Alan’s Angle – Will Google Reap Rewards or Face Consequences?

If I were to only use one word to describe Google’s decisions, it would have to be “controversial”. As the industry’s biggest player, it simply comes with the territory and results will, in the end, speak for themselves.

Unfortunately for Google, comScore’s numbers don’t exactly paint an all that optimistic picture this week, with their February click growth being down 3% compared to January and up (only) 3% compared to February 2007. We have to admit this much: webmasters complain about Google all of the time, but having numbers reflect that as well is not exactly something you see every day.

Sure, that doesn’t mean that we should start reading more into these numbers as necessary but, on the other hand, they do make us think: will Google reap rewards or face consequences as a result of the controversial decisions I’ve previously mentioned?

Linky Goodness, March 28

Let’s send you out on your weekend on a high note: linky goodness. You’re happier already, aren’t you?

  • Facebook’s latest threat: Twitter. They’re totally killing Facebook on the freshness factor.
  • It’s legal in Australia: Facebook friends aren’t your friends. (Actually, the case was more about whether trying to friend an ex constituted harassment, but then the judge kept talking. Happens all over, I guess.)
  • Up till last week, online classifieds site craigslist was only available in English and Spanish. Now they’ve added Brazilian Portuguese, French (Parisian and Quebecoise), Italian and German. Next up: Basque and . . . Klingon. (via)
  • MySpace China finally gets a Chinese name: Juyou. It means ‘getting friends together.’

Newspapers Report Biggest Drop in Ad Revenue in 50 Years

More bad news news about the economy and the newspaper industry. This is a particularly disturbing headline, especially if you’re in the newspaper industry. Plus, it’s an industry I’m fond of. Yes, that’s right – newspapers have had the worst drop in advertising revenue in more than 50 years.

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA), shows that total print advertising revenue fell 9.4% in 2007 compared to 2006. It now stands at $42 billion. That’s the most severe percent decline since the association started measuring advertising revenue in 1950. The worst drop before that was in 2001 when revenue dropped 9%.

Pilgrim’s Picks for March 28

You might think Friday is a slow news day, but we’re coming "at you like a spider-monkey!"

  • Google has signed a licensing agreement that will ensure Japanese songwriters are paid royalties on any YouTube videos uploaded of people performing their songs. One word for you: Karaoke!
  • Comcast is working with BitTorrent to figure out how to manage the companies bandwidth demands without throttling the internet for the rest of us.
  • Worried that your Robots.txt file could inadvertently block Google? You can now use the official Google Webmaster Central robots.txt generator and blame them, if you end up blocking Googlebot.
  • Google Maps has added Street Views to 13 new metro areas. (via)
  • Need a fresher in SEO? Eric Holter has put together two video tutorials that might be worth watching during lunch.

Gambling Google Betting Short-Term Clicks Against Long-Term Growth?

As we reported yesterday, Google’s paid click growth is down 3% in February compared to January, according to comScore. While a slow down in growth shouldn’t be a trigger for GOOG stockholders to sell the farm, it’s the dramatic decrease that’s causing investors to dump the stock.

After seeing months of 25% to 40% growth (comparing to the same month in the previous year), February’s click-through numbers were up only 3% compared to February 2007. It’s this apparent stalling (who knows if comScore is accurate or not) that has Wall Street doing its Chicken Little dance.

Of course, Google is being “Google” and isn’t saying anything about comScore’s numbers. (Sidenote: Which is probably a good thing for Google. The first time it makes a public statement to counter any third-party growth numbers, it will set a dangerous precedent. Wall Street would then expect Google to weigh in, and if it didn’t, would assume the numbers were accurate).

2008: Not the Year of Mobile

Now here’s the kind of prediction that I like to hear: eMarketer’s John du Pre Gauntt says that “2007 was not ‘the year of mobile marketing’ that it was advertised to be, and 2008 won’t be either.” I don’t have anything against mobile marketing itself, I’m just tired of the hype. So a down-to-earth look at the future of mobile marketing is what I want.

eMarketer’s key points:

  • Text-message–based campaigns will dominate
  • Mobile marketing affects many different industries—and it affects them all differently.
  • Consumers are resistant, especially to targeting based on personal information that their phone and/or provider will store.
  • Most mobile users are still paying for nearly all their data services, making them even less likely to welcome advertising on their phones.

emarketer: analysis of mobile advertising spend by format

News Flash: February Shorter than January

wheel of media misfortuneYep, it’s that time again. The sky is falling. Today, we’ll figure out who it’s supposed to be falling on by spinning the wheel of companies that the media feels great, true ambivalence towards and come up with . . . Facebook—no, at the last second, it’s Google. Okay, so let’s dump on Google today.

comScore’s data says that Google’s click growth on paid listings has slowed again:

  • January’s clicks were off from December’s by 7.5% (January clicks = 532 M)
  • February’s clicks were off January’s by 3% (February clicks = 515 M)
  • February’s clicks were up over last February’s clicks by 3%

Can you hear the sarcasm when I say, “Well, geez, if that’s not a sure sign of a recession, I don’t know what is!”?