The Next Microsoft


Google Personalized Search now uses the terms from previous searches to help fine-tune the next search, which seems good in principle, but if someone searches first on “childcare” then later on “insurance” they are likely to be served ads for insurance for children, which might not interest them at all.

There are other issues like problems with Google Analytics, and the blogosphere, if you know where to look, is full of this stuff (check my links to the right, please). But what’s worst is that this is all taking place in the context of a Google customer support system that is effectively broken. They say it isn’t broken, but if it takes weeks to get an answer, customer service is broken.

Google’s defense, of course, is that the company will make everything right once you prove to them that they made a mistake. But Google is defendant, judge, and jury. And even if they face reality and do the right thing, it may already be too late for smaller advertisers. An algorithmic change by Google can result in AdWords budgets that worked well for years becoming suddenly depleted. All of the advertiser’s money is gone, often with little to show for it. Worse still, there is no money left for ads that might generate revenue. Google says it will do the right thing, but doing that six months later has no effect for a merchant five months out of business.

Google appears to simply not understand this. Maybe with so many big jets parked at Moffett Field they’ve forgotten what it is like to run a business on little capital. Maybe they don’t care.