The Rich Get Richer

Interesting post from Robert X. Cringely about Adwords:

“The Google system — THOUGH I AM SURE IT IS NOT INTENDED TO OPERATE THIS WAY — works poorly for small sellers trying to reach buyers of obscure products. This may come down, frankly, to Google’s concept of small business, which I have never seen defined.”

Adwords and Adsense, while I love ’em, are becoming as transparent as mud. It could be argued that the modus operandi of such systems is to confuse the user so they’ll accept the defaults, which may not be optimized in the users favor?

Or is it simply the result of an “annoying company habit”:

“Google is secretive. This started as a deliberate marketing mystique, but endures today more as a really annoying company habit. Google folks don’t understand why the rest of us have a problem with this, but then Google folks aren’t like you and me. The result of this secrecy and Google’s “almighty algorithm” mentality is that the company makes changes — and mistakes — without informing its customers or even doing all that much to correct the problems. It’s all just beta code, after all. But the business part is real, as is the money that some people have lost because of Google’s poor communication skills combined, frankly, with poor follow-through”.


As Robert concludes, Adwords is there to make Google, and Google shareholders, money. There is a delicate balancing act required in order to keep the paying customers happy, and I’m not certain that a lack of transparency is the best way forward.

Do you think that better communication and feedback systems are required?

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