Google is angling for new AdWords advertisers with the promise of a helping hand for those who open new accounts and make a $299 pre-payment.
Marketers participating in the new offering, called Jumpstart, have Google "specialists" assigned to write ads, choose relevant keywords, and set cost-per-click amounts -- within a specified budget -- designed to maximize ad exposure. Google laid out the terms of the program on its Web site, although it hasn't yet been officially announced.
Though Google offers larger advertisers and publishers assistance with its AdWords and AdSense programs, this is its first major service initiative designed for smaller advertisers. It's not clear how many staffers will be assigned to the new offering. Google didn't respond to requests for comment by press time.
The program is clearly aimed at bringing in new AdWords advertisers -- particularly those that may have been hesitant to try the program without some assistance. So far, it's only being offered to those without existing AdWords accounts. Participants can use it only once.
"Jumpstart's primary purpose is to give you a solid foundation with AdWords," the company says in an FAQ on its site. "It's also intended to give you the momentum you need to continue your AdWords campaigns successfully on your own."
Google says it already has 150,000 advertisers participating in AdWords.
"It completely makes sense from the point of view that Google wants to make sure that particularly smaller advertisers have a rewarding experience with AdWords from the beginning," said Niki Scevak, an analyst with JupiterResearch, which shares a parent company with this publication. Scevak points out that the program also lets Google select a broad array of appropriate keywords on behalf of advertisers, raising the potential for click-throughs, i.e. revenue for Google.
The search company has been testing technologies designed to parse Web sites for appropriate keywords, according to search engine marketers. That technology, along with a service team, is apparently being deployed in this new offering.
Those interested in participating in Jumpstart fill out an application, confirm their email addresses, and wait two to five business days for their Web site to be reviewed and a campaign created. Then, they review the campaign and activate it. Google encourages advertisers to handle further tweaks and optimization themselves, though it also says it will respond to customer service requests in one business day.
The Jumpstart offering comes amidst a flurry of activity at Google, all in advance of the company's initial public offering of stock. The moves appear to be aimed at proving to potential investors that the company can keep up the blazing growth rate described in its initial filings with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Just last week, the company unveiled a test of banner ads in its AdSense program, re-launched its Blogger self-publishing tools and unveiled a new Google Groups to rival Yahoo's Groups. It's also testing a free ad-supported Web-based email application, Gmail, which gives users 1 gigabyte of storage space. That service has already reportedly led competitor Yahoo to say it will offer more storage space in Yahoo Mail.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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