Most of the people I have talked with recently either haven’t heard or delved much into understanding the Google Base service. In a nutshell, Base is a free-of-charge classifieds-like space that enables advertisers load their ads in specific verticals: cars, houses, personals, jobs, etc. The idea as the google base blog explains it to posters is that
“based on your items’ relevance, users may find (your ads) in their results for searches on Froogle, Google Maps and even our main Google web search”
(further down in the same page, the Base Reach description actually does away with the “gogle web search” part so there’s a bit of a mixed message there)
This is not just catered for the one-ad pusher: the site has instructions for advertisers with serious volumes. And obviously, this is not part of a charity program; more content (from posters) produces more pages and pageviews (for/from the user) which produces more ad view opportunities (for Google’s paying advertisers) and more ad revenue (for Google).
Effectively, when you do a search on Google, it is not evident yet that Base results are coming up as natural or sponsored results. Yet. Instead, if you want to see Base listings you have to go to the Base search page (if you are in the know of something different, yell). This is understandable as it is expected that a service like this will create contention between Google and its advertisers as it effectively competes with them; the issue tails onto Google advertisers’ own clients, who in theory at least, could effectively load up classifieds directly to Google. So, this is clearly disruptive.
Somehow or other, I see the contention going away, whether it is through sheer muscle or via a compromise that assures advertisers that they are still getting their money’s worth. In this context, it will be interesting to see what is the service take up once Google goes all out on it and how it is featured to complement the current advertiser services.
At this stage of the game I would venture that free classifieds are not going away. The obvious fact is that advertisers do not pay to just blast data online, but to attract the right audience. You may say that this is the core reason why you still want to pay a job board for ad posting or (may be less so) for a print ad in the paper: because they get you the right individuals. If not, well they need to try harder for you.
Among early Base adopters in Australia, I was able to see today that sites like Careerone and Nowhiring, posting on behalf of their own clients with the aim of further reaching the available channels to look for talent on the web. Who will be the first agency to use Base locally?