Last week The Wall Street Journal reported Google’s social networking play, Orkut, will no longer run ads. The site, popular in Brazil, wasn’t running many in the first place though. According to a Google statement e-mailed to ClickZ News, “Ads on orkut were in an early-stage testing phase (less than 1% of the communities were being served with ads) when Google made the decision to withdraw all ads from the site. Google is temporarily withdrawing the tests on ads to evaluate and enhance the system.”
The ads were removed because they had been found running alongside child pornography. Google said this is old news since ads were discontinued in August, as a result of complaints from nonprofit Safernet, along with Brazilian regulators.
Search Engine Journal also reported as early as last December that ads in Orkut were running ads against profiles associated with the likes of Al-Qaida and Hezbollah.
While Orkut is a blip on the social networking screen here in the U.S., Google could change that if it does open up its API to developers, Ã la Facebook; as reported by Business Week and others, this is in the works.
“BusinessWeek.com has learned that third-party developers based in India have been told that the code, known to developers as an Application Programming Interface (API), would be made available around Nov. 5.”
The app onslaught is certainly driving more traffic to Facebook, and apparently Google hopes U.S. developers creating for its API will lead social site junkies to Orkut. Still, if the company can’t get its Orkut ad model figured out, what’s the point? I expect ad master Google will figure something out.