It’s impossible to pickup a business magazine or major newspaper without finding an article detailing how online advertising is going to change the technology landscape. Many of these same article have declared Google the hands-down winner in this mystical realm.
The people who write these article must not use the internet like I do because I never click on online advertising. I visit MSNBC, Digg, Facebook and Google multiple times a day yet I’ve never once clicked on an ad. Never. I’m left wondering who are these internet users who are driving such wild speculation? I mean, Google continues to mint money and Microsoft seems hell-bent on wrestling parts of Yahoo that will boost their own presence in this area. We know that Google is selling a lot of ads but are the people paying for these ads getting a reasonable ROI or are they scared into not participating in the “next big thing”?
I believe all this talk about online advertising is a bunch of hyperbole that’s being perpetuated by the participants themselves who clearly have the most to gain by its growth. People see Microsoft trying to crawl out of hole and get in the game by swallowing Yahoo while Google continues to increase marketshare because MicroHoo is distracted and clueless.
Online ads. Who cares.
What I do care about is when someone I trust recommends a product. When Seth Godin blogged about Sigg bottles, I bought 6 of them. When I decided to purchase a DSLR camera, I looked at what Ken Rockwell recommended and bought the Nikon D40. This week my father purchased two Nikon D40 (one for work, one for himself) based on my recommendation. A coworker told me about Ecco shoes a few years ago and I’m hooked. The same goes for dozens of other products that came to my attention through friends, coworkers, family and bloggers I trust.
Go ahead Google. Continue stuffing more ads next to my search results but you can’t fool me. I won’t click on your ads. Same goes for Microsoft and Yahoo and Facebook and Digg and whomever else foolishly believes online ads will take over the world.
One last thought: If Google provides both the search results AND the ads next to these results, what incentive does it have to refine the results and make them as relevant as possible? Wouldn’t it make sense for Google to make the free results less accurate than the paid ads so that users take the bait and click on the paid ads?
Comic provided by Geek and Poke