SEO

Google May Change GMail Advertising Model Due to Complaints

The complaints against Google’s GMail and its use of AdWords Contextual Advertising to show text ads targeted to actual email content may have driven Google to reconsider the advertising format used to fund the 1 GB of storage space used in the new Google free email service.

Yesterday, California State Senator Liz Figueroa sent a letter to Google, urging them to discard a plan to scan customer emails for content, and insert ads related to the subject matter of the private conversations. The letter was the first step in drafting legislation that would prevent Google or any other company from examining the content of email in order to serve relevant advertising.

Google spokesman David Krane told CNet yesterday said that “Google plans to listen closely to the responses of test users and other interested parties during a three- to six-month test period.” Krane added that Google may make changes based on the recommendations it receives, but it hasn’t yet made any definitive decisions.

“We are in the very earliest phases of testing, and we are actively soliciting and analyzing feedback from users and third parties, including privacy groups,” Krane told CNet. “We’re definitely batting about a number of options for changes to the service, but we have not yet made any specific commitments or announcements about changes to come to Gmail.” Krane added that “The reaction so far has been very favorable from people who have tested and used it.”

When asked if it would be economical for Google to offer the GMail email with the 1 GB of storage without the content targeted advertising, Krane gave a “no comment.” Obviously there are other options for Google in this case, serving behavioral and gender specific text advertising, however, such practices may be shunned upon by Google’s advertisers since the targeting would not be as sharp as content targeted ads.

Additionally, Google has weighed the option of having GMail users opt-in for AdWords advertisements. Google President and co-founder Sergey Brin told the Wall Street Journal that Google “will not make any ‘rash changes’ to the email service which is still being tested by thousands of users.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Brin also commented on the idea of letting Gmail users opt in or out of the targeted ad service was an idea that “is being batted about. We certainly wouldn’t rule it out.”

In addition to potential Californian legislation there have been some other news making protests of Google’s plans for GMail advertising. On April 6, the World Privacy Forum and 27 other privacy and civil liberties organizations composed an open letter calling upon Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues are adequately addressed. Also last week, Privacy International urged Britain’s information commissioner to take action against the service, heating up privacy advocates in the EU.

Google’s David Krane also highlighted the privacy enhancements of GMail over some other email services such as GMail does not automatically display images in email (reducing tracking technology and virus threats). Fury.com also points out that when compared to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, Google Gmail requires the least personal info.

Hotmail and Yahoo both require that users handover their First Name, Last Name, Zip Code (which determines state, town, and country), Gender, Occupation, Birthdate, and serves choices to opt-in to advertisements and sponsors. Google GMail only requires that users enter a First and Last Name in order to use their service.

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Google May Change GMail Advertising Model Due to Complaints
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Google May Change GMail Advertising Model Due to Complaints

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26 thoughts on “Google May Change GMail Advertising Model Due to Complaints

  1. Maybe google should offer less for people that don’t want ad’s in there email. Just offer more that want to and i am sure they will all except it that way.

  2. Google should address some of these concerns, but what they are proposing is little different from what is already out there. Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. all use technology to read users’ email. I would be happy to see contextual advertising in exchange for their email service. Lawmakers and other advocates should let consumers decide.

  3. I’m using Gmail now, and its quickly growing to be my favoite mail app. I agree with the previous poster. Let the consumer decide. This has much narrower privacy issues than existing bills and legislation; I suspect Google is a better target for political and publicity reasons…

  4. All this hub-bub about Google’s email service is absolutely ridiculous. What people are losing sight of is that this is not a required service – if you don’t want Google reading your emails to tailor their ads toward you, don’t use their email service!!!

  5. I don’t understand why this is even a “privacy” issue! All google knows is the person’s “name” and nothing else, and it’s not like the emails are read by real people. Even if they as for more information, they could’ve easily seperate the user info database from the email database. If they’re going to do something about that anyway, the “opt-in” option is good enough. May be only those who have opted-in can have 1GB storage and the rest get 5MB.

  6. I agree with many above, this is a non-point. If you are “scared” of Google’s computer scanning you e-mail, than just don’t use the FREE service, and stop whining about it. If there are people out there (me for instance) who don’t care about Google scanning their e-mail, as alone as they get there 1 GB of storage, than Google has every right to continue the service as is. Why does the US government have to get involved, is Google really imposing on people’s privacy?? NO! Anyone who signs up for the service, no very well what is going to happen. Ok, I guess I am done venting. :-P

  7. I think google is right on with this idea! I was reading a poll on a very popular website, who I won’t say but starts with a C and ends with aN N, and the poll was asking the readers if they planned on using the G-Mail when it was available. At the time I read it, 49% was saying yes and 51% was saying no. Well if you look past the yes and no part of the poll, this is telling me that 49% of the people reading and voting in this poll are gonna use or try the G-Mail!!! Thats a large % considering that most of them already have an email service with someone! This also tells me that there will be alot of people who will leave hotmail, yahoo, aol and the countless other email providers and this is the only reason that the privacy issue button is getting pressed as much as it is! I can’t wait to see this launch and watch them squirm! I believe that since google is being straight up with me and telling me how this service is gonna work and what to expect that there should be no reason for me or anyone else to cry and complain about it. You know ahead of time what they are doing and the service is OPTIONAL! The google toolbar is also this way, it tells you straight up that if you enable the advanced features that it will track your internet activity and even give you the option to opt out of this part of it, that right there makes me respect them even that much more.
    Google rules!

  8. How exactly does this California state senator expect Google to pay for all of the hardware and storage needed to support 1 gig email accounts? That’s right – they’re able to offer more because they’re getting a higher price for targeted ads. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you don’t like the idea that a script may read your email as it’s being delivered to you, then I’d wholeheartedly suggest that you pay for your own.

  9. Personally, I take issue less with the contextual ad targeting as I do with the fact that GMail does not necessarily delete your email from its database even when it is deleted from your account. It just seems kind of irie that 1GB of free space could translate into 1GB of your information that is kept without your access to it. If I press “Delete”, I would like that to be the reality of it.

  10. Dear Sir, Inspired by your news, I would like say as under:
    It is a wise step on the part of Google to take note of the complaints seriously as lodged against their G Mail plan and their use of AdWords Contextual Advertising to show text ads targeted to actual email content and have wisely decided to re-consider their own decision of advertising format used to fund the 1 GB of storage space used in their free email service.
    They have also taken a serious view of the letter received by Google from California State Senator Liz Figueroa, who urged to discard a plan to David Krane, Google’s spokesman, who told CNet that “Google plans to listen closely to the responses of test users and other interested parties during a three- to six-month test period.” He further clarified that Google may make changes based on the recommendations which they receive, but they haven’t made any definitive decision so far.
    “We are in the very earliest phases of testing, and we are actively soliciting and analyzing feedback from users and third parties, including privacy groups,” Krane told CNet. “We’re definitely batting about a number of options for changes to the service, but we have not yet made any specific commitments or announcements about changes to come to Gmail.” Krane added that “The reaction has so far been very favorable from people who have tested and used it.”
    The polite and civilized language used and the most able decision taken by Google must have been liked by the people all over and if this spirit of accommodating the people’s services continues by Google, it shall be simply wonderful. They are Number one and shall remain Number one but with added lovers in millions with their unbounded good wishes and warm affections.

    I, Dr. Raj Baldev, am one of the million lovers of Google and wish all the success in their unparalleled email service that it proposes to extend for the benefit of the entire world.

  11. BRING THE FREE 1GB! laissez-faire economics…or have we forgotten. it’s not like you can’t choose…for gawd’s sake.

  12. I agre with the comment by Jim

    It is more of a concern that the email is not deleted perminantly from their servers when you click “Delete”. That is really the disturbing part.

  13. Ok my guess is about Jim and Chris’ last comment. How do you know that when you delete something with yahoo, MSN, or others that it is “really” deleted? Just like your computer at home, nothing really get delete for good until it is written over, by deleting it you are just deleting a pointer to that file, however the file still exists. So as far as a can see Google is doing just about the same thing. And again if that not enough, they tell you about it before you sign up, and the service is optional!!!!!!

  14. California State Senator Liz Figueroa needs to back off, Gmail is still in beta for crying out loud, and I don’t remember any of her constituents asking her to do this. Senator you need to go back to your knitting, and let public decide if they want this or not. God, I can’t wait this election year to get rid of this bozette.

  15. I agree with most of the people here (although this article is 3 years old already), that there shouldn’t be so much fuss about the “reading-my-mails” thing. From the customer part: use it or just leave it.
    Another aspect of the thing (that is, the marketing one), this feature is a REVOLUTIONARY idea in ADVERTISING matters, since it delivers only to those I want to reach; no lost cents on non-potential customer . A perfect solution for electronic DM targeting low-middle range youngsters. (Professionals I wouldn’t say cause they – just like me – already have the practice of straight away deleting all the ad-looking things without even finishing to read the subject).

    So, the REAL ISUUE could be behind the scenes – either someone else wants to take this patent (MSN?), or might be that the well-known US (and/or their middle-east friend’s) secret service wanted to put a hand on the information for processing and Google didn’t let this (yet).
    (Tell me I’m a conspiracy guy but this is the world we’re living in…)

  16. I’m a new user, but I became very concerned when I noticed the ads began matching the contents of my e-mails and I plan to stop using Google Gmail.

  17. Dear Sir,I intended to sign up free for Gmail,it did not work,I asked a question ,line of experts came on asking for payment,I declined the question,but what I got in return I can not get rid of the expert page,it stuffs up things,it is unethical ,get rid of it now,I mean at once,I am not prepared to restart my unit each time the page comes on,Thank you

  18. In reference to Google requiring the least personal info to open an account.
    The only thing you REALLY need is a password. Any name, address, zip, birthday, etc., etc. can be whatever you want to put down. No one is going to know. Whether that be with Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc., No one is goinng to check. Why do you think so much spam comes from all these free email providers. The only sure thing they have is the IP that was used to open the account and IP used to access the account. So, Google requiring only your name is not any worse than the others requiring a bunch of info that can be faked, anyways.

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  20. Well 6 years later Google is still using email content to select targeted ads in Gmail.

    Has anyone heard about coming legislation that would prevent from examining the content of email in order to serve relevant advertising?

    Or are we still to profit from this highly efficient advertising platform for years to come?

    Regards,

  21. Well 6 years later Google is still using email content to select targeted ads in Gmail.

    Has anyone heard about coming legislation that would prevent from examining the content of email in order to serve relevant advertising?

    Or are we still to profit from this highly efficient advertising platform for years to come?

    Regards,