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Google, where is the business?Chris Koehncke
Itâ€™s spoken in husted tones in the hallways of â€˜smartâ€™ people. The word is that Google is past itâ€™s prime and has a huge problem on itâ€™s hands. The issue â€“ making a real business. With over 20,000 employees, Google only has about 1,000 people actually working on things that make money. The
other 19,000 are involved in advanced college projects of questionable business value.
Who cares? I do. Iâ€™m an advertiser and Iâ€™m paying for it and worse, I donâ€™t wanna pay for it. Over the past 2 years, Google has quietly been ratcheting up the CPC rates (cost per click) for key words. What was initially a cheap way to acquire online customers has quickly become expensive.
The problem for Google is poor products, no marketing and no relationship. On the Google Products page you see a wide range of products they offer. Itâ€™s not clear how any of these products make them any money at any point. Many of them are half-eaten donuts, Google Apps is barely functional some 2 years later and the Microsoft Office Suite has little to fear. Google
Sync for my Blackberry is always failing. I read with great amusement Google announcing the â€œlaunchâ€
of Google Voice. In the marketing world â€œlaunchâ€ means the start of a marketing campaign, spending $$$ to advertise and various promotions. Google basically makes a product, puts it up on their web site, usually with little explanation of how it can be used and â€˜hopesâ€™ people start to use it.
For most of us Google doesnâ€™t have our credit card information. There is no â€˜billingâ€™ relationship. We just expect Google products to be free and our expectations of a free product are fairly low. If itÂ works, fine, otherwise we donâ€™t use it and Google has a slew of products that see scant use.
Its unlikely Google can significantly expand their advertising base (have you ever clicked on an ad you saw in gmail?) so to survive theyâ€™re going to have to extract money from you and I. To do that, weâ€™re
going to have to be sold, marketing to and convinced to hand over our credit card. This isnâ€™t something some freshly minted grad from Stanford who still takes their dirty clothes home to mom each weekend is gonna solve. Google needs to get a serious marketing czar in place who will take the reins and drive Google to the next stage.