Google. Firstly, let’s get one thing clear: I love Google. Well, one half of Google, the half that perfected the search engine, made email better, mapped the world and developed a truly wonderful mobile ecosystem. That is the Google I admire, respect and, yes, love.
But the other half of Google, dare I say it, I loathe. And, unsurprisingly, that’s the money making bit, the advertising business. And it’s for one reason: its complete lack of respect for competition.
The way Google operates its advertising business reminds me of when a player has a ‘lucky run’ in Monopoly. It gives them a whole load of property and cash, and everyone else is playing catch up, trying to avoid landing on Park Lane with two hotels. At that point, the game no longer is any fun.
The player with all the cash also changes. They become arrogant, try to change the rules and end up buying up everyone else. And then the game ends because no one else wants to play. Right now, Google has gone from one of the players that everyone supported, liked and respected, to becoming arrogant and a little scary. It believes its importance just a little too much.
Right now it is clear Google doesn’t want to just be a player in the global digital advertising game. It wants to own the whole digital marketing chain, and then move on to other channels, most notably TV. And it wants to change the rules as it goes, making it almost impossible for anyone else to play. And we, the advertising industry, are knowing accomplices to this, and the public doesn’t get a choice. They have to just go along. Blindly.