The winter holiday season is crunch time for retailers everywhere. Often, it's the difference between a profitable year and one that ends in the red. On the Web, one company is not selling goods, but still profiting handsomely anyway: Google.
The ads have been controversial. In Google's early days, founders Larry Page and Sergey famously said that allowing advertisers to pay to be listed in a search engine would lead to bias in search results. The practice, also known as "paid inclusion," was inherently "evil," in the words of the company's founders.
By turning a blind eye to what it once considered evil, Google is poised to be even more profitable this holiday season.