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I’m Going to Work for Google

I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but I’ve accepted a position working for Google effective September 1, 2008. After 5 years of full time independence as a Competitive Webmaster and SEO Consultant, and after building out hundreds of web sites for my own publishing network and a collection of trusted clients, I’ll be signing on with The Google. It has been tremendously exciting, fun, and beneficial to have functioned independently during this past 5 years of amazing change in Internet Land. But I can’t fool myself any longer. Google is winning, Google will win, and if I want to win, my best opportunities are with Google. Plain and simple.

What does this mean for my clients? Well, you really need to read all the way through to the end of this post. What does this mean for my trusted SEO friends, with whom I have entrusted secrets and who have trusted me with secrets? Again, please read all the way through. What does this mean for the good people at Google? Perhaps that is the most interesting aspect of my going to work for Google.

Effective September 1, Google will gain access to virtually all of my business intelligence. I am pretty sure the meetings are already set up to discuss the details of my site networks, especially the ones I have operated in very competitive markets. Once I am on board at Google, Google employees will have the rights to access just about everything interesting about my businesses.

I have already been informed, via the legal terms and paperwork I had to execute just to investigate the opportunity, that Google will be inspecting my domains, my traffic logs, and everything else webbish about my web sites. But Google will also get a list of my collaborating partners, my advertisers, and my contracts with those advertisers. Google will inspect the rates I charge advertisers to place ads in my networks, and Google will take the names, addresses, and contact information for those advertisers (presumably so they can direct sell to them).

Google wants to know the rates I charge for CPM ads and the rates I charge for CPA deals. They want to know the terms, and they also want to inspect the activity logs of my ad serving system, down to the times of day I run ads, what I charge to run ads in different slots and at different times, and what my customers pay for their preferred placements. I have to say that while we explored this opportunity to work together, Google seemed excessively interested in the inner details of my business costs and profits. They even made an effort to quantify the amount of time I spend managing my ad serving systems, how often my clients change their ads, and how much flexibility I offer my advertisers.

Google also wants me to install Google Analytics on my sites, presumably to make it easier for them to know everything about my business as if all of the above wasn’t enough.

Since my agreement with Google permits me to continue operating my web sites provided I agree to some restrictions (no pornography, stuff like that I don’t object to anyway), they also asked me to allow them to insert their AdWords advertisers into the bidding system for my direct ad placements. They say their advertisers will compete fairly and they aren’t looking for preferred placement. I actually didn’t care too much about that, because honestly when you think about how they are going to know everything about my business anyway, what difference could it make for me? Like I said, Google’s kicking ass and I would be foolish to think they would do anything less than aggressively consume every last ounce of business intelligence they can get from me and my web businesses. How else did they get to be the winners? How else could they continue to dominate?

The terms of my joining Google are still privileged, so this is probably all I can state right now about it. I don’t have a Ph.D. (I dropped out after completing everything but the dissertation research), and even though I rock at answering Fermi questions, I wasn’t able to solve one of the puzzles Google uses to screen for brilliance. Not everyone will be happy to see me sign on. Until I post this, even Matt Cutts doesn’t know I will be joining Google. That should be fun.

Perhaps the biggest shock to everyone will be just how little Google had to offer me to get me to take this position. I’m basically doing it for peanuts. Oh sure I’ll make some coin but mostly I’m doing it for the… well… actually I don’t know if I can identify any truly good reason for joining Google like this. I live in Seattle so I don’t get the Mountain View Celebrity Chef or the free charter bus service with wifi. But I won’t have to manage my own ad serving network any more, which was a minor inconvenience. And if I adopt Google Analytics, well, I get the pretty reports without having to load up ClickTracks. Hmm… well, anyway. Best not to think too much, eh?

Now about that “what does this mean for my clients” and “what does this mean for my SEO friends” I promised for the end. No worries, folks. I’m not taking a job with Google. I’m simply signing on to their “free” Google Ad Manager service. All of the above simply describes just how much business intelligence and inside data access Google would get about my web businesses if I sign up for their new “free” Google Ad Manager service offering. Actually, I’m not signing on. I’d have to be stupid to sign on and give them all of that access. Completely insane. Sorry if you feel I wasted your time with this post.

Update: It looks like I inspired at least one Googler to quit his job working for Google.

75 Comments

  1. Rae wrote:

    Fucking brilliantly done man. BRILLIANT.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  2. TheMadHat wrote:

    LMAO. I was frowning until I got to the 3rd paragraph. Nice work.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  3. Streko wrote:

    awesome.

    owe you a beer for this one.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
  4. Neil wrote:

    You are a very naughty boy!!! Made me smile anyhoo :)

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  5. Well that certainly was amazing. Had me going till the end.Brilliant work!!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  6. Todd Mintz wrote:

    One of the most clever posts I’ve seen in the search marketing space…you must have been Jonathan Swift in a past life.

    @Todd yes indeed, every student should write a modest proposal at least once before “graduating”. 

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
  7. steaprok wrote:

    fantastic post! You had me going there for a while.. And your right on about ad manager.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
  8. shor wrote:

    Came for the bait, stayed for the switch.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  9. Awesome reading! Terrifying post title :).

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  10. Josh@JaeWeb wrote:

    LOLS i was gonna call BS there for a while. great point and nicely made ;)

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  11. Hate to post another “that was great” post, but it simply was. Not sure why but I was suckered in until the very last sentence, LOL. nice one John.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  12. Derek Edmond wrote:

    Just awesome – I love how you became so introspective towards the end in your decision making process

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  13. markus941 wrote:

    Brilliantly written. Packs a punch no other kind of post can. Much kudos to you, sir.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
  14. gusma wrote:

    Man, if I’m ever going back to the states (went for SES), please let me come over and at least buy you a beer. You fucking rock my socks, mister.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  15. Amit wrote:

    Great post bookmarked and shared! I actually thought Google was buying out your “network”…!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  16. Nebraska wrote:

    Wow. You really had me depressed for a while. Outstanding writing.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  17. Matthew Brown wrote:

    I’m not even at all bothered that I’m just comment #17 calling it an amazing post. Mad props to you, sir.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink
  18. SisterSledge wrote:

    Nice one, John :)

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:20 am | Permalink
  19. JC wrote:

    Haha, awesome.

    P.S. don’t forget to move your blog to johnon.blogspot.com :)

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:25 am | Permalink
  20. Wow John, great!!! You’re my next idol. ;)

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 3:54 am | Permalink
  21. Corey wrote:

    That was awesome, great post! I really thought it was happening!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:14 am | Permalink
  22. evilplayer wrote:

    bravo! bravo! why no google ads on your page?

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 5:44 am | Permalink
  23. shimon wrote:

    Bravo, brilliant writing man !!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  24. Many thanks John, had the best laugh in ages! :-D

    The issue doesn’t stop here though… while Ad Manager is the small publisher’s choice, so one can argue that nobody will be interested to find out details about a publisher making $50 / month from advertising, things are radically different when it comes to DoubleClick DFP. They are already working on integrating AdSense within DFP (http://www.adoperationsonline.com/2008/07/11/doubleclick-dfp-can-kick-off-integration-with-google-adsense-any-time-now/) and THAT would be a really really huge and priceless amount of information for them!

    @Otilia: Yes it is sad but hey that’s business. Given permission, businesses will destroy anything if it leads to profits. People have plenty of time to complain about invasive tracking, tagging, and monitoring, but they don’t seem to mind.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 6:38 am | Permalink
  25. Lotus21 wrote:

    Damn, do you ever know how to make a point!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:01 am | Permalink
  26. Paul wrote:

    You had me at “Working for Google” – And the Matt Cutts comment was ace.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  27. Frank wrote:

    Awesome. You made my day.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:32 am | Permalink
  28. Stuart wrote:

    I thought you drank the juice, man. You should have saved that one for April 1.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  29. Anon wrote:

    Brilliant! I will refer to this post, whenever arguing with someone about Google’s “free” services. Great way to make your point!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:48 am | Permalink
  30. paisley wrote:

    lmao… good article.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  31. Bill Hartzer wrote:

    Wow, and to think that I thought that you were doing it just for the free bus service with wifi. Congrats on the new gig (NOT!) ;)

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  32. Russ Page wrote:

    I thought this was suspect… LOL.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  33. Macy wrote:

    Very funny. I was clueless right up to the last paragraph.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  34. A

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink
  35. Alex Juel wrote:

    That was an awesome post. I had a feeling from the beginning it was gonna have something to do with one of Google’s services.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  36. Marek wrote:

    Dude, you had me read to the end, holding my breath, like a moron… well done! You should make a *youtube* video about this…

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:39 am | Permalink
  37. Kevin wrote:

    Great post! Now that’s a creative way to convey a message.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  38. René wrote:

    Still a breathtaking post. I agree with you that its simply stupid to sign on the Google Ad Manager Service an get them a free view to all your clients and your own sites.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  39. Dan wrote:

    That was great!! Very clever and educational at the same time!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  40. Ringo wrote:

    You made my day…brilliant writing.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  41. Claudia wrote:

    If there would be an “Oscar for blogpostings”, you would be my candidate!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm | Permalink
  42. N20 wrote:

    nice post man… really nice!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink
  43. peter wiesenstock wrote:

    dude! you rock. first i thought its real… great text!

    regards from germany

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  44. adamap wrote:

    Excellent post, makes me think twice about that service.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  45. Hahaha what a nice story, i almost believed you ;-) Enjoy your work, you got it right!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  46. dlt wrote:

    Why not just use the service and inflate all your numbers by 100% so when adsense goes bidding on your site it would reach for those high CPM’s you’ve always desired.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  47. susan wrote:

    wow. that is a great one John!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  48. Well, I thought that the incentive would be to get an inside scoop into the masterplan to rule the world … and a seat in the first ride of their space elevator hehehe.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
  49. Starsky wrote:

    That was one of the best blog posts I have ever read!
    Regards, Starsky

    Friday, August 29, 2008 at 3:24 am | Permalink
  50. Stefan wrote:

    The best blog post about “evil” google! Brilliant!

    Friday, August 29, 2008 at 6:52 am | Permalink
  51. Julia wrote:

    Convinced me of grabbing your RSS feed – simply: smart.

    @julia: Thanks. This one was popular with German readers for some reason. Must be my ancestry on my father’s side coming through…  

    Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  52. purposeinc wrote:

    O.K. I got totally suckered in.

    Since I didn’t even fully understand this comment: “even though I rock at answering Fermi questions, I wasn’t able to solve one of the puzzles Google uses to screen for brilliance”
    it really pulled me in hard.

    By about half way through I was honestly about to send out a survey to all of ThinkTank attendees to ask if they wanted me to kick you out of the event. For real. :)

    Totally hilarious!!!

    dk

    @dk: now that was funny!

    Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  53. ritchie wrote:

    I live in Austria, but I’ve been closely observing the US SEO Scene for some years now. During that time, I read an incredible load of articles – most of them were a waste of time, some were good, a few were brilliant. But his posting should get a gold, no, wait, a platinum framing: it’s the most entertaining piece I ever read on a SEO blog. Thanks for the great read! I kicked Analytics a few weeks ago.

    Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  54. Oh man, I am still recovering from this piece!….While reading I was saying to myself WTF WTF WFT!!!! In my selfishness the first thing I wondered was, is he going to keep writing on this blog and continue delighting us with his unique perspective and wittiness? Then, I thought, did we just loose John Andrews to the magnificence of Google’s power? Who’s next?….now the soul is back in the body ;)…

    That was brilliant!!!

    Monday, September 1, 2008 at 6:43 am | Permalink
  55. Nicos wrote:

    awesome!!!! can´t imagine your partners´ and customers´ reactions on this

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 4:49 am | Permalink
  56. yaph wrote:

    I enjoyed wasting my time reading this article and am certainly not the only one. Thanks!

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 4:50 am | Permalink
  57. Chris wrote:

    Great post. Bravo!

    Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  58. You know, I just subscribed to your blog because you write some good stuff.

    I seriously just assumed you worked for Google. I listed you ‘John Andrews (G)’ next to ‘Matt Cutts (G)’. but after reading this post. I was a sucker for a title.

    Great write up. Either way, your staying on my elite blogroll for now. Keep the zinger posts coming. ;)

    Friday, September 19, 2008 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  59. skruffy wrote:

    You, Sir just rounded out my already burgeoning RSS feed toolbar. Full applause for that post.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  60. Tim wrote:

    I never used and will use Analytics. My mistake about Big G is: I use Adsense, which seems to be the same. On every page Adsense is placed, they track all my user data.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  61. Andoo wrote:

    :-) Thanks for this one, great!

    Monday, October 13, 2008 at 1:00 am | Permalink
  62. Marsha wrote:

    I just saw this for the first time. Somehow I missed it before. This is so funny…and right on! Most of us do work for google every day whether we want to admit it or not.

    Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
  63. Erica wrote:

    Whow, that’s really cool. Enjoy your word @Google!

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink
  64. Chris wrote:

    ;-)

    Monday, January 12, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  65. Hahah, really cool shit!

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink
  66. MPU wrote:

    Very good guys! Make my day!

    Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  67. Jacky wrote:

    I´ll work for google too!

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  68. MPU Garantie wrote:

    Owe you a beer for this one.

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  69. Fitness wrote:

    I don´t really understand. Are you now working at Google in Dublin?

    Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 2:47 am | Permalink
  70. Hypotheek wrote:

    I totally believed you, really funny!

    Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:40 am | Permalink
  71. Lening wrote:

    Excellent post, you made me laugh!

    Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 5:48 am | Permalink
  72. Networking wrote:

    Working for google, what for a dream :) Are you Matt cutt? ;)

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 5:57 am | Permalink
  73. geld lenen wrote:

    How do you mean google will win? I mean you’re not like fighting against google but against your competitors…Just give google what google wants and you will be fine, at least that’s my strategy.

    Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 1:46 am | Permalink
  74. You had me going untill the end! Great text!

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  75. Haha, funny article. I would really like to see the reactions of your clients.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink