While doing a little research this morning, I stumbed onto a paid advertisement within Google for Ask.com, informing me that I could booking BreakFree hotels & resorts from within the Australian localised Ask.com portal.
Being the curious kind of person, I followed their advertisement and was quite shocked by how deceptive they were with their ad and also the page it took me to.
Instead of Ask.com providing some sort of useful service inside their portal, they provided 10 Google advertising results front and center which were displayed as though they were organic results, followed by actual organic results (click the image for an expanded screenshot of their handy work).
I don’t necessarily have a problem with then doing paid advertising within Google for services that they offer (though in this case, they don’t have a service relating to my search results which was very deceptive). However, I do have a beef with the way they frame or lack there of, of the paid results from Google within Ask.com search results. If they had placed the same 10 results in the right hand side gutter or boxed them with a different background colour – then at least the user would have a chance of knowing the difference.
I wonder whether or not that sort of behaviour falls within the Google terms of service? It actually reminds me of when Microsoft were advertising on Google for MSN Messenger and taking the user into more search results within Live Search.
In February, Jesper Nøhr wrote about taking an idea from conception to profitable web site in 24 hours. The project involved building an advertising product for the indie crowd, so they could advertise their products throughout other web sites in a similar fashion to how Google Adwords & Google Adsense works.
The final product named The Indiego Connection, allows advertisers to sign up and their account is manually verified to make sure that it meets their indie requirements. Once their account has been approved, they can go about configuring their advertising, which is then displayed throughout other web sites.
The really interesting thing for me about this project was the technical aspects of it, which involved:
Jesper wrote the front end of the site using Django, as he uses it for his day job. Given the demanding time frame that the product was built in, I expect that as many of the existing applications were utilised – such as auth. The prototype for the advertising server was built using CherryPy and once Jesper was satisfied with how it was constructed, moved that into Erlang for the lightweight threading and performance.
About 24 hours after starting the project, Indiego Connection was pushed into the wild. Word got out about a free advertising product for the indie crowd quickly and within hours they had over 100 users.
In any sort of normal environment, working an idea from start to finish in 24 hours would seem nearly impossible; especially if technology is involved. Through clever use of the tools, its allowed Jesper to rapidly develop a complete product in a short space of time.