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Does Netflix Like Throwing Money Away?

November 10th, 2012

So I’m a little confused by this one. Netflix has apparently purchased the Google AdWord for the term ‘netflix’. This advertising strategy seems strange to me for two reasons:

1. Netflix.com is ALWAYS going to show up first when someone googles the term ‘netflix’. I mean, the 2nd-place result is currently a blog article from forbes.com — a site that has no chance of being more relevant for this search term. Why bother defending your position in search results if your position is iron-clad. Apple doesn’t buy the the AdWord for the term ‘apple’ and Hulu doesn’t buy ‘hulu’ because there is literally no reason to. It doesn’t make sense.

2. Netflix has to pay Google every time a user clicks the ad. Let me repeat this important fact: Netflix has to pay Google every time a user clicks the ad.

Considering how many users use the search box to navigate the Internet (as opposed to typing in the full URL of the site they want to visit), Netflix must end up paying Google thousands upon thousands of dollars every year just to deliver this almost entirely redundant search entry. Is it really worth it to get that alternate title and description in there?


In a related story, Netflix also hands over money to Bing for a similarly stupid service. However, it appears Hulu has joined them there in the redundant stupidity.

* Slaps forehead… clicks on the ad just to punish Netflix for being dumb. *



Advertising, Design, Digital

  1. November 10th, 2012 at 19:05 | #1

    But Seth, If you look at the numbers so much traffic is generated through purchasing the adword “netflix”. The numbers speak for themselves. Just kidding

    Could it be an attempt to oust a competitor who could potentially purchase the ad word “netflix” like hulu or something. I could see the ad saying “Better than Netflix” Amazon Prime.

  2. Seth Thomas
    November 10th, 2012 at 19:18 | #2

    @Ryan: Ha! That would be a jerk move.

    But since Adwords is a bid-dependant system, if a competitor bought a term that did damage to your business, you could just pay Google a little more to take the term back over. This makes me doubt many major companies try to ambush their competitors actual company names. Maybe Netflix has to buy a term just to keep trolls from search-bombing them.

    However, none of these theories can explain why ‘apple’ has no ad associated with it. I imagine it’s a pretty popular search term.

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