free html hit counter This Is A Sponsored Video Deal | John Battelle's Search Blog

This Is A Sponsored Video Deal

By - February 10, 2006

If ever I’ve seen one. Google “olympics.”

(Thanks, anonymous reader!)

Update: Staci reminds me that this is an announced deal…)

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13 thoughts on “This Is A Sponsored Video Deal

  1. Joe Hunkins says:

    WoW – on my 15″ laptop screen that plus regular ads take up over HALF the page. Hey – who needs organic listings anyway?

  2. Erik says:

    I believe it was John’s point but I think it deserves to be mentioned directly that although this is obviously a sponsored deal, Google does not actually indicate (at least not on my search) that this is sposonored. Where “Sponsored Links” used to go, they just have “In collaboration with NBC Olympics”. Perhaps I’m being pedantic, but isn’t this extremely misleading at best and intentionally deceptive at worst? Either way, it’s far more misleading than anything I’ve seen any other major search engine do. I mean, geez – even Goto.com (the old search engine that ONLY returned sponsored links and later became Overture) used to specify that each link was sponsored!

  3. Nick says:

    I don’t see anything unusual (although there are NO ads at all – I suppose that counts). A screenshot would be nice…

  4. jean says:

    I also find it quite interesting to browse the optimized results – so, isn’t it appropriate to consider a current search for olympics to expect torino content? Well, this results page has 4 of 10 links to past and/or future olypmics sites or tangential sites such as special olympics. Hmmm, moving to the gray side of ad deception AND mediocre relevance. Me thinks we’re witnessing a slope that is not facing upward.

  5. Welcome to the portal business once again. Search is teh necessary appliance, but like all companies eventually they lose their laser focus in order to retain their over inflated marketcap. Video-ads is a large space though, should be interesting to see how the next year lays our. My predictions, google a distant 1st Yahoo following, and MSN trying to release vista (my prediction is they will have to pull MSN engineers off to make the ship date). HAHA

  6. J. Botter says:

    Jon, you’ll also note that typing “Michelle Kwan” or any other Olympic athlete into Google brings up more sponsored NBCOlympics.com results.

  7. Looks like it is denoted as an ad now “in collaboration with NBC Olympics” on my search

  8. MikeM says:

    I have no problem with it not being “properly” labeled. I find this to be the best tool for Olympic coverage I have seen. Thanks to this sponsored link I have set alerts to email for individual events I like to watch.
    Any notion of Google being pure and “non evil” have all but dissipated in my mind with the China deal. They are what they are now.

  9. The giveaway is “In collaboration with NBC Olympics”. Whenever you see the word “Olympics” (as opposed to “Winter Games,” etc.) you can be sure that a huge amount of cash changed hands.

  10. I’m wondering if “In collaboration with NBC Olympics” is a reflection of the new Google / AOL deal?

  11. My big problem was that Google was using the Google Doodle to link to the sponsored OneBox. So they changed it. Good for them.

  12. Oren Michels says:

    No video at all on the site when I hit it here in Beijing – just a regular search page with no ads whatsoever. I guess the promotional video deal doesn’t cover China. Probably why Nick doesn’t see it either; I imagine he’s out of the US. Geographical video monopolies for sporting events extend to the online space – companies like Quova help major US sports leagues extend local TV blackouts to online video, and, of course, NBC can’t be “broadcasting” video outside the US.

  13. Tom says:

    Revisiting the Battelle Mayer conversation of December 2005 sheds more light on “why’s” of the NBC Olympics, Google Video collaboration and what’s really being advertised or salvaged, rather.

    First a quick recap (M is Marissa Mayer of Google and J is John Battelle):

    M: So, with banner ads we are comfortable saying that they will not appear on the home page and that they will not appear on the result pages.

    J: They might appear on Gmail or Google News, or somewhere else but not …

    M: Gmail and Google News weren’t thrown out (as examples). What we actually agreed to and committed to in the contract is that we would experiment with showing banner ads on properties where we think they are more suitable. And the two properties that are specifically mentioned as an “e.g.” are Google Image search and Google Video. Which kind of makes sense – if you are looking at pictures or videos it makes more sense to have a picture ad or an animated ad

    J: Or even a video ad, perhaps.

    M: Exactly.

    I have mixed feelings about this. While this is neither a banner ad or graphical ad this clearly is a video ad, of which a distinction is made in that excerpt from the Battelle Mayer interview on the heals of the AOL deal. The video ad for the Olympics on the SRP is something Mayer clearly said we’d never see and yet, there it is, and it is an ad or wouldn’t be in the blue sponsored box if it wasn’t an ad promoting On that point Mayer is either not that credible of a source anymore for Google as it relates to what it may or may not do in the future with the Google homepage or Google SRP’s. Or she just lied. Or this interview was pre-CES where Google Video was highly promoted with announcements by Larry Page and Les Moonves and it turned out to be such a flop that Mayer could not have anticipated and Google is no trying to reinvigorate through this collaboration.

    On the other hand, Google has made the point in the past that we’d eventually see the merging of different Google products on the main Google SRP’s where relevant. This video ad collaboration for NBC and the Olympics and the relevancy of the result is on point. No question. Most everyone searching for Olympics at this moment while they are currently in progress is looking for the very type of information that is being displayed in the topic links immediately to the right of the video thumbnail; TV Listings, Event Schedule, Medal Count etc., without having to wade through numerous search results and pages to find that information. And as importantly, probably would find it useful to have quick access to where event video that was perhaps missed could be viewed.

    I see many SRP results that have Google Book Search results listed near the top of my SRPs and do find that useful. But, I don’t see a thumbnail image of the book.

    I think the reason for the video thumbnail is clearly to promote Google Video, a product that has been a miserable failure to date, as Google just placing text where the video thumbnail is that read, “To see Olympic video clips visit, Google Video”, hardly anyone would click through it. That’s the follow on benefit for Google in the “collaboration” as I suspect there may not have been and monies given to Google by NBC as it would then appear too much like a video ad. Instead, an exchange for Google being able to promote Google Video throug this topic of Olympics is what the “collaboration” is about.

    Tom

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