Google+ team leader defects to Microsoft, spills beans

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Google’s engineering director James Whittaker defected to Microsoft, blogging that Google+ has ruined Google. He complains that the once idealistic engineering company is now obsessed with ad revenue and competing with Facebook.

I think Google does have a problem. This is not a problem for YOU as a Google advertiser; in many ways it’s good for you.

I’ll get to that in a second. But yes, it is a problem for Google. Here’s why. Facebook has never been and never will be a threat to Google. Google vs. Facebook isn’t even apples vs. oranges, it’s more like steak knives vs. milkshakes.

The reasons why people use Facebook vs. Google couldn’t be more different. There is no need for Google to try to become a “social media” company. Facebook will never be the money machine that Google is. Google has nothing to fear.

But they’re living in fear anyway. Larry Page tied employee bonuses to Google+ and that was the first clear, obvious sign I’ve seen that Google thinks it can shove the world into whatever box Google wants it in, instead of listening to its users.

Google is wrong.

This just goes to show you that when you forget who your customers are, you’ll lose your way and you’ll start eroding your culture. And your key players.

Mr. Whittaker complains that Google is obsessed with ad revenue. Well, however Google+ sits with your ideals or Google’s ideals is one thing; it may be a long-term problem. But for right now, for you as an advertiser seeking new customers, this is only good for you.

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Google linking all their properties together under one privacy umbrella is a huge boon to advertisers on the Display Network. I’m guessing this adds 10% to the traffic you can get almost overnight. Not bad.

Google has relentlessly added new features to AdWords, catering to the advertiser who relentlessly squeezes every drop of juice out of the orange.

If you’re on top of your AdWords game, there’s ALWAYS more traffic to be had.

I just introduced a new program called Simple Sales Machines which is the most concise, elegant training we’ve ever offered for getting Google traffic and converting it to cash.

In the next weeks and months I’m going to be talking more about Google than I have been lately. Because contrary to some rumors, there’s still a LOT of opportunity in AdWords. Most advertisers are still making big mistakes.

Odds are 10:1 you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take FULL advantage of Google’s obsession with ad revenue. As long as you’re not in a “slap-happy” category like “get rich” or “lose 15 pounds next week” the doors are wide open.

And it’s still true: AdWords tigers are the last to starve in the jungle. Most niches are still populated with mediocre advertisers. You don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slow guy.

Perry Marshall

Register for Simple Sales Machines – 5 step, 5 week course with guaranteed results:

http://www.perrymarshall.com/machine/

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

12 Comments on “Google+ team leader defects to Microsoft, spills beans”

  1. Perry,

    I agree that Google doesn’t have anything to worry about right now. Facebook is a total waste of time for a B to B businesses like mine.

    But nobody had heard of Pinterest 6 months ago. We can’t predict how the current generation growing up using Facebook as an important source of information will morph that habit into their searching.

    So Google needs to keep their hand in social media – just like all businessmen.

  2. Hey, Perry,

    Just a quick note on the Van Halen email that you sent out today. Just posting a comment here since I didn’t find that post on your blog.

    While reading the email, I thought of something that I read yesterday in Chapter 5 of Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, “9 Things You Simply Must Do.” In that chapter, Dr. Cloud talks about people having the wanting it all syndrome and not wanting to take the little steps necessary for long-term, sustainable success in any area of life. The exact same thing your friend went through in wanting to learn how to play “Eruption.”

    If you haven’t read it, I recommend the book. It’s worth taking the time to read.

    Regards,

    John

  3. @ John Fox — IF Facebook can keep people in their cage is one thing – but if they could that means that while they work on doing that a HUGE goal in and of itself – they would also need build a wicked search engine. Other wise people still ext to go looking for stuff.

    @ Nick – very true. FB is social and people don’t air out all their deep secrets, fears and desires for all to see. This is prob why so many get worried about FB’s privacy issues…

    The Internet will always be a place for people to solve problems – and that is often not done for others to see…

    I think I agree w/ Perry at most maybe 20% as big as Googe. Maybe one day if FB is truly sticky enough it will be the place where people also buy stuff that makes them look cool – but that’s still a small % of what people spend $$ on.

  4. Perry,

    I dig your post.

    Not because what you reveal is new or different. I’ve heard this before. And my friends at Google have been bitching about this for a bit.

    What I dig is your tone.

    I remember in an email or post or something where you wrote something to the effect you’re going to reveal the underbelly of Google.

    I say Bravo.

    Show it ALL. Warts and all.

    I’ve also noticed that now that you’ve incorporated facebook into your gig — plus you’ve expanded your backend with Matt, Josh, & team — you’re writing shows to me a more relaxed Perry that is confident in your abilities beyond your “Google Adwords Guru” shtick.

    Awesome man.

  5. “Google has nothing to fear [from Facebook]”

    Don’t agree with you, Perry for 2 reasons:

    1) Google competes with FB for the same ad dollars. Unlike the US Govt which prints money whenever it wants, businesses have to live with their budgets. There’s only so much money to go around.

    2) But the bigger issue causing all the heartburn within Google (and G+) is the power of personal recommendation. People are much more willing to buy something if they see that someone they know has tried it, recommended it, and reviewed it. Facebook, because of its very, core essence, enables this. Google (and esp. G+) has to create the infrastructure and shape human behavior to do it. They’ve got a looooong way to go to accomplish this.

    This is what’s keeping the Google boys up at night. They’ve got a dynamite search engine with very little stickiness. It’s why they bought Zagat last year and will continue to be on a buying spree of anything related to user reviews. And it’s why G+ has got to work.

    fox.

    1. John,

      In theory, you’re right.

      In actual practice, in my FB feed I see very little that I would label as purchases based on personal recommendation. What little I do see is entertainment related things (ie Lady Gaga has 3 million fans) where the http://www.isFBforme.com score is already 8-10.

      Google has so little traction with that type of business, I think it’s outside their core market.

      On the other hand, things like restaurant ratings etc are huge for Google. Notice that FB doesn’t have a restaurant rating system and it’s hard for me to imagine them adding one. I think FB speaks to the heart, Google speaks to the head. The head spends 80% of the money on the Internet.

      Obviously FB has some power or I wouldn’t have FB courses and a book in the bookstore etc. But I think Social and Search are 2 completely different universes and trying to be good at social is not a good idea for Google. The stuff they lay awake at night thinking about is mostly theoretical.

      1. Perry, I agree with you about the current state-of-affairs. But fast-forward 5 years, then what? If FB is able to keep users within its gilded cage and the majority of internet searches in 5 years BEGIN within FB’s site or its mobile-enabled app, Google will be in deep sheep dip.

        1. The main differentiator for me is that Facebook doesn’t solve problems. Google does. I’ve looked at facebook everyday for the past two years and honestly can’t remember it solving a single meaningful problem for me.

          I’ve gotten “good ideas” from friends, but I dont’ buy good ideas. I buy things when I need problems solved, and when I need problems solved, I need them solved now and I’m going to go search for an answer now. Google meets me ‘in my time of dyin’. Facebook doesn’t.

          If I know I’m going to buy something and I’d like to know what experiences my friends have had with like products, I’ll probably ask them – on facebook or perhaps I’ll ask their actual face.

          But you won’t catch me trying to work out my “real problems” on facebook. Why? Because nobody knows… nobody knows my sorrows. I search and solve in private. Everybody knows the discomfort of somebody actually posting something vulnerable on facebook – “This is a party man… don’t start your sob story in here now.”

          No prognostications from me… just putting in my two cents on the steak knives and milkshakes.

          1. Nick, you never fail to say something insightful. What you just said here is why I don’t think Facebook can ever be more than 20% as big as Google. Would be happy to eat them words. I do, after all, sell a book about Facebook advertising.

      2. “…and trying to be good at social is not a good idea for Google.”

        I don’t know I agree with you here Perry. I think Google already is “good” at social. They’ve already cornered the search market (for now).

        Google seems to be looking at ideas already in place at Facebook and trying to innovate/improve on them within Google Plus. From what I’ve seen they are pretty successful with Google Plus so far.

        They can play in both social and search worlds, but I also think you’re right when you say:

        “Google vs. Facebook isn’t even apples vs. oranges, it’s more like steak knives vs. milkshakes.”

        That is spot on IMO. Two completely different core businesses.

  6. As usual Perry’s insight pulls back the curtain on what’s really going on!

    I recognize my take on this may be out of some people’s comfort zone. Ok, most. I’m not against our market economy system. But there’s a feature in capitalism that inherently causes a creeping corruption to slowly spread its stain.

    The Stock Market.

    I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take for the company that lived by “do no evil” to begin to compromise its principles. Once the Big Boys let you into their game through your IPO, its inevitable that the pressure to squeeze more and more money will cause companies to get more and more rapacious in their tactics. Then they make foolish mistakes like putting Starbucks coffee on Wal Mart shelves (once that happened you knew the fall of the brand from its high place was inevitable), and what Perry is describing here with James Whittaker.

    Enlightened self-and group- interest is enobling. Greed, that transforms once willing and engaged workers into numbers to be squeezed, is not. I wish our country could separate the two. It would do a world of good.

    1. It seems like stock prices have more to do with the accuracy of quarterly forecasts than anything that actually matters to customers. I agree, going public is often the beginning of a decline.

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