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Google submarines the SEM industry

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Google announced during the ad:tech conference their Website Optimizer tool would emerge from beta, and become available to any Google Account, with or without being an AdWords client.

Got a free Google Account, and a website that needs some A/B testing? Google has your equally free solution, their Website Optimizer, and it doesn’t matter if you’re feeding their AdWords revenue stream or not:

The AdWords and standalone version of Website Optimizer are virtually the same. Both are free, work with all traffic (pay-per-click, organic, and direct navigation) and support an unlimited number of experiments. No matter which version of the tool you access, you’ll also see an improved setup flow for multivariate experiments, with more straightforward instructions we’ve adapted from user feedback.

Investing in assessing one’s site performance and testing potential changes requires people, time, and money. Google just took money off the table.

SEM has its place professionally for businesses, but Google’s broader availability of Website Optimizer doesn’t seem like it’s going to be cheered at SEMPO HQ.

Lest you think we’ve chosen to believe Google did this out of some altruistic motivation, let us dispel the notion. As it does with its free Analytics product, Google will be able to see that testing take place as the Website Optimizer collects results.

Anyone think the details Google gleans from this latest freebie won’t be used, even in the most non-evil ways, to help its business? They are giving to get, and information is a very valuable get.

Google submarines the SEM industry
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