Google 1, GM 0

January 31, 2006

I thought this was particularly funny. GM ran advertisements which encouraged people to Google “Pontiac”, assumingly so they could get some positive brand rub-off from Google. So what do people see when they actually run the search? A big fat Mazda ad as the second search result in the second “sponsored link”. To throw salt in the wound, the Mazda site does a side by side comparison between the MX-5 Miata and the new Pontiac Solstice (guess who’s the winner in the comparison? šŸ˜‰ )


This is pure genius on Google’s part. Obviously GM paid top dollar for the advertising placement; and now they are doubling their take with Mazda paying top dollar for the 2nd spot as well. Nice!

I have to assume that while this ad deal was being struck, the people from Google knew well that this would happen; I wonder if the GM people had a clue…


3 Responses to “Google 1, GM 0”

  1. jorg Says:

    Interesting. When I tried it, the Mazda-vs-Pontiac ad was no longer front and center; it was banished to the right-hand-side ads. I wonder if it’s because Pontiac complained? Also, note that is the #1 search result in addition to the #1 ad.

    Update: I tried it a second time (in less than a minute!), and now the Mazda ad shows up. What the ?

  2. jorg Says:

    And I should add: I went to an auto show late last year, and the Solstice constantly had a crowd around it. The pictures on the site don’t do it justice; it looks much, much better than the Miata does. In a way it reminds of when the BMW Z-3 first came out, and put the Miata’s styling to shame. Only thing is, the Solstice is a lot more affordable than the Z-3.

    (And I normally hate GM!)

  3. Michael Says:

    Jorg and Mark – the placement of the ads is a dynamic process facturing in many variables. The maximum click price is only ONE factor (yet it obviously is an important one), but the click-through-rate is another important one.

    Googles goal is to make money. So what is better: an ad with a maximum CPC of $1 which is clicked 10 times or an ad with a maximum CPC of $0.50 which is clicked 100 times?

    So all these factors are monitored constantly and adjusted, and from my observations I believe there is a certain random element in there too. Ads swapping places from query to query are pretty normal. I had some of my ads taking horizontal #1, horizontal #2, vertical #1 and vertical #2 in 4 susequent reloads, with competitors ads dropping in and out.

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