Anti-Trust? I don’t think so.
Google, a company that’s become so big in the advertising business that to many people it feels like the Big G is the advertising business, just got a competitor. Wait for it …
WordPress, a site with a Google PageRank rating of 9 (only Google and a couple of other sites get a 10) and the 18th busiest site in the world as of this writing, has decided to start selling advertising directly, cutting Google out of the advertising revenue for web sites hosted by WordPress.
This is huge. It’s business change to the Nth degree. In fact, if you look at those rankings you’ll see that the only site with more traffic than WordPress and in a position to sell advertising is Google’s own Blogspot. Everyone else is huge, and can RUN advertising, but WordPress.com hosts sites from millions of other companies, all looking to monetize their traffic. WordPress is thinking “why give Google all that revenue when we can get it ourselves?”
And that’s just at WordPress.com. Add all the sites running WordPress one their own servers—including this one—and WordPress is a lot bigger, and ranks way higher than 18th.
The question becomes this: will Google deprecate WordPress.com’s Pagerank in retaliation?
Remember that the higher the PageRank of the referring site the better an advertisement performs overall. Google might find a way to legitimately reduce WordPress.com’s influence within their ranking algorithm, thereby making WordPress ads worth less than Google ads. And while, in general, Google might need to be careful so as not to raise the ire of the Federal Trade Commission here in The States and regulatory bodies elsewhere, the very fact that WordPress is a serious advertising competitor changes the tone of the anti-trust discussion!
Apple’s iAd? Nothing like this; WordPress selling advertising is a real game changer. And this one, finally, is a “works against Google” business change—but in a way that could turn out to work for them.
Good thing Google got serious about selling music, don’t you think?