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Google shared endorsements, there’s fuss, but what’s it all about?

Croud’s Luke takes a look at the latest feature for Google ads that is causing some user backlash – ‘Shared Endorsements’. But should we really be┬ásurprised by this recent ad development?

So Google have announced this week that they’ll be using user endorsements of advertisers products in ads.

For example: If you’ve +1’d or made a comment on Coca-cola’s Google+ page and one of your friends searches for Coke, your comment or the fact you’ve +1’d could be shown to that user next to information about the exotic qualities of coca-cola, along with a little mugshot of your face. A bit like below…

google shared endorsements

So incensed are users that they’ve started replacing their image with that of Eric Schmidt, former Google head honcho, who recently been put out to pasture. (Not sure why Eric and not current CEO Larry Page, bore the brunt of users’ wrath?)

google endorsments eric schmidt

Personally I’m not sure what the fuss is about, but I do know why companies are doing it, 72% of people say they use social media at some point during the purchase process*

This stuff isn’t new, Facebook have been sharing likes with other people on their social network, through Sponsored Stories since 2011. You can’t move for Friends expressing their likes of anything from Ford to Starbucks, usually because they get something free out of it…or they work for Facebook.

And you can opt out.

And if you are going to like a product or service on a social network, surely you are happy to share this with the world?

And if Google was going to launch a social network without ads on it, what did we really expect other than it begin to add value (and therefore costs) to search ads?

What does surprise me is how quickly people have condemned this move by Google, and I do sense a growing sense of public unease every time Google launch yet another slightly creepy product. Fueled by the anger mobs created by the Daily Mails of this world, they face a constant battle for consumer acceptance.

Internally Google’s PR teams will be in overdrive controlling the negative opinion. If I were Google though I’d have a nagging concern that at some point the ground swell of opinion might actually start affecting business and people begin opting out not just of shared endorsements but Google all together.
It might happen…