Pulling out the rug: GOOG Q4 shows continued shift away from partner sites
GOOG missing its Wall Street estimates is the main focus of the media coverage of its Q4 numbers. The more interesting story is that Google continues to shift revenues to its own sites, and away from third-party sites in its AdSense advertising network, such as those operated by media companies.
Take a look at the release and what used to be about a 50/50 split in revenues coming from Google sites and network sites:
Google Sites Revenues -- Google-owned sites generated revenues of $1.098 billion, or 57% of total revenues. This represents a 24% increase over the third quarter revenues of $885 million.
Google Network Revenues -- Google's partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $799 million, or 42% of total revenues. This is an 18% increase over network revenues of $675 million generated in the third quarter.
In Q3 revenues from Google sites grew 20 per cent as revenues from Google's network sites grew 7 per cent.
This shows that GOOG is accelerating its revenue shift from network sites. And why not? It doesn't have to share the revenues with network sites.
This is bad news for media companies such as the New York Times--a key AdSense partner.
It is also bad news for the many VC funded startups whose business models rely on becoming honey pots for Google AdSense clicks. The trend towards developing advertising supported web service applications could be a short one.
However, Microsoft might be able to exploit this shift if it can offer a better "AdSense" revenue model to Google's network sites.
Here is my ZDNet column on GOOG.