Comparing Old School Yellow Pages to Google Adwords

Posted on January 28, 2020 by · Posted in Uncategorized

Old school – Yellow pages

Lack of competition in search engines
I’m old enough to remember pre-Internet,  the telephone book and the “Yellow Pages”.  This  was the most valuable resource reference for many local products and services.  The process by which businesses were included was a fairly democratic process with the size of the ad being the only determining cost factor.  It was  a consistent, reliable, predictable, maybe expensive but a workable way for companies to list their companies, product and services.
Although I never listed Internet Software Sciences in the yellow pages, I think to list in the local  yellow page directories was probably simply based on the size of the ad in the book.  Larger ads cost would understandably cost more upfront.   But Yellow Page vendors wouldn’t have to compete  and continue to pay more and more to get the ad with other vendors listing for the same size ad.  With Google Adwords, their online approach with vendors allows them to dynamically ask companies to compete financially for the top spot ad spot on their page searches.  This method of having vendor out bid each other for top search space  didn’t exist in the old school yellow page approach.   In the old school approach, the Yellow Page printer company would simply add more pages to the yellow pages if more vendors wanted bigger adds.   Google can get away with it since they control 90+ percent of the search market with the Google Search engine and that view port we use to do our daily work and lives.  I know from researching marketing for my “help desk” product with Google Adwords for keywords of “Help Desk Software” the cost of per click through can be like $60-$80 range.
To learn more about the 20 most expensive keywords, this research article provides background into the expensive keyword markets.

Privacy lost with direct, tracked user ads versus old school print and yellow pages
The old school model of advertising was print ads in papers and magazines, yellow pages or media like television where there was basically no or little tracking of who was actually viewing those ads.  You had complete privacy as companies made their best decisions about where to reach their audiences but businesses never had individual user information on who and when users actually saw their ads to a large degree.

Step forward to 2020, and Google, and many other on-line platforms and even some Internet Service Providers continually track at the individual level, every web search, parse emails, and any Internet dialog you perform and sell that information to potential, targeted businesses.  They know who you are and what you like and greatly define and control the cost of selling that information to businesses or consumers.

Within a few short years (10-20 years), we have moved advertising being controlled by a large number of various media sources  (telephone directories, papers, journals, etc), to a model where only a handful of companies now completely control the business marketing world and can define and charge what they want.  In many ways, the Google and their search engine define your business models and methods, rather than the other way around where  you define the models and methods.  Many businesses successes is based on their continual adoption of Google prescribed search algorithms or paying for expensive keywords with  Google adwords. Many business have to hire full time SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts to make sure their website, and each paragraph, title and documents fits the Google play book.

To many small business or even large businesses, this new model of Google greed sets the price to be part of the Internet Search can make or break a business.  At $80 a click through for selling the $300 Web+Center help desk product doesn’t not compute.

Competitive ad word pricing
To those who don’t own a business may not be aware but Google Adwords is a real time bidding environment which means the cost per click to the business may be higher at some times and lower at others and depends on the financial marketing pockets of your competitors.  For many businesses the cost per click may only be $1.00 per click through but a hundred times higher for a different keyword or market.  Google and other search engines figured out early on that if they let companies out bid each other for the few top spots on searches, the amount of ad revenue collected can be substantially more than just a fixed rate (like Yellow Pages).  In old print mediums, the cost of the ad was based on magazine ad insertion rates.  You were not competing in a live, daily auction to get your ad printed or exposure for your business or service.

Conclusions and Solutions:
It’s a sad situation that the few Internet Tech companies now defines our business, marketing decisions.  Our loss of privacy continues to decrease as systems sell our use data to a variety of vendors without our consent.  It’s a complex issue and situation that is difficult to change.  Our “FREE” Google services comes with a cost that is not a dollar amount.  Probably a truly “not for profit” search engine that does no user tracking and selling of user data that becomes the standard for our browser view into the world of Internet Data might be one solution.  It’s not hard to imagine a Mozzilla model or even a  non bias Search Engine subscription model to support an organization that creates an excellent internet search engine that provides organic, quality search engine results without ads, and no user data tracking and not subject to deals with vendors.   Google has gradually moved their search results pages to most of the content shown now profits Google and the original “organic search results” shrink to a small subset of results on the page  Remember the early Google days when the entire page was “organic searches”?