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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sneak Peek: New Google SearchWiki for AdWords

Posted by @ 5:50 pm

Only a few months ago, Google had the SEO industry re-thinking the future of search when it unveiled SearchWiki – user controlled search results.

Well now Google are testing SearchWiki for AdWords. Imagine that – user controlled search advertising.

At this stage, it appears that the tests are restricted to US users, with early reports of the SearchWiki [x] appearing along side AdWords headlines (see screenshot below).

The introduction of SearchWiki for AdWords could open up a can worms for Google advertisers, and with no official report from Google at this stage, the rumor mill has been busy speculating on its impact.

Whilst Google will surely respond with a formal announcement in due course, here’s some of my musing on the potential consequences of SearchWiki for AdWords:

Quality Score:
It does beg the question “will changes to ads via SearchWiki impact AdWords quality scores?” If Google can bypass the obvious opportunity for abuse, it is conceivable that it will feature in the quality score calculation at some point.

User Engagement:
I still haven’t read any reports on what level of engagement Google is experiencing with SearchWiki for organic results, but I would hasten to say that it will diminish quickly, once the buzz has subsided.

With that in mind, I think SearchWiki for AdWords will receive even less user interest. If you don’t like an ad, will you bother to block it or rate it down? Probably not. Youre more likely to ignore it rather than rate it.

Managing Abuse:
Any user controlled element of a search engine is open to some level of abuse. If SearchWiki for AdWords ends up impacting AdWords quality scores and therefore click costs, then the potential abuse will be far more concerning.

I think in the short term, SearchWiki for AdWords, if it gets a proper release, will be just a way for users to customize their experience from a visual point of view. It’s not likely that Google are going to tamper with their primary revenue source and upset advertisers.

What do you think? Would you bother to block or rate Search ads? Share your thoughts below:


Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

Discussion (1 - comment)

Great Article Rene…
I wasn’t aware Google was conducting tests using a searchwiki style approach to voting for advertisements.

Makes perfect sense though.

In order to stay ahead of customer desires and interests they really need to come up with a way to provide those ads the customer WANTS to see vs. those that they would prefer not be on the page.

I’ve actually been toying around with creating a browser utility that strips all the advertisements out of the SERPs returned by Google – because I’m tired of being saturated by non-pertinent ebay ads.

If Google incorporates the ability to vote an advertiser off the island… well, that’s one more utility that will never get written. Remember pop up blockers?

Google probably has a slogan or credo – I’m just not aware of it… but if I were to guess at what it would be “generate the results the customer wants to see” comes to mind.

This is yet another approach to achieving that goal.
There’s been a lot of criticism lately for the sheer volume of ebay links that proliferate through every page of google search results. Criticism for both Google for allowing the spaming of their search results and Ebay for saturating the pages with their seemingly “always related” but rarely useful keywords.

If it works – the customers conducting searches will tell Google which advertisements they would prefer not to see. Then it becomes a monetary issue for Google to determine what’s more important – selling ads to businesses that have an adverse affect on the customers experience, or preventing those ads from showing to those customers that have “requested” they go away.

This would be the second real example I’ve heard of for reverse, or tier 1 analytics. Where click thru data is collected before presentation as opposed to content delivery.

The first reverse analytics process that came to my attention is the one Google is running called Web History. This would also tie very nicely into that process. In addition to maintaining a list of customer preferences for search and subject matter, it’s a simple matter to add another field to the db that records which adSense ads they do not want to see also, and then disable those ads from appearing – and of course adding a new set of ads that have not been voted on yet, and which may generate click thru revenue.

Thanks for sharing – these are interesting times indeed!


By Gaver - February 16, 2009

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