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Is this brand new? Or have I just been missing it. I can be a little slow sometimes.
Most respectable newspapers don't place advertisments on the editorial page. It weakens the value of both the masthead and the editorials.
I think, in some ways, same here. The greyed "*Sponsored Link*" doesn't follow Google's established ad pattern, and it may deceive the person who only scans the results quickly before clicking.
(edited by: mcguffin at 3:21 am (utc) on May 9, 2002)
I think one of most valuable things Google tries to do is demarcate the "shameless consumerism" off into a well-marked area that's separate from our search results.
Well, eat your words, GoogleGuy. This latest stuff is over the line. I'll never believe you again. I have to admit, you folks are clever about doing it all one tiny step at a time. But in the end, I must insist, it all amounts to the same thing.
Getting ready for an IPO, are you?
The fine line between advertising and "pure" search results does seem to be starting to be encroached upon. Before this you knew that everthing under the first two were "pure". Even though these no 8 listings are being clearly marked as sponsored as well, it is introducing "impure" results amongst the pure results. It may not be much, almost imperceptible at this stage, but it does reduce, ever so slightly the utility of searching on Google. What is more worrying is if this is the start of a trend. If Google users are happy with this, we soon may see no 1 ad word at position 3, no 3 at position 10 etc, and we will be back to having more carefully assess the quality of SERPS rather than using them in a carefree matter as we do now. Even more interesting - will these no 8's also appear on AOL in a few months, will they turn up on API queries?, and a host of other things...?
It may be a slight change but is could also be the thin edge of the wedge. Google's only major unique positioning competitive advantage is results untainted by "paid for in cash" listings. Fiddle with that, even in a small way but given that is Google's raison detre for surfers, and it could represent a risk of damage to the Google brand that may be more substantial than immediately apparant.
Google established the high-road for itself. Now, its current practices will have to compete with that past high-road image.
Will users perceive a difference and modify their behavior? Alternately, will any of the other SE's try to capitalize on Google's change and advertise their own "pure editorial results"? It's a possiblity.
The other risk to the Google brand, is that it is the first time that they havent been "up front". Sure the Adwords are labelled, but its a sneaky thing to quietly slip them into the holy grail. Many people and seriou researchers have up to now used Google as a research tool to find out things like most popular sites, linked to sites, content popularity on the Web. If these sponsored lists are "parsed" by these programs and methodologies Google's results suddenly become invalid, (given for sure that there was no competition).
The worst prospect for google is that it looks like they are levelling the playing field - rather than being able to play on their own playing field, it looks like they could soon be playing with Teoma, Alltheweb, AV, and a possible heap or new newcomers in the next year or two. Wonder whether BBC will include the no 8's?
1. I will not be surprised if more publically funded efforts like the BBC arise in the future to fill the gap that google looks like it may be leaving. The BBC is right. People do want (and need) relevant, content related search results. I expect to see more quasi-government or government-funded relevant search engine development.
2. It may also speed up the trend of people using other methods to "find stuff on the web" - though credible sites, vortals, etc etc.
If Google does go in this direction, they will lose their "non commercially influenced" brand, which ive said already, but they still have their "quick, fast loading search" which is a secondary but less valuable competitive advantage.
I thing 4 crests you right about a business' first responsibility is in being to stay in business! The problem is that google's brand is clear and strong up to now. They will have to face a major rebranding exercise.
I do understand most peoples concerns though. "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile". This thread kind of reminds me of the one that was started when Google started the Adwords program. Guess we will just have to wait and see how far it goes.
I've always been more of a "Cups half full" type of guy.
PS I remember hearing something about google not mixing adwords with its SERPs, im sure others remember it too.
So how come this happened? :) Who pressed the big red button