Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google’s Long Tail: $16,000 Per Advertiser, Times One Million

Thank you, obscure SEC filing, for passing along a treasure trove of information about the world’s most powerful media company. A December filing from Google (GOOG) has provided all sorts of interesting data points, including the number of workers the company has beavering away.

But my favorite is this one: In 2007, the company had one million advertisers, each of whom spent around $16,000 a year. That’s not a shocking number–Google posted revenues of $16.6 billion that year, so the math checks out–but like YouTube’s audience data, it’s still useful to see it in print. More from the New York Times’s Bits blog:

The number of advertisers on Google has grown at a steady clip, from 89,000 in 2003, to 201,000 in 2004, 360,000 in 2005 and 600,000 in 2006.

Ben Schachter, an analyst with UBS, said he expects the current number is likely to be between 1.3 million and 1.5 million. Google declined to comment on the current size of its advertising base.

‘It is a number that people have wanted to know for a long time,’ Mr. Schachter said. More advertisers means more revenue–and more revenue, on average, for every search query–for a couple of reasons: a larger number of queries will have ads matched against them; and on popular queries, competition for placement will be more intense, and as a result, ad prices, which are set by auction, will be higher.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work