If you have ever seen footage of the little birds which make an honest living by scavenging meat trapped between the teeth of the giant crocodiles which bask on the banks of the nile you will have a reasonable understanding of what it’s like being a business trying to scratch out a living in the food chain occupied by Google. Life is good until one of the jaws snaps shut.
We have seen a couple of recent jaw closings which are sending the little birds scampering. A few weeks back (as I reported) Google stopped passing back to advertisers information about which search drove the click on any given keyword….very annoying and very inside baseball but not a huge deal. Last week they announced a rather spiffy set of new “Enterprise level tools” which allows folks putting together large Google Ad Words campaigns with the kind of complexity which was really only available through one of the third party bid management platforms such as Marin or Acquisio. These new Google tools are free. The other shoe which I hear is about to drop concerns the Google AdWords reseller program. This has been a sore spot for many years with Google clearly resenting having to pay middlemen to resell their products. Google is staffing sales and support centers around the world with the goal of getting smaller businesses to start buying AdWords direct from Google. I also hear that Google is slowly but surely taking away the reseller program.
It’s a free country (kinda) and nobody is forced to use any of these solutions….you can go advertise on the side of a bus if you prefer. However incrementally each cut makes it harder to make an honest living in the Google ecology. There was a time when Google appeared to think that it needed a village of other smart people who don’t work for it to succeed…now it’s looking like they are happier to go it alone.