Posted July 28, 2009 10:51 am by with 7 comments

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This will make you chuckle:

Fairfax Media and News Ltd are independently weighing up whether to pull the millions of dollars they collectively spend on buying key search terms on Google following the latter’s decision to list properties for sale on Google Maps.

So, two publishers in Australia are threatening to pull the "millions of dollars" they spend on Google AdWords as a means of protest for Google’s launch of competing real estate listings.

At first glance, you may think to yourself. "Well, Google will sit up and take notice now!" After all, Google doesn’t want to lose any significant revenue, right?


You see, Google earns over $5 billion (with a "b") in revenue EACH QUARTER! The loss of a few million is not going to do much to dissuade the search giant from launching a service that could potentially add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.

Additionally, who stands to lose the most here?

The guys behind Fairfax and News Ltd’s media buy are savvy folks–they’re not just wasting those millions of dollars. Clearly they’re spending that amount of money because they’re seeing a good ROI. Hitwise indicates that these two companies receive as much as a third of their traffic from Google! That’s a lot of traffic to lose! Even eBay couldn’t go cold turkey on Google for more than one week.

Nope, this is nothing more than a chance to get some media attention–easy to do when you publish the newspaper that’s doing the reporting! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Google can’t lose, they are making far more people happy then they are p*ing off. “Fairfax Media and News Ltd” should be thinking about evolution not silly boycotts. Or FM is just liking the free publicity.

    Victory’s last blog post..Lets Talk Affiliate Redirects Part1

  • They can look at it as another distribution channel or a competitor. The issue of data control has not borders. Interesting stuff.

  • So Andy…

    You’re saying this was a brilliant ruse that indeed worked? After all, the Marketing Pilgrim doesn’t cover just any story about Google.

    Fairfax’s mistake may have been not forming some sort of temporary ‘strategic alliance’ with Bing or Yahoo! (blast the Mighty Goog in exchange for some free advertising).

    Social Media Commando’s last blog post..Comic-Con 2009: Let’s Get Social

  • @Commando – they got lucky, it’s a really slow news day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I have to ask how much of Google’s Australian revenue comes from them, however. Google has to watch its dollars in more than one market.

    If they can put that money to work elsewhere and get similar ROI, they lose nothing. If they simply continue to advertise on Google without trying to move their business elsewhere, they allow Google to siphon off potential traffic.

    I think it’s a good move, as doing nothing leaves them at Google’s mercy.

  • I agree that it is unlikely that News and Fairfax will pull all their spend from Google Ad Words. However, i believe that Fairfax has already turned off Ad Sense on the site (i know this is not going to hurt anyone).

    Regarding your comment about “Hitwise indicates that these two companies receive as much as a third of their traffic from Google! Thatโ€™s a lot of traffic to lose!”

    I dont think Hitwise distinguishes between PPC traffic and natural search traffic. My belief is that PPC traffic for domain and is probably <5% of their overall traffic.

    Now they are probably spending somewhere around $10m per year on PPC … i am not sure that the local Google sales guys would want to lose that much revenue overnight.

    It will be interesting to watch what happens over the next few months. We are following it closely on

    Simon Baker
    ex-CEO of the REA Group
    Publisher of Property Portal Watch (

    Simon Baker’s last blog post..Big Sunday for

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