The £100M Google Atom Bomb

Thread Title:
Is this a Google atom bomb?
Thread Description:

For several months now I’ve been troubled by a nagging and unpleasant thought that there is a potentially large vulnerability in Google’s Adwords business model. I mentioned it for the first time the other day to a couple of friends and they urged me that I should publish it and not sit on it because it is better to get it out earlier than later.

If there is a problem with the business model then it can be dealt with while there are still mostly insiders holding the stock rather than Joe Public.

Okay, this is it:

A billionaire has arranged to give $100m to the first person that clicks on a special link that looks like a Google text ad.

In my opinion, you dont need to give $100m away, it could be $1m every couple weeks. Some company could make a game of this. "Find the lucky ad and win $1m".

Make the contest random. Once the pattern is random, the value of ads gets distorted and keywords lose value.

There would be two conflicts here then. How do I know that the user really clicked on the ad AND how do I know the value of the keywords werent distorted based on this "game".

There is a way where brands can direct traffic by paying a set fee.


Gunning for Google

There are a lot of people gunning for google at the moment, not just direct competitors - that would be a killer way of disrupting the G cash machine...

What's the point?

There's the obvious anarchist value of bringing down Google's system by making everybody's ads less profitable. But of course, they're still making revenue as people are clicking.

Who stands to really gain from doing this?

And don't say Overture, because if you give a bunch of mindless click drones a directive to "click on anything that looks like a Google ads" Overture ads and every other paid search ad on the web would get hit.

There are also the practical issues of how you would either track it, or slip a seemingly relevant "winning" ad in behind Google's editorial process.

Click fraud's an issue, but it'll be restricted to advertisers until there's anybody out there who actually has a reason to collapse one of these systems.

Not Really Seeing it

well maybe it could happen, but I doubt it

1.) people will cheat the system... ie: the winners will somehow have some connection to someone somewhere along the path
2.) the odds are so low of winning... more people search at Google than Iwon even though Iwon offers prizes and credits for searching and is powered by Google's search technology.
3.)there is already fraud in the system anyway. increased click fraud or more random clicks does not lower the actual value in the system. more clicks may make people lower their click prices, but the publisher network on the whole still has a great deal of value.
4.) if google creates a browser or a distributed operating system it will give them more shielding against people messing with their network partner links
5.) people would still be consuming content and by default we are going to be more inclined to click on stuff and search for stuff and find pages that relate to our natural interests.
6.) AdSense is the best distributed ad network. competing business models have not been working as well.

  • subscriptions probably dont work too well for most unless you are porn or the WSJ.
  • micropayments have not taken off.
  • affiliate programs work for some, but typically lack the variety and automation AdSense brings. affiliate programs do not fit all sites.
  • selling links works too for some but even that has a limited scalability without solid infistructure and doing it yourself of course costs significant time.
  • consistantly selling out your own ad inventory might take more time than it is worth and so programs like AdSense will fill in some of the gaps.

7.) sure the perceived value may go down, but that just means better ROI for those who use the network correctly. it is a self regulating system.


Brooklahn, welcome to threadwatch! do introduce yourself here

Here's something i picked up yesterday that's vaguely related you yours and seobook's posts:

Google grew earnings via AdSense which is now close to half of its revenues.
AdSense has the highest click fraud rate of any CPC product. In fact, many marketers refuse to use contextual advertising because of publishers clicking on their own ads which leads to low ROI

and there's a fair bit more in this post on Google on the theme of overpriced stock in general.


Okay, this might be a stretch but if we had a random surge in CTR and at the same time the conversion rate tanked accordingly wouldn't the market just adjust? Traffic goes up, CTR goes up, conversions go down, cpc goes down -- but the amount of business received from the ads stays the same and in theory the pay-out/pay-in will equalize.


That sounds like a reasonable scenario, life aint usually so simple but i think the logic is pretty solid right?

Those that have Clickbots now have an Excuse

To get them going round clicking on the Google ads

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