Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Yup, Google Has Christmas Sales on Ads, Too

Google’s ad business generated some $11.5 billion last quarter. This quarter should be even better, because everyone spends tons of money selling stuff online during the holidays.

So Google is the last company that needs to engage in holiday promotions to goose sales, right?

Maybe not. Here’s an email Google’s AdWords unit sent me earlier in the week, promising to give me up to two months of free advertising — up to $250 total — if I signed up for “AdWords Express” by Dec. 16, and spent money on it this month. If I did, I would get ad credits in January.

And just to be sure I didn’t miss out on the sale, Google sent me another email an hour and five minutes later. Same offer, slightly different language at the top: “We hope you’ve been having a restful holiday season. Recently, we sent you a message inviting you to try AdWords Express and wanted to remind you that it’s not too late to sign up and get our special holiday offer …”

AdWords Express is a dumbed-down/simplified version of the core AdWords system that still accounts for the vast majority of  Google’s revenue and profits.

An AdWords lite seems like a smart thing for Google to promote to small businesses (or people it thinks might run one, like me), since figuring out how to use regular AdWords can still stump lots of people.

This isn’t the first time Google has pushed AdWords Express hard. Earlier this year it even paid people to pick up the phone and cold-call prospective clients. Now it’s selling the ads as a sort of Christmas stocking-stuffer.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Kiselev Andrey Valerevich)


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik