Home Ads Directed to Larry Page, Users Selling Their Data Among Google’s “Wacky” Money-Making Ideas

Ads Directed to Larry Page, Users Selling Their Data Among Google’s “Wacky” Money-Making Ideas

An internal Google memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal outlines the company’s “vision statement” for monetizing its vast stores of data over the long term.

The document talks about major profit sources like data and advertising exchanges. But it also includes some “wacky examples” of ways to make money from everyday users that its authors promise will be the subject of “future brainstorming sessions.”

Brainstorming what to sell to end-users

“There are additional end-user features which we can consider developing that will leverage the user-cookie,” says the document, which was compiled by an advertising executive who came to Google from DoubleClick, the global online advertising giant Google acquired in 2007.

An excerpt from the internal memo obtained by the WSJ.

One idea: A “Get Paid” option where users could share their personal data in exchange for a discount on their Internet bills or other compensation.

Another idea proposed offering ads targeted to high profile individuals like Larry Page. Page and other famous people could opt-in to see ads targeted specifically to them while browsing the Google Content Network, which includes sites that display Google ads.

“While the volume of such ads may not be high, end users who use them would enjoy this,” the document says.

Other “wacky” ideas

Two of the ideas involved charging users to have control over what ads, if any, they see. “Cookie Viewer Preferences Management,” would allow users to block ads, specify ad types they prefer such as text-only or categories of ads such as “coupons.” “Bid on yourself” is a way for users to bid on ad slots. When they win, no ad or a blank ad would appear – basically a way to pay not to receive ads.

Facebook envy?

The document’s authors also imagine “social ads” that would let users advertise to friends who opted-in. This one stinks of Facebook, which allows users to create groups, events and fan pages that facilitate advertising-style communication. (The WSJ reports Facebook was a major reason Google capitulated to advertisers who wanted access to more user data.)

The document’s authors also promote this idea as a way to “send wacky messages” and “make advertising an interactive/fun platform for end users.”

Wacky – or just not worth it?

It’s probably not the unconventionality that caused these ideas to be marginalized alongside strokes of brilliance like “retargeting” – targeting users who have already visited a website – and a “data exchange” that would allow companies to sell and auction the data they own. These ideas are “wacky” because the revenue they’d bring in would be peanuts compared to Google’s other options for monetizing data.

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