Saturday, March 08, 2003

I Probably Shouldn't Blame Something on a Conspiracy if it Could be a Simple Screwup

As is no doubt obvious to my readers, the space devoted to advertising at the top of this page has just doubled. This is presumably a consequence of Google's acquisition of Blogger. It is not a positive one, however. Given the state of the advertising market, I can't imagine that Google are able to raise much (if any every money) by doing things this way. A more cynical possibility is that they are trying to make the free option less attractive than the paid option, which dispenses with advertising. That is, it is a deliberate strategy to annoy their users in the hope that the users will pay them money to stop annoying them. To me, this seems close to a violation of Google's mission statement of Don't be evil.

From my point of view, the trouble is that there are lots of other people I can get hosting from. I have been tempted to move to Moveable Type for a while, and if Google is going to put me through the hassle of charging me, then I might as well pay my money to someone else and make the move. I can't imagine I am the only person who feels this way, and I suspect that those particular people who do this will likely be the sorts of people who have reasonable technical skills and who blog a lot. That is, the most valuable of Blogger's (free) users.

This may just be a small experiment on Google's part that is gone by Monday. Hopefully it is.

Update: What was happening this morning was that I was seeing two banner ads instead of one at the top of the page. One of these was a conventional banner ad, like we saw on Blogspot prior to the acquisition, and the other was a banner containing links to advertisers related to words found on my page, the advertising method that Google specialises in. This now seems to be no longer happening, and I am back to getting a single banner. I am curious as to why this happened. Has it been set up so that the double banners only occur in some instances and not others? What is a brief experiment that is now at an end? Of was is simply that a programmer at Google/Blogger made a mistake. I am actually inclined to believe the last of these suggestions is the most likely. In any event, I shall be interested to see if it comes back.

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