In an interesting turn of events, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam team told folks in attendance that Google might start penalizing sites with too many adds (above the fold) that make it difficult for the consumer to read the content. As Cutts and his team of merry men (and women) continue to police the internet and strike down those that attempt to bilk the system, they also are providing conflicting view points. It’s well known that ads above the fold are likely to get a greater click thru rate than those below the fold. In fact, Google provides guidance where ads should be placed and even touts this tool, http://as-abovethefold.appspot.com/, as one that the user can “check whether you’ve implemented your ads above the fold”.
Now I totally get the fact that Google doesn’t like these spammy websites (nor do I for that fact). They must keep their organic results as targeted and beneficial to the user as possible. However, where is the oversight committee on the AdWords side of things? Back in August, the LA Times reported, Google agreed to pay $500 million for carrying advertisements by online Canadian pharmacies. Google knew this was happening way back in 2003 and did nothing to stop this. Just this week, in a WSJ article, a federal watchdog shut down 85 alleged online mortgage modification scams which were promoted on Google’s website.
Google, how about writing an algo that looks at what’s trending in the news combined with average CPC prices. When you see something trending heavily and the subsequent CPC pricing rising, have a group of folks look into this. I say this tongue and cheek, but I do believe Google does have a responsibility (even if it’s moral at that) to protect the ones in most desperate need. Whether you like it or not Google and Sir Charles , you’re a role model.
Managing Director, Search and Media Strategy