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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some More Google Print Thoughts 

The sky hasn't fallen with the news of Google's experimentation with vending print space to its Adsense partners, but neither is that news cause for cranking out the champagne and caviar, as ABM's MediaPace blog seems to see it ("Google..wants to work within this [b2b] community as well as help lead it by innovation.")

There's nothing particularly innovative about buying vended ad space and remarketing it for a profit.

And there's nothing particularly good for publishers in the idea of a print ad buying powerhouse. If you haven't had the remarkable pleasure of dealing with a powerful media buyer (as opposed to a typical ad agency) which represents multiple major clients in your market, and whose only concern seems to be to drive your net-per-page into the ground, you're lucky.

And there's nothing actually particularly good for advertisers (other than the price break they get from rate card) in banding together to increase their buying power, since each advertiser misses out on opportunities to leverage the creativity, merchandising and relationships with the media they advertise in to increase the effectiveness of their offering. (Of course, the argument will be made that these are little advertisers, who don't have any leverage anyway. But how long will such an experiment remain the realm of small clients?)

If you read the CNET article closely, you begin to get an idea of how deeply PC Magazine and Maximum PC discounted the space to Google (unless Google is taking a loss on the deal, which I doubt). That's one problem. Another is the same issue I have with Adsense--the publisher loses control of setting a fair price for the value offered.

But it's easy money, I guess, for now.

For some additional thinking, check out John Blossom's post at Shore.

Grab: Instead of selling content that has context, the trend is to sell context that has content. Perhaps we think of this as ads today, but it's more about paid placement for any number of messages and commercial opportunities that are not packaged as traditional ads. Perhaps it's a display from a useful software application that complements a story. Perhaps it's an offer for a financial transaction that can be executed with a click. But most importantly it detaches that ad-placing function from the people providing the editorial content.

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