With blessings from Google

Google has made PowerPhoneNet the official Israel agent for its local Adwords program.

google 88 (photo credit: )
google 88
(photo credit: )
There are many things one could say about how Google has changed the world, but one of the most impressive is how they managed to turn the dictionary into a $16 billion-a-year business! In the Google universe, words are no longer just words; they are now "Adwords," an advertising vehicle little understood by most people, but one with a huge potential for pulling in Internet surfers amenable to whatever product or service you're selling. The Adwords system is designed for small- and medium-sized businesses with an on-line presence who don't want to spend a lot of money - and who want to make sure they're getting their ad budget money's worth. Advertisers who sign up, pick "keywords," which will trigger the display of a small text ad on a Google search page (usually on the right side) when a user enters a search term into the Google search box. Each word has a certain value, depending on how in demand it is (you can get an idea of how much words cost by using the tools at http://adwords.google.com). The idea is to direct Google users searching for information to your site by getting your link on the first Google search page, thus bringing their attention to your site, which they may not have known even existed. You pay for each click Google drives to your site - not for the number of times your ad appears on a search results page. That means you only pay for results, the results being the actual number of times people click on your Adwords link. In fact, you can set a specific limit for the amount of money you spend daily (when the limit is reached, your ad won't appear anymore and you won't have any more click-throughs that day) and an upper limit for the value of an Adword (if the price of an in-demand word gets bid up above the amount you want to pay, it gets dropped from your list). In other words, you only spend what you want - and you only pay for results, unlike in the traditional media, where you pay for an ad and hope that someone is reading. Because it's such a flexible system, Adwords appears easy to manage. But it turns out that its flexibility can make things very complicated for advertisers, especially those who are trying to spend as little as possible, and who are counting on a high "conversion" rate - where lots of the Google click-throughs buy their product or service. Advertisers need to put a lot of thought into the words they buy and what searches they are targeting (check out http://tinyurl.com/6y2qz6 for an example of the issues to consider). As a result, all sorts of "experts" have cropped up who promise to get you more clicks, or guarantee you a specific number of clicks for your money - many of them requiring that you pay a specific amount for a specific number of clicks. And many advertisers have resorted to the services of these experts, because they realize they're a bit lost. Unfortunately, those services don't always give the best value for the dollar (or shekel), says Guy Gafni, CEO of PowerPhoneNet (http://www.ipp.co.il/), who also claims to be an Adwords expert. The difference between him and the rest of the pack is that Google itself agrees that he is an expert and has entered into an agreement with him that makes PowerPhoneNet the official Israel agent for its local Adwords program. Operating for about six years, PowerPhoneNet is a relatively new company on paper, but a veteran in the world of on-line advertising, search-engine optimization (SEO) and other Web services. The company runs several on-line directories and also prints local and business directories for various industries. But Gafni says that while "old media" will always have its place with advertisers, many small- and medium-sized businesses would benefit from an on-line "new media" campaign centered on Adwords - if they do it right, that is. "Done correctly, an Adwords campaign can be very effective, giving excellent results for the amount of money being spent," Gafni says. "But it's also very easy to waste your money, especially with ad systems that promise you a certain number of clicks for a certain amount of money. When you break down the price per click, you realize you've spent a lot more than you have to - maybe as much as 90 percent more - with the on-line 'ad agency' pocketing the rest." It's a waste, and an unnecessary one, he says, and Google itself is not very happy with the situation, which runs counter to what the company envisioned for the program. "As a result, they have been appointing companies like PowerPhoneNet in countries around the world as their official Adwords agents," Gafni says. "Appointed" is actually the precise term here: "There was no bidding process or competition involved. Google chose us out of the many SEO and advertising companies who work with Adwords," he says, indicating Google's level of trust in the company. "Official agent" is actually a bit of a misleading term, because anybody can open an Adwords account directly with Google - submit their credit-card details, choose their Adwords and begin their campaign - without any help from Gafni or anyone else. What the agreement means, actually, is that Google recommends that advertisers who are thinking of starting an Adwords campaign strongly consider working with PowerPhoneNet. "In preparation for this agreement, our staff has undergone much training by Google, and we know the system as well as anyone can be expected to," Gafni says. "As a result, we can help advertisers put together a much more effective campaign." While nobody can guarantee click-through results, Gafni says he can promise advertisers a fair deal and the highest level of expertise in Israel outside of Google. And while lots of companies promise the same, Gafni says, "I've got Google backing up my word." Although it is Google's Israeli Adwords rep, Gafni says his company works with advertisers with messages not only in Hebrew, but in Arabic, Russian, English and other languages as well. And, he says, "We make very clear how much advertisers are paying for click-throughs, with detailed reports that specify the portion Google gets, what we charge for our services, etc., unlike many other companies." Because Google supports Hebrew natively, unlike Yahoo or most other search engines, it is the preferred search engine for Israelis, with nearly 90% of all searches conducted in Israel on Google. Adwords has been slow to catch on in Israel, but over the past year its growth has been explosive, says Gafni. He expects that growth to continue, especially during the current slump, as advertisers look to maximize their campaign budgets. "Google Adwords is going to be the premier advertising vehicle of the coming decade, and we'll be here to help guide advertisers through," says Gafni - a claim that Google has given its blessing to. startup@newzgeek.com