Can You See Through the FOG?

A new TLA is born this morning: FOG, Fear of Google.

Coined by Geoff Ramsey from eMarketer (and reported by Robert Scoble) at the Forbes Internet Leadership Forum in Cancun, it crystallizes the constant fear under which traditional media firms live ever since Google has become an advertising juggernaut.

Scoble reports on three examples he heard this weekend:

  • What will happen when Google’s growth slows down? Will they use their lock on the marketplace to increase prices?
  • The fact that Google is changing the expectations of advertisers, especially in regards to performance-based vs. branding advertising
  • People are starting to cheer for Microsoft to acquire Yahoo, to make sure Google is kept in check.

What it means: take a deep breath… Feeling better now? Now, if you’re Big Media, Google is clearly your frienemy. But that happens a lot online (read about the Google & eBay relationship). To a certain extent, Google is after the same ad dollars as you, but they also offer tremendous opportunities.

1) Google (and other search engines) is the entry door to most of the web’s content. Make sure your content is well-indexed. At the same time, you need to make sure you’re investing in your destination sites to make them as relevant as possible. Aggregate content in your vertical (including competitors!) to make your site the one-stop shop for users. Launch social features and applications to increase your site’s stickiness. You also need to continue investing in your brand(s).

2) SMEs are looking for leads. If you’re managing a sales team that talks with these guys, make sure you offer them search engine advertising as part of your portfolio of products.


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