Feeds

How the Google stole Christmas

A heart two sizes too small

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

When Google unloaded the world's largest collection of desktop search ads onto the Apple iPhone, it didn't ask advertisers for their approval. It just unloaded, happily collecting the extra revenue.

As iPhonies began clicking on those ads, advertisers were obliged to pay for them - whether they were interested in mobile clicks or not. If they didn't want their dollars spent on the Jesus Phone - an untried ad platform - they could stop the bleeding. But they had to stop it on their own.

"It's taking HOURS to clean up and turn this crap off," search-engine ad consultant Dan Thies told us in early December, struggling to right his own Google account and several client accounts. "If you don't watch Google 24x7, they will go behind your back and get as deep into your wallet as they can."

And Dan Thies is in the minority. When Google opts advertisers into new ad placements, few realize they can opt out. "If Google turns something on by default," says Richard Stokes, president and founder of search-marketing consultant AdGooRoo, "95 per cent of advertisers are never going to notice it."

In other words, most Google advertisers who have no interest in advertising on the iPhone are advertising on the iPhone. And Google reaps the benefits.

With Google controlling at least sixty per cent of the web-search market, search advertisers looking for heavy traffic have little choice but to embrace the Chocolate Factory's ad platform. And once they've embraced it, Google reserves the right to spend their ad dollars as it pleases.

Yes, advertisers have some control over their own fate. They can cap their daily budgets. They can place ads against keywords of their choosing. But Google has a way of posting ads against keywords you haven't bid on, thanks to (opt-out) mechanisms like "broad match" or the new-fangled "automatic match."

Google's ad platform is so vast and so complex, the typical user doesn't realize which end is up. And even the most experienced users have less control than they realize.

In the end, if Google wants the added dollars, it can simply serve more ads. And this Christmas, that's exactly what happened.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Meltdown-proof

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.