One of my oldest and dearest friends, and someone with more integrity than anyone else i know on the planet, works for google, so I know they can't be all that bad. But I continue to have deep misgivings about how the biggest company on the web has built a dominant world wide empire based entirely on selling and pushing advertising.
Here's an article about the new google Click-per-action program.. Let's hope the consequences aren't quite as bad as Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 fears:
Google’s contextual advertising revolution has already transformed the structure of the web, leading to the creation of millions of web pages with no other real purpose than to serve AdSense ads. The content on these pages is purely a vehicle for advertising — the traditional Chinese Wall between editorial and advertising has been obliterated. And it has force many publishers who follow a more traditional editorial path to start poking holes in the wall. Content has always been a marketing vehicle, but never at such a granular, easy-to-manipulate level.
With its CPA program, Google will drive this phenomenon to the next level. With cost-per-click ads, spammers create bogus pages where confused consumers click on ads in an effort to escape. But with CPA ads, clicking is not enough. The game is now to manipulate consumers not only to click, but to take some further action. And I don’t use the word “manipulate” arbitrarily. This is about turning the web into one big pile of junk mail, aimed at getting you to sign up, buy, or commit to something that you hadn’t necessarily wanted.