Friday, 17 August 2007

Do you pay when Google employees click on ads?

I am wondering, would it be possible to geotarget an Adwords campaign to Googleplex? The land area is almost 1 sq. km so it should be enough to meet the Adwords minimum area requirements. That way you could see whether and how clicks by Google employees count.

It would be worthwhile to check with Google PR people whether there is a "Google policy on employees clicking Adsense and Adwords ads". Do these clicks get filtered? Google CEO Eric Schmidt let it slip at an August 2006 Search Engine Strategies that he clicks ads 'all the time'. This may seem like a questionable practice, especially if Schmidt's 10,000+ employees follow suit...

Several people replied in Comments that Google supposedly filtered out all clicks from its offices, and from the whole Google network (employees on laptops connecting through VPNs).

It would also be interesting to know whether Google employees are allowed to click ads outside of work. This could be a conflict of interest for some: it may be tempting to do some late night clickin' and boost ad revenues after a quarter when a hiring binge dented profits in Q2 2007.

But seriously. I deal with various Google ads a lot in my day job. Generally, I try to avoid clicking on them both on my own sites and other sites. When I search on Google, in the ads displayed you can select the URL, copy it and visit the site without incurring its owner costs.

With Adsense ads Google places on other people's sites, the standards seem somewhat looser: on many sites if you tried to click to select the URL you actually click the ad. The clickable area is much larger and often invisible when the color matches the surrounding box. It's curious why reduction of the clickable area of ads on Google's search results pages wasn't followed in ads on Adsense and Google's other advertising properties.

But no doubt this will be self-regulating: when advertising on Google becomes crap and advertisers see lower returns other networks will grow. People learn and at the tip of the pyramid stats are being scrutinised closely.