You've probably noticed Google's
advertising—or perhaps you
haven't. But it's there, on the
periphery of every Google results page. Then again, no one can blame
you for overlooking the ads, since they're small,
text-only, and rather unobtrusive. Nonetheless,
they're effective. It turns out that hiding
straightforward, content-like ads in plain sight is rather a relief
in today's Web of flashy (and, indeed,
flashing) in-your-face advertising. Visitors
have learned to tune out traditional billboard-like ads and hone in
on textual content—and Google's AdWords.
But simply grabbing eyeballs isn't quite enough.
click-through—clicking an ad and following
it to the advertiser and its products—that counts. This is
where Google's AdWords really shine.
They're not simply rotating, flip-of-the-coin ads;
they're every bit as relevant as the results of your
search are. Query Google for "volvo safety" and
alongside the Volvo safety reports and crash tests
you'll see Car Safety ads from CARFAX (http://www.carfax.com) and Volvo Auctions
from CHEAPCarFinder.com (http://www.cheapcarfinder.com). Try
pirates and you'll be served (at
least at the time of this writing) a Walmart ad.
What's Walmart got to do with pirates, you ask? Not
much, it seems, but they purchased the AdWord and must have had some
reason for doing so. Click the link and Walmart's
product search turns up a Gameboy game, as well as VHS and DVD
versions of Disney's Pirates of the
Caribbean. If Google has nothing relevant to show,
it'll show no ads at all.