Is Martha Stewart co-CEO Wenda Harris Millard, a former Yahoo executive, a bit ungrateful? In this excerpt from an interview with BoomTown's Kara Swisher, Millard explains what's wrong with what Google's made everyone believe about online advertising. The story, as it's conventionally told here: Silicon Valley owes its rebirth to Google. Google's distributed ad network, AdSense, allowed startups to fund themselves before venture capitalists recovered enough from the bust at the turn of the century to take notice of them. Google's auction-sold search ads have earned the company so much cash, it can spend it almost willy-nilly. The problem: Google's impact on online advertising has been otherwise disastrous.
Google will put AdSense against almost any content. Watching Google make its billions, rival ad networks decided they should too, flooding the market with inventory sold at ever-dropping rates. The problem with Google search, in which ads only show up when customers literally ask to see them, is that now all ad-supported Web companies and ad networks think they can create technology that will target advertising equally as well — even though Google search-ad targeting is just a crude keyword match, constantly improved by click-through data.