Google Now a Bona Fide 'Media Company'
Last quarter, Google declared in its SEC 10-K filing that it was a "media company":
€œWe began as a technology company and have evolved into a software, technology, Internet, advertising and media company all rolled into one.€
Indeed. In launching Site Targeting, newly announced enhancements to its AdSense/AdWords programs (site selection, graphical ads, CPM pricing), it truly has become one in a big way.
Lots of coverage already:
I'm heading off to Ad-Tech, but I wanted to register some quick thoughts:
- This is an important, even inevitable move by Google to attract more brand/national dollars (the "online growth imperative")
- It addresses long-standing advertiser criticism about the performance of AdSense
- It may drive some large newspaper publishers to adopt alternative solutions and Google as the company is perceived more and more to be a media company that is competing for large brand advertising dollars
- It puts pressure on the Kanoodles and Quigos of the world to differentiate (again)
- It may promote the online equivalent of "headings jumping" in the sense that advertisers rather than users will may now have a greater impact on "relevance" (although there are still some relevance controls in place)
Google is now an agency as much as a search engine.
My colleague Neal Polachek believes that this may be partly a response to the slow development of local as a revenue driver. There may well be truth there, but it's also a response to the logic of the marketplace and the desire of Google to capture branding/awareness dollars that are starting to move from traditional media to where the eyeballs are — online.
Other blog perspectives:
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Spoke yesterday to Kevin Lee of Did-It who doesn't believe that this initiative will be seen as competitive because the advertiser selection feature only applies to graphical ads and the program offers an opt out for publishers.
So I might have been hasty in my assessment that the AdSense network will be negatively affected. However, longer term, I think there is a growing perception of Google as competitive with certain categories of publishers (i.e., newspapers) and that, over time, will cause some to substitute their own "solutions" to serve internal advertisers vs using AdSense.