What an eye-opening few days! So many great people and so many interesting stories from all sides of Affiliate Marketing. When you get the chance to step back for a moment, you can really start to appreciate how sophisticated our industry is.
We've found a number of Google Places advertisements appearing on searches for 'Brand + Product Category' and include a link to a competitive local retailer. The advertisements represent an entirely new AdWords unit that we hadn't seen before and seem to be designed specifically for Google Places. A handful of examples below:
A search for 'Zappos shoes' (and similar variants):
A search for 'Gap clothes':
A search for 'Bennigan's restaurants':
A search for 'Starbucks coffee':
We've only seen these advertisements from San Francisco, which would suggest that these are being run a purely trial basis at this point.
We've also only seen the ads at the top of the right rail. This suggests to me that they are exempt from the auction process.
I'd say these ad units remove any doubts that Google is taking Places very seriously.
ICANN had been planning on a radical transformation of the gTLD system in May 2009 that would result in a tremendous expansion of available gTLDs (current examples of gTLDs include .biz, .mobi, .com, .org). The proposal would basically allow anyone with $185K to buy a new gTLD (although technically those are application fees).
I spoke with AMWSO yesterday to learn a bit more about search in Asia as well as to provide him an overview of BrandVerity. Chris put together a good summary on the importance of monitoring PPC policy abuse as well as some of his early thoughts on PoachMark on the AMWSO blog. He also offers advice to new PoachMark users on how best to utilize the system (we're taking a few of his thoughts to heart as we evolve the trial program).of