Google is backing away from its ambitious foray into the newspaper industry’s sandbox.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google will shutter its Print Ads program on Feb. 28. Google’s service let marketers buy print advertising in more than 800 U.S. newspapers.
Google started the high-profile Print Ad program in 2006 as a way to diversify its business. The system was modeled after its popular search-ad system, allowing advertisers to bid online for space in an auction; the winning advertiser paid Google, which shared the revenue with the publisher.
At the time, the program got a cool reception from potential newspaper partners, who saw it as reflecting a desire by Google to encroach on the newspaper business.
For many of the newspapers participating in Print Ads, the program was an experiment, and a way to burnish their new-media credentials. Few of the participants allocated much of the ad space in their newspapers for Google to sell, and the total revenue for most publishers was small.