Google Sells Out: The Saga Continues

So now they’ve decided to start accepting banner ads with images through the AdWords program. So much for the nice, unobtrusive text ads that worked so well for them to date (those ads accounted for 95% of Google’s 2003 revenues — more than $900 million!). Now we’re gonna get “Punch the Monkey” on Google just like we do everywhere else.

Anyone want to seriously argue that this isn’t connected to their upcoming IPO? This is the great problem companies have when they go public. Google’s text ad business was a nice business that generated a tidy profit, and it worked because it wasn’t annoying. But the VCs and investors don’t see that when you tell them you don’t do banner ads — all they see is that you’re passing up an opportunity to make more money. Never mind that the “opportunity” would come at the cost of hurting the business that you know works, and that pays the bills — for a public company, all that matters is meeting those quarterly revenue targets.

I fully expect to see more of these kinds of “remember how we told you we’d never do that? Just kidding” announcements from Google over the next few months, as the new realities start to set in. Too bad.