back to article Google burns promise of 'no big banner ads'. Don't Be Evil next?

Google is toying with the idea of allowing big banner ads to run at the top of its search results pages - in a move that apparently breaks an eight-year-old promise. The Mountain View web goliath is, we're told, "running a very limited, US-only test" of the billboards. A Google spokesman confirmed to the AFP news agency today …


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  1. FartingHippo

    "very limited, US-only test"

    I've heard that sort of thing before. Funny how elastic those limits can be.

    Still, at least the "blink" tag is dead.

    1. Cliff

      Let's not be dicks about this

      They obviously need the money or they wouldn't be breaking promises (about banner ads or being evil), would they?

      Maybe we should donate directly as well, y'know, to keep them going.

      1. FuzzyTheBear

        Re: Let's not be dicks about this

        need the money ? no .. but they certainly are if they start that top banner .. people go to them because we don't have ads all over when we work trying to make a search. Keeping the search clean is the idea of a tool .

        Their " featured links pair advertisers are already too much imho and i never click any of them by principle.

        hope that AdBlocker works it's magic if they really put that threat into action .They truly start to suck. Someone is going to beat them one day i hope.

        1. gribbler

          Re: Let's not be dicks about this

          You never click on the sponsored links? Crazy. In my world I use them to punish companies I don't like.

          Search for a flight and get a Ryanair sponsored ad? Click that advert and make 'em pay! Then go and buy somewhere else...

          I realise that this is futile and that the few pence they pay for my click is nothing, but it still brightens up my day. I reckon over the years I've probably cost Ryanair more in adwords than I spent flying with them (once and never again). I find that very satisfying.

          1. Chiller4291

            Re: Let's not be dicks about this

            I do this exact same thing.

      2. TechBearMike

        Re: Let's not be dicks about this

        Given the enormous pay for staffers and even interns, the bills are coming due. When you're pampered at work as if you're at a lifelong resort stay, the money for that has to come from somewhere. I'm still waiting for Google to start charging for services.

        I am a bit resentful—I save people's lives every day for peanuts pay compared to someone whose job it to make Google dominate the Internet. Staffers at Google, Yahoo, etc. are spoiled rotten and in the same league as overpaid pro athletes, Wall Street crooks, and talentless pop idols.


  2. SuccessCase

    Apparently it was Marisa Mayer who made the commitment back then.

  3. Andrew_b65


    Why? Don't they make enough money already and pay bugger all tax anyway? What do they need even more cash for? They don't generate profits, they extract cash from active economies and hive it away in off-shore accounts. What 'good' does this do for the world?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Do no evil" is long gone.

    1. Shannon Jacobs

      guck foogle

      Can't blame you for being so afraid of the EVIL google 2.0 that you prefer the AC. There must be some reason why I don't care anymore.

      At one point I used to like the google and think the company might even make the world a better place.

      Now I regard the google as EVIL leaders, including in their lobbying expenses. The reality is that most businesspeople are not evil, but most businesspeople are not bribing the politicians. It is a small minority of the greediest and least ethical businessmen who are paying the cheapest professional politicians to write the laws that basically require all large American companies to become EVIL just to survive. Last reports I read said that the google is the leading legalized briber among high tech companies.

      guck foogle, and twice on Sundays.

  5. benzaholic

    Where to turn next?

    So who are the current crop of folks that let you search but obscure that kind of carp? Sounds like it is fast approaching time to use a different search provider, even if it's one who just scrapes Google results but leaves out ads and identifying info.

    1. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Where to turn next?

      Funnily enough a point will come where all a search provider needs to do to be way better than Google is be more or less exactly like Google were a few years back. Thus the wheel turns again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where to turn next?

      Try Duck Duck Go, I've even disabled Adblock on their page as they ask nicely if I wouldn't mind doing that.

      I usually make a point of clicking on the one sponsored link they allow to support them a bit, though I never have any intention of buying of course, plus I never actually see the sponsored page anyway as it gets opened in a new tab that gets closed unseen.

      (Marketers, I direct you to Bill Hicks advice)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before Google...

    Was a search engine called Alta Vista.

    Used it daily until Google came along.

    Then the whole PRISM B.S. came out and I started looking around.

    Today I use duckduckgo. They asked me if I wanted ads, and I said no. Haven't seen one yet. I'm avoiding anything American in the near future for obvious reasons. They can take freedom from their own citizens, but they cannot take freedom of choice from me.

  7. Sebastian A


    I've been using duckduckgo, ixquick and startpage depending on what the first one I think of is. Haven't voluntarily given google any more ammo to use against me in a while. I'm surprised they haven't requested that my house be TP'ed by the streetview drivers yet.

  8. Mevi

    Nectar card

    I got an email from Nectar, offering me servicing for my FORD. I guess BP and their reg number cameras shared that info.

    If I wasn't getting points on company fuel card purchases, I'd probably cut up that mofo card. The nectar card isn't used for any other purchases.

    I dropped Google for duckduckgo and disable ad trackers in the browser. This is the reason I use desktop browsers on my w8 tablet, as the TIFKAM browsers can't use extensions or plugins.

    1. chas49

      Re: Nectar card

      Got that email too. What was most annoying about it? I don't have a Ford so maybe they aren't so clever after all. On the other hand, I did google Ford recently....

  9. Craigness

    It's not banner ads though

    The example other reporters used is a search for Southwest Airlines, where a banner for their brand is displayed in the search result for their website. Compare this to what passed for banner ads in 2005 and it's not the same thing at all. They're for "certain branded queries" so we can expect to see a brand's logo when we search for that brand. In fact, that's probably what a lot of people want to see anyway - especially those who use google as their address bar instead of typing the .com part.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not banner ads though

      Its a slippery slope, and if you think they're still keeping their promise then you're free to do so. When they start spamming us with banner ads for everything in a couple more years because they need to keep juicing revenue to keep shareholders happy and justify their share price, I'm sure you'll come up with some reasoning why those aren't really banner ads either.

  10. raving angry loony


    "Don't be evil" was only a suggestion - and THEY got to define what "evil" was. In other words, another lie by marketing. If you believed it, I have expensive ocean-front property to sell you. In Derbyshire. (or Arizona, take your pick...)

  11. Parax


    Google defines Forever as 8 years.

    I wonder how that compares...

  12. Phil Parker

    "and grab the eye better than text" - Really? Most testing (even the stuff I've done) shows that users quickly become blind to flashing banners but look for text links as these have a high value. Our brains are very good at filtering stuff out.

    Of course it's only usability people who know this stuff. Marketing people and Big Bosses don't listen to them prefering to see flashy, shiny things on a page. After all, it's obvious isn't it?*

    *In the same way it was once obvious that a 50% drop-out rate in an application form at a simple question was bad but marketing prefered to look at new whizzy pictures for an earlier part of the process. Grrr.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    say El-Reg

    That't littered with full page background adverts, and adverts that float over the text you are trying to read...

    hypocrites much?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: say El-Reg

      No. Not even little.

    2. FraK

      Re: say El-Reg

      Eh? Are there adverts on thereg?

  14. Chiller4291

    Pull your content!!!!!

    You will be missed. Not by me, but someone I'm sure. 10 others will fill the void.

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