Friday, August 26, 2005

An AdWords history lesson

Four score and thousands of advertisers ago, Google engineers brought forth on this continent a new form of advertising, conceived in relevance and dedicated to the proposition that all advertisers should have access to an effective marketing channel.

We recently sat down with Ross K., one of the original AdWords engineers, and got a little history lesson...

Before the fall of 2000, Google offered advertising through Premium Sponsorships, but there was no way for advertisers to set up campaigns for themselves. As we're often prone to do, we ran a limited test, showing a little link that said "see your ad here" to a small percentage of Google users.

After the link went live, we eagerly waited for the first advertiser to sign up. A few engineers kept checking the system, and within minutes, our first AdWords customer had created the very first ad through online sign up. They were a small business that sold live mail order lobsters. Less than half an hour from the time the link went up, their ad was live on Google! These guys had never considered using online marketing before, but saw our test link and signed up when they realized they could just do it themselves right then and there.

Today, of course, you can still find mail-order lobsters on Google, in addition to tarragon, garlic, and black peppercorn. And if we've made you hungry, the rest of the lobster bisque recipe is here.