Following closely on the heels of announcements regarding staff reductions and the closure of some of their offices worldwide and services such as video uploads, Jaiku, dodgeball, notebook and catalog search, comes an announcement from Google that they will now be closing down their Print Ads service.
Google will stop taking in new ads from the 28th of February and the entire Print Ads department will be shut down from the 31st of March.
The official reason given for this move was, “the product has not created the impact that we – or our partners – wanted … the current Print Ads product is not the right solution”. The company also says that they remain “dedicated to working with publishers to develop new ways for them to earn money, distribute and aggregate content and attract news readers online”.
The newspaper advertising service had started testing in November 2006 and by the beginning of 2007 Google declared that the service was a success. Accordingly, they expanded from buying inventory from 50 newspapers to 800 newspapers by July 2007.
Print Ads were run on the same principle as the hugely successful AdWords system, where keywords were auctioned and then sold to the highest bidder.
Hence it sets one wondering if the official reasons given for shutting the division are really true, or whether there is more to it than meets the eye here. Could it be fueled by dropping newspaper readership in the current financial slow down?