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Google Buys DoubleClick, Announces Penalties for Non-Google Advertising

In a one-two punch sending many web masters reeling, Google has announced it is buying dominant Internet advertising system DoubleClick for more than $3 billion dollars, and deploying new algorithms designed to penalize web sites that accept paid advertising outside of the Google advertising network. In light of this action by Internet search behemoth Google, a web master would have to be very foolish to accept paid advertising that did not contribute profit share to Google machine. The risk of losing value in the search rankings is simply too great.

The DoubleClick deal has some analysts puzzled, as the $3+ Billion dollar price seems very excessive given the reported sub-200 million dollar earnings booked by DoubleClick. But when coupled with the new rules banning sponsored links, reviews, and articles unless they are registered with Google first, this move makes sense. Google might be able to own all Internet advertising by effectively banning everything not included in the combined monster network of DoubleClick + AdSense. It seems that is what has begun.

Even Google-loving web masters are concerned because of the way these new rules were announced by Search Spam Team representative Matt Cutts. While Matt stated that there were “tons” of ways to report sponsored links, articles, and reviews so they wouldn’t earn Google’s wrath, he only named two of those ways. One of them was quite complex, requiring multiple layers of pages (some redirected with specialized computer code) to funnel traffic according to whether or not it followed sponsorship. It’s isn’t clear that many web masters are capable of implementing such sophisticated schemes. The second method mentioned by Matt Cutts included the use of a controversial HTML tag attribute introduced by Google without sanction from the HTML standards body known as the W3C. This places web masters in a professional predicament; do they adhere to professional standards, or bow to the Google rules instead? The new use of this attribute also seems to contradict Google’s own previous description of it’s intended use.

To put it mildly, web masters are confused and frightened by the new actions by Google. In many cases, Google controls as much as 95% of the traffic coming to web sites. Sweeping changes like these can destroy web-based businesses unable to decipher the new rules or get into compliance fast enough (if that is even possible). The danger may be greatest for business owners, however, who know even less about the technical details of web sites. Previously accepted practices like linking to other websites are now high-risk, as Google threatens to devalue sites that link out under sponsored arrangements like discounts, membership or even professional courtesy.

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6 Responses to “Google Buys DoubleClick, Announces Penalties for Non-Google Advertising”

  1. Eric Odom dot com » Blog Archive » Google vs. Web Advertisers: A new industry is born Says:

    […] From Jonon: To put it mildly, web masters are confused and frightened by the new actions by Google. In many cases, Google controls as much as 95% of the traffic coming to web sites. Sweeping changes like these can destroy web-based businesses unable to decipher the new rules or get into compliance fast enough (if that is even possible). The danger may be greatest for business owners, however, who know even less about the technical details of web sites. Previously accepted practices like linking to other websites are now high-risk, as Google threatens to devalue sites that link out under sponsored arrangements like discounts, membership or even professional courtesy. […]

  2. Jill Says:

    What’s with the sudden anti-google propaganda lately, John? Seems to me you’re twisting lots of words and actions in order to sensationalize the situation.

  3. john andrews Says:

    Not anti-Google propaganda, and not sudden, Jill. Just the facts, pckaged creatively. Nice to see someone call me on that part, thanks. I answered you more completely on the other post, in the comments here: http://www.johnon.com/288/web-design-firm.html#comments

  4. johnon.com - John Andrews - » SMX Advanced Seattle Search Marketing Expo Says:

    […] SMX Seattle 2007 Conference agenda is here SMX Seattle 2007 Official Website is here (notice the use of nofollows since I have never met this Danny Sullivan guy… and after last week’s disclosures, best not cause Google to think these are paid links, eh?). […]

  5. Geoff Says:

    Not being anti-Google here, but I do have to wonder whether it`s being even handed in all of this. Do they penalize the `big boys` the same way if it comes across paid links? Somehow I doubt it. They need the big guys more than the smaller sites, and some even say that they are using double standards because of their own use of backdoor paid links to promote Google itself.

  6. dex Says:

    “The danger may be greatest for business owners, however, who know even less about the technical details of web sites. Previously accepted practices like linking to other websites are now high-risk, as Google threatens to devalue sites that link out under sponsored arrangements like discounts, membership or even professional courtesy.”

    Excellent points. In recent PR upgrades I`ve seen sites plunge to zero from 3 and 4.

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