The Rimm-Kaufman Group offers some very interesting results in a study of paid search ads in the swing Senate races of 2006. A few highlights from the study results:
* Political pay-per-click advertisers use Google. Few political advertisers use Yahoo Paid Search.
* There are few political advertisers: the average search results page for queries in this study returned only 3.7 ads.
* The most prevalent advertisers within this query set were Accoona (search engine), Gather.com (social networking), CafePress (retailer), and GOPSenators.com (National Republican Senatorial Committee).
* “Red” ads (pro-Republican or anti-Democrat) outnumbered “blue ads” (pro-Democrat or anti-Republican) two-to-one.
* No campaign ads referenced President Bush.
RKG focused on Google AdWords, in part because they found that the vast majority of political online ads went through AdWords. Their findings fuel the study’s conclusion that paid search is still in its infancy–despite providing similar reach at a fraction of a cost. And they’re likely quite right in predicting that online search ads will become increasingly important in the American political campaigns.
Plus: This week Battelle is busy on stage at Web 2.0. But though away from Searchblog on election day, he put the question to a few prominent business leaders, asking how their companies handle freedom of speech and privacy issues when federal law stands in opposition— interviewing Eric Schmidt, Arthur Sulzberger, and Barry Diller. There was a spontaneous round of applause for Google’s refusal to respect a federal demand for users’ search histories, and for The New York Times’ decision to disclose evidence of the government’s stealth spy program on its own citizens. Diller and Sulzberger also intoned on the multiplied difficulty of operating globally, where they face a variegated array of laws and cultures of government control. That was a point underlined when Jack Ma of Yahoo China/Alibaba said that, for him, abiding by the Chinese government’s censorship was simply a decision of ensuring that the areas where his company could improve peoples’ lives would continue to thrive.