back to article How the Google stole Christmas

When Google unloaded the world's largest collection of desktop search ads onto the Apple iPhone, it didn't ask advertisers for their approval. It just unloaded, happily collecting the extra revenue. As iPhonies began clicking on those ads, advertisers were obliged to pay for them - whether they were interested in mobile clicks …


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  1. Andy


    What adverts?

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge





  3. Les

    Hold on, you're saying people *click* on ads?

    If I'm using something that doesn't actually block them, I mentally blank them out anyway...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .. does El Reg know that theres already research saying that people stayed in this christmas to save money, as they stayed in they would use more stuff in house (internet, tv, condoms) and so sales of that sort of thing did go up, its not that google are infalible, its simply that more people stayed at home.

  5. Linbox
    Gates Halo


    I've no idea what you're talking about. They do sound interesting though. Do I have to turn something on/off to see them?


  6. Mr Larrington


    Anything which makes web advertisers unhappy is fine by me.

  7. Anton Ivanov

    re: Hold on, you're saying people *click* on ads?

    In a recession environment - yes, definitely, provided that they are Googly ads - nonintrusive, not in your face and giving you at least the illusion of selecting goods.

    If your wallet is nearly empty you end up looking for alternative presents and alternative bargains. So where do you search for them? Where else... of course... on Google. If Google context-sensitive ads work (and they usually do) properly you get links to potential places to shop for that elusive bargain that fits your rather thin wallet.

    So the recessionary pressures are actually providing Google with a perfect environment to thrive. The interesting thing here is that the dedicated shopping comparison sites which were heralded as the ultimate means of internet shopping as recently as 2 years ago have all failed to deliver and it is Google reaping the profits, not them.

  8. Lionel Baden

    everybody clicks on ads.

    When your on your own site trying to create a pitifull stream of revenue for your clan !!

  9. gribbler

    Doesn't anyone else...

    find it quite fun to click on the more annoying/irrelevant adverts. It cheers me up to know that some tosser just had to pay for me to laugh at their company.

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Unhappy advertisers...

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

    Of course, it's all part of Google's "Do No Evil" mantra. By bankrupting those who mindlessly click the "Yes I want to annoy as many people as possible" box, they are ridding the world of a menace second only to spammers.

    Mine's the one with the hole in the pocket where I left my sense of proportion.

  11. DrStrangeLug
    Paris Hilton

    Google is a SERVICE not SOFTWARE

    What's happening here is that advertisers have paid to advertise on google and then made the assumption that that meant advertising on PC's in browsers.

    Do any of these advertisers know that their adverts will show up when you google in a mobile browser ? Do they want to turn of their adverts for anyone looking on a Samsung or Motorola ?

    Paris because she knows a service when she gets one.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Analyse this

    As someone kindly introduced me on a earlier story so I hope this might be of interest to some.

    In addition to adblock and noscript if you want the search accuracy of google without the analytics and search results adverts try:

    and for work:

  13. mike2R


    We sell computer products but specifically don't target the geek crowd. Nice of you guys to block our ads just to make sure you don't accidentally waste our cash by clicking on them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possibly not a bad thing...

    ... but without adverts the web would just be porn (paid for "services"), shops and support... and possibly the BBC. We'd finally be rid of forums, blogs and online newspapers... oh, hang on :(

  15. Paul M

    So tell me, Cade...

    How many advertisers out there specifically don't want to sell to iPhone users who have deliberately clicked on their ad?

    Unlike e.g. Microsoft, noone is actually forced to use Google for anything. If they annoy you then use a different service and stop moaning just because others continue to use them.

    And anyway, this whole article is invalidated by the fact that you mention several means by which advertisers can sort themselves out. Doesn't anyone take responsibility for themselves anymore?

  16. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    Doing good

    Separating the ad crowd from their money without creating intrusive billboards and opaque bus-windows.

    I say: Go Google, Go!

    All advertising should be virtual

    lots of virtual profit waiting in the alternate realities

    -- ask your local investment bank for advice!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay the piper

    Everybody hates ads. Me too.

    I think we should ban or block ALL of them, and see how much of the web goes dark, and how much the remaining sites start charging for subscriptions.

  18. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Pay the piper

    Kill all ads? Excellent plan. You'll give me and my colleagues a job, then? Cool.

  19. Gulfie

    'Broad Match' is stretching the definition of the word 'Match'

    Too effing right it is. The ads posted on my site are, at the moment, mostly completely irrelevant to my visitors. This is highly irritating to both the advertiser - they pay for ads that my visitors have no interest in, and to me, I keep the adverts to a minimum but with less relevant adverts being shown, my income per page impression goes down.

    Right now my home page is serving ads for 'ergonomic workstations' and 'office furniture' - the actual page content is Formula One related. Go Figure.

    Perhaps this is the Google strategy - serve more adverts (more money in) but make them less relevant (less money out). Assholes. I stopped using Adwords a couple of years ago after they switched on context based adverts (I only selected search originally) and ran up a £60 bill for me in just three days. And boy was it hard to work out how to turn it off...

  20. jason

    I'm amazed!

    People click on web ads? I though they were just there to fill in whitespace?

    Well I never. Learn something new everyday.

  21. Dave
    Black Helicopters

    Let me get this right

    .....So what's stopping Google from using say 1% of ad revenue to employ people solely to click Google ad's, thereby increasing revenue.


  22. Antonio


    Yep, adBlock+firefox makes you not see the adds, but will stil monitor the search patterns for your IP.

    The best think is to add in you hosts files entries for and to localhost (::1 or

  23. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    Oh the ironing

    "If you don't watch Google 24x7, they will go behind your back and get as deep into your wallet as they can"

    Says an adman.

  24. Charles Manning

    Google up, Yahoo flat?

    The chocolate sellers are commenting that Google ads clicks went up while Yahoo stayed flat.

    Not exactly amazing since:

    * Google's search & service market share continues to increase.

    * Yahoo + MSN search and service market share and hits continue to decline.

    I'd say Yahoo did pretty well to keep flat.

  25. J

    @Sarah Bee

    "Kill all ads? Excellent plan. You'll give me and my colleagues a job, then? Cool."

    Far be it from me to criticize your command of your own native language, but I suspect AC meant exactly that... or at least that's how I understood it.

  26. Richard

    @Kill all ads? Excellent plan. You'll give me and my colleagues a job, then? Cool.

    I thought you all did it for the kudos not the dosh?

    Ads are one thing but what upsets most people is the <blink>IN YOUR FACE</blink> <popup>CLICK ME<popup> <yet again>FILL IN OUR SURVEY?</yet again> type annoyances that ad blocks / no scripts remove ... just try viewing The Register with blockers ON and OFF and see which you find easiest to read.

    Ads are by their nature intrusive, designed to mentally trip <blipvert/> you up and for the witty/sarcastic readers of your witty/sarcastic news site .. then we are indeed biting the hand that feeds (us) IT (news) 8-)

    Personally I like the google type ads (when I allow them to be shown) and will randomly click on them to support a site ... what I don't like is <chew-cpu>FLASH</chew-cpu> and <annoy>POP-UP and FLOAT</annoy> type adverts that are deliberately intrusive .. it puts my back up and I will go out of my way to avoid them even if it means attacking one's primary olfactory entry point with kitchen implement. 1/2 8-)

  27. Mike

    Why isn't everybody laughing?

    Advertisers complaining that too many people are interested and clicking on their adverts? it's pay per click ffs, if it was pay per view then they could complain!

    >Kill all ads? Excellent plan. You'll give me and my colleagues a job, then? Cool.

    Sarah; I'd give you a job (insert salacious giggle), but would you work for 2p a "click"?

  28. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Browser filter and Brain filter

    I use my browser's filter for anything that makes noise, blinks, scrolls, eats CPU time, hurts page load times, or is by an evil corporation. That's not all ads but it's nearly all of them. My brain ignores the rest.

    Honestly, I never look at random product ads on the web. Scams have flooded web marketing for so long that I've tuned it out. I look for products at online stores and on reputable review sites when I need them. Sometimes I'll click on product links related to an article I'm reading. Google tries to do this but I've blocked their servers because of repeated performance problems and tracking coverage so complete that it rivals client-side spyware.

  29. Bounty

    if we banned all ads........

    Well, the mantle of tech news would be picked up by regular bloggers (the kind w/o ads) and suddenly the free homepages that came with your internet service would be big again w/o blog sites supported by ads. Spam would really explode, since it's already supposedly illegal, but flourishes anyways.

    I don't think we should ban all ads, but then again democracy isn't exactly a perfect business answer for intellitext, pop ups, pop unders and flash based websites that make crap fly across the text you're trying to read while blazing some car insurance rap or something. The centralized authorities of our countries should have a internet division that polices things like spam, viruses etc. Then hopefully, crazed lunatics .... uhhh.... deal with... the people who make flash ads and intellitext.

  30. chris
    Thumb Down

    Lies, damned lies

    The article makes some dubious use of statistics there. Average Ads/Keyword is down overall over the period shown but the article only mentions the couple of months where it rises. Also, it's not at all clear what that rise means for advertisers, we can't tell from this data if they are paying more or less.

    As for the first piece of news, that adwords ads will appear on the iPhone, G1 and presumably lynx running on your internet toaster. What do you expect? It's a browser looking at a web page it will see pretty much what any other browser looking a web page will see. That's the point.

    As far as I can see Google have done nothing strange or evil.

    This whole story is a PR piece by AdGooRoo to say "Gosh aren't all those settings in AdWords complicated. Maybe you should pay someone to manage all that for you.... Well yes since you ask we do sell that service." I cannot believe you've printed it for them.

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