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Posts tagged ‘Google’

When PR Goes Bad

If you haven’t heard by now, the news that Facebook launched a secret attack against Google broke late last week. Facebook hired PR agency Burson-Marsteller to run an anti-Google campaign. Two newly hired employees ran the secret operation with involved pitching anti-Google stories to newspapers and urging them to investigate Google’s rumored Social Circle for invading users’ privacy. A claim which I find rather ironic considering Facebook’s spotty past and history of playing fast and loose with users’ privacy. The PR agents offered to help a blogger write a piece slamming Google, with the promise that they would get it published in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. Instead, the blogger turned the tables and published the email pitching the offer. USA Today picked up the story and the rest is history.

At first, no one knew who was behind the Google attack. It was believed that maybe Apple or Microsoft was the culprit. Burson-Marsteller refused to give the name of their client. Finally, Facebook collapsed under the pressure and admitted to hiring the firm. Facebook says that their launched the campaign because they believe Google is upsetting social networking privacy and resents that they may use Facebook data in its own social networking service.

Google’s rumored Social Circle would let people with a Gmail account see information about their friends and friends of friends. It would also incorporate information from other social networking sites. Facebook claims that Social Circle was “designed to scrape private data and build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users- in a direct and flagrant violation of Google’s agreement with the FTC.”

Burson-Marsteller says that they will not fire the two new hires but will give them extra training and redistribute their code of ethics to all of their employees. The PRSA’s code of ethics lists numerous points but I believe one of the most important is to “work to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession”. Burson-Marsteller did not exactly follow that guideline. The public is already so distrustful of advertising and public relations; they don’t need added reasons to hate us!

Google vs. MetaCrawler- Battle of the Ads

Now that you know how Google makes their money, how do you feel about it? Google does a great job of identifying their ads. They are clearly highlighted in yellow, and say Sponsored Link.

Other search engines are not as transparent. They seldom used MetaCrawler recently received a failing grade in a poll about their transparency when it came to advertisements. Below is a picture of the MetaCrawler search page for Canon. This is the same search term used in my last blog about Google’s billons. As with the last post, the advertisements are circled in red.

As you can see, they laced in with the actual search results. The advertisements say Sponsored by: below the link. However, they are not as well labeled as Google’s ads. If a user was not pay attention, they could click on an ad without ever knowing. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that.

Ads are a necessary part of life, and can sometimes be helpful. After all, if you search for Canon camera as I did, you possibly want to buy a Canon. Therefore an ad for Best Buy, or a similar site, would be very helpful.

I have a two part question to you guys- Do you notice advertisements on search engines? Do you think there is a problem with the way MetaCrawler lays out their ads?

Google is Worth HOW MUCH?!?

As of October 5th, 2009, Google was worth $153.4 BILLION! So, how is that possible? How does Google make their money?

When I go to Google, I type in the search terms I want and hit Google search, or if I am in a particularly frisky mode, I’m feeling lucky! Let’s say for example I want information about digital camera, more specifically a Canon digital camera. I go to Google and type in Canon. I get back a page of search results, and start looking at webpages. So how does me doing that translate to Google being worth BILLIONS of dollars?

Google charges companies to put ads on their page. Wait… what? I’ve never seen ads on Google… or have you? Below is a picture of Google search results for “canon”. The ads are in a red box. They are at the top and the side of the page.

These companies pay Google based on the number of clicks on their website. So if Best Buy purchased ad space on Google when someone typed in Canon, and I clicked on their site, they would have to pay Google for that click.

So how much do companies pay per click, you ask? Well, it depends. Google makes companies bid for it. The highest bidders get closer to the top of the page. Say Best Buy bids $0.15 a click, and Radio Shack bids $0.10 a click. Best Buy would be at the very top of the page. Radio Shack may be pushed over to the side of the page, where people rarely look.

Now you know how Google rakes in the dough!

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