Google is doing a huge amount of its own advertising on the AdWords network, and I can’t help but wonder if it really is fair. Google is using its substantial advertising muscle to push aside other advertisers, and is taking a dominant position remove competitors from the top of the search results.
I’ve been gathering up examples of where Google is advertising it’s own products and services, and you may well be surprised at what Google is getting up to.
Are you looking for a mortgage? Forget that silly Meerkat, just use Google’s mortgage comparison service.
Have a problem with Spam? Don’t use any of those other companies like Symantec or Barracuda, use Google.
Are you a Small Business searching the web for help? Then Google’s top results suggests you don’t go to a local web developer, get your business online with Google.
Need a tool to help you search for files on your network? Then Google Enterprise takes top place in the search results.
And Google doesn’t care if you click on the ad or not, just ring the phone! Search for a phrase like Promote Website and Google’s 0844 number leaps straight to the top of the results
I could keep adding more examples, but I think it is easy to see the point I’m trying to make.
Whether the phrases are competitors names like Overture, services like website development, Google’s own advertisements are cropping up everywhere.
And it hasn’t reached our shores yet, but in the USA Google has launched Google Advisor which is the next step in step in comparison engines for credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial instruments.
Google acknowledges that it gets paid for its mortgage comparison services, and hence has a motivation for these services to be successful and thus get it’s partener organisations at the top of the search results.
What could the impact of Google’s advertising strategy be on the market? Does Google really welcome competition and provide users with more choice?
I don’t think see if it is pursuing this advertising model.
Display advertising prices could increase. If Google wants to occupy one of the top 3 positions, or also quite commonly that very sweet spot at the top right, then inevitably the prices will go up for competitors. If prices are set by competitive auction, then Google’s own participation will skew the market driven pricing.
Consumer choice will be reduced. All the evidence points to the fact the searchers don’t even scroll to the bottom of the first page of search results. With Google sitting pretty above the fold in prime position, the choice offered to searchers is reduced.
Does AdWords really “Help other businesses to compete”? Not if Google is one of the competitors. Think of the impact on small mortgage brokers when faced with Google’s own comparison ads.