Feeds

How the Google stole Christmas

A heart two sizes too small

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Next page: Meltdown-proof

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.