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Google Pure Image Ads In The Serps

Say it aint so?

     
12:19 pm on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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lazerzubb spotted this. Google has made so many changes the look and feel of Serps lately, that it is hard to actually keep track of and spot the new stuff. (so if this has been posted before...sorry for the dupe)

Unless you study this [webmasterworld.com] rather closely, it doesn't immediatly stand out as an AdWords based paying image based advertisement: jason bourne [google.com].

I had not seen something like that before with an Image. At first, I just thought it was a G-universal search thingo, but nope - a paying ad, with an image.

Background:
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

<added> screen shot link </added>

12:24 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Can you screenshot it Brett? Not showing in the UK...
12:29 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Bateman, I'm not seeing it either (in the UK too) on the link Brett dropped, but am seeing something different if you change it to:

[google.co.uk...]

12:30 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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12:34 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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[flickr.com...]

I see it also.

I am shocked, even though I knew this would come.

Wow!

Nice find Brett!

12:44 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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But is this truely new? Someone mentioned to me that it might have been done for the Da Vinci Code as well and it wasn't an ad.
12:56 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That was specifically on Google's personalized home page, i.e. google.com/ig

This is so different.

12:57 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Wow is right! That UK one doesn't actually say "Sponsored Link", and there are no competing AdWords.

[google.co.uk ]

1:03 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Erm, how is the end consumer supposed to know that it's an advert? On the screenshots I do not see "Sponsored Links", "Advertisement" or something similar?

I think Google has now crossed the line towards shady business tactics. Boo!

1:07 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Turns out NBC had a deal with Google in Feb 2006 with this exact type of ad. So I was wrong... See [blog.searchenginewatch.com...]
1:19 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think what Google are doing is very clever.

They have teamed up with Universal to create a "Find Jason" challenge

[adweek.com ]

But I think they are using this exercise to test images in their top AdWords ads on a live audience.

1:26 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google is in the business of selling ads. Who cares if they place some cool looking ads in the SERPs?

Plus a link to the trailer is a great first result... win win...

1:46 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I care b/c I don't want the serp's I use on a daily basis to be cluttered with image ads left and right. Pure, simple, clean design. Google's forte is now becoming a thing of the past.
2:34 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is not something the general public can do. It looks like a very special case. Looks like they are trying to be like Yahoo.
2:38 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Turns out NBC had a deal with Google in Feb 2006 with this exact type of ad.

I just ran search for all universal movies from 2006 until now and the The Bourne Ultimatum is the only one with an image ad.

2:53 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I care b/c I don't want the serp's I use on a daily basis to be cluttered with image ads left and right. Pure, simple, clean design.

Maybe they could introduce an ad-free, paid-subscription version for users who don't like ads. How much are you willing to pay? :-)

2:53 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hmmmm...

It's an Ad, but there is no indication to the consumer that it is a paid link. And it's missing nofollow in the anchor tag. I wonder what Matt Cutts would have to say...

3:02 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"And it's missing nofollow in the anchor tag"

Does that matter though? SERPS are blocked in Google's own robots.txt, so no respectable search engine would find the link anyway.

3:22 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Good come back, Europe.

Except that, if you have heard G and Y's pitch, they insist to ad buyers that ads enhance the search results with more relevant information. It's a win-win.

And, that's true. In the vertical magazine biz, we are careful about who we let buy an ad. The magazine's reputation rests on honorable ads. And, I think it is very, very true for Y and G and wantabes like Ask. The users have to like the ads. But, that can be done. You just have to be able to say no with people with money they want to give you.

Not easy. How people react to this will tell you a lot about how they view the world.

3:55 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Look how nicely the ad image matches GooglePreview for Firefox too :-)

xs217.xs.to/xs217/07291/adwords-graphic-128.png

I'm still waiting for Google to do thumbnails natively, it would be a lovely option...

4:31 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Weeks, I think the ad in Brett's screen capture fits in nicely with the "enhancing search results" pitch.

I agree that Google needs to tread carefully with such ads--as it probably will. (It's unlikely that display ads for "Herb's Herbal Viakra" will show up on on "erectile dysfunction" SERPs.)

4:49 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I agree that Google needs to tread carefully with such ads--as it probably will. (It's unlikely that display ads for "Herb's Herbal Viakra" will show up on on "erectile dysfunction" SERPs.)

I agree, Europe. The troublesome temptation is going to be when a marketer sees that a movie or TV show appeals strongly to their demographic. Already we'll see already that Burger King or a McDonalds will have commercial tie-ins with a movie, and the fast food firms may want to be on the search result as well. G and Y are going to see that need, and they can offer that. Will they? Should they?

Then you get into health care products. I'm searching for something to help me sleep. I type in "trouble sleeping" and I get a Lunesta ad now. But, what if Lunesta wants to ofter a video, ya know, as a public service, about how to get to sleep and have it link to it displayed as our movie-makers did? Er, uh, <cough>, well now, hmmm...

I do think the example Brett posted (thanks Brett!) here should have been more clearly marked as an ad.

4:51 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Whoa, I can't believe I missed *this* part - it's not just an image ad - it's embedded youtube flash right within the window. You don't even have to move off the page, just watch it right there - just click the [+]

There's no ownership marked and the youtube account was created just 3 days ago.

Google has sold out. This perhaps marks when the shark was jumped.

ps. just try ranking above wikipedia on your own (in three days!)

[edited by: amznVibe at 4:52 pm (utc) on July 16, 2007]

4:56 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's an Ad, but there is no indication to the consumer that it is a paid link.

The ad is in the light blue area, it's not mixed in the usual SERPs at all!

Besides, if people can't read the title of the ad "Become an agent in the Ultimate Google Search for Bourne" and figure out it's a sales pitch, it's going to be a long weird trip.

5:04 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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People often surf with ignorance and will take something not marked as ads as the truth - especially coming from google.

Yeah, movies are sort of irrelevent truth wise but what happens when its a political ad or something that dives into personal/health or safety issues and people see videos that may be deceptively targeted to the keywords and no mention of them being sponsored it comes off more as propoganda than an ad.

Its hard to distinguish like a tv commercial or other adverts if its coming off as a feature of google and something that google is somewhat recommending.

its cool as a game like Trent Did with his album and halo does with theeir game releases, but if this is the standard moving forward i do so some potential "crossing the line issues" that could easily upset a large part of there demographics who supported them because they were fair and innovative.

5:14 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am not convinced this is an ad.

The URL is not in the typical ad java.
It's not marked as a sponsored link.
It could be a display based ad, but I really don't think it's a PPC ad of any kind.

It looks like a result of what Google does for their corporate intranet search. They essentially highlight the most common results using the 'premium sponsored link' ad technology; but it's not actually sponsored.

This might be a way for them to collect data, try out some new results, etc. And it could be an ad - but it's not a PPC one.

5:14 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, this is probably classified as deceptive advertising. Even Brett mentioned above that you have to be pretty aware to catch this.

But it's also very special case and I think if anything they're just researching the situation. They probably should have put in "sponsored" tho.

5:16 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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> I am not convinced this is an ad.

I can see that point. I sure wonder too; but, the blue background gives it away as an ad I think.

I finally clicked on the ad .... no wonder Jason can't be found. lol

Sorry, but
THE ULTIMATE SEARCH FOR BOURNE
cannot be undertaken with the Opera Browser.
5:19 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I guess the big point is - once Google takes money to do this for just a movie, what's next?

Are we gonna see automobile ads with youtube videos attached soon when we check on the price of local cars?

For those that claim the blue background shows it's an ad, note how the official results tabulation just above it is in the same color.

5:25 pm on July 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I finally clicked on the ad .... no wonder Jason can't be found. lol

Sorry, but
THE ULTIMATE SEARCH FOR BOURNE
cannot be undertaken with the Opera Browser.

Interesting. I clicked on it in FF and also can't see it. I think it's the flash - I usually have flash disabled.

I'm still amazed at sites that don't do a flash detect to serve relevant content instead of giving me a blank screen and asking me to install software.

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