RE: On the topic of free speech online: the Parler complaint

I have a lot of gripes with Google.

The big one is that I’ve spent well over $1 million over the last 20 years on search ads with them, and yet somehow they don’t have any idea how to treat me as a customer. 

You’d think there would be some expression of appreciation along the way. Or maybe, some instance of asking “How can we serve you better?” once in a while.

Nothing.

The most I get is a quarterly “account review” phone call, which is really a sales call. Their answer to anything along the lines of “I’m not getting the results I want” is some combination of “You’re not using our product correctly” and “You need to spend more money”.

Here’s three specific gripes that I’ve been telling them about on my quarterly calls for at least ten years:

  • Our customers are businesses. The search result we want is when someone, at their desk, in their office, types in some variation of “custom binders”. That’s all we’re interested in. But Google, for all their smart people and smart AI and all that stuff they want you to be impressed with, has no facility for us to target our ads to the specific people (again, in their office, on their computer, at their desk) we are interested in. None.
  • And it’s even worse than that, since for years now Google has been convinced that mobile search is everything. So all of their metrics…which they use to determine your “Q-score” which can be roughly though of as “how much money will you need to spend to buy position on this keyword”… is based on mobile phone web performance.  Which, going back to the above point, is entirely irrelevant to us. So we find ourselves wasting cycles optimizing a mobile version of our website that we would rather not have at all.
  • Google has no idea how a business like mine operates. In their world, you either offer a “service” or you offer “products”. If you offer a service, however, they categorize you like you’re a restaurant or lawn service or something like that. They have no real conception of a “service” that operates nationally. Similarly, if you offer a “product”, they think exclusively in terms of you retailing cell phones or power drills or whatever. Things that are manufactured by someone else, have product numbers, and all the rest. 

The result of all that is that for our business, where we sell a customized product to businesses on a national basis, we really don’t slot in very well. 

Last thought: It seems like it is only a matter of time before someone figures out how to structure a class action lawsuit against Google that exposes the inherent contradiction in their entire model.

Google’s promise is “type in a keyword and we will give you the most relevant results”. (Aside – I hate that word of theirs – “relevant”. Ugh.) But they have an obvious conflict of interest, since I can have the most relevant website in a given category, but they depend on me spending money advertising, so if they give my website high position, I won’t have to spend as much on paid search ads. So they have an economic incentive to downlist my site in order to force me to buy back my position.

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