While talking shop this week with a fellow online marketing geek, the conversation turned to Google. My friend mentioned he recently purchased some stock in the search giant. Probably a pretty good investment over the long run. Half jokingly my friend said he had to leave our chat to go click on some ads and drive some revenue for his new investment. I am sure his contribution to Google’s revenue would be completely insignificant even if he was smart enough to click on the high CPC words like “hardrive recovery” or “mortgage loans”.
What struck me askew was the relative ease with which Google investors could drive Google revenue. No, this is not a click fraud diatribe. It is an age old investing philosophy to invest in those companies which you patronize. In the old model an investor would spend money on the company’s products. If I owned Pepsi stock I would buy Pepsi products. This model retains its integrity as I only have a finite amount of money with which to spend on Pepsi products.
In the Google world the revenue event has an incredibly low barrier. That event is a click of course. The major difference with the click is that if I am investor in Google (unlike the Pepsi model) I am causing somebody else to pay Google money and theoretically I comparatively have more time to click than dollars to spend on Pepsi products. Sure some online purists would say viewing a page thus incurring an impression is an even easier revenue event. The difference here is that an impression is passive while a click is active. The integrity in the Google world is easily eroded.
The real question here that I am thinking through is: Is there another publicly traded company that has a revenue event that makes it easy (in other words, as easy a clicking”) for investors to initiate other parties to pay the “invested in” company money?
One solution is for all Google investors to publicly declare their conflict of interest and any clicks from an investor (or an investor’s company) be determined as non-revenue events. Even if the revenue from investors (whether the clicks are intentional or not) amount to nothing, it is still important to be above board on matters that rely on transparency like investing. Google might be all about “Do no evil”, however I am not naive enough to believe the same mantra holds true for Wall Street.
Categorised in: Search
This post was written by DEP Ecommerce Consultants