Google to spin off search marketing side of Performics

I’m crunching on a bunch of work stuff today, but I wanted to point out this official Google blog post briefly:

Since we closed the acquisition of DoubleClick on March 11, we’ve been immersed in integration planning for each of our products and business units. Recently we completed this process for the DoubleClick Performics businesses, and have decided to split them into two separately-run business units: Affiliate Marketing and Search Marketing.

It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users. For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party.

I have nothing but respect for the people that do search marketing for Performics, but I think this is the best decision. People hold Google to a unbelievably high standard, and I think it’s important that we try very hard to avoid any conflict of interest — or even the appearance of conflict of interest — in our business. Many people I respect have wanted Google to take this step and I think it’s the right call.

(As always, remember that this is my personal blog and personal opinions.)

51 Responses to Google to spin off search marketing side of Performics (Leave a comment)

  1. Harith

    Very wise decision from Google side.

  2. Nice to hear it official.

  3. Thanks for the update. “Update on Performics”, I mean.

  4. Hey Matt-

    I’m really glad to hear this, I think it removes the shroud of impropriety from Google. It allows for a healthy SEO/SEM industry to thrive alongside Google.

    Manny

  5. Hey Matt,

    Are Google employees allowed to do affiliate marketing on the side while working at Google? At one point a few years ago, I remember this being encouraged by the Google Adwords team?

    Thanks,
    Josh

  6. Just wanted to add my approval of this move as well. Great decision by Google.

  7. Dave (original)

    Bah! Don’t cater to the tin-foil hat brigade. Most “SEO/SEM” companies are nothing but Spammers and they NEED an ethical leader as apposed to the black hat “leaders” who have a vested interest in SE spam.

    I agree with most decisions from Google, but not this one :(

    For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party

    I hope not to the highest bidder and you ONLY sell to someone with a proven track record in ETHICAL SEO. That excludes 99% of the so-called “SEO” out there now.

  8. Great news .. Yipeeeeeeeee !! Party Time !! Every one invited ;)

  9. Great call! Good to hear this.

  10. It is the only desicion Google could have made without loosing credibility.

    And yes, people do hold Google to a unbelievably high standard, that means it is doing something good. Otherwise people wouldn’t care, would they. ;)

  11. Good call! Now we are happy at Strikepoint again. Expect a “We like Google” show on monday” (and no, that won’t be the first, Matt :))

  12. nice to see a company do the sensible and right thing for a change pity that my old employer BT did not do the same over the Phorm debacle.

  13. What about DART Search? :) I guess having inside knowledge on algorithms makes it a lot harder to keep the standards that high …

  14. I’ll buy it… Let’s see here, I’ve got (thirty… forty… forty-three)….

    Er, is Google willing to take a loss? ;-)

  15. Glad to hear it. And yes, we hold Google to an unbelievably high standard. Thank you for living up to that standard yet again.

  16. I’m glad to see this. The fact that Google owned an SEM agency for a while was a good cause for us to be worried. Now we shall worry no longer.

  17. Hmmm

    Hey Dave (original)… I think I’ll give you an ‘I told you so!’

    And yes, very glad to see this happening. Very glad.

    Good on you Google, for doing the right thing.

  18. “Crunching on some work stuff” You sure are! I’m trying not to get an ulcer as I try to figure out what’s going on with Dewey.

    Oh, nice job on those posts yesterday. You had me for a couple of seconds. I was ready to shove my iPod in my PCMCIA slot :-)

    PS… hang on to your iPhone. I dropped mine the other day and a third of the screen shattered. I had to get one of those stick-on protectors to keep the glass in the screen. It’s a $250 repair. I might just wait for the 3G version.

  19. spamhound

    Matt,

    Have you moved to a new department in Google? I wonder this because the results lately are not reflective of discounting paid links. In fact, paid links seem to of really been given a boost in this latest shift.

    That and you never really seem to talk about spam stuff anymore. Or at least not as often as you used to.

    Makes me wonder if you have moved on to other things.

  20. Yeah I think it’s the right call too. As you mentioned, Google is held to extremely high standards (for good reason). Keeping the company would do nothing more than create a PR nightmare – atleast within the online community. It’s the best decision though I’d love to have Google helping our company with optimization.

  21. Good call Google. However, it does highlight the fact that Google paid over $3 billion for a shed-load of DC data, I wonder what that they’re going to do with that…

  22. Matt, If you have a minute please check my blog for an important open source announcement. (Also all fellow Cuttlets are also invited)
    dk

  23. Dave (original)

    Hey Dave (original)… I think I’ll give you an ‘I told you so!’

    Nowhere near. You were spouting tin-foil hat conspiracies that were unfounded. This now proves beyond any doubt that the “conspiracies” were in you mind :)

    In fact, it was ME that told you to stop worrying and stop believing all the crap out there on SEO blogs and forums.

    Whether Google sell or keep Performics there is absolutely NO WAY Google would have frigged their own SERPS.

  24. Ben

    So was this takeover for receipt of a massive amount of usage data?

  25. @Dave(original)

    That was never the question. The posibility was!

  26. Dave (original)

    Tonnie Lubbers, no idea what you are trying to say.

  27. @Dave(original),

    You stated:

    Whether Google sell or keep Performics there is absolutely NO WAY Google would have frigged their own SERPS.

    My anwser to that:

    That was never the question. The posibility was!

  28. Blasted housing market if my equity was’nt upside down I might go after them myself. Good call from Google. I wonder what Wall Street thinks, not that I really care this is definitely the right thing for Google.

  29. Hmmm

    Exactly.

    (Tonnie got it on the head, that is. Not you, Dave. Your loathing of SEO has clouded your mind, young Padawan.)

  30. Dave (original)

    Tonnie Lubbers, it WAS a question for the tin-foil hat brigade. AKA Hmmm.

    I have been stating from the moment they purchased, Google would never do so. But, conspiracy theorist don’t like common sense and would rather believe all the SEO blogs/forums that post selve-serving factoids.

    Your loathing of SEO…..

    I loath black-hats, so yes, I do loath most so-called “SEO”.

    The FACTS are quite simple for ANY website. That is, adding well informed unique content pages frequently and aim to become THE site for your chosen topic. Do that and you actually get REAL VOTES rather than links of little value or short term value.

    The above approach has worked ever since Google became change the way SE work and will continue to work in the future.

    SE0Rocket Science, despite most in the so-called industry preying on the uniformed and stating otherwise.

  31. Dave (original)

    “SE0Rocket Science” SHOULD be SE0 is not Rocket Science….

  32. “It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business.”
    A lot of people believe that AdWords/YSM/adCenter = Search Engine Marketing (SEM), so this is an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Didn’t he mean “SEO”?

  33. Dave (original)

    Ash, for many, SEM/SEO are one and the same. While SE’s do supply a *methods* (AdWords etc) for marketing, big to medium companies often pay someone to get the best ROI from their marketing campaigns.

    IMO, the ENTIRE SEM/SEO industry is in desperate need for *ethical* leaders. The ENTIRE SEM/SEO industry has been BADLY tainted over the years, thank to the so-called current leaders having a vested interest is SE spam.

  34. Harith

    Dave (original)

    “IMO, the ENTIRE SEM/SEO industry is in desperate need for *ethical* leaders.”

    But SEO/SEM industry has already a bible and an ethical leader :-)

  35. Dave (the original),

    Actually, I (and Wikipedia, Webmasterworld and SEMPO) know that SEM = PPC+SEO, but Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have sculpted SEM to mean only PPC. Therefore much of the ad industry that supports PPC advertising is full of people who will potentially be alarmed to hear that “Google doesn’t want to be in the SEM business”.

    It was just a subtle dig. G’day Matt.

  36. Hmmm

    99% of SEO isn’t black-hat — I mean, come on… Now THAT is tin foil wearing paranoia — welcome to the Brigade, you’ll find your uniform down the hall and to the right.

    It’s time consuming, and therefore not something most companies, major sites, etc. are willing to do on their own. Coming up with appropriate alt text, meta data, good & unique content that’s also well-optimized to reach a specific audience, yadda, yadda, yadda….

    Much of SEO just boils down to good writing, actually. The same way I would work on the critique of a piece of literature for weeks or more during grad school… A poem is easy to write. A GREAT poem can take years.

    Most businesses, or webmasters, or whatever don’t have the time to focus on making great poems. (*metaphor alert*)

  37. Dave (original)

    99% of SEO isn’t black-hat — I mean, come on… Now THAT is tin foil wearing paranoia — welcome to the Brigade, you’ll find your uniform down the hall and to the right.

    You are right is probably isn’t quite that high. I’d say MOST use black-hat methods. Sorry, you have to find other recruitments for you tin-foil hat brigade :)

    It’s time consuming, and therefore not something most companies, major sites, etc.

    NOT if the person writing the content knows the topic at hand. For example, old Joe who has fished a certain creek all his life would likely use FrontPage etc, to write HTML content pages on the subject and other than submitting to a few Directories, would bother with ANY “SEO”. By contrast, most “SEO” would waste time by chasing links and anchor text (obsession with most). BUT “old Joe’s” unique and quality content would survive long term and no doubt end up number 1 for related terms. Why? Because it WOULD attract true votes from other similar sites.

    Bottom line? Knowing your subject well is far more important than knowing “SEO”. If you don’t know the topic well, you are better off hiring a professional writer/researcher. Likely a LOT cheaper too with a higher ROI.

    Those who search Google want relevant, quality unique content over the most optimized page for a Search Engine. Google and *some* others know this, but most of the “SEO” industry are in vested denial.

    Castles built on sand :)

  38. Dave (original)

    would bother with ANY “SEO”.
    SHOULD BE
    *wouldn’t* bother with ANY “SEO”.

  39. Ash Nallawalla, that’s probably the sentiment that he was going for, or perhaps to emphasize that avoiding conflict-of-interest on the paid search side was important too, because he did mention maintaining objectivity in the paid search side as well.

  40. @Dave(not so original any more)

    Stating some one is wearing a the tin-foil hat doesn’t bring a discussion any good. Sentiments can be easily misinterpreted. Especially those stating you know what others bare in mind.

    Further more, Google knew they were buying a company that had an SEO division. They from the start could have known it would shed an akward light on their acquisition.

  41. Hmmm

    Perhaps he believes that being stubborn, and dismissive of contrary opinions will be an effective way to solicit a job offer from Google?

    (From what I know of how Google works, and what they look for in candidates, I doubt it.)

    They’re looking for critical thought, and original approaches, backed by data.

    The sort of thinking that led to them deciding that it’s best to call a spade a spade, and divest themselves of a conflict of interest. A mature approach (i.e. one that doesn’t include name-calling) wins out in the end.

  42. Hmmm

    By the way:

    “Those who search Google want relevant, quality unique content over the most optimized page for a Search Engine.”

    Huh??
    This is a false dichotomy.

    Since when are these necessarily mutually exclusive?
    A winning combo lies in achieving both. Much of SEO lies in making a site easy to use and navigate for BOTH SE’s AND users…

    Alt tags for instance are essential for making a site accessible to people with visual impairments, etc. etc. etc.

  43. They’re looking for critical thought, and original approaches, backed by data.

    The sort of thinking that led to them deciding that it’s best to call a spade a spade, and divest themselves of a conflict of interest. A mature approach (i.e. one that doesn’t include name-calling) wins out in the end.

  44. Dave (original)

    Hmmmm and Tonnie, you are both making quite a few false assumptions. But, who am I to spoil a funny story with facts :)

    RE: @Dave(not so original any more)

    I guess that does “a discussion any good” ? Does the word “hypocrite” have any meaning to you?

    RE: This is a false dichotomy.

    Nope, perhaps in you mind it is. Google seeks out what its human searchers want/need. You can optimize for search engine algorithms, based on the multitude of factoids, rumors, and best-guesses out there, if you wish, but it is MUCH better, less risky and easier to optimize for humans based on good old common sense. You can also rest assured that any algo tweaks/changes are in your favor. As I said;

    Knowing your subject well is far more important than knowing “SEO”. If you don’t know the topic well, you are better off hiring a professional writer/researcher. Likely a LOT cheaper too with a higher ROI.

    Most in the SEO industry have built on VERY sandy foundations and those should start educating themselves if they wish to last long term.

  45. RE: @Dave(not so original any more)

    I guess that does “a discussion any good” ? Does the word “hypocrite” have any meaning to you?

    You got the point. And then start to call again.

    *plonk*

  46. Dave (original)

    I take your non-responsive rhetoric as a yes.

    For someone soooo sensitive, you sure like to dish it out. Those living in glass houses………….. :)

  47. Hmmm

    You may take my non-response as an “I have better things to do than beat a dead horse.”

  48. Dave (original)

    I have better things to do than beat a dead horse.

    Apparently not.

  49. Hi Matt! As usual, great insight and I love reading your blog. This is a bit off topic but I wanted to share some info about a new tool my company has created for SEM… http://www.usonetworks.com/articles/sem-call-tracker-to-complement-video-search-engine-marketing-optimization-services/

  50. So just the search marketing division that will be sold? and the affiliate marketing still with Google?

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