the frequency a kenny chung blog

Link: Microsoft Blasts Google’s Ad Policies

Here’s a synopsis of the article: Microsoft denounces Google AdWords policy for hindering online advertising competition. Specifically, Microsoft execs feel that Google intentionally makes it unnecessarily difficult to transfer account/ad information from Adwords to other search engine advertisers, such as Microsoft AdCenter (for bing) or even Yahoo Marketing Solutions.

I’m going to cry foul on this one: Microsoft doesn’t have a leg to stand on in its accusations. From personal experience, I know for a fact that users can export Google bulksheets and upload them to both Yahoo Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter to be converted. I’ve also found it easier to do through Yahoo than Microsoft. So what is this difficulty that Microsoft execs are citing? Is it within their own ad platform? If their argument is that AdCenter doesn’t make converting Google PPC account data as easy as Yahoo does for the end user, then I agree. Microsoft would also be shooting themselves in the foot with this argument though. Consider it Microsoft cutting off their own nose to spite Google.

From my talks with vendors in the past, I know that Google has forbade third party SEM/PPC management platforms (such as Clickable, SearchIgnite, etc.) from including a native feature to automatically port Google AdWords campaigns to other advertisers. It’s still easy enough to do with step-by-step instructions though. Here are Yahoo’s instructions for importing Google AdWords data, and here are Microsoft’s instructions for uploading AdWords accounts. Not exactly a secret.

Considering the anti-trust suits against Microsoft (here’s one from last year that led to EU users being given the option of not installing Internet Explorer with Windows 7), this is essentially the pot calling the kettle black. What is Microsoft’s strategy here? The people who are familiar with PPC Advertiser platforms will know that Microsoft is over-exaggerating their claims. Perhaps Microsoft is counting on other people to use their statement as a talking point against Google? It does seem like it’s all the rage to criticize Google’s policies these days…

Microsoft is just being incredibly petty.

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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