Friday, March 04, 2005

Google, Here's What you Should Do

My advice Google, get on the phone.

From Google : A $50 billion "one trick pony"?.

Its focus on Web-searching -- an increasingly limited arena -- may be blinding it to big opportunities elsewhere

Even Google (GOOG ) could not have predicted the value of a few lines of text. Search engine advertisements -- typically a sparse 10 to 15 words in length -- have almost single-handedly propelled the Web search giant's net sales up 468%, to $2 billion, over the past two years.

And yet, a handful of analysts increasingly are questioning whether Google's laser-like focus on search may be something of an Achilles' heel. Google remains almost entirely dependent for growth on search -- a business that's poised to slow. In the maturing U.S. market, Forrester Research Inc. predicts growth will drop from 45% to 30% this year.

There are a number of ways Google can continue this growth but only if they exapnd into emerging mediums. Advertising budgets are based on economic conditions (cyclical) and pay-per-click advertising is a commodity.

When multibillion dollar mergers like Procter Gamble/Gillete, Qwest/MCI, SBC/AT&T, Sprint/NExtel happen you have taken two massive advertising budgets and combined to make one. That makes for less money for any advertiser to look for.

So in this environment, I would looking to provide a way to advertise on the fastest growing medium today, the cell phone.

Advertisers are becoming skeptical of click fraud, search engines rely heavily on advertising dollars and advertisers want as much trafic directed to their site for the least amount of money.
So the "click" variable has to be taken out of the model.

Heres my advice Google.
To start, promote your domain registration business. It all starts here. From the time a company registers their domain, provide all the features that make their website accessable thru a cellphone (WAP, Java).

Then I would ALSO offer other WAYS to get to your site instead of typing the actual address. Provide a 2D code, or a barcode, or even the spoken word. By offering this other identifier, you have provided a way to reach this site via cellphone in every magazine, poster, newspaper, billboard, businesscard, actual product from the company (ie label, can, CD).

You have taken away the fraudulent click aspect. I cant see India setting up a call center with a bunch of people clicking on a barcode with a cameraphone. So the advertiser won't care (because it wont be based on per click model) how many people click on the barcode.

This also allows the little merchant a chance to use his local ability (advertise in newspaper with a keyword) and also use Googles pay-per-click model. If I'm Joes Hardware in Des Moines. I register my site with Google and in doing so, Google gives me a 2D code, the keyword "JOHDWR" that I can put in any advertisement for a direct connection to my site. JOHDWR is something that can be creative. TOOLBELT, NAILSRUS. Think of how creative this can get. The point is, this keyword identifies your site. You can use it on ANY form of advertising to get the user to your site.

Ok, theres now more than one way to get to this site. Companies shouldn't have to a search engine for a creative ad. They did the job of getting their brand out there, why should they have to pay even more for a ANOTHER advertiser to direct to their site.
Here's an example. Seven-UP spend a bunch of money in creating the "up yours" campaign. Catchy, and it involved their brand name. My question is this, why should SevenUp have to pay Google MORE money for the key words "up yours" when they already have created brand awareness. The user knows where he wants to go, he just needs to be directed.

In this case I would offer Seven-Up a choice of options to advertise with. I would register all of the corresponding barcodes 7-Up has to be resolved to the site of their choice. ie when you click on a 7-Up can it wud take you directly to 7-Up's site. The words "up yours" would be placed at the top of a PC search query. I would ask 7-Up what advertisers they wish to prohibit from advertising in my sponsored links section. (Google cud still generate fees this way).

In addition to the barcode/2D code I registered for 7-Up, I would then charge for the ability when a text is sent to 46645 (GOOGL) and "up yours" is in it. The user doesnt want to do a search to go to 7-Ups page, he just sends a text and Google directs them.

Or if a search is done via mobile for "up yours", I would charge 7-Up a fee here.
By sending a text with subject "up yours", the user knows where they want to go, but doesnt want to perform a search, but just wants to be directed.

There are many revenue options with these ideas but they do two important things, allow brands to control more of their brand recognition and it gets Google proactive in the mobile advertising space.

I see Google becoming the search engine of choice for the mobile eventually, but instead of search engine, I think the term will be navigation engine. The phone is more of a remote control than the PC. It interacts with the physical world so it will have to be able to recognize/decode other identifers (barcodes,2D code, logos, spoke word, numbers) to get the user to the targeted site.

An example, I see a great ad in Sports Illustrated for new Adidas sneakers. Instead of ripping the ad out of the magazine and looking up info when i get home to my PC, Adidas has provided a "keyword" sponsored by Google of "LiteFeet". I can click on a code in the ad, I can send a text to Google, or I can enter "LiteFeet" in a Google mobile search. Eventually I say "LiteFeet" and I am directed (which will bypass the search engine altogether).

The point here is Adidas registered the word 'LiteFeet" in Google's new registry and Google with some ingenuity has done what Adidas wants. Google can work with the brand and direct the user to Adidas's site with both PC and mobile.

Google could go to the service providers and have them incorporate a Google Search Window on every Internet Accesable phone. Have a little search box in bottom of screen, similar to Google toolbar. This wouldnt be hard to do at all. Google's search becomes ubiquitous.

Oh to get that Google mobile toolbar on the phone, easy. Just send an SMS to 46645 (GOOGL) with subject title "toolbar" and link comes back to phone. You got Google on the screen.

Oh there are lots of ideas I have for Google. Sergey and Larry drop me an email and I'll be happy to share.

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