If you could purchase the rights to rank first on the first page of Google for your name, in a specially-colored listing (perhaps a light green or light blue background), would you pay $100 per year for that privilege?
You could use it to publish about yourself… a web page similar to a Google profile page. You’d have to follow the guidelines, of course, which would prohibit only the typical prohibited stuff. Everything else would be ok, because the format would be controlled. The basic info and your primary “pitch” about yourself would be up front and center. Everything else would be “hidden” beneath clicks. Only those users who wanted to read your “Why Jesus is my Saviour” would have to see it.There could be an unlimited number of such optional “additional info” sections up there, so you can publish as much as you like.
And if you have a common name (as I do), would you pay that fee and then submit to a randomized fairness ranking, such that on average, across the month’s time, your profile ranked at the top just about as much as every other person with your name who had signed on to the rotation service? Of course there would be a monthly re-opt-in required to keep you in page 1. Those who didn’t care enough to renew would lose position to those who did. Sort of a “profile deserves freshness” system.
Since this “top spot” is clearly marked as a placed “identity” listing, it would expand downwards for anyone who clicked to see “more people named NNNNN”. At that point their indicated their intend to find info ABOUT a person with that name, so the results will be all (randomized) exact-match profiles for that name, plus Google “suggest” or course, which would clue you into the latest “John Doe arrested new york” etc scandals.
This is an example of a value-added Google service that cuts direct to the “end user” for maximum monetization. At the $100 symbolic fee for such a listing, Google would collect much more revenue that PPC ads in that spot. The user experience for most “actual names” would be better than it is now. Of course there could be auctions and “highest bidder” approaches but that would not be as well received in the market place as a flat-fee to stake your claim. In other words, Google could do that later, after they had earned karma points and good will.
Everyone needs reputation management, and Google currently forces that problem into an SEO negotiation. Why? For a fee most would be happy to pay, Google can give them a podium from which to make their own case for reputation issues. For someone in trouble, that top spot will present their case (and outrank the perhaps exaggerated media coverage ranking on their name). For someone convicted of a crime, that spot could be used by that person to say sorry, explain some details, or otherwise provide input into what is usually a one-sided conversation at that point.For those promoting themselves… if it’s a known feature of Google, the user community would come to expect it for what it is.
Now of course Google currently gets paid on a per-click basis, and manages profitability on a profit per impression basis (using so-called “quality scores”). But at $100 flat fee, offered to 250 million Americans as an example, wouldn’t the revenue potential compete or exceed that from PPC on most names? I didn’t do any math here… just thinking out loud.
It just seems like such an opportunity for Google to regain some public respect while serving society and making significant money, while continuing to develop search and learn more about people, identities, and how the world searches around identity.