More details on Web 2.0 story

This is why I love having a blog. Here’s a story that includes a quote from me from a Web 2.0 panel:

For example, Google’s AdSense program, which places contextual ads on sites and shares revenue with bloggers, can be improved by engaging publishers and their audiences, blogger and media guru Jeff Jarvis said at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

“Google is at the lower level of the value chain now. We can raise the value chain and get more money,” said Mr. Jarvis, who led a panel entitled “Web 2.0 Ad Models.”

Google’s Matt Cutts, one of the first engineers on the search engine’s advertising team, agreed.

“There’s a ton of room left for experimentation,” he said. “If someone comes up with something better than AdSense and kills it, the world will be a better place.”

What I mean by that is that competition makes things better for users and publishers. If someone comes along and competes fairly and does a better job than Google (on search, or on advertising, or on AdSense)–good! That means the world of users is getting a ton of benefit. If Google takes its eye off the ball in core areas such as search and advertising, and then someone else does things better: it’s still a win for users. Just to be clear, I think Google is keeping a very sharp focus on our core areas.

Neil Gaiman recently stopped by Google and he said it much better. What he said was along the lines of: Google has changed the world in lots of odd and interesting ways. And even five or ten years from now, if Google disappears or dies, the world will still be a better place for things that Google has done. I do believe that.

By the way, there’s another quote from me in that Red Herring story: “If you view ads as a necessary evil, it will color the experience.” What I was trying to say is that Google doesn’t view ads as a necessary evil to make money. We view showing ads as another type of search–one in which relevancy is just as important as web search. To me, ads shouldn’t be this unwanted thing you have to show on the side of your site; for many searches, the ads can be just as helpful as organic search results, and we should always try to make ads a useful service to our users, not just a “necessary evil.”

Anyway, in case those quotes sounded strange, I wanted to give a little more background. 🙂 My laptop is so about to run out of juice, so more tidbits from Web 2.0 will have to wait for when I get home.

13 Responses to More details on Web 2.0 story (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt – thanks for keeping us up with conferences we can’t attend!

    One of Batelle’s points at WMW New Orleans (and Mary Meeker at AD-TECH SF) was that content and advertising are being shaped by the _tail_ of the plot of search terms more than by top search terms. Do you agree with that?

    PS – If you ever want to talk internet at an Oregon conference we can offer a great rafting/wilderness lodge trip down the Rogue River…

  2. Hello,

    Not sure that anyone else read comments but myself… but here goes. In regards to AdSense or general advertisement on Google sites, I commend them for the ability to match your search with the paying masses. Not to say that you will not face a million advertisements for dating some hot guy/girl — but hey, at least it’s entertaining. I suppose the point I’m so cleary not making is this: for all the annoying advertisements (hypothetically) Google’s search engine is 100% worth it. It is the most comprehensive search engine on the internet to day, and from the news that they’ve recently made a deal with NASA, it sounds like they’ll be indexing the entire galaxy for years to come.


  3. Hi Matt

    Great stuff.

    However, to down your blog isn´t great at all. It takes ages and remind me of the days of 28.8 modems. Nothing less than 1 minute and 37 seconds in best cases (:-(

    You may wish to move your blog to a european ISP 🙂

    Have a great sunny day!

  4. Hi Matt,

    Kudos on the blog. It’s the first time I’ve ever followed one for more than a week or so…

    In reply to your comment regarding ads being as helpful as organic results: I totally agree about 20% of the time.

    Like a lot of people I have some familiarity with the Google UI and for the majority of my searches the ads sections is just screen noise that gets in the way.

    But then about 20% of the time I’m searching specifically for vendors for products and services. In those cases, I’ve found Google’s Adwords a great resource. It kind of “pre-qualifies” the companies for me. Only after I’ve clicked all the relevent Ads will I glance at the organics.

    I’m not sure if I’m typical. But if a majority of users have a similar experience, where the use of the ads and the use of the organics is so seperate, might it make sense to allow users the choice of which to view? Maybe not from a revenue point-of-view, but from a UI point-of-view?

    Thanks, and keep it up man,


  5. I read with interest, I agree that google has changed many interesting things and would be remembered for those if it disappeared.

    What I disagree with is “I think Google is keeping a very sharp focus on our core areas.” I believe Google has taken its eye off the ball in core areas such as search. The serps at present are bizarre, spammy and more than half my daily searches are totally irrelevant (around 200+). This week i actually, with much disgust, changed my home page to Yahoo. This has only ever been google since the day i bought a pc 5 years back.

    Many things could be suggested but I don’t think this is the place.

  6. Haven’t been here in a while. But I can tell you your site is slow. If you aren’t on a dedicated server, you might want to get one. If you are already, you may want to add another and do some load balancing.

  7. Surely Google must realize that most people have taken advantage of Adsense to the point where a websites content is secondary to displaying ads and collecting the cash. Half of the sites using Adsense are more spammy than anything else. Google has indirectly created more sites to junk up the search results. I get that uncomfortable feeling using Adsense like the way you would feel if you are scalping tickets outside of a football game. You know you are taking advantage of people but it’s a service where the seller and buyer gets what they want. I do display adsense on some of my fun personal sites, not really making money, but even if I were I would still say this.

  8. Dan the Automator

    Here I go again…

    I just wanted to say that surely the most, the very most important thing that google needs to focus on is the search! If you lose your grip on that, then your just another media company – rupert will blow you out of the water, he’s a deamon.

    You’re the best search company in town, that’s why you(GOOG)’re so big… You lose that, you’ll lose us all.

    Get on it 😉

  9. Mick, what are some example SERPs that look spammy/bizarre to you? You can leave a comment and say “don’t approve this one” if you want. I’d be curious to hear what area you’re talking about.

    JD, based on your advice and comments from a couple other folks, I moved to a new webhost this weekend. Things should be a little more snappy now.

  10. Currently enjoying Battelle’s book, and the issue of change in advertising and business model couldn’t be more underlined by the short history of search so far.

    Still, I’m sure it’s a great quote used out of context. 🙂

  11. I think that all search engines should split at a fundimental level into commercial and non commercial derivatives. When I’m looking for information (knowledge) i get really arsed off at adds in any form and particuarly results that are ony trying to sell to me.

    I suggest that the W3C impliments a tag and that Google has a tick box that can include or exclude these results. This would give those of us that are interested a global knowledgebase of shared information, and those that only want to flog their crap to the masses their shop window as well.

    At the moment it’s like trying to find Einstein’s theory of relativity in the Yellow pages.

  12. Hey Matt-
    How ’bout if we barter our services here?

    You are the big cheese search guy and I’m the fashion expert.

    I’ll tell you how to not look like a frat house party boy and more like the strong, savvy biz guy you are if you tell me why our site has totally disappeared out of any any Google keyword search since the Septmeber 22 non-update?

    Why not? We’ll both look better in the end?

  13. I have to agree with MattKP that the scraper sites using AdSense are really distracting or worse, since they give the impression that Google is supporting the creation of crap content.

    To be fair, I am sure this was not Google’s intent…but it is hard not to think that when searching for some term and being confronted with a scraper site with huge AdSense ads up top and garbage below.