regardless if it is not done for the same purpose. The prid pro quo has gone from Google. It is now just a push fro them to maximise adwords revenue.

Aoe2913




msg:4446428
 8:40 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some Notable News:

[nytimes.com...]
Reuters: U.S. brings in big gun to Google antitrust probe

"Federal regulators escalated their antitrust investigation of Google on Thursday by hiring a prominent litigator, sending a strong signal that they are prepared to take the Internet giant to court."

Reuters: Google disputes FCC claims of obstruction

"Google said in the letter that it was legally unable to provide access to the engineer - referred to as Engineer Doe - because the engineer had declined to testify and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."

BOUT TIME!

SeymourJames




msg:4446491
 11:51 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google have failed to expand their own business model and pretty much rely on one revenue stream. Monopolies in this position will attract the attention of the authorities when they are perceived to be anti-competitive or they engage in practices that impinge on privacy for example.

Google have become a business which makes products and services as a platform for promoting adwords. Some products are free of adwords but it will not be long before we see Google+, Google Docs, etc covered with them. That is my opinion. Lets face it, a large percentage of all web sites have them on as well.

If you look at the internet and view it as real estate you will see that Adwords owns more real estate than anything else. You could take the millions of pages from largest million web sites and I doubt that all the content on them if you laid it out on one big piece of paper would even be 1% of the area covered by adwords.

In my opinion it is about time that governments took a look at that and ask if it is in the interests of the people.

On April the 24th, Google have adversely affected many valid businesses or seriously affected their revenue streams. This will cause chaos for those businesses and the livelihood of many. This will not go unnoticed and the negative press is mounting quickly. If the market for search were more competitive then it is clear many would vote with their feet. The market for search is basically unhealthy and it is is high time the authorities stepped in to either regulate it or promote competition within it. Even if it means breaking Google into different companies. They did it with telecommunications and perhaps they should consider it for this market.

The general public needs to be made more aware of what they are getting when using Google search. It is not an unbiased search of the internet as far as humanly possible, made with a degree of altruism but a massive advertising platform. Google however would make you believe that they are very much altruistic- I say Humbug.

To be cynical many would say that the worse the organic SERPS become the higher the CTR on adwords becomes. Having often 3 slots for adwords at the top of the page and often more at the bottom means they are intent on only one thing. The question is how long web masters are going to allow them to use their content in the middle to justify adwords. And the bit which is laughable is even many of those websites in the middle - what do they show?

backdraft7




msg:4447076
 12:56 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Here’s my take on what has so far amounted to be one of the most devastation “quality updates” Google has released to date.

Looking at this entire issue from the "Google Love" perspective that Larry Page seems to be craving....IF they want love, then let's open the black box a little bit for honest users. Since This April thread started, we've seen endless complaints and speculation on what is happening. That right there is the problem and the basis for hating on Google.

Google recently added a feature to WMT to notify you if your CMS scripts are out of date and to update them. I thought that feature was pretty much useless and a crutch for lazy webmasters. However, maybe it's not so bad, but let's expand on that...if they are going to drop you for some reason, at least TELL US what metric we are being drop for! If its keyword loaded, let us know. If its excessive back links, let us know. A little feedback will buy a lot of user love.

It's doesn't have to be a detailed report, just send us a message saying "page abc is being de-ranked for xyz issue". You know they have the horsepower to do this, but sadly I believe their fear is that it opens up the "gaming the system" by black hatters. There’s always a few bad apples.

So how do you get around the gaming issue?

I suggest they begin a small business verification program. Remember is the old days when you could pay Google (or was it Yahoo) $299 for organic inclusion? Why not bring that back but let's make it an annual $599 or an even $1000 to register your LEGITIMATE business with Google.

Then, once you've registered, you will need to verify your business, tax ids and all the other details. You know they have most of this info anyway and if you're a decent taxpaying business owner, you have nothing to fear. Your site should be secure and conform to a certain quality standard. In a roundabout way, that’s what they are trying to force us into right now.

If you’re a web spammer from a foreign country or tying to apply with false credentials, you’re out of business. Perhaps inclusion in this program would improve transparency and a modicum of love between Google and their legitimate small business owner users and hopefully mitigate some of the financial pain we are felling every month.

If you’re a blogger making money solely on Adsense, well, then perhaps it’s time to re-think your business strategy and stop polluting the web with re-hash. In many cases this is the space junk we all abhor.

Agree with it or not, but the overseer’s are upon us and here to stay. If I have to partner in with Google and BUY their trust (like the bigs boys do already) to avoid these financial disasters called "quality updates" that are basically as costly, useless and ineffective as the "war on drugs", then so be it.

Sure it's naive to think Google would ever consider opening their vault for what could amount to a billion in new revenue per year, but if they do, we'll know for sure what motivates them.

If Larry Page can daydream about mining asteroids for water, I can daydream about Google transparency.

Leosghost




msg:4447082
 1:30 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Same response as in the other thread where you posted the substantially the same as "above"..

That would be "pay to play"..some people got their start in their online businesses via beginning with a hobby site , and building on it ..

If they had to register as a business with whatever "authorities" are responsible for "businesses" ( with whatever financial outlay that involves* ) depending on where they are that can be expensive ( * in France until very recently it was illegal to trade, even on the "net" without "registration" with the "authorities" ..the cost of which was fixed at an entry level of around $8,000.00 per year..whether or not you made a single cent profit the repeating annual cost was the same at nearly $8,000.00 ) add in your Google registration..and you have a system where only the people in business already could afford to be in the serps..

The mom and pops could not compete ..because they would be absent ..and any innovation would disappear within 12 months..

The carpet bombing keyword and search spammers and scrapers are exactly those who would have no trouble at all paying ..think "ehow".."about" etc..

The problem with the influence of the adsense driven element is that once the initial site is up ..there is no control, and that G does not police scrapers and copyright infringers with sufficient rigor as their own cache would fall foul of any rules they could make ..DMCA is and was not their idea..and is about as effective as "can spam"..

In the eyes of those outside the USA ..it is not effective at all..nor is it effective if you are scraped by someone outside the USA..

90% of the crap in serps ( those of Google or Bing etc ) could be removed overnight if Google would police adsense correctly instead of passing it off to searchers and website owners to report scrapers and scam and infringers..

I won't be holding my breath..

But paid registration with search engine(s) is what we call in French ( doubtless the same term exists in many languages ) "climbing the ladder and then pulling it up after you"..we all got into Google's serps for free, some began their businesses based upon their success whilst holding a day job working for the man, or were in school etc..

Why should those who come after us have to pay to play when we did not ? ..

If you are losing a race, running with two legs, the way to win with pride isn't to suggest shooting some of the other runners in the foot...apart from the fact it would be ethically wrong ..many "innocents" would suffer..and poor folks couldn't play..

"Pay to play" or "need a permit to play", is closer to old style soviet ways of doing things than it is to free enterprise..

Bear in mind also ..Google does not only operate in the USA..would you ban non US sites from targeting the USA, or appearing in USA serps ?..or US sites from targeting or appearing in non USA serps..?

Your "view" is extremely narrow and USA focused..and "protectionist"..we don't all have USA tax ID etc..nor need it ..nor would I consider obliging a US citizen to have French tax ID to see his or her site in French serps..and not all countries have a BBB nor even an approximate equivalent to it..

It is webmasterworld here where we are posting..

Transparency from Google would be more useful to some..but IMO it isn't ever going to happen..

They are going the other way with the referral data stripping they began last year..and I suspect that some time this year we'll se all referral data striped and they'll go to https for all searches ..signed in or not..and it will be said to be done for the good for searchers "privacy"..

Thus they'll home to divert flack from, what is IMO, their appalling privacy stance..

But your "solution" is far far too USA centric ( there is a web and serps outside the USA :) and presupposes that

a)
If you’re a web spammer from a foreign country

And if you are a web spammer from the USA..spamming either the USA or foreign serps..and very very many are from the USA ..then what ?

b)
tying to apply with false credentials

The biggest spammers..ehow etc..have real credentials..so real credentials wouldn't stop the big guys at all ..pinterest are ripping of people's copyright materials via their users at a staggering rate ..with real USA business credentils ..as are "about" etc..

And again would you recognise for example my businesses credentials ( I am registered in more than one country and in multiple languages ) ? or how much other cost there is involved in us getting them ..not evryone can start off business life as easy as using a DBA..

Hurting the little guys that you don't know, by insisting that they get embroiled in your bureaucracy, and produce suitable paperwork for it..because you think that the big guy Google won't change ( but you'd like Google to be the "web police" and keep "the other guy out of your hair" and "out of or below you" in "your serps" is not giving everyone an even break..

You are asking for favoritism for established USA business webmasters , over those who have yet to establish themselves , or who are based elsewhere..

You and I, and all the others here reading and on the web, didn't have to produce business licences to be in commercial serps, or "pay to play" when we began on the web ..why should anyone else, anywhere else, now or in the future..

You can be "scraped" just as easily by a legit paper permit carrying US business, as by a foreign legit paper permit carrying business or a non paper carrying one inside or outside the USA..

Ramses




msg:4447158
 8:52 am on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

If it wouldn't be that sad it would be funny.
This situation isn't new, since some years google has the monopoly in the search engine business.
This was fine for all of you when your sites were listed on a top position.
Now the game has changed and you get aware about it?

Staffa




msg:4447184
 12:35 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I suggest they begin a small business verification program. Remember is the old days when you could pay Google (or was it Yahoo) $299 for organic inclusion? Why not bring that back but let's make it an annual $599 or an even $1000 to register your LEGITIMATE business with Google.

Why would G limit itself to a fixed income per site when they already have unlimited income via Adwords ?

Nothing to stop you from joinging too

backdraft7




msg:4447202
 2:42 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, for those who think it's a stupid idea, Google already has something similar in the works:
[support.google.com...]

@legos - you've totally misinterpreted the idea. It does not need to be fee based, but there needs to be some qualification wall to weed out the spammers, hackers and general bad guys.

My business is mostly publishing, and I hold little to no inventory so wild updates are not such a burden on me. However, I have many associates who run ecommerce outlets that hold inventory. These poor folks get hit hard every time a slash & burn update comes by and they are left holding the bag. So what? you might say...well if it's love Google wants, give these businesses a clue as to what happened.

It' simply about about transparency and trust and a way for Google to identify true businesses. Don't even THINK that a mom & pop blog is a business, it's not. They'll still be there. But a verified business site is better for the user - that's common sense. It's not pay & play either...you can still play no matter what.

Leosghost




msg:4447212
 3:24 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

The thing is even if G did not charge " to play"..in many countries setting up even a very small basic business can be very very expensive for the administrative paperwork and permits ( even to run adsense on a website )..So proving one was a "legit" business could easily cost an ongoing $5,000.00 per year even if the business made nothing ..

I've known people here set up businesses in the past ..spend the money on the permits and registrations ( used to be about- $8,000.00 first year ( and again each successive year ..used to be a "flat rate" minimum "per annum" payment ) paid before you could begin "trading" or running adsense etc if that were your model )..many made less than their outlay for the "above"..and the second year and every subsequent year have to pay again...or fold the business and pay pro rata yearly fees til the end of the quarter..

If they didn't the state moved on their possessions, their car, house, bank accounts, savings etc to pay the recurring "flat rate" being in business fees..they used bailiffs and police to make sure the state got "it's money"..pushed tens of thousands of small and medium businesses under every year..

That changed at the previous Presidential elections here, to no fee to register..and if you make nothing you pay nothing ( apart from a "local" flat rate business tax called the CFE..although in some towns that can still be $3,000.oo per year, even if you made no profit ! )..But the Presidential challenger this year ( the vote is in 7 days ) is threatening to return all small businesses to the "old way"!..

Many countries have similar systems to our "old one"..so the idea you propose would still make even getting a foot in the "in business on the web" door impossible for very many non USA citizens..because having the "paperwork" to appear "legit" to search engines would cost them money that they don't have..

I repeat ..we didn't have to show our "official business papers" to search engines in order to begin making money on the net..why should anyone else..either now or in the future..

Btw the UK gov't and the French gov't and many EU gov'ts have as a legal requirement that we show our business registration number(s) ( each country has different registration systems , and thus different numbers..which means I have many to deal with ) .. on our websites, so that way any visitors can trace who we are , where we are, and our financial history ..or face very heavy fines ..does yours ?

Would you or anyone else know what ours look like ?

2nd Btw..I'm in what you'd call web publishing ( with and without adsense etc, downloads of e-materials ) , and ecommerce ..with large inventory..

I don't need to handicap the new guys on the block with bureaucracy to survive what search engines changes and updates cause..

I've made what I do on the web and off it so that although I do well via search ..I don't depend on it ..and if adsense went away tomorrow I'd only shed a small tear ..and probably raise a large glass..:)

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