Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Google Advertising Gets Personal

Google has always been mindful of the its own power, which is why early on, the guys who created the search engine adopted "don't be evil" as the company's creed to live by.

However, judging from some of it's actions lately, that creed may have died a long time ago.  It was recently decided in United States District Court that Google was (at best) guilty of misrepresenting its privacy settings or at worst, stealing private user data.  Now, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Google has decided to sell user endorsements made online to advertisers.  The forthcoming update to its terms of service policy will mean that the names and faces of Google+ users could be used in paid advertisements anytime without their consent.

According to eMarketer, social advertising is a $9.5 billion industry.  However, in order to create better and more effective advertisements for the brands who buy them, Google and Facebook must defy the trust of their user base.  Similarly, the brands that choose to rebroadcast word-of-mouth with social advertising programs are at high-risk of tarnishing the goodwill that was once created in the first place.   

Google and Facebook, both desperate for growth, are essentially selling word-of-mouth buzz as a commodity.  In the long term, they will only devalue their particular brand of word-of-mouth marketing into more junk marketing that's notoriously known not to be trusted.

The new advertising program begins on November 11.  Google+ users can opt out of this intrusive program here.

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