Back in 2004, and after Google went public, the company reprimanded search engine competitors by putting out a statement with a particularly intriguing section titled “Don’t Be Evil.” This section stated the reasons why inclusion marketing was dishonest and all around bad. This mere statement alone caused all other search engine companies to do away with paid search results. Today, that old document has reared its intriguing head once again because Google is now allowing some companies to pay for high search engine rankings.
In case you aren’t familiar with inclusion marketing, it goes something like this: companies pay search engine giants copious amounts of dough to appear at the top of search engine listings. In turn, unknowing consumers click on these ads and both the company pay for the ad and the search engine company cash in. Well, Google has always been against inclusion marketing (and even drove its competitors to quash the idea back in the ‘90s) until very recently. Now, Google is allowing flight and hotel sites to pay for search engine placement.
Inclusion Marketing With a Moral Twist?
Knowing full well that some journalist somewhere would uncover the Google’s latest inclusion marketing tactics, the search company has done something to try and appear like the small and morally driven corporation many consumers still think it is. If you happen to search for a hotel or flight site and come across a paid site in Google’s search listings, you will see a nice little note from Google explaining that the site in question might have paid for that top ranking placement – see how sweet and innocent Google is?
While search engine inclusion marketing will turn Internet searches into nothing more than clickable advertisements (and, in turn, create a relatively uninformed or misinformed population), this marketing method isn’t anything new. In fact, inclusion marketing has been around for many years now.
The important thing to remember here is that Google was holding off all of those other search engine companies – preventing other search engines like Yahoo from littering the average search with piles upon piles of paid advertisements. Now that Google has opened the floodgates, there’s no telling how many other search engine companies will follow suit and that’s a very scary thought, indeed.
Give It A Try
Google has gone full-speed ahead with inclusion marketing, so you can see just what I’m talking about by conducting a Google search for any flight or hotel query. Underneath the paid ads (that yellow box that’s always been there), you will see some top ranked ads. If you mouse-over those links, you will see that nice Google warning I mentioned above.
One has to wonder whether or not other search engines will follow Google’s lead and allow companies to pay for search engine placement. What do you think? Has Google gone and done something that will, in many ways, rupture the true or “organic” search for good? Or, is inclusion marketing inevitable and something that a search engine company has to do to stay alive (it is a company after all, right?).