Google payment changes under fire

UK search marketing experts continue to blast Google over the search engine company’s decision to scrap agency commission in favour of performance-related payments from January 2006.

Andy Atkins-Kruger, president of the Search Marketing Association UK (SMA UK), slammed Google for its lack of consultation on the issue and the speed with which it plans to implement the changes.

Atkins-Kruger says that SMA (UK) members “are concerned about the speed with which the new scheme is being implemented. It is just such short notice – little more than six weeks before implementation do we get to know more details.”

Warren Cowan, chief executive of search engine marketing consultancy Green- light, agrees. “Google says that it has been speaking to agencies, but it certainly hasn’t consulted us and there are many more agencies saying that they’ve not been contacted,” he says.

Other problems SMA (UK) has highlighted include the payment structure, which Atkins-Kruger says “raises serious concerns about cashflow, especially for smaller outfits”, and the lack of details. He concludes: “Inevitably when there is change, there are winners and losers. We do understand that, but we would have liked to have seen greater consultation from Google with us, the IAB and the IPA.”

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has already come out in support of digital media buying agencies and is pressing the search engine giant to abandon its plans to introduce “best practice funding”, a system of rebates based on the volume of trade it receives from agencies (MW 13 October).

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