Google Audio Ads Map of the USYesterday, some breaking news emanated from the Google campus in Mountainview, CA via Google VP of Product Management, Susan Wojcicki, announcing that they would be closing the door on their foray into connecting advertisers purchasing remnant air-time with audio producers and voice over talent.

The news has come as a shock to some and the program will officially wrap up by the end of May 2009.

It’s Over

A groundbreaking endeavor that took the world by storm just over two years ago has now exited into the realm of history books.
Google Audio Ads, when first released, was meant to be a feather in Google’s hat and another way to break into traditional media, which it was, for a time. The platform received a healthy amount of attention and hype from the online community, including postings about Google Audio Ads on TechCrunch by Michael Arrington and even news coverage on videos.
Upon hearing the news that their Audio Ads platform was on the chopping block, I decided to explore why Google would make the call to quit audio ads and shift their focus to the exploration of streaming audio online instead.

One Google Audio Ads Producer’s Experience

This morning, I was in touch with someone in the program and asked them if they had heard the news.
They replied:
“VERY strange! Not long after I was accepted to the roster, I was at a Google function at a trade show and tried to get answers from folks as to when we could expect to see some interest… nobody knew! Then, a year later I was at another event and I could not get a straight answer from anyone… it was like the twilight zone! I never received a single opportunity to bid on any work. So, no surprise it didn’t work.”

Any Comments?

If you have something to add or share, you are welcome to join the conversation.
Looking forward to hearing from you,


  1. I don’t know much about how this program worked — or as it turns out, didn’t work.
    But it seems to run contrary to the way most of Google runs — which is computer code.
    The ads appear everywhere and no human hands touch it after it is programmed in.
    In Radio there would have to be human interaction.
    Maybe that’s just not in Google’s wheelhouse.

  2. This event is another version of the deep “digital divide”. The web-based world has created an atmosphere of services provided for “free”, that is, monetized by outside advertising and/or data mining of cookies and other digital probes left behind on people’s computers. You get a map on the web and you see ads for businesses at your addresses both starting and destination. If you use web-based email you see advertisements based on the observed content of your incoming and outgoing messages. In either case (if you are at all diligent about running your spyware tools regularly) you see the plethora of bits and pieces left behind in your computer with the sole purpose of monitoring your web movements. Lovely.
    In the traditional world both goods and services are paid for at the time of purchase with money (credit/debit card, whatever). You have been drawn to a merchant or business providing a service by some form of either print ad, tv ad or word of mouth. The price you pay is based on tangible things like how the store looks, are the sales people attentive, etc. You walk away with your stuff and the transaction is finished.
    Web based purchases like Amazon (stuff) or Voices,Com (services) have a foot in both worlds, although the expectation of web buyers is that stuff will be cheaper because they are not supporting a physical store (referred to in business circles as “brick and mortar”). Folks who use web-based services have similar expectations.
    Either way, enough money has to come in to support the infrastructure, pay people and give the original investors some kind of return. The Google leadership sees that this isn’t happening, and they are cutting their losses. Newsflash- the days of every web-based concept turning into millions of dollars is over. Even Microsoft has taken note of that.
    A NY Times article about this situation also referred to a form of cultural divide where the radio people were reluctant to have any encroachment on their already shrinking turf. Add the imploding world economy on top of all this, put it in a blender and serve it with crushed ice and a sprig of mint.
    Hang on for the ride, folks. We will be seeing lots of changes whether you can “believe in them” or not.

  3. I’m sad to see it close down. I was fortunate to get 3 or 4 jobs per day from this project from large national accounts to small mom and pop retail outlets. The reactions from my clients were mixed. Some had great response…others, not so much. As of yesterday and even this morning I’m still getting job bids. My understanding is it will continue until May 31st. One thing I’m grateful for is that the project reminded my there are lots of clients in medium to small towns that are looking for reasonably priced commercial creation. I’m curious to see if the similar model that SpotRunner uses will survive.

  4. Radio sales managers know they can get higher ad rates for good time slots using live reps than what they’d have gotten using Google, so all Google had to sell on many stations was the dregs – late nights, weekends, etc.
    I wonder if Google execs will watch the news and reconsider. At least two of the major broadcast groups may be forced to extreme measures by impending deadlines for debt repayments. They’ve demonstrated they’re not afraid to cut past fat into muscle on the programming side…could skeleton crews in sales yet be in the cards?


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