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Google to reinvent UK newspaper biz

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Google is bringing its new-age advertising know-how to the UK newspaper business.

According to The Times, the world's largest search engine is chatting up "several" British newspaper publishers in the hopes of extending its Google Print Ads program across the Atlantic.

When we asked Google if this is true, the company told us "we won't be able to comment on if or when Print Ads will be launched in the UK." But they like being coy.

Launched stateside this summer, Print Ads is an outgrowth of the company's online advertising juggernaut, Google AdWords. With Print Ads, AdWords customers can bid for newspaper ad space much as they'd bid for keyword ads that turn up on Google's ridiculously-popular web search engine. But in this case, Brin, Page, and Co. are not running an auction. Once a bid is made, participating newspapers have free rein to accept it, make a counter offer, or reject it entirely.

Naturally, Google takes a cut of each ad dollar. And if advertisers are unwilling to design their own newspaper ads, Google will gladly take some extra dough to provide a helping hand.

So far, more than 600 US newspapers have signed up for the program, including everything from the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, Texas to the Wausau Daily Herald in Wausau, Wisconsin. Some have a daily circulation as low as 1000 souls, but the list also includes the likes of The New York Times, The New York Post, and The Washington Post.

Yes, this puts newspapers in touch with cash-strapped small businesses who may not have considered print advertising in the past. But it puts Google one step closer to complete domination of the worldwide advertising market. As The Times points out, Google's ad revenue already exceeds that of Trinity Mirror - which publishes five national newspapers and more than 200 regional titles. And it's nosed in front of Channel 4 and ITV1 as well. ®

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