Check out this update from the Google Content team. In a nutshell, Google is now serving ads to Gmail users based on either the current email they are reading, or based on another message in the Inbox, even if it isn’t currently being read. The reason is that sometimes Google ‘can’t find a relevant ad’ for the current email message. But, as Google’s own example shows, another reason is that it is a lot more profitable for Google to run travel ads than it is “happy birthday card” ads.

As with AdWords, Google is increasingly coming up with ways to reduce the number of auctions at any given time, thereby increasing competition (and bid prices) on fewer and fewer keywords. The same is happening now on GCN, where semantic relevance has now become “broad match semantic relevance” basically on Gmail. Inevitably, this will push out low CPC topics and reward higher ones.

I don’t have a problem with this, except that I’d rather Google stop pretending this is all for the good of the mighty user, and not their bottom line.


  1. Chris Zaharias April 13th, 2010

    David – when historians look back on our era, they will sing your praises.

  2. davidzhawk April 13th, 2010

    Of course history is written by the victors, so they may see me as a kook who didn’t appreciate the glory of all things Google . . .

  3. David Belden April 13th, 2010

    So this might be a contributing factor as to why our keywords have become more expensive in the past month? Seems like they’re trying to take the focus away from the long-tail and put it squarely on the most expensive keywords.

  4. davidzhawk April 13th, 2010

    For the content network, quite possibly. Also Google is experimenting with retargeting which probably also doesn’t help your cause!

  5. bipbi December 22nd, 2010

    This is nut, you guys can block all these non-sense, go to google chrome extension website, install “better gmail”, it blocks all the annoying ads.

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.