Google AdwordsGoogle India has announced an offer for small and medium businesses in India to try out their self-serve advertising platform AdWords. This is an important move for the company that – at least according to industry sources (including former Google execs) – is still quite dependent on a relatively small number of large advertisers in India. In that sense, India is something of an anomaly since the company has made its billions by attracting a large number of advertisers globally. According to an SEC filing, Google had 1 million advertisers in 2007.

Dependency on a relatively small number of advertisers is risky for a platform or a publication, since a decline in advertising from any particular advertisers has a larger impact. The more the number of advertisers, the more distributed the risk, and the lesser the impact of a downturn on the publication or platform. The converse is true as well.

In India, Google has adopted a practice of setting up authorized resellers for AdWords – BSE listed Network18 company Infomedia is one such reseller. At least twice in the last three months, as a Google Analytics user, the company has given me a $100 coupon for trying out AdWords.

In case of the Indian SMB’s, the amount is around half of that: coupons worth Rs 2500 are being given to companies with online presence, after they register by calling 1860-266-6622 and registering their websites with Google India Ad Words platform.

Some issues around AdWords persist: matrimonial company Consim Info has received an injunction preventing the usage of their trademarks with Google AdWords, though more recently, spotted a Yahoo India advertisement using a Rediff keyword.

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