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Google Donates to Charity "on behalf of vendors"

 7:10 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

System: The following 17 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/4036265.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 12:46 pm on Dec. 22, 2009 (utc -8)

Seems like Google sent out $20 million as a holiday gift, but to charity. TC has details [techcrunch.com...]



 11:13 pm on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let's face it - Google is just... unusual at times.

A few weeks ago I saw a man who has just written a book about Google interviewed on CNN. He spoke of an instance when he was at Google and one of the two founders walked into the room and suggested he should just put his book up on Google for free and let anyone who wants to read it.

He responded that he had taken 1+ year off his regular job to research & write the book yet his mortgage payments, grocery bills, utility bills, etc. continued during that year.

His point was how idealistic (and out of touch - my words) are the two founders.

They obviously have some adults working around there to make things work, but still, it makes for an interesting company.



 11:40 pm on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google gives money every year to charity - so do alot [sic] of businesses.

The company I work for no longer supplies coffee, stopped their "rewards" program for exceptional work, and suspended their 401k match this year. No one gets a raise in pay in 2010 either and our bonus will be about half of what it was in 2009.

No holiday parties, food at meetings that run through lunch... the list goes on. I bought my own pens the other day because we didn't have any in the supply room.

This is a Fortune 100 company that is still quite profitable, but the pressure from Wall Street is tremendous.

I don't feel stiffed at all. Thanks again Google.


 11:54 pm on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you were expecting a gift from Google - you got stiffed.

I'm pretty sure the spirit of every cultural and religious gift-related tradition that takes place in December is about giving gifts, not expecting them.

It's hard to get bent out of shape about the approach they took this year. Even if they would have donated that $20 million anyway, at least they didn't blow another $20 million on logo'd schwag* and postage.

Many companies who donate will spend 10x more than the donation on TV ads talking about their donation. Sending out an email and putting up a single simple web page costs them practically nothing... so I'd say they did a good job with that, too.

My only area of improvement would have been to give each of us the choice of which of those listed charities got our share of the donation.

*I mean, yes, all this Google stuff on my desk looks cool and gives me a +5 bonus to my Internet Savviness Boasting ability. But ultimately it's just more stuff I have to dust every year.


 11:55 pm on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I for one had mixed feelings about some of the doodads received in past years, and I don't begrudge their absense.

Google's announcement about making a donation was not the first such note I've received this season. It seems to be a growing trend for companies to make charitable donations in lieu of handing out promotional gifts, and on many levels that's probably a good thing.

In reference to the percentage reportedly given to charity, let's not get judgemental because there's no way we can know the whole story here. FWIW, some companies believe in making zero charitable donations at the corporate level, believing that it's preferable to maximize the paychecks of employees, shareholders, partners, etc so they can make their own individual decisions about what to support.

As with so many things, there's more than one way to look at it ...


 12:10 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

suggested he should just put his book up on Google for free and let anyone who wants to read it.

Call me crazy, but based on my adsense earnings I certainly have made more by doing exactly that :)

Again, thank you google ... happy holidays!


 12:49 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Personally I find press releases that follow charitable donations (or in this case, announcements of potential future charitable donations) to be crass.

In any event, even if you're low-class enough to turn a charitable donation into a three ring promotional circus, this isn't the way to do it. Smart marketing would've just given the money and kept their mouths shut. Let the charities do the talking, unsolicited. They'd get a lot more positive press, and not have people calling them crass in public.


 1:11 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

No issues with me on Google's making a difference to those charitable organizations.

Glad to see them helping them out.


 1:18 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

[It's calculated? Is it possible our conversation here encouraged Google to think about what to do for the holidays?

Calculated ?..obviously ..in reaction to the information released by the sources I cited here days ago [webmasterworld.com]..

Large press coverage in the UK about their less than 6000.oo donation to charity ..compared to their near 1.6 billion profit from the UK alone.. and the coverage was prior to this belated attempt at PR ..

A hypocritical attempt at damage control is what this is ..
they gave ..after being shamed into it
.001% of their profit..

and doubtless wrote it off against tax ..if they pay tax ..anywhere


 1:18 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google, one of the biggest corporations in the world, $20 million, hell, Brad Pit donated $6.8 million himself last year.

Brad can do whatever he wants with his money. Google needs to act responsibly on behalf of shareholders.
If you want to know more about Google and charities, then look for information about Google Foundation. The original pledge was $1 billion.

On a personal note, starting in mid 2007, I started donating a fixed percentage of my net income to charity. Adsense gave me the financial freedom to make that pledge to myself, and for that I'm very grateful.


 1:39 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

It just shows how easy it is to manipulate the crowd (at least 80% reacted exactly as Google intended - ie. 'good move', 'great spirit', 'great company', 'go green' etc. ;).

This sums it up nicely:
Nothing but political pr slight-of-hand at work.

I would also add out of the $20 million only $10-$12 will actually help someone; the other $8-$10M will be wasted for 100+K salaries and bureaucracy..


 1:54 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

On a personal note, starting in mid 2007, I started donating a fixed percentage of my net income to charity. Adsense gave me the financial freedom to make that pledge to myself, and for that I'm very grateful.

It's different. that's personal. Google is corporate. And I suspect you don't bring this up as a talking point at parties. "Oh, I donated a fixed percentage of my net income to charity" - that's about as much of an conversation killer as telling them you sell life insurance. But that's what Google's doing here.

In short:
- personal donations to charity and corporate donations to charity are two completely different things, and I question the idea of random donations to charity from corporations, particularly publicly traded companies. If the lords of Google want to give to charity, sell some stock and give privately.
- issuing public statements about it smells of a pr stunt, which cheapens it. If it's not about PR, then why didn't they do it quietly? Because it IS about PR, that's why.

I don't know. Maybe when you've got that much money things are different. I'd hope that when I've got more money than my kids could possibly spend that I'll do things differently. I hope I do.


 2:27 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

conspicuous contribution


 2:31 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've gotten several, but not all, of the gifts over the years. It would be an understatement to say that the one's I got don't mean a thing to me at this point in time.

Sure, I was flattered by the first one. But that was back during my honeymoon period with Adsense. Things were exciting, fresh and new. Back then Google, Inc. was the "good guys."

Now the relationship is simply a slug match. It's me against the beast. So, I'm happy enoungh to be left out from getting my portion of the cheap chinese crap Adsense parcels out. And if my not getting a present means that Google donates even one dollar more to charity than they would have otherwise, then that's great with me.

What I really think, however, is that heaven forbid Adsense would think enough of me to treatment me as a respected business partner rather than to just try to bribe my emotions off with a few yearly trinkets.


 2:42 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

that's about as much of an conversation killer as telling them you sell life insurance

As would "you are rich, where is my gift."

Sorry, but the manufactured title of this thread implies this...

then why didn't they do it quietly

because then they would be accused of being uncaring, of not contributing.

One of my former clients gets $10k a month in free advertising from G. It was upped to $25K since then. They are not on that list. G gives more than we know and not just in donation, it is in lost income as well.

Companies have a choice. They either do it quietly and get villified and then lose money or they do it publically and get villified b/c it is not enough... Catch 22.


 2:54 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Whatever Google does, it's all for hype.

They started with gifts for webmasters, but that's an old idea, press won't pick it up any more. So this year they feel like they are charitable.

Next year? Maybe they'll plant some trees in GooglePlex and will announce they "saved or created" (lol - where did I hear that last time? :) 1M cubic meters of fresh air. Here's how Google saves our planet ::


 3:12 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I received the email.

My first response was to go to WebmasterWorld.com and look for any relevant threads.

Immediately, I stumbled across this thread, read the title and.........<chuckle>


 3:33 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

>because then they would be accused of being uncaring, of not contributing.

No, the issue is that they tied a yearly contribution to charity (which they have done for 10 years straight) to a vendor swag programs. This was not about charity, it was about discontinuing a program that vendors had come to look forward too.

Lets review:
- Google retracts almost every webmasters/siteowner outreach program it had in 2009.
- They left the trade show circut. Other than what they had contracted a year earlier, they eliminated their participation in trade shows.
- Left their own speakers to pay for their own way to industry conferences. (denying expense receipts).
- Eliminated AdWords account support.
- Layed off hundreds (thousands according to some reports) temp advertising support reps.
- Canceled the Google customer support party (Google dance).
- Eliminated the vendor appreciation programs for AdSense and Adwords.

Everything Google has done in the last year has screamed, "AdSense and AdWords markets are maximized or tapped out. Put it into maintenance mode and lets go see where else we can make money."

And so 2009 was about Chrome, Google Docs, Android Mobile, and now Android Desktop. Google's support and money is going into those projects and no longer into programs such as vendor appreciation programs. 2009 was the year Google came to the realization that search is no longer its future. (I must give a nod to Google that I didn't think they would have the nads to come to that conclusion - let alone start to take action on it.)


 4:03 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Next year?

They might announce a space flight or a moon landing in the name of all mankind.


 4:14 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

They left the trade show circut. Other than what they had contracted a year earlier, they eliminated their participation in trade shows.

And what charitable contributions has WebmasterWorld or PubCon made this year? Did it happen quietly and you are being villified? Just wondering.

Oh wait.... I have paid for a memebership for... hmmm years and years now from here. Been to a few confrences too. Where is my gift? Wait again, not expecting one.

Sucks that they made business decisions that are bad business decisions. Regardless, it is business. That should not preclude their charity or what that means.

[edited by: hannamyluv at 4:17 am (utc) on Dec. 23, 2009]


 4:14 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Haha Google propaganda machine must be oiled well. Now Matt Cutts features his post entitled:

"What charities do you donate to?"


All this must have been planned months ago.. :/


 4:41 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can anyone provide rough figures of how much this program cost them in the past? And how much they spent on this "gift" for 2009?


 4:48 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

> And what charitable contributions has WebmasterWorld
> or PubCon made this year?

Yes, we donate every year to charity. The only time we talk about it is when we do something to raise money with other webmasters (such as we did for victims of Katrina)


 5:14 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

How much, Brett?

That is my point...

I agree, anon is best. I don't even let my kids put their names on books they donate to their own schools.

But you can not judge that this is nothing if they do not brag. And you can not knock if they do. How much is behind the scenes?

Like I said, I had a client $10K a month in free ads X 12 months and then that had been upped shortly after they left my care. They were not on that list and they were a big charity (I know a big celeb just made news for donating to them).

I am so tired of people saying that they deserve something. I am not even a Christian. But you know... Christians has something with the cinder and log thing.

Still wondering where my xmas card is from here...


 5:27 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm happy to see that Google is donating to charity for whatever reason they want to give. If I had $20 million to give to charity, I'd tell people about it, too.

Personally, I prefer not getting any landfill-bound marketing gifts. If I made laws I would outlaw any marketing gifts that weren't edible, recyclable or biodegradable.


 6:44 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Put it into maintenance mode

Maybe they are letting the system run as intended (to scale unlike others, erm y/m erm, for example see everything in "the list" which doesn't scale) and they are focusing their assets on new channels for the distribution of the adsense and adwords advertising networks in the future. Just my perspective. Swag doesn't scale, google dances don't scale, um remember when you could take a ikea couch home from a google dance ... and they were okay with it ... stuff like that was fun and got things going ... but it doesn't scale to the masses ... giving to charities does scale. Just my two cents, happy holidays to your family and ,um ... charities.


 7:45 am on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well done to google for giving $20 million to charity, what ever way you look at it charities need it more than all of us put together

its just a pity that for the last 10 years they did not do the same instead of sending gifts and cards as this would of stopped the nay slayers from jumping on the band wagon with their adverse comments yet again from a company what has made 1'000s of web masters be able to better their lifestyle

Has it not occurred to members that we are experiencing the worse credit crunch for decades and most corporations are cutting back with staff, overheads expenses etc.

Businesses are ceasing trading left right and centre and your having a moan about not getting a gift or a card and then moan when they give it to a more needy cause.......

Anyway I will say it even if other members can't

Merry Christmas to all the staff at Google and thanks for everything over the last 10 years

oh and yeah I can say "Merry Christmas" cos thats what it is ;)


 1:30 pm on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google needs to act responsibly on behalf of shareholders.


If that really was their intent, then perhaps Google CEO's Mr. Page and Mr. Brin could sell their private Boeing 767-200 jet. Think of all the carbon that produces and the expense to run that could fund a charity.


 1:56 pm on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

...what ever way you look at it charities need it more than all of us put together

My guess is there are more than a few publishers who are having a hard time right now. A nice gesture such as sending this month's payment early would have been a nice gift to some publishers.

And I try to exercise caution about charities these days. Some are efficient and humble. Some are very inefficient. Some have management that keeps a lot off the top for themselves.

If Google gave $20 million or $20 to charity, good for Google. But I don't get all warm and fuzzy thinking "charities" are somehow the saviour of the world.

Simplify AdWords and use $20 million efficiently to recruit new advertisers. As we publishers spend our additional income, pay taxes on it, donate it, etc., that $20 million would do more for more people in the long run than spreading this $20 million out among that list of charities one time.



 2:08 pm on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've still not received the e-mail...do they have to pay extra postage to get it to the U.K.?


 2:37 pm on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I rarely receive E-mails from Google. I've checked my E-mail address in my account and it's correct, and I've whitelisted Google in my website E-mail filters. But it's rare that I ever receive anything from them. In fact, I don't recall the last time.


 2:56 pm on Dec 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I haven't gotten the email yet, but, having never received a "gift" from Google, other than a regular monthly payment without any bother, interference, cajoling, manipulating, etc. from the big G (and who can say that about any regular business client?), I don't feel like I was "stiffed" in any way. Google's numbers are so immense (millions and billions $$) that they hardly register since I'm still in the hundreds and thousands mode of thinking, but their giving to charity is fine, regardless of where the money is spent.

If $20 million goes out of Google's hands into charities, whether to actually help people or pay salaries or expenses or pay bills, it all helps the small publisher in the long run. The money circulates, and eventually some trickles down to us through the economy. That's how it's supposed to work.

Those who feel deprived of some relatively valueless "gift," are really not looking at the big picture. I'd much rather have G spread $20 million around to charities than spend the same amount, or half, or double, on gifts to publishers. Either way, money gets spent and put to work. At least this way, it gets spread around. (It's like welfare, unemployment benefits and other entitlement programs: As a taxpayer you hate them, until, as a businessperson, you learn how to get a sliver of the hand-out pie.)

I was thinking last night of how different things are from when I ran a handful of newspapers back in the 80s (pre-internet). I was younger, then, and a little more foolish, but money flowed back then. People didn't worry about tomorrow, their jobs, paying bills, etc., or at least not very much. There was always more money to be made.

Today it's a different story, but I believe much of it is media-driven. We have three 24-hour financial news networks constantly telling us things are OK, not so bad, horrible, inflationary, the third world is gaining on us, etc., etc., depending on the day, until it becomes a monotonous, boring drone. Everyone's a junior economist with an opinion on how the economy is crumbling, yet, still, we forge ahead, except now, we worry about tomorrow instead of welcoming new opportunities.

I think it's time to get over the remnant gloom from 2008 and get back to thinking about prosperity. Yeah, the banks and the govt. screwed up, screwed us, but don't they always? It's nothing new. What hasn't changed is that if you want to work, start a business or do anything of value, you have to start with yourself and a positive attitude, not a self-defeating one.

Sorry to go so long, but I just needed to respond to this thread. Google didn't "screw" anybody. They did what they thought best. Deal with it and move ahead with your own business. And look forward to a brighter future. You can make it happen.

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