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It's no surprise that Google wants to continue to grow its dominant online advertising position by introducing new types of ads. But Google Gadget Ads? The new media-rich, live-feed, interactive and shareable ads using iGoogle's widget platform — mini-webpages embedded in other pages, in other words — may have marketers and the pushers of "conversational marketing" (ugh) excited with buzzwords like "user interactivity," "greater engagement," and "sharing", but that raises the obvious question: will actual people, the targets of these widgetized ads, be equally excited? Unlikely.

When advertisers are allowed greater interactivity and "richness" of media, they usually produce the same, hackneyed advertising-disguised-as-games that are more offputting than standard online ads. Enabling new updates or live data via RSS won't improve the lack of creativity in ads. It will only confuse the advertisers. It will probably take years for advertisers to produce a handful of successful widget ads and years more to figure out the metrics to determine their value.

Once advertisers do find compelling forms and content, there are thousands of widget makers and Flash developers ready to duplicate the ad widgets — only their versions will come without branding or product pitches, making them more enticing.


The only people who actually believe users want to converse with advertisers are advertisers and ad salesmen. And free ad impressions from user sharing? Come on, people may talk about the latest Geico "Caveman" ad at the water cooler, but that's because they're on television, and they're actually funny. No one wants to share online advertising with their friends. Not if they want to keep them.