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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Doodle for Google Contest

doodle for google contestI think Google's adopted a strategy of using contests to maintain brand awareness, to keep people using their search engine for the long term. I think that's why their contests focus on students, the future of Google's revenues. Today, they've announced
The National Winner will win a $10,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of their choice, a trip to the Googleplex, a laptop computer, and a t-shirt printed with their doodle. We'll also award the winner's school a $25,000 grant towards the establishment/improvement of a computer lab.
The Doodle for Google contest is open to K-12 students. Not too long ago, they announced a contest for college students called the Google Online Marketing Challenge. See the pattern? Clever way to keep top of mind, eh?

I wonder if the goodwill they generate from these contests helps them gloss over serious blunders they've made and which might have had more serious consequences for other companies. Examples of Google mistakes that could harm the Google brand:
  1. Hijacking 404 pages (confirmed by Google)
  2. Domain name search hijacking
  3. Running a hidden ad network
  4. Ignoring their own corporate mission and philosophy
  5. Not addressing serious flaws in their advertising system
The contests they run are cool and clearly generate good press for Google. However, for a company that aspires to "do no evil" and whose stated mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" it'd be great if they devoted resources to solving some of the above problems. Let me know if you contest this assertion. ;-)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

richard, heres a good one on your topic of the secret ad network and adsense for domains. check out and tell me how this has anything to do with direct navigation (when im sure no one types in and it contains merely links to domainsponsor and its adsense for domains ads. id like to know your opinion on this. it seems even more removed from any semblance of a search query generating the clicks on the ads. do you think the advertisers are getting what they paid for, or do they even know thier ads appear on pages like this.

Wed Feb 13, 03:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

That does, indeed, look like a site which could be perpetrating click fraud. Notice the search box buried way down at the bottom of the page? That probably allows them to be classified for the search network (higher CPCs) instead of the content network.

BTW, how are you aware of this particular site, anonymous?

It's very odd how Google is cracking down on MFA (Made for AdSense) sites on the content network but then allowing these parked domains which are clearly not true "direct navigation" sites to prosper on the search network.

I suspect more advertisers would complain if Google reports were a little more transparent and/or if the advertisers themselves kept search ads separate from content ads.

Thu Feb 14, 09:52:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget to add to the list of Google's wrongs the company's (through the acquired YouTube) effective blatant violation of copyrights.

The initial proceeding, in the billion-dollar suit Viacom has brought against Google/YouTube, should start this summer.

It is surprising that even with the suit pending, Google has made no attempt to "clean up" YouTube of Viacom's copyrighted material. Just visit the site and do searches for any range of Viacom's material and you will pull up a wealth of copyrighted material.

Google says they are working on "filters" to control copyrighted material, but I have to wonder what is taking so long?

The company seems to have very few problems when it comes to keeping adult sexual material off the sites, but then seems to be engaged in "willful blindness" about users posting videos that blatantly violate copyrights.

I don't think the Digital Millenium Copyright Act was designed to protect the sort of "willful blindness" Google practices with the content the company allows to be posted on YouTube.

Sat Feb 16, 01:00:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In looking at your post again, I see that you are talking about Google's "mistakes."

I called them a list of "wrongs" -- which I think is a better description.

I think Google practices the same "willful blindness" when it comes to the "distribution fraud" you've discussed before, as the company uses when it allows copyright infringement to exist on YouTube.

Sat Feb 16, 01:07:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fri Oct 30, 03:36:00 AM EDT  

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