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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Virgle Funded by TANG (Typo Advertising Network by Google)

In the Virgle project announcement, Google forgot to mention how they're going to fund the endeavor. Even TechCrunch doesn't have the details. You will not believe Google's latest advertising venture. It's called TANG (Typo Advertising Network by Google). Here's an exclusive Q & A with a spokesperson about how this typo advertising system will generate revenue for Virgle:

Q: What's TANG?
A: Typo Advertising Network by Google (TANG) is revolutionary way to profit from typing mistakes. When users type in the wrong domain name, we'll display ads for contextually relevant keywords. We know what they were thinking so can offer compelling ads.

Q: Um, doesn't that already exist as AdSense for Domains?
A: Shh. TANG sounds better, especially for a spacefaring venture.

Q: Can you give us an example?
A: Sure, let's say someone types into their browser. This is what they'll see: typo domain

Q: Gosh, that's ugly. Why would anyone type in a .net instead of a .com? And, how is search for "credit card applications" relevant for a typo of
A: We've found that most people who can't type well tend to navigate to .net instead of .com domains. Also, if they're looking for that kind of a site, they clearly need a new credit card. It's not that the CPCs are high for those keywords. No, no. It's that our contextual targeting is so accurate that if someone types then they are really searching for a new credit card. We know these things.

Q: Is this really good for advertisers?
A: Oh, sure. This goes a step beyond our expanded matching system. They'll get additional search clicks for keywords they would never even thought to have entered into the AdWords system.

Q: So, are these ads distributed on the AdWords search network or content network?
A: Both, of course. TANG, like AdSense for Domains, encompasses both of the traditional Google advertising networks. It's everywhere. Google will make more money for Virgle with the higher CPCs on the search network, but that's not why we run the ads on that network. We just know through our contextual ad technology which search ads correspond to typos.

Q: Is it clear to users that these are paid ads?
A: No, that would lead to fewer clicks for advertisers and less revenue for Virgle. Besides, these people who can't type don't read very well, either. There's no need to add extra text indicating which content is actually advertising. The TANG ads are exempt from the petty AdSense policies like:
Ads shouldn't be placed under a title or section heading in a way that implies that the ads are not ads.
Q: Can you give me an example?
A: Sure, let's continue the previous example. After navigating to, a user will likely click on a contextually relevant search like "credit card applications" which will lead them to these results:

parked domain ads for credit card applications

Q: So, those are all AdWords ads designed for the search network?
A: Yep. Like I said, higher CPCs. More clicks. Everyone wins.

Q: Can advertisers opt out of TANG?
A: Sure, they can use the new AdSense for Domains opt out mechanism. But why would they want to?

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Blogger JezC said...

You've stopped taking your anti-sarcasm meds, then?

Thu Apr 03, 06:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

I hadn't planned on writing an April Fools Day post but the Virgle bit seemed like a good way to draw attention to the AdSense for Domains problems.

BTW, what's funny about this is that those screenshots are not fake. Those are actually from a parked domain that's sending traffic through the AdWords *search* network. You'd think *that* was a joke!

Thu Apr 03, 09:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger JezC said...

Oh, I absolutely believe you. I've seen stinking garbage like this, too. I just didn't take screenshots. I was too busy getting annoyed, IIRC :)

Maybe we should have an AdWords Help Forum competition to find the most stupid and pointless domain park usage by Google... Mind you, your example is hard to beat. And an alternative prize for finding a domain and consistently relevant content. The ratio of the two is the real signal... S/N << 10%, IMO.

Thu Apr 03, 10:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

That's a really good idea. I'd be curious to see what parked domains other advertisers are seeing. I wonder, though, if most still aren't aware of this low quality traffic because of the URLs it's being routed through.

Also, I think Google knows they're sending traffic from low quality sites. This must be why they're hiding domain parking details in reports like the placement performance reports. The search network traffic from parked domains is even more hidden, since the placement performance report only covers content network traffic. Advertisers need a parked domain traffic report, I suppose.

Wed Apr 09, 12:01:00 PM EDT  

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