Google Toys With Banner Ads on Search Results, Despite Pledging to Keep Them Banner Free

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 24 2013 7:09 PM

Google Toys With Banner Ads on Search Results, Despite Pledging to Keep Them Banner Free

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The Google homepage.

Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Google’s homepage is a rarity in the modern Internet world: uncluttered, unadorned with ads stalking you from that online shoe store you checked out that one time. It’s search results page is pretty inoffensive too, given the competition. But that might be about to change. Google, the Guardian reports, is toying with going back on its pledge to keep its search results page banner-free.

Google is testing banner ads on U.S. web search results with some 30 advertisers, as other ad revenue streams have waned. Google, according to the Guardian, “depends on its AdWords product - shown beside searches - for around three-quarters of its gross revenues, [and] has seen eroding prices in the amount advertisers are willing to pay for ads. It offset that by boosting the volume of ads, helping it to record revenues and profits.”

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The prospect of a cluttered Google search page reneges on the company’s 2005 pledge, from Marissa Mayer, then head of search products and user experience at the company, who wrote on the company’s blog at the time: “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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