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The Google trail

Google has various strategies advertisers and individuals can use to make money.

It isn’t just the big players who are benefiting from Google AdWords and AdSense. A whole network has arisen, including advertisers ranging from SMEs to MNCs, hosts from large publishing portals to individual bloggers, and, of course, the 50 million Internet users in the country.

Try typing `jobs’ on Google search, and you might be in for a surprise — on the sponsored links column, one of the ads is by competitor Yahoo!

That is probably why Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bharatmatrimony.com, comfortably maintains relations with both companies — Yahoo is an investor in his portal, while the other provides advertising space for the matchmaker.

However, it isn’t just the big players who are benefiting from Google AdWords and AdSense. A whole network has arisen, which includes advertisers from SMEs to MNCs, hosts from large publishing portals to individual bloggers, and, of course, the 50 million Internet users in the country. According to a comScore Media Matrix 2005 report, about 80 per cent of Internet users access Google.com.

K. Sundararaman, Acting Sales Head, Google India, sheds some light on how this network works. He says that apart from the ads that appear on www.google.com, there is Google AdSense, which allows individual Web sites to rent out the space on the page.

These Web sites, Sundararaman explains, are selected through `site targeting’ that “allows advertisers to choose individual Web sites within the Google content network where they would like their ads to appear … allowing advertisers to handpick the audience they want to reach.”

Managing ad campaigns

Apart from this, the advertiser can specify search-targeted keywords for categories such as broad matches, phrase matches, exact matches or negative matches. This keyword matching system is completely automated. “We suggest using a combination of two or more of these techniques to run an effective ad campaign,” he says.

Which in turn means that managing an effective ad campaign with Google AdWords is not quite such a simple project. For example, Bharatmatrimony.com has a three-member internal team that continually reviews the conversion rate of the number of people that click on their ads in other Web sites, the cost of advertising on Google and the relevance of the keywords that the company has submitted, says Janakiraman.

As large clients, they work in conjunction with a team from Google that has been assigned to work with them. The company has bought about 30,000 keywords.

Keywords matter

Similarly, eBay has an internal team that works full-time on the paid search programme with the Google account team, according to Rathin Lahiri, Head – Marketing, eBay India. This is possibly because “paid search is one of the better performing channels and the search customer is an evolved customer,” he says.

The revenue model for the Web site is that advertisers pay for the click or impression that they receive.

For ads priced at cost-per-thousand-clicks, an advertiser may pay as low as Rs 10 per thousand, and for cost-per-click priced ads, it may be as low as Re 0.44 per click, according to the company.

The rate of keywords varies, says Lahiri. For example, the keyword `Nokia’ would be more valuable than a keyword such as `pencil’ — at the end of the day, the rate that eBay pays is a function of the click-through-rate and the cost-per-click. The keyword `Nokia phone’ is more valuable than `Nokia blue tooth device’ and therefore has a better click-through-rate.

Users big and small

This has opened up a whole market through the AdSense route. And since the tool caters to publishers of all sizes, the company has both large publishers that have content on the Internet such as Sify.com, NDTV.com, and Moneycontrol.com, as well as individual Web site owners.

Deepesh Agarwal, who runs a Web site that provides freeware solutions, receives on an average 4,000-odd daily ad impressions and earns anywhere from $800 to $2,100 per month depending on the amount of traffic and its `quality.’

He has been using the service for three years. Though the first two years didn’t yield many results, but the last year has been a good one. In fact, though the Web site was never intended as a money-spinner, it now constitutes the biggest portion of Agarwal’s revenue.

Success story

“My traffic is primarily from the US and Canada — about 60 per cent — and the visitors are common computer users looking for free alternatives for paid shareware applications meant for day-to-day computer maintenance tasks,” he explains.

But it doesn’t even have to get that technical to be a success. Jamshed Velayuda Rajan, a Usability Consultant with Satyam Computers, maintains two Web sites — one in which he writes about himself and his family, and another blog on cricket.

The latter, he expects, will have traffic of about 2,500 to 3,500 people when cricket matches are going on.

Typically, 350 unique people per day, and about 450 to 500 clicks is the count for his two portals combined.

As for the remuneration, he explains, “High value keywords would earn more — if I had a finance blog, for example, I could make as much as $4 for one click.

Since cricket is not a money-spinner in that sense, perhaps between 10 and 30 cents per click.” All in all, he has made about Rs 30,000 in the last two years.

Not bad for a man who was looking to have a bit of fun by writing about his life and his family.

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