Friends - This was originally posted 7/17/06 but the discussion that followed became overheated and resulted in the moderators deleting the entire thread. To those of you who posted, thank you for your (mostly) kind words! The moderators have kindly given me a second chance to post this and my hope is that it captures some of the spirit of many of the discussions we've had about this issue over the past week. ...Ocean Doctor
A Poem to Google AdWords
by Ocean Doctor
July 17, 2006
A decade ago, from the hallways of Stanford,
came a new way to find things, just using a keyword.
Two grads used their noodles,
built something called “Google.”
It’s a verb now in Webster’s -- who figured?
It was different, superior – a gem.
We bookmarked and embraced it back then.
Six colorful letters,
it really worked better.
“Do No Evil,” they said. We believed them.
In 2000 many web sites were dying.
But Google knew soon folks would be buying.
They launched a product called “AdWords,”
though pay-per-click then still seemed absurd.
Google knew it was a risk, but worth trying.
Of course AdWords went on to success.
With this tool we could build strong business.
Selling local or other nations,
stay-at-home moms or corporations,
we quit our day jobs to do this, no less.
But in the darkness something sinister lurked.
They monkeyed with something that worked,
and gave us “Quality Score,”
“user experience” it was for,
but clearly explaining it was something they shirked.
In selling and marketing we’re well-versed,
skills we needed to get rising click costs to reverse.
Sometimes we’d get by,
though we never really knew why,
but then in July of ‘06 things got much worse.
We went to bed without warning,
and awakened ripped from our mooring.
A terrible lurch
Our best words “inactive for search,”
what was a penny last night cost ten bucks in the morning.
So many found their campaigns in ruin.
Even hit those who knew what they were doing.
Not newbies, but veterans,
now addicted to acetaminophen,
which Google mails out if you boo ‘em.
Our reward for loyalty, millions spent?
We’re suddenly broke, can’t pay our rent.
We believed at the IPO,
but now live in Google Gitmo,
Without a clue as to why we were sent.
We plead, “Google, just tell us what to do.”
But the response is unhelpful and cool.
Their vague ramblings of a madman
belie “Quality Score” is no more than
a black box, contents shielded from view.
But perhaps most serious among this wreckage?
Google’s judging for itself what’s quality vs. garbage.
It’s the hallmark of ivory tower,
of a corporation drunk on its own power,
trying to reshape the web in its own image.
But assuming that Quality Bot’s airtight,
and for “user experience” it has insight,
please explain – and this is critical –
how it’s not plain hypocritical
that poor quality’s OK if the price is right?
Google, please put yourself in our shoes.
Say you bought a new car for your business to use.
It runs faithfully day and night,
then one morning, only turns right.
But to fix it, the dealer gives you only vague clues.
We understand selling’s risky, often dangerous,
but the tools that you sell us should be helping us.
Large and small business alike
saw loss of fortunes overnight.
If that’s not evil, than really, what is?
So the next step isn’t hard to construe.
We’re frustrated and angry with you.
Larry and Sergey might be deafened,
inside their 767,
‘cause that sucking sound is adCenter and Yahoo.
Don’t underestimate the web “marketeer,”
Whose resilience and spirit will persevere.
Big changes are underway.
Every Empire has its day.
But, Google, it’s not too late for you to reconsider…
We thought you were different, not like the rest
We trusted “…No Evil” I guess
And though naïve and extraordinary,
to fight corporations with poetry,
frankly, it’s all I’ve got left.