Has Google finally lost its way? It certainly seems that way.
Over the last year or two, the signs that Google has lost its way have been many.
First there was the wholesale lifetime suspension of AdWords advertisers’ accounts with no explanation, no help, and no recourse.
In fact, my AdWords account was suspended in September 2010 because of the site you’re reading right now.
Since that time, I’ve gotten many private emails from people who are livid about Google’s business practices.
One guy is so upset he wants to organize a class action lawsuit brought by banned advertisers. (I asked him to keep me posted.)
But the poor handling of AdWords is only one of Google’s major missteps.
Second came Google+, which in my opinion has been a colossal flop. I gave it a spin when it was first released, but realized there were too few people for it to be useful or worthwhile. I stopped actively using it months ago.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks Google has lost its way. James Whittaker recently left a high-level position at Google due to what he sees as a work culture that has changed for the worse.
In a column titled “Why I left Google” Whittaker writes: “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.”
Whittaker also talks in detail about the shift that happened at Google and how fear of Facebook caused Google+ to become the focus of the company.
As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.
As I write this, I can’t help but think how short-sighted Google has been. They’re worried about the threat of Facebook, yet they’re treating their current AdWords advertisers like a virus they want to get rid of.
Does anybody else see the irony in this?
I’ve advertised on Facebook and I’ve gotten good results. Yes, Facebook is a corporate giant, but — so far — they’ve been easy to work with. They seem to want my advertising dollars.
Google, on the other hand, has shunned my advertising dollars for reasons I can’t comprehend.
Contrary to Google’s professed fears, it seems Google is doing its level best to make sure Facebook becomes the Internet’s advertising king.
When Google finally wakes up and starts treating their AdWords advertisers with respect, it might be too late.
-Ryan M. Healy
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