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CoffeeCup Drinks Print Ads On Google’s Tab

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The search advertising company’s attempt at auctioning off space in a number of magazines largely failed to deliver significant returns to Google.

A half-page black and white ad in Martha Stewart Living, per its 2006 rate card: $54,804
The same ad as purchased by CoffeeCup Software through Google’s Print Ad Auction: $4,000

That’s a nice discount Nick Longo, CoffeeCup’s CEO, received according to a BusinessWeek report. Google purchased ad space in some two dozen magazines for its print auction test. The experiment apparently was just one to test out the process, and although Google probably paid full price for the ad space in its participating magazines, the company can afford it.

One Google insider confirmed in the article that Google dipped its toe into the murky waters of print advertising just to see how hot or cold it might be:

A company spokesman acknowledges that demand was light for its print auction, but says Google did little to market the opportunity to its network of several hundred thousand advertisers. Its primary goal, he says, was to test the auction process for print ads. “We’re pleased with the data we’ve gathered and will use it to inform future experiments we conduct on different aspects of the print process,” says Google spokesman Barry Schnitt.


Success at print advertising looks elusive for Google, the dominant force in online advertising today. The article noted how a $3,000 ad in Budget Living magazine yielded only $181.37 in sales for BluePenguin Software’s anti-spyware product.

(A helpful hint for advertisers: if you advertise a fee-based product in a magazine titled Budget Living, and free options like LavaSoft’s AdAware Personal and Microsoft’s Windows Defender exist, don’t be surprised if budget-minded readers pass over your product for a free one.)

Give Google credit for making the attempt. While the print auction will likely draw the same sort of criticism as the recent beta launch of its Finance product did, those naysayers should heed the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

CoffeeCup Drinks Print Ads On Google’s Tab
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