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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is Yahoo! a Google Copycat?

Interesting question posed by Ian Feavearyear: "Is it just me, or does Yahoo just seem to be copying everything Google does these days?" You have to admire the pace of innovation at Google. As soon as Yahoo! (or anyone else for that matter) catches up to Google, Google launches something new. For instance, they've just announced preferred cost bidding for AdWords. Is this another move to disintermediate advertising agencies?

But, wait a minute, perhaps it's Google and not Yahoo! who is the copycat?! After all, Google copied Overture, one of the original pay per click advertising companies (which Yahoo! subsequently bought and rebranded as Yahoo! Search Marketing). And, now, Google is copying StumbleUpon. So, let's just say Yahoo! and Google are both copycats and move on to a more interesting topic. ;-)

Digging through the FAQ for the new AdWords preferred cost bidding, I stumbled upon the question "How do I start using preferred CPC bidding in my keyword-targeted campaign?" which had an interesting component to the answer:
For the best results, we recommend preferred cost-per-click (CPC) bidding for campaigns that are opted into the Google search network only, or campaigns that have separate content bids for the content network.
I've been arguing for a couple of years now that it's good practice to manage contextual advertising and search advertising in separate campaigns. Fascinating to see this suggestion in an actual Google AdWords help document. This is how you configure an AdWords campaign for search advertising only (well except for parked domains):

google advertising network distribution

That "Content network" checkbox is checked by default. It's important to be aware of this fact and opt out of the Content network if you're interested in buying search engine advertising. If you really want to buy pure search engine advertising, you also have to be aware to block parked domains. It really would simplify things if Google would create a "Domain network" so advertisers could actually control the distribution of their ads. Sigh. That's a topic for another post, or perhaps a previous one.

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