Posted December 9, 2008 12:10 pm by with 12 comments

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Just a few months ago I reported on my blog, Gonzo SEO, that Google had opened up bidding on beer related terms. This was a major revision to their Adwords policy, and many believed it was a direct result of the economic hardships that even Google is facing.

Yesterday, Google revised their policy once more to open up bidding on hard alcohol and liquers. There is one important disclaimer in their new policy: ads cannot be used for direct sales, they must only be used for branding purposes. This is different then the beer policy, where you can target ads for direct selling.

Again, the question has to be asked: is Google revising these policies in an effort to boost revenue during the current economic crisis? It seems like an obvious answer. Google, however, is denying the claim. When Barry Schwartz asked Google about it, Google responded:

The AdWords program policies are developed based on a combination of factors – and in this case, those included user experience, legal requirements and the fact that many hard alcohol manufacturers have been asking for the ability to promote the alcohol-related information on their sites and reach people who seek that information online.

What’s your opinion? Do you think the policy changes are a direct result of the recession?

  • The adwords is excelent for Google Company.


    Marcos’s last blog post..Por: Raphael

  • Maybe, maybe not. Im sure those alcohol companies have pushy lobbyists who push until they get their way. Although they may have used their pocketbooks as well and Google may have welcomed it with open arms because of the recession. Either way I think it’s good. If consumers want it, why not offer it?

    Matt Helphrey’s last blog post..The Money Spot is Above the Fold

  • Times get a little tough, “ya gotta” make a few changes. lol. This will be interesting to see how what the media says about this and other marketers and to see how marketers use this newly untapped (Adwords) possible gold.

  • Well obliviously they are just looking for more ways to make money…(which is of course perfectly fine..) IMO.

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Oxite – Microsoft’s Open Source Blogging Platform

  • Adword is the flagship for google in terms of revenue.

  • Of course, Google want to increase their revenue streams as much as possible and this is an extension of that. Of course, Google’s policy on this has been fuzzy for ages. Personally I’ve been running a brewing recipes section of my site for almost four years:

    Celtnet Brewing Recipes

    and almost from the get-go Google have been serving ads for home brewing equipment and home brewing kits. This may not have been directly advertising alcohol but it was the next best thing. The next step was to advertise beer, a loosening of what Google was already doing. This is only the next step in what Google have been doing for years.

    Gwydion’s last blog post..Getting A Free Background Check!

  • Well, we’ve hit hard financial times, the world over,so of course alcohol, drugs and whatever else people might use to deal with the stresses of these times tend to sell better and be a great fall back for companies 🙂


  • As others have said, it is pretty clear that Google is doing this to make more money. I have no problem with them trying to sell more ads for alcohol and drugs as it’s people’s own choice as to whether no not they buy them, not the ads.

    Patrick’s last blog post..Bush Administration Puts Engangered Species Act At Risk

  • I guess we’ll know if it’s due to the recession if they open it up to gambling-related sites as well… That’s the sure sign for me.

    drivelocity’s last blog post..Black and Decker Thermal Leak Detector

  • What better way to maximize their revenue…

    Love Rings’s last blog post..The Romantic History of Diamonds

  • JT

    Well, what’s next policy that they will revise, allow the gambling and casino bidding ?

    JT’s last blog post..Zen and PPC campaigns

  • Rob

    I think it is symptomatic of the global recession, but I do not think it is a good thing.Being an alcoholic in recovery I have come to detest the media’s promotion of alcohol. Alcoholism is a big problem and rather than enabling it further, I think it would be more sensible to have stronger controls in place.

    Rob’s last blog post..How to come up with kickass product ideas