Google Conspiracy Theories
from the is-that-the-best-you-can-do? dept
It seems like, these days, everyone likes to have their pet conspiracy theory about Google (and, of course, it needs to include something about how they're "evil" as well). So, along with the stories about their new VPN software, there were stories about how Google was getting ready to own all of your internet traffic so they could spy on you. That's not to say that Google might no be doing (or eventually) do things that are questionable -- but shouldn't people generally have a bit more evidence before everyone goes out accusing them of stuff? Take, for example, Robert Cringely's latest column that accuses Google of specifically mucking with the performance of AdWords ads after an advertiser lowers the price per click. The claim is that as soon as you lower how much you want to pay as a maximum per click, Google will "cut off one of your legs," lower your click throughs and force you to pump the money back up. There are a number of mistakes in the article concerning how Google's ad program works, but we'll leave those aside for now. The basis of his argument is one advertiser (sample size problem, anyone?) who ran an experiment with two identical sites -- one an existing, established e-commerce business, and one that he set up specifically as a copycat to test this out. Cringely claims that the "only difference" between the two sets of ads is how Google treated them, but that's not true. One of the sites was quite established, and so Google has a long history of how the ads to that site performs. The other was new and had no such history. Considering that Google takes into account ad performance in how it positions the ads, it seems like that could be playing a factor here as well. I'm sure others who are much more involved in the Google AdWords world may have other theories as well -- but it still seems like a stretch to immediately jump to the conclusion that Google is specifically punishing anyone who lowers their ad bids.