Google’s 2012 / FTC exoneration / Perceived Value

In my last post of the year for State of Search I looked back at what 2012 brought for Google in terms of bad PR. I feel it’s been a hallmark year for Google where the public woke up to the fact the search giant isn’t the altruistic cuddly bear we want it to be, but is more like a voracious profit-seeking enterprise:

State of Search: The Year The World Fell Out Of Love With Google

In 2012, the world woke up to the fact that Google is just another profit-chasing corporation, and that its products and services are not there purely for the betterment of mankind, but that there’s a growing element of commercialisation inherent in Google’s offerings. For SEOs and digital marketers, this has of course been blatantly obvious for years. For the general public, not as much. But 2012 changed that, through a range of media storms that caught the world’s attention.

And in my first post of 2013 for State of Search, Google claims a massive victory when the FTC declares the search engine does not feature any bias in its search results. Not everyone agrees:

State of Search: FTC Exonerates Google in Search Bias Investigation

Yesterday, after an investigation lasting nearly two years, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States has concluded that Google’s search results are fair and unbiased. In a statement that could have been written by Google’s own PR department, FTC director Jon Liebowitz said that Google is “one of America’s great companies” and that the changes the search engine makes to its algorithms are primarily to “improve the user experience.”

For The Tomorrow Lab blog I wrote a piece about the perceived value of digital marketing, and how it’s almost always seen as classic above-the-line marketing’s bastard child:

The Tomorrow Lab: The Perceived Value of Digital Marketing

Classic marketing channels such as television and print advertising come with a built-in audience. People watch TV and read papers, and there are the relevant Nielsen metrics and ABC figures to prove it. Consumers of those media channels are exposed to your ads, whether they choose to or not (though this, too, is increasingly less the case). Online, however, the audience is not guaranteed. Getting your ‘ad’ – your website or social media page – online is easy. Getting people to see it, that’s the hard bit.