Google Inc.‘s profitability in its latest quarter went through the roof, easily surpassing all industry expectations. Wow. An interesting little snippet here:
Google’s revenue for the quarter totaled $1.58 billion, nearly doubling from $805.9 million last year. After subtracting the commissions that Google paid to other websites in its advertising network, the revenue stood at $1.05 billion, exceeding the Wall Street estimate of $944 million.
Simple math. More than US$500 million paid out to Adsense publishers? 1/3 of their revenue. What i’m interested to know is: from the total US$1.6 billion, how much of it is generated by the Adsense network? Google gets paid by the click, how many clicks did the Adsense network generate?
The breakdown of the revenue is very valuable info because it answers two fundamental questions:
1. How valuable are we (Adsense publishers) to Google?
2. How vulnerable is Google to competition in the network advertisement publishing business?
If the answer to (1) = we are extremely valuable (i.e. a large chunk of Google’s profits comes from clicks generated by the Adsense publishers), then its theoretically possible for Adsense publishers to form a union and demand a larger slice of the pie.
If the answer to (2) = very vulnerable, then Google has a very soft underbelly. If competitors like the Yahoo Publisher Network gets their act together (e.g. opening it for non-US publishers), begins offering good deals in return for exclusivity arrangements, then ad publishers will begin switching loyalties.
Balmer wants to “kill Google“. Microsoft has undertaken loss leader strategies before (e.g. IE vs Netscape), if they were to do the same in the arena of online network ad publishing via MSN, then there is a good chance of really hurting Google.