Google Thrives On Lack Of Advertising

    October 17, 2007

Yahoo’s put out some amusing commercials, and we’ve had a good time making fun of Ask’s strange offerings.  Yet in all of this, where is Google?  The search giant almost doesn’t seem to believe in advertising.

Except, of course, that its business model depends on the concept.  So the AP notes, “Google Inc. feeds advertising services to hordes of other businesses while skimping on its own marketing.”

Sure, we’ve seen the odd billboard here and there.  Google’s roaming Street View cars also serve as reminders of its presence (to those of us who can identify them, at least).  But the company’s mind – and time and money – seem to be directed elsewhere.

“While major rivals such as Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo pour more than 20 percent of their annual revenue into sales and marketing, Google devoted 8 percent of its revenue to the category in 2006, spending a total of $849.5 million,” according to the AP article.  Also, “On advertising and promotions alone, Google spent $188 million in 2006 – roughly the same amount Microsoft spends every two months.”

So is that the key to online success: a sort of “build it and they will come” philosophy?  Well, maybe, but don’t blame me if it doesn’t work for you.  Google just seems to have struck upon some strange combination of luck and skill that led to its current popularity and dominance.