Thursday, April 14, 2005

AdSense to allow custom ad formatting

From Inside Google. Custom AdSense ad formatting will allow publishers to tailor their ads to fit their web sites better, leading to higher click-through rates. The real question is, why did Google do this now? A couple of possibilities:

1. They only got around to implementing it now.
2. Click-through rates have fallen enough to justify a policy change. Custom formatting definitely allows for more ... ahem ... deceptiveness.
3. Click-through rates have not changed, but Google is getting greedy.

The first possibility is just odd, considering Google's massive resources and oodles of PhD workers. The second possibility is disturbing, for two reasons:

1. It means people are losing interest in clicking on Google ads.
2. It doesn't fix anything. Click-through may increase, but ROI will still decrease.

The third possibility is also disturbing. It implies that the forces of short term profit are winning over the forces of "do no evil." I wrote about this earlier, here and here.