free html hit counter to play a part, pretend | John Battelle's Search Blog

to play a part, pretend

By - July 21, 2006

Publishing 2.0 charges ‘Hypocrisy in Google’s User Experience Policies’, after juxtaposing Google’s penalization of AdWords advertisers for low quality landing pages and its simultaneous advocation of parked pages among AdSense users.

Publishing 2.0: Explain this — Google is penalizing AdWords advertisers “who are providing a low quality user experience on their landing pages,” and yet Google just signed a deal with GoDaddy.com to run AdSense on parked domains (via JenSense):

The program is called CashParking. And the monthly fee is scaled depending on what percentage of GoDaddy’s revenue you want to keep. It is worth noting that GoDaddy is sharing the revenue they earn from Google, so Google will still be earning money from each click on a parked domain page.

Google AdSense for Domains: “allows domain name registrars and large domain name holders to unlock the value in their parked page inventory. AdSense for domains delivers targeted, conceptually related advertisements to parked domain pages by using Google’s semantic technology to analyze and understand the meaning of the domain names.”

True enough, if Google assumes that parked pages are ill-advised search results and yet encourages their proliferation it would seem they are hypocrites. But then Google is only thinking of ‘Google user experience’, right? So this would assume Google intends to permit these pages to appear anywhere near the top results. (Most users only view the first page of results.) How likely is that?

To be a hypocrite is to elicit a false positive of good intentions. By that standard Google probably isn’t hypocritical about its commitment to user experience, but just aiming to plug-up someone else’s engine to their own profit. (Although there are adjectives to characterize that too.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

11 thoughts on “to play a part, pretend

  1. Scott Karp says:

    Melanie, you’re right that Google doesn’t really care about the user experience of anyone who haplessly lands on one these made for AdSense parked domains, as long as those domains aren’t junking up Google search results — and yet these sites are covered with ads that Google is serving.

    The definition of “hypocrite” in my dictionary is a “person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold.” So Google cares about the user experience on their search results pages. And they care about the user experience on AdWords landing pages. And they even care about the user experience enough to have standards for sites that run AdSense — unless those sites are hugely profitable MFA domains where users have no choice but to click on an ad because that’s all there is!

    You can split hairs and say that’s not hypocrisy, but it doesn’t pass my sniff test.

  2. GOOGLE CLICK FRAUD… Independant Legal Audit Report Released by Expert involved in Lawsuit

    googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/findings-on-invalid-clicks.html

  3. MikeM says:

    Parked and other made for AdSense sites will only become more prevalent as Google struggles to maintain lofty growth rates. They told us this week growth is slowing and even though search quality suffers they will be forced to make ugly decisions like this. As long as the Google brand remains synonymous with search they will keep pressing the edges of relevancy. Eventually searchers looking for quality search results will look elsewhere.
    BTW- Melanie, great job this week, good reading!

  4. Choco says:

    I think all most rubbish on the net, appeared from google, why there are adsences, if people may use search engines normally, those adsence just rubbish, and trick to get money from advertisers..

  5. Hi John,

    Here is the right link from Jennifer.
    Cheers,
    Jean-Marie

  6. M G says:

    Google seems to want to create revenue, Godaddy want to make revenue. The way they are going about is not right.
    It is just not right

  7. ben says:

    Isn’t it not hypocritical? Its protecting its advertising quaity on the search engine, and on type in traffic domains its providing resources which is usually highly targetted traffic. The two things are not connected, they are not letting the type in traffic domains get SE rankings or top ads in adwords?

  8. IMHO, just because a webpage has Adsense on it doesn’t necessarily mean they are bidding on keywords (Adwords). Hence, this new program called CashParking is not hypocritical at all.

  9. This same publication (I believe) recently pointed out that 15% of all internet traffic is from typed-in domains. So Google isn’t necessarily the only traffic source for these pages.

  10. Bill Kelm says:

    As a websearch user, I want the fewest number of clicks to the closest relevancy based on my intent at that time. Therefore, I go out of my way to avoid clicking on parked domain’s adsense ads as my user experience would suffer.

    I’m hoping Google’s revenue will suffer in the long term for this “short term thinking” abuse of power.

  11. Kevin Heisler says:

    Shimon Sandler has it right: AdSense and AdWords are two separate programs. Google’s greatest challenge is always one tentacle of the octopus knowing what the other one is doing. In this case, Google knows exactly what it’s doing: creating more inventory and monetizing parked domains to steal share from competitors i.e. Innovation Interactive’s SiteParker, a pioneer in the space.

    However, if “Adsense for Parked Domains” customers start running AdWords to arbitrage AdSense clicks — AND Google ranks those pages highly in terms of QSI, THEN hypocrisy might be a defensible charge.

    Google’s policy seems clear: affiliate arbitrage in AdWords is okay. It’s just going to cost affiliates more to play.

    AdSense affiliate arbitrage is okay too, if you can make the numbers work for you. Very few parked domains will even try to run PPC campaigns.

    Google now has an overriding responsibility: to shareholders, not to advertisers, arbitrageurs, affiliates or the AAAAs.