Google Kills Print Ads Program

NEW YORK Google’s grand vision of bringing Web-like automation and efficiency to all media is on hold.

The search company said it would shut down Google Print Ads, its fledgling program build around selling newspaper advertising.

In a entry posted Tuesday on the corporate blog, Spencer Spinnell, director of Google Print Ads, said the company would stop selling print ads on Feb. 28, and that all previously purchased campaigns would cease by the end of March.

Spinnell acknowledged that the product simply did not deliver the kind of results Google was hoping for. “The product has not created the impact that we — or our partners — wanted,” he wrote.

As early as 2005, Google began testing selling small ads in magazines such as Maximum PC and Budget Living. The initial idea was to sell less-desirable units (such as quarter page ads, or back-of-the-book classifieds) via an auction — letting the market decide pricing, as Google does with search ads. Google also believed it could bring a much larger pool of advertisers to print.

In late 2006 Google began shifting its focus to newspapers with the launch of Google Print Ads. The company started with 50 partners, and eventually expanded to more than 800.

Spinnell said the company hasn’t given up on print: “We will continue to devote a team of people to look at how we can help newspaper companies,” he wrote. “It is clear that the current Print Ads product is not the right solution, so we are freeing up those resources to try to come up with new and innovative online solutions that will have a meaningful impact for users, advertisers and publishers.”