Several months ago, Google stepped away from its vision to conquer the print media business by automating the buy/sell process. It floundered in the space, not understanding the personal dynamics involved in the relationships built between buyer and seller. Undercutting the importance of the editorial product and its impact on branding and image building did little to win over editors, publishers and marketers.

Strike One!

Google then announced its failed attempt to conquer the offline Radio business. Once again, Google failed to understand the process that involves human contact, believing instead that it could easily win over broadcasters with an automated system that set prices at lower than acceptable limits.


Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the radio effort failed because Google never came up with a good way to measure listener response. Google could not measure listener response because they simply were not listening themselves. They have a unique ability to alienate (with an eye towards eliminate) the agency middleman.

Google has been stumbling about the agency offline world like a socially misfit geek, believing in the logic of mathematical algorithms instead of the art of negotiation and human interaction.

"With an enormous data corpus, our computers can do the math really well," he said. "But in the audio case, there wasn't a good signal back to us about which ads performed."

Had Google bothered to work more closely with research and data specialists who understand the offline world, results may have been very different.

Strike Two!

Television is next. And it is inevitable. They don’t understand the process and likely will not any time soon. Google’s best bet would be to turn to those who do understand the offline world and its integration into the agency process. Rather than build it, buy it. Google’s DoubleClick unit integrated with Donovan Data Systems (DDS) could be the first step in the right direction.

Check this WSJ article for a more detailed version.

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