Google Announces Pay Per Action Beta… And Something Else Which You Can Just Ignore
from the look-the-other-way dept
The idea of “pay per action” or “cost per action” advertising has been talked about for some time. The basic idea behind it is that an advertiser only pays if someone actually buys something or performs some action after clicking on the ad. For this reason, it’s been suggested as a solution to the click fraud problem. Bill Gross’ Snap.com search engine relies exclusively on this model, in the hopes that advertisers worried about click fraud will opt to advertise on it over Google (unfortunately, the model doesn’t really affect users at all, so it can’t help the company gain market share). Today, Google announced that it will dip its toes into the pay per action waters for the first time, as it will run a limited beta on third-party sites. Obviously, Google has a significant problem with click fraud, so it makes sense that the company would at least experiment with this model. What’s also interesting about the announcement is that as part of the beta, the company will allow publishers to embed link ads within their normal text. These kinds of ads are fairly controversial and often irritating to users because they appear as regular hyperlinks (sometimes they’re underlined twice so that they appear slightly different), but they are in fact paid links that send the user to the sponsor company’s page. What’s not clear is why Google has decided to lump these two things, the text link ads and the pay per action beta, into the same announcement, since the two really have nothing at all to do with each other. It seems possible that Google knew the text link ads might elicit a negative response and so the company decided to mask that with the other announcement, knowing it would get overshadowed. Whatever the reason is, it seems very unlikely that Google will change its bread and butter model any time soon. Even with the click fraud, it makes way too much money to tinker with things in a major way.