Are Google’s advertising practices slowly turning evil? - kenny chung : the frequency

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Link: Google expands ad targeting methods

Google is toeing a fine line between efficiency and being totally creepy. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Google is a business. It wasn’t built by the people for the people, despite all the happy feelings associated with the company. I love Google products as much as the next guy (unless the next guy works for Apple), but I also understand they can’t side with the public on every issue. So what this new change boils down to is pleasing advertisers versus not alienating its user base.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for both sides. Advertisers can spend a significant monthly budget on Google’s ad networks (e.g. AdWords, Content). So wouldn’t it make sense to please the people paying your bills? Being able to target ads to the right people benefits all parties involved. The advertisers’ ROI should increase, whether from higher CTR (click-through rate) or lower CPC (cost per click). Google’s ad network comes out of this as the most efficient platform for online ad spend. And the user doesn’t get bombarded with as many irrelevant ads and might actually find something useful.

So it’s win-win-win, right?

Maybe not. As I’ve referenced in a previous post, Google seems to be ethically lax with regard to privacy policy. And I know there is a bevy of Internet users who believe tracking cookies are evil and online advertisers are Big Brother. Obviously, this new move by Google doesn’t help to alleviate that feeling.

It’s a delicate balance, and at the moment, I can’t answer how this new policy will affect Google’s brand image. What do you think?

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