Posts Tagged ‘search marketing’

Google’s On The Way Down?

April 3, 2008

A while back I wrote that Google should stay out of the content business and focus on organizing content instead (their stated goal), perhaps because they are spreading their talent too thin. This is worrying investors, considering the growing amount of employees they are hiring.

Recently, especially after the discovery that Google’s paid click volume is sliding, I figured I’d amend my previous statement and write that yes, the people at Google should focus on search, but they should also finish what they start. Satirist Daniel Lyons, on his Fake Steve blog, has a great (read: funny) list of things that have been started, but remain poorly executed.

Now Google is losing talent; people who really matter. It was announced that Douglas Merrill, Google’s Chief Information Officer, would be leaving. This follows other exits:

Salman Ullah, the respected mergers and acquisitions chief, left last October to set up in venture capital. The former head of Google Health, Adam Bosworth, is forming his own start-up. Last month, Sheryl Sandberg, vice-president for global sales and operations, left to become chief operating officer at privately-held Facebook, taking with her Ethan Beard, Google’s director of social media.  

And more:

Other former Google execs to take gigs at Facebook include YouTube’s CFO Gideon Yu and Google Checkout product head Benjamin Ling.  

So what’s up? Why is this internet giant bleeding out?

I think a small passage in an unrelated news story hit the nail on the head: 

‘The fundamental concern still is that they’re getting all their revenue out of paid search, and they’re fooling around with a lot of other things,’ said Kevin Landis, chief investment officer at Firsthand Capital Management in San Jose, California. The firm manages $600 million, including 23,413 Google shares. ‘They’re still a one-trick pony.’  

I used the “one-trick” pony comment a few days ago when describing my concerns about Google and search marketing to my boss (impression levels are going down across some of our accounts). I’m glad someone who’s paid a lot more than me feels the same way (yeah, it’s stuff like this that keeps the Branding Me blog going: validation… even if it is few and far between).

So my analysis: Google needs to come out with something new that can kick butt and take names (where’s Android, for instance?) because bleeding executives like this is writing on the wall.