One of the most popular stories today on Forbes.com was “Google’s Big Problem They Don’t Want You To Know About” written by Forbes’s contributor Eric Jackson.
The story – While in the first part the Forbes contributor is not happy at Google’s almost script like way to talk to the media, we finally are exposed to the thing Google don’t want you to know about: the fact that 96% of Google revenue comes from AdSense and that AdSense business is slowing. After reading a lot more paragraphs in order to really convince us that this revenue slowing is really a BIG PROBLEM we are faced with the seeming obvious conclusion: “I think the Google management team’s use of language suggests a deliberate effort to conceal just how big the slowdown in their 96% core business is.”.
As any point of view, mine is also biased by what i am, by what i think and by what i think i know but nevertheless i want to share it with you here:
Write about something else or write your own TED Talk – Writing articles about Google and big corporations alike is easy because there are so many sources online out there that you don’t need to do any time consuming research to do it and thus you have no time to digest the informations that you present and the contributor is mentioning this himself ( “We’re just lowly journalists on a deadline for our next story. We’re not compensated to actually push back and think. It’s just on to the next drive-by report we’ll write.” ). Another thing is that journalists know that this is the fastest ticket to readership. Bad or good articles alike make you comment on the subject you already know with other people that already know the subject making it an worthless easy read for everyone.
Google’s shrinking AdSense story – Google is about people and what people search on the internet. One might say that Google is not making money from search and would be almost right: search is just the conduit to make people read those AdSense out there and generate profits for Google. With the advent of social media and social collaboration tools like Facebook, Twitter etc, people are spending more time talking and sharing informations in a social way than in the traditional search yourself way. I see Google is getting less profits from AdSense as a direct result of the shrinking of ‘useful’ search done on it’s search engine and because the overall search market is shrinking, not just that Google is underperforming. Google is advancing it’s percents well in this shrinking market and don’t be fooled if you can tell me that the market is not shrinking by looking at statistics, this event is ‘delayed’ in some way by the fact that everyday new people start using computers ( for example old age people starting to use computers thanks to the iPad ) but if we count the well established users i am sure we will find out this trend. Facebook is indeed cashing in on Google’s delayed response in the social world but this is only normal. After all it is normal that ad revenue that is departing Google to be captured in great percent by Facebook because simply people use more Facebook than Google and are likely to see Facebook’s ads rather than Google AdSense ads. This trend of a shrinking search market will eventually reach an equilibrium so i believe this is not a worrying thing when it comes to Google future. The profits from AdSense will shrink too but not indefinitely as some want us to believe.
Social and mobile focus – The Forbe’s contributor is very much unpleased by the fact that Google’s PR is trying to promote figures about nascent income sources and products like Google+ and Android etc. Google already knows what i’ve tried to convey to you in the previous paragraph so they know that in order to offset the loses to AdSense and increase their income revenue they must get 2 things: more users and more ‘quality time’ for those users.
More users: By pushing for Android operating system they are for sure getting more and more users everyday to join their user base and again letting know the press how many Android users are joining is in my opinion a normal thing to do;
More quality time: By pushing for Google+ Google is doing just that. It’s trying to get it’s users more quality time around their friends, making Google more personal than ever. It is well known the fact that the social way is also a way to make people want to return to the same place over and over ( like hangouts for young, parks for old ) providing a some form of income repeatability for the said establishment. This is what is Google after. They want to have a social platform that will make Google indispensable and in a sense irreplaceable. This is a hard job because we already have Facebook and, because of each human’s disability to change and start over, once you have a Facebook account it’s really hard to switch. Your list of friends ( the social factor ) is making you stick whether you want it or not.
To make this short i believe that Google is doing the right thing to do what it does and has the greatest amount of corporate conscience among the ones i know about, providing customers with quality products while speaking on their behalf when their voice needs to be heard ( check the latest SOPA/PIPA events, etc. ). While Google i think is properly prepared for the foreseeable future i can’t say the same thing about Forbes and it’s contributors that don’t know what to say anymore to get more readers and income. The future will show us that we don’t need Forbes to tell us what to think when it comes to business insight. The new world instead gives us access to information so that everybody can form his own documented opinion on a vast array of subjects. It’s Forbes’s annual earnings that i can’t find on the internet, not Google’s.
P.S. I do want to know how much money Forbes magazine and it’s website is making. If someone knows that please do comment.