Creative Can’t Compete With Google’s “Fortune Cookies”

The New York Times: Larry Page and Sergey Brin seem an unlikely pair to lead an advertising revolution. As Stanford graduate students sketching out the idea that became Google, the two software engineers sniffed in an academic paper that “advertising-funded search engines will inherently be biased toward the advertisers and away from the needs of consumers.”
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They softened that line a bit by the time they got around to pitching their business to venture capitalists, allowing that selling ads would be a handy safety net if their other, less distasteful ideas for generating revenue didn’t pan out.
Google soared in popularity in its first years but had no meaningful revenue until the founders reluctantly fell on that safety net and started selling ads. Even then, they approached advertising with the mind-set of engineers: Ads would look more like fortune cookies than anything Madison Avenue would come up with.
As it turned out, the safety net was a trampoline. Those little ads – 12 word snippets of text, linked to topics that users are actually interested in – have turned Google into one of the biggest advertising vehicles the world has ever seen. This year, Google will sell $6.1 billion in ads, nearly double what it sold last year, according to Anthony Noto, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. That is more advertising than is sold by any newspaper chain, magazine publisher or television network.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://www.johnniemoore.com/blog/archives/001139.php Johnnie Moore’s Weblog

    Google’s rise

    David Burn at Adpulp marvels at the meteoric growth of Google’s advertising. Who would have thought that their “fortune cookies” would fare so well against the creative might of Madison Avenue?Those little ads – 12 word snippets of text, linked…