“For most publishers, Google is the classic frenemy”

An interesting read from Nieman Journalism Lab on the state of the digital advertising market. Writer Ken Doctor notes that while digital advertising overall has been growing at 15 per cent a year (in the US), revenues have flat lined for news publishers. He writes:

Publishers describe their digital ad woe with these terms: “price compression,” “bargain-basement ad networks,” and “death of the banner ad.” Each describes a world of hyper-competition in digital advertising — a world of almost infinite ad possibility and unyielding downward pricing pressure.

Doctor identifies technology as a key reason for much of the above. He continues:

[Y]ou’ll see lots of talk of the ad-tech stack, and who owns it. Google, of course, owns much of it, through its successive AdWords/Doubleclick/AdMob and more creations, acquisitions and integrations. Its stack is so efficient that many publishers feel compelled to use it, though they are wary of getting their businesses tied ever more directly to Google.

You can continue to read The newsonomics of climbing the ad food chain here.

Google 5, Newspapers 0

Among the many things worth reading this week, there’s this from Will Oremus in Slate. Using a chart that demonstrates that Google (worldwide) generates more advertising revenue than the entire US print media combined, Oremus recalls the origins of the newspapers’ “partnership” with Google:

The newspaper industry was willing to play along, if only for lack of a better idea. Gary Pruitt, then the CEO of McClatchy Newspapers and now CEO of the Associated Press, said, “We take comfort from Charles Darwin’s observation that it’s not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. We just need to be adaptable.”

Flash forward half a decade, and it turns out that newspapers weren’t the strongest, the most intelligent, or the most adaptable. They’ve continued to churn out the same content while watching their advertisers steadily flee for sites like Craigslist, Yahoo, the Huffington Post/AOL, Facebook, and yes, Google.

Continue reading: Google eats the newspaper industry and five other must-reads

The Pope, Sarah Silverman and another Google Ads Fail

“Sell The Vatican, Feed The World,” comedian Sarah Silverman urges in a three minute Papal pounding routine currently doing good business on YouTube.

It’s not for the easily offended, replete with the f-word and drawings of male-genitalia. And it’s unlikely to go down a storm in the Catholic community.


“Any involvement in the holocaust, bygone,” she assures the current Pope as part of her would-be deal making. For a finishing gambit she tells him: “If you sell the Vatican to feed the world you will get crazy pussy.”

So when the in-vision contextual adverts include ‘Book Vatican tours’ and ‘Papal audience’ you’ve got to put it down as another Google Ads fail.

Google Ads. FAIL

Google Ads. FAIL

Great spot by Martin Belam, aka currybetdotnet. If you’re inclined to visit the forum of the English Defence League (‘Peacefully Protesting Against Militant Islam’), you are likely to be greeted by this advert:


The introductory blurb to the forum is duly reassuring:

The EDL will not tolerate any racist or Islamaphobic behaviour on this forum. We are against Islamic Extremists and all that they stand for, but do not want innocent Muslims being victimised or abused.

So that’s okay then, and presumably that passing reference to “innocent Muslims” was enough for Google to serve an ad for Muslima.com, ‘The International Muslim Matimonial Site!’

I wonder whether any EDL members will be tempted to click through.

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