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Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results 187

jfruh writes "For years, paid links returned from Google search queries have been set off from 'real' search results by their placement on the page and by a colored background. But some users have begun to see a different format for these ads: a tiny yellow button that reads 'AD' at the end of the link is the only distinguishing feature. Google is notoriously close-mouthed about this sort of thing, but it may begin rolling the new format out to more users soon."
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Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

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  • Re:Slippery slope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:54AM (#46481651)

    I'm one of the users seeing this. The ads are still obvious to me - I assumed that they did it to make the site more mobile-friendly, but it could be a downward slide down your slope.

  • "Organic" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:15AM (#46481781)

    That's as bullshitty a term as it is in your supermarket. There *are* no "organic" results when they're calculated based on your tracking history, ad clicks and social connections.

    Friends don't let friends get tracked. Use the quack that doesn't track! []

  • by mrbene ( 1380531 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:21AM (#46481821)

    I'm in the test group.

    It may be my eyes, the angle at which I use my screen, the brightness and contrast I prefer, or something else, but the background color has always been almost undetectable to me.

    The new configuration, a simple yet obvious graphical element indicating "Ad" indenting the sponsored links, highlights them much more effectively for me.

    +1 for this change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:48AM (#46483457)

    1. Google is a data driven company. They watch user behavior very carefully. If this makes money wihile costing very few customers it will stay. If they see people leaving Google for other search engines, the change will disappear quickly. People complain all the time about what they think their preferences are, and how they think they work -- when you look at real behaviors though, there is often a disconnect from what people say they will and won't do.

    Everyone says, "I never click on ads." While it is obvious that someone does, or else they would abandon the ad model and change for the service.

    2. They have not increased the number of Ads, or the placement of the ads. The ads still appear on the top of oragnic search resultss, are still identified as ads and not search results. Only thing that changed is how they are displayed .

    I personally think the big orange "AD" tag is more visable than the light yellow/grey background they used before. You are free to disagree, but that is a matter of taste, and only data on people's actual browsing behavior will tell the whole story.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"