Will We Ever See Google Personal Ads?

Google Personal Ad Example

There’s a potentially huge untapped advertising market on the Web involving personal ads that point people to the profile pages of advertisers who might want a little more attention for their personal pages.

One that could point people to personal profiles from places like Orkut or MySpace, LinkedIn, or PlentyOfFish. How many of those social networks would work with Google, to allow members to advertise their personal profiles in Google ads?

A patent application from Google was published this past week that described personal ads like this. Will it likely be granted as a patent? I’m not sure, and I don’t know if it’s a point worth discussing.

Regardless of that, it is interesting to see Google addressing the idea, and creating a way that websites that allow members to create profiles to use Google’s services to enable their members to feature themselves and their pages in ads.

Profile advertisements
Invented by Tomasz J. Tunguz-Zawislak and Shannon P. Bauman
US Patent Application 20080004959
Published January 3, 2008
Filed: June 30, 2006

Abstract

A computer implemented method for managing personal advertisements for display with online profiles is disclosed. The method includes receiving multiple categories of content from a first online profile comprising information characterizing a first person, generating an advertisement comprising advertising content that directs a user to a second online profile comprising information characterizing a second person, and transmitting the advertisement for display with the first online profile if the advertising content is related to at least a portion of the content from the first online profile.

The document goes into some detail on how this process might work. A screenshot of one of the high level processes involving how personal ads might work:

Google Personal Ads Process

Will we see ads like these on MySpace or Orkut? Would people pay to advertise their personal profiles? I’m guessing that it’s a possibility.

Google Profile Ads Process

The patent application tells us that it might be possible for someone to advertise their profile from one social networking site upon another social networking site, or to point to a personal page that isn’t on a social network, such as a Geocities page.

The intent behind this advertising process appears to be to give people a chance to promote sites that aren’t commercial in nature, and don’t offer products or services for sale. I suspect that might be prone to abuse, but it would be interesting to see it in action.

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19 thoughts on “Will We Ever See Google Personal Ads?”

  1. There isn’t any reason why at some point in the future, Google couldn’t be the next Match.com and algorithmically “match” people based upon social media profiling or other criteria in their personal search profile. Could be kinda interesting…

  2. I would imagine there are a great number of people who would love to pay to have their profiles displayed in a search engine for a variety of reasons beyond the usual matchmaking attempts.

  3. I could see that, Todd. :)

    It would be interesting.

    Google looks like they want to be more of middleman for sites of that kind with the advertisements here. But I believe that Google Base contains personals. Imagine a “people you might like to meet” module on your iGoogle page?

  4. People is already doing it all the time, at least with Orkuts profiles.

    There´s a huge hall full of Orkut users here in Brazil and there are many Companies, shops, small bussiness already creating their profiles just to do marketing and surf the wave, so that´s make all the sense!

    Not mentionning the Open Social thing that give to social sites a big reason to monetize over their members!

  5. Yes this would be a whole new market for Google to take part in. I know people would pay to have their picture and link to a profile on Google ads. Google could then just geo target the results by the searchers IP address and only show ads of people in that area. Unless of course the person paying for the ad placement does not care who sees there ad. What could be next, personal video ad slots?

  6. Hi Terry,

    I agree with you. From job hunting, to social networking, to letting people know where your band is playing, the idea behind these ads is to let social networks earn money while letting members of the network see advertisments that really aren’t commercial in nature.

    Hi Marcelo,

    Yes, and I’ve seen businesses create MYSpace and other profiles, too. And then point at those with ads. The difference here would be that the social networks could run these ads as a way of covering costs of hosting and other expenses related to running and updating their sites, and maybe even make a profit.

    Hi Steve,

    I think that there would be a demand for these types of ads. geotargeting, and keyword/relevancy matching during searches on one of those sites, and ads that may be relevant to pages being viewed could make it easy to highlight members profiles that other people in the network might want to see.

    The patent application does mention the possibilty of these ads being an ” audio file, a video file, an image, text, or a combination thereof.” So personal video ad slots might be a possibility.

  7. I imagine the market for this type of personal ad for people would be wide, but I wonder how deep ( $$ ).

    I don’t think your average person is going to set up a Google ad account and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars each month to run an ad for their profile page on a social networking site.

  8. Hey People Finder, you are right.

    However, Google does not need thousands from a few people. They will be very happy with pocket change from thousands of people, most likely hundreds of thousands of people.

    Personally, I am just waiting for the planet to be renamed Goog!

  9. Wow, Bill, this is fascinating. I agree with Todd that Google is sitting on a huge untapped market.

    Does anyone remember a few years ago their April Fool’s Joke, Google Romance? The people who came up with it may have thought it was a joke (and it was clearly written as one) but I do not think the day is that far off where that kind of thing will happen. Too much $$ in online dating!!

  10. Interesting and makes great sense but it’s hard to imagine Google brokering personal ads. Even if they do smart, the idea doesn’t fit their clean techy image. Perhaps that is changing.

  11. Hey People Finder, you are right.

    However, Google does not need thousands from a few people. They will be very happy with pocket change from thousands of people, most likely hundreds of thousands of people.

    I think so, too. If it cost too much to run these ads, not many would. But, if people willing to pay a little to have ads run did so, they might get more views that they otherwise would have from people who may share some common interests with them.

    Does anyone remember a few years ago their April Fool’s Joke, Google Romance?

    I was thinking of that when reading the patent application. :)

    Even if they do smart, the idea doesn’t fit their clean techy image. Perhaps that is changing.

    I think the idea is to give social networks the opportunity to have a little more control over any ads that they might show, and focus upon non commercial ads that feature their own members. I think in that approach, it’s not too far from Google’s image – community ads by community members, featuring pages from the community (or a similar community) itself.

  12. I’d be surprised if Google doesn’t enter the online dating business. It’s a billion dollar industry and while there are some mega-sites, Google may be able to upset the paid sites by making its own dating advertiser-sponsored.

  13. They may buy a company with vast amount of records to gather data on people’s fantasies but that is definitely not a core competence for Google.

    Can you imagine Google trying to connect me to a person who also searched for golf clubs in Seattle as I did. Spooky (to say the least)!!!

    Anyway, I do feel that there is an opportunity to have personalized ads. However, facebook and other social networks performance (CPM for publisher is high but sales revenue for advertiser is very low) has been dismal. So, there is lot to ask for !!!

  14. I’d be surprised if Google doesn’t enter the online dating business.

    I wonder, because it makes sense for Google to not compete, but rather provide a service to dating sites, and other sites where people use profiles – there’s potentially more money in them doing that. So, do they become a competitor or a collaborator? In a few ways, it seems to make more sense for them to collaborate – like the ability to have MySpace use ads like these, with the very large userbase that has.

  15. Hi Rajat,

    I think that within the context of a social network, enabling people to share personal ads about themselves to others within the community makes some sense.

    It will be interesting to see if this is launched, and how effective it might be.

  16. I think we’re starting to see more of this, with increased integration of Facebook profiles, as well as the addition of Google profiles to SERPs. I’m sure once Wave launches they will update their search engine to tie everything together.

  17. Hi Pocket Change,

    Those are interesting points. I don’t know if Google will ever take the step of allowing people to advertise their profiles, but something like showing Google profiles in search results is an interesting development.

  18. Google looks like they want to be more of middleman for sites of that kind with the advertisements here. But I believe that Google Base contains personals. Imagine a “people you might like to meet” module on your iGoogle page?

  19. Hi barış,

    I think it’s possible that we might see the iGoogle page evolve in that direction, to include a wider range of possible applications, much like the applications being developed for Android phones.

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