Thursday, March 02, 2006

Google: Searching for More...
Can Google be more than a one-trick pony?

Google is undoubtedly one of the most innovative companies around. However, despite several laudable initiatives, the company still remains woefully dependent on one source for its revenues - getting people to click on ads embedded in web pages.

I find such a business model less than inspiring - personally I have clicked on such embedded ads perhaps less than 10 times in the thousands of sites I have surfed. Why should I, when I know it will only open one more window on my already-cluttered desktop, sidetrack me from the task I was accessing the Web for in the first place, and probably only try to sell me something I don't really need?! To get me to set myself up like that, the ad would need to say or show something very alluring indeed - and that's not easy, given that the average embedded ad in a web page occupies perhaps a few square inches.
Print ads do not suffer from at least the first two of these drawbacks - the whole ad is already present right there on the page of the newspaper or magazine you're reading, and it can also be quite large, giving more play to the copywriter's creativity.

Besides, the click-thru revenue model is rife with fraud - people can spoof, use bots, etc. to artificially boost or skew such clickstream data. Google can - for no fault of its own - find its credibility undermined by such fraud. And the fraudsters, whoever they may be, are only likely to get better at it.

Tuesday's sell-off appears to confirm that the belief, widely held until a few months ago, that Google has huge upside was overblown.

Admittedly, Google has many aces up its sleeve, but one only wishes they would convert these into actual revenue streams as fast as they can.