Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Friday 24th April 2015

I always remember when I first came across the word ‘payola’ it was a quote on the back of an Elton John album which described him as … ‘a short fat musician who had got to where he was without the aid of payola’ – I looked up what it meant. ‘Payola’ a bribe given to secure a special treatment especially to a disc jockey to promote a commercial product.

So what this means is that the records that we hear on the radio aren’t necessarily the most ‘popular’ or most ‘requested’  – they are simply benefitting from a bribe paid to have them on the radio. Hence all the Simon Cowell protégés get an immediate boost to their chances of success…

Google works in very much the same way.

I had always assumed that when you put search engine criteria into the box – you would be getting the ‘best’ or ‘most successful’ or at least the ‘industry number one’….nope…not true…all you are getting is…. the person who has paid to be number one on Google.

This is pretty arbitrary way of selecting something …and of course we are being manipulated to choose a certain product…to the benefit…of Google*.

(*Don’t be fooled here…Google isn’t trying to help any of us in any way at all – they are only interested in PROFIT…)

Maybe with certain products this could be a good way of selecting something…? Having said that I can’t think what product would benefit from this approach…other than one that couldn’t stand on its own merits??

As a gesture of confidence in our own abilities we have drastically reduced our spending on Google – just to see what happens? Will we lose business, will we fall by the wayside…well currently the big news is…nothing has changed. Same number of quality phone calls, same number of quality enquiries, same number of conversions, same turnover and….no time wasters.

We keep track (we are incredibly anal) of every phone call, e-mail, direct website follow up…and nothing has changed…. other than our ranking on Google (…which has fallen considerably)…and we have saved about £5K…a month.

This leads me to the conclusion that much of the Google phenomenon is based on ones ‘EGO’. If one has a massive EGO and you want to sit at number 1 on the sponsored links page….then by all means pay thousands of pounds to Google to do so.

If however you happen to be the best at what you do – then people will tend to find this out by word of mouth and reputation. Ok we don’t get 20 calls a day from Mrs Smith at 23 Acacia Avenue with a dodgy looking plant (…and by the way have I told you my dogs diabetic)…but what we have done is save thousands of pounds on a marketing strategy that doesn’t work…and in the process have…. ‘stuck it to the man’….

Personally I’d rather have a smaller ego and a fatter wallet.
Mike C

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Mike Clough

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