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Advertising Google The Almighty Buck

Google Testing Banner Ads On Select Search Results 185

Posted by timothy
from the you-must-have-enough-advertisees dept.
cagraham writes "Google promised in 2005 to never "ever" put banner ads on their search results, but that appears to be changing. The company confirmed to SearchEngineLand that it is running a "small experiment" involving large-scale banners on searches for Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Crate&Barrel, among others. The ads are being shown in less than 5% of searches, and only in the US, for now. Interestingly enough, the Google exec who wrote the no banner ads promise was Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo."
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Google Testing Banner Ads On Select Search Results

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  • RIP Google, 2014? (Score:5, Informative)

    by xtal (49134) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:33PM (#45225907)

    On the upside, banner ads will be pretty easy to target to make never appear with plugins.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This will be overridden in the Chrome browser.
    • On the upside, banner ads will be pretty easy to target to make never appear with plugins.

      You're telling me, I had to disable Opera's content blocking to read the story and Slashdot comments because the URLs have "banner-ad" in them.

    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      bzzzt! There is *no* upside : )

      It's not like some the old ads will go away. These new ads are coming in *addition* to them, so we'll need new and untested heuristics and an increasing number of processing cycles.
      This does not even address the fact that some of us use browsers that are already too slow because they do not support adblock, or any other plugins. Expecially on mobile. *Sigh*

      Turning javascript off as an ad-fighting measure makes the web useless on android. Try it on slashdot sometime.

  • Do No Evil (Score:2, Funny)

    by mfh (56)

    It's not evil to have a banner ad. Right, shareholders?

    Zombies nod.

  • If I go to Google and search for Southwest Airlines, I plan to visit the Southwest Airlines website. Why would Southwest Airlines pay money to Google for an advertisement that tries to get me to visit the Southwest Airlines website?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because they are not the FIRST search result. Google puts news (maybe bad news) sometimes first. When I search right now, this buries the news that "profit is up on higher fares" .. I can see how they would pay to bury that news.

    • by frinkster (149158) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:43PM (#45226069)

      The linked article has a follow-on FAQ that you can click over to. That answers the question.

      It's protection money. If Southwest Airlines buys the ad, Google won't put other advertising up. If they don't, any other advertiser is welcome to pay Google money to put up a text ad above the search result.

    • by alostpacket (1972110) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:43PM (#45226073) Homepage

      To be sure you dont visit Expidia or Orbitz or some such. At least that's what I assume the reasoning is.

      Still that banner is hugely obnoxious looking (IMHO). This is a bad move by Google.

    • Non-Saavy Users (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:17PM (#45226515)

      For many people, they simply don't understand the difference between putting a website address in the address bar and in Google's search. This leads to competitors buying ad space on the search results, hoping you'll also check out their brand.

      This is a major problem with non-technical users trying to find the phone number for technical support and finding shady service companies pushing yearlong contracts. Try any AV brand + support or phone, and you'll see many other companies offering "Support for X" and making a killing.

    • Or better yet. Is it an Ad if you do a Search for Southwest Airlines.

      It's definitely an Ad if the Southwest Airlines ad comes up for say a search for "Delta Airlines" or just "airlines" but as you said, if you're specifically searching for southwest airlines, it's not like you want to go to Delta's site. It's pretty obvious you want to go to southwest Airlines.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Could we fix this? What if nobody bought stuff from the companies that advertised on the banners? I can dream, can't I...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      "Could we fix this? "

      Yes, start install adblock plus on every single computer within your reach. Only you can stop web advertising.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:39PM (#45226009)

    and start being evil, or at least really really annoying.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:40PM (#45226821)

      So putting up an advertisement on a free service is 'evil' now? Google makes their money by advertising. They provide a free service for you and pay for it by selling advertising space to others.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:27PM (#45227413) Journal

      Ads ain't evil, they just really annoy me. And Google should know this. What is top plugin for their own browser? What is the main reason people root android? Right, ad blockers. They should know people HATE ads. Hate them with a passion that causes them to foam at the mouth at the slightest exposure.

      And frankly the ad-blockers I have installed work well enough. So far the battle between advertisers and humanity is going fully in favor of humanity.

      Until recently google seemed to accept that a portion of their users had the skills and desire to block all ads and let them get away with in exchange for market share. They were not going to be able to push ads on these people but at least they used their services, enabling them to grow as a company and then sell ads to those that don't mind them. (Just as slashdot allows contributors to hide ads).

      That changed, ad blockers are banned from the android store. So I use firefox mobile and install a plugin for that browser and don't run programs that use ads. And waiting for a moment to root my new phone.

      They are not going to push ads on me but I am perfectly happy to instruct everyone around me how to block them. Fight me google and you will find millions of nerds telling all their friends how to block them. You want to fight us? We made you what you are, we can kill you just as easily as we killed altavista. Reduce you as Yahoo has been reduced. Do you want to join the ranks of AOL?

      Then keep your ads to those that don't mind them.

      You would think that a company that offers their own phone to offer customers a clean phone without vendor or phone company malware would understand this. It seems sales has overtaken google as well.

      Look at what happened to other companies were the sales guy was not killed when he utters the words "I got an idea". Your making billions google, be happy with it. Because there is no way in hell I am going to watch your ads. Ever. I and countless other rage filled nerds will see you dead and buried first. We did it before and unlike MS, we can do it again.

      • by StripedCow (776465) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @03:11PM (#45228025)

        Talking about nerds, I'm still wondering what kind of nerd actually wants to work for Google.

        There is little glory in writing advertisement software, and data-mining people's behavior.
        I guess they have a company culture that makes them believe otherwise.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          children work at google (physicall old ones, but children, nonetheless). part of the interview process is 'does this person drink our koolaid?'. if no, you won't ever work there.

          furnish the kids with comfy benes and make them think they are the top engineers in all the world. keep telling them that and they soon believe it.

          its not hard. and when you are young, working at a famous and 'cool' place is a huge draw.

          you won't find many greyhairs working there, though. a few token ones, but most are 20someth

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:43PM (#45226061) Homepage

    Go ahead, add the banner ads.

    I already block google analytics at my firewall. I'll just block these with something.

    Google just seems to constantly get worse over time.

    • Re:Go ahead. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:51PM (#45226961) Homepage

      This is what happens at any company when the people that started it are no longer in charge. All companies will degenerate into a moneygrubbing greed machine only interested in the next quarter profits without the person that gave it birth at the wheel.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        This is what happens at any company when the people that started it are no longer in charge.

        I've seen it happen at companies where the people who started it are still in charge.

        So, we can amend what you just said to: All companies will degenerate into a moneygrubbing greed machine only interested in the next quarter profits

      • Larry Page is still in charge of Google.

  • Disappointing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slasho81 (455509) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:45PM (#45226095)
    I thought Google had at least 10 more good years before the corporate culture take over completely.
    • Re:Disappointing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:15PM (#45226479)

      It's been a lousy search engine for the last few years ('why give them the five results they asked for when we can give them five million results they didn't?'), so this is only just step down into the steaming pit of suck.

    • Remember, you are on Internet time. Ten years was yesterday.

      (What version is Chrome up to these days? 256 or something like that?)

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:46PM (#45226103) Homepage Journal
    "Dear Human Products,

    Google will be placing large, targeted ads across your search results.
    Thank you for your personal information.

    Do Know Evil,
    Google
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You forgot to end your double quote and Google's automated evil Python script always ends its quotes...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Nah, the Google evil Python script is still in beta, expect some errors.

  • Google's business has always been ads. I really don't see how static banner ads are any more evil than text ads, especially when they're just running them on search results. The only way it's really any worse is that it's mildly more distracting and takes up a trivially larger amount of bandwidth. There are other competitors who don't do this if it bothers you, or you can just Adblock them. I'd be more concerned with the targeting they're probably doing over this because that's something that's arguably evi
    • Re:Not really evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geminidomino (614729) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:23PM (#45226599) Journal

      Google's business has always been ads. I really don't see how sponsored links embedded in results are any more evil than text ads, especially when they're just running them on search results

      Google's business has always been ads. I really don't see how animated banner ads are any more evil than static banner ads, especially when they're just running them on search results

      Google's business has always been ads. I really don't see how flash ads are any more evil than animated banner ads, especially when they're just running them on search results

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        So vote with your eyeballs. Go somewhere else and let them know that you're not pleased right at step one.

        • Did that two years ago, when I found qrobe (who then started doing the embedding thing, sending me to DDG) :)

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        The slippery slope rarely ends in genocide.

        It's important to note that Google's goal isn't to be a search engine, directing you to pages that might have the content that you're searching for, but to be an ANSWER engine, giving you the result of your query.

        If you type "southwest airlines" without "fourth quarter earnings" or "lost my luggage" into Google, they should pretty much show you Southwest Airlines' site and options on that site immediately. Look at the picture from the article:

        http://searchenginela [searchengineland.com]

    • Remember - One word = 1 milli-picture.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Now if they started allowing Flash ads or ads with movement, that would bother me,

      I guess someone would respond to that by saying,

      "I really don't see how animated banner ads are any more evil than text ads, especailly when they're just runing them on search results. The only way it's really any worse is that it's mildly more distracting and takes up a trivially larger amount of bandwidth...."

      Your own argument justifying them seems to apply here. If it was good enough to justify banner ads, why does it fail

  • From the movie, Little Big Man: "Land that would be theirs as long as grass grow, wind blow, and the sky is blue."

    Yeah. Uh huh. Suuure...

  • OK with me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbauman (624611) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:48PM (#45226135) Homepage Journal

    I'd rather have banner ads than have 3 or 4 ads at the top that are almost indistinguishable from the search results.

    • Re:OK with me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:53PM (#45226189)

      I'd rather have banner ads than have 3 or 4 ads at the top that are almost indistinguishable from the search results.

      That's a good point.

      We know they have to advertise - that's how we get this awesome free search service. At least an ad that is plainly an ad is pretty easy to ignore.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This.

      I learned to tune out banner ads in the 90's. And now there are tools for that.

    • I'd rather have banner ads than have 3 or 4 ads at the top that are almost indistinguishable from the search results.

      I'd rather have banner ads than 3-4 indistinguishable ads, that aren't targeted to me just because I happen to be signed in or from a "familiar IP address". I'm okay with a search for Southwest Airlines and getting a Southwest ad. When I do the same search and start getting music/movie recommendations, bring out the AdBlock.

  • youtube ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ljw1004 (764174) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:51PM (#45226163)

    On the subject of aggressive advertising...

    It feels like YouTube ads have become much more common and obnoxious in the past few years. Has anyone else noticed this? I used to be content to click on a YouTube link but now each time I do a cost-benefit calculation -- is it really worth sitting through 30secs of irritating car ads or whatever just to see this little funny clip of two kittens and a tortoise? (or other material :) ).

    Usually for me, the answer is now "no".

    • Re:youtube ads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by T-Bucket (823202) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @12:57PM (#45226259) Homepage

      I haven't seen a youtube ad, EVER. Why are you not using adblock?!

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        I always wondered why Youtube never put measures in place to force you to watch the ads, or at least make it a PITA to block them. I mean, timestamp the time someone requests the ad (if they don't request the ad, no video) and then wait approx. 30 seconds (or however long the ad would be) before serving up the video. They could at least wait for you to wait 30 seconds.

        Either they just haven't gotten round to doing it yet, or there are some programmers at Google with some sympathy for those who want to bloc

    • I have noticed this too, but you can usually still ad-block them (at least the dynamic ones). Although they have been getting better about forcing it, there is also usually an option to skip after 5 seconds.

      Still, you had to kind of expected that with YouTube. But these giant image ads on search results are surprising to me, and disappointing.

      Though most of all I find video ads on YouTube mobile to be more irritating. Using my bandwidth. And most of all ? The complete fail of the aggressive attempts to

    • YouTube has ads?

      I think you're doing it wrong.
    • by adolf (21054)

      No, I've never noticed any ads at all on Youtube.

      Perhaps you're just holding it wrong.

    • Adblock takes care of them. Without adblock, I've never had to sit through more than the first 5 seconds of an add, then click "skip". Eh, I guess it just doesn't bother me much.

    • Re:youtube ads (Score:4, Interesting)

      by addie (470476) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:38PM (#45227549)

      The reason is that a number of YouTubers are starting to actually make a career out of making videos. I consume the majority of my shows on YouTube now, rather than TV or traditional media. Many channels have multiple updates per week.

      Am I willing to sit through 30 seconds of advertising (or more likely 5 seconds before being allowed to skip) in order to get such content, and promote independent videographers? Yes. I am.

      Shows worth watching:
      - Veritasium, 2
      - SciShow
      - VSauce, 2, 3
      - Nerd3
      - MinutePhysics
      - Numberphile, Computerphile, Sixty Symbols, etc

  • Remember,

    "First Do No Evil, Unless It's Profitable"

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:08PM (#45226391)

    I was just in a google hangout using it as a video conference. During that conference call a particular service was mentioned. I had never heard of the service before, haven't searched for it, and yet mysteriously I'm seeing ads for it pop up all over the place undoubtedly served up by Google.

    Makes me wonder....

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've had Google spam me with ads for new products of companies selling development libraries (obscure ones) that I incidentally had linked to as part of my job. I don't recall ever doing a search for them, though I probably did visit their support forums at some point. There's something distressingly next-level about the specificity and lack of clarity of the origin of the connection. There doesn't seem to be any natural line to this slippery-slope that we can expect Google or anyone else to respect.
    • by hhacklub (2928805)
      Let me give it a go. Reply or email said service name. Fwiw the upside of this could be not so bad even. #Beetlejuicex3 ;0 thx
  • I have set up my DNS to block lots of places that have abusive ads (like Flash, animated GIF, etc). It seems that once I did that, almost all the other ad places disappeared, too. But if a web site hosts their own ads for themselves, they can get through (hint to Slashdot admins).

    • by Dwedit (232252)
      Element hiding helper for Adblock Plus helps against the first party ads, since it hides elements on the pages, making the ads never appear or load. Of course, it's much easier to use when the ads say <div id="ad">.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:11PM (#45226423) Homepage

    I'm the author of Ad Limiter [adlimiter.com], which blocks most ads in search results from Google and Bing. By default, it lets just one ad display, the best one based on our site legitimacy ratings.

    So this is something else to identify, rate and block.

    (I'm surprised that Google is getting into banners. Targeted search ads are much more valuable than banners. Banner ad click-through rates are so low as to barely be measurable.)

    • Re:Ad limiting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:56PM (#45227015) Homepage

      Please add a feature to let me change the background of all AD's on google so they are obvious to older people. I have some older clients that if I could get a plugin to make the google search ad background BRIGHT RED it will help them see they are not actual search results.

      • Please add a feature to let me change the background of all AD's on google so they are obvious to older people.

        Now that's an interesting idea. We dim out lower-rated search results slightly, but it's so subtle visually that few people notice. We certainly could do something to make it easier to identify ads.

        • Time to resurrect the blinky tag?

          • by Animats (122034)

            Time to resurrect the blinky tag?

            Maybe time to resurrect the pink/tan background Google used to put on ads. Over time, the ad background became lighter and lighter. At one time, Google was under a Federal Trade Commission ruling requiring them to clearly distinguish ads from content. Google seems to have escaped from that.

            It's getting harder to tell content from ads. Google Shopping is an interesting case. Everything on Google Shopping is a paid ad now. Google Shopping used to be a price search engine, but in 2012, it became strictly p [searchengineland.com]

    • Ad limitting? So I have to go through the hassle of doing something by installing a program and then that program only does half the job?

      I am lazy but when with the same amount of effort I can install a program that blocks all ads, why the hell would I use your program?

      That is like being to lazy to scratch your ass but when you do finally scratch it, not scratch it enough to kill the itch.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      (I'm surprised that Google is getting into banners. Targeted search ads are much more valuable than banners. Banner ad click-through rates are so low as to barely be measurable.)

      I'm guessing they ran the Google Analytics on it and discovered that too many people are blocking ads by their subsidiaries (DoubleClick, etc). So now they're going to pipe some of those DoubleClick ads through Google.com as it's a lot harder to block banners that way.

      And website owners can have a lot of fun because they can do thin

  • by gQuigs (913879) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @01:15PM (#45226481) Homepage

    https://duckduckgo.com/ [duckduckgo.com]

    See how their ads work here: https://dukgo.com/help/en_US/company/advertising-and-affiliates [dukgo.com]
    (To summarize, they are usually fine - usually 0-1 clearly marked sponsored results per page)

  • the Google exec who wrote the no banner ads promise was Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo.

    That says it all, really. She has a knack for these things.

  • The other day I also noticed their text ads sometimes now have contact forms in them with my email address pre-populated. In response I turned off the option in my ad blocker that allowed their text ads. Advertisers are idiots.

  • They're not that intrusive and they help website make money for their employees. Now, if it turns into some clickwhoring site where the webpage is 75% ads and 25% content, that's different.

  • Now someone else can come along and replace Google, they have a great pitch. "No banner ads!"

  • People will still continue to search even though Google places banner ads all around. Look at Youtube, the ads placed there are a nuisance (for me) but it didn't stop people from watching videos. If you don't like it, suck it up. Since you'll still search from them anyway.

    So pretty much unless another competitor challenges Google, they can pretty much do whatever the want.

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