02 April 2008

Google Hijacking Search Ads?

A new search feature from Google could eat into advertising revenue garnered by newspaper websites.

Blogger Martin Belam says the internet giant has started offering an in-site search option for five British newspapers on its main pages.

The facility was always available for visitors who used its advanced search options, which Belam claims is a minority, but the service is now prominently placed on the general search page.

All this means users no longer have to leave Google to search for a specific topic on the websites of the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Sun.

Belam asserts that this means newspapers will lose page impressions, and therefore advertising earnings.

In addition, the internet consultant says the service eats into any search-related ads on the news sites.

“Google is effectively hijacking the advertising that can be displayed by newspapers against search queries on their own site,” he writes.

Belam adds: “Even if it isn’t raw advertising income that Google is eating up, it is certainly removing from the newspapers the ability to cross-promote their own relevant content alongside search results.”

And he suggests that the option isn’t even providing users with a better service, Google’s usual reasoning behind such services.

“The Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian all have filtering options in their site search based around their readers’ understanding of their authors, sections and branding, which Google can’t at present replicate.”

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