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沃西茨:广告渗透在谷歌的DNA里

JP Mangalindan 2011年05月06日

这位默默无名的谷歌高管不仅广受谷歌员工的尊敬,而且她也是谷歌许多盈利产品背后的重要推动力量。

    虽然苏珊•沃西茨管理着谷歌最能生钱的部门,不过她本人的知名度却并不高,至少肯定比不上谷歌的共同创始人谢尔盖•布林或拉里•佩奇。沃西茨1998年租出了她的车库,作为谷歌公司的第一个总部。而且作为负责广告部的高级副总裁,沃西茨为谷歌这家互联网巨擎的成功立下了汗马功劳。在她的带领下,谷歌推出了搜索广告平台AdWords,这也是谷歌赚钱最多的一项服务。而且沃西茨还在2006年推动了谷歌对YouTube的并购。

    在《连线》(WIRED)杂志举办的设计颠覆创新商业大会(Disruptive by Design business conference)上,沃西茨谈到了几个话题,其中包括拉里•佩奇的重组努力。其中一条“新政”的创意来自纽约市长迈克•布隆伯格。拉里•佩奇要求每周五召开一次高管会议,会议的名字就叫“执行会”。

    “每个高管各自在一座大楼里。我想拉里希望做的事情之一,就是把所有的高管聚在一起。如果某个人有什么问题的话,我们就可以立刻当场解决它。”

    她还回忆了AdWords初期的日子。当谷歌一开始决定打造自己的广告系统的时候,公司里还只有二三十人,而现在谷歌已经拥有大约20000名员工。考虑到谷歌当时的实力,沃西茨承认,在搜索引擎之外再打造一个完善的广告系统,在当时不啻于一个疯狂的点子。

    虽然当时他们的需求急剧上升,但是这也没有起多大帮助。公司建议广告提供商给每个主题都做一个广告。谷歌的广告可以用40种不同语言呈现,而且可以以不到一秒的时间上传。(沃西茨表示,当时广告商平均每次活动会做五个广告。)理论上讲,这意味着如果一个书商有10万个不同作者的作品,就应该有10万个不同的广告。

    “我们走访了所有的广告提供商”,沃西茨回忆道:“每个人都说‘不’……所以我们内部进行了一番争论。有些人认为我们可能会破产,有些人认为我们可能会生钱。结果后者成为现实——我们果然可以生钱。”沃西茨这番话说得很谦虚。据估算,去年谷歌的营收为293亿美元,而沃西茨的部门的产品(包括AdWords在内)至少占了其中的96%。

    着眼未来,谷歌的一个大问题仍然摆在眼前:谷歌的社交战略究竟是什么?谷歌高调发布了Wave和Buzz等一批产品,然而都以失败告终,这使有些批评人士深信,谷歌的DNA里就没有“社交”这个基因。最近谷歌又推出了“+1”键,相当于Facebook“喜欢”(Like)按钮的翻版。“+1”目前只进行了有限的发布,而且目前只能应用于搜索结果。不过它最终将允许广大用户都来对搜索结果进行推荐。

    沃西茨表示:“我以前就听过这种话。有人说广告不在我们的DNA里,也有人说显示广告不在我们的DNA里,这都不是真的。这是一个急剧变动的市场,每个公司都需要能够更快地做出反应,适应这个市场。我们会这样做的。”

    译者:朴成奎

    Though she's responsible for Google's biggest moneymakers, Susan Wojcicki isn't a recognizable face, certainly not like co-founders Sergey Brin or Larry Page, who rented out her garage in 1998 to serve as Google's first headquarters. But as Senior Vice President of Advertising, her work has been instrumental to the Internet giant's success: Wojcicki spearheaded the advertising platform AdWords, Google's biggest moneymaker, and pushed for the acquisition of YouTube in 2006.

    At WIRED's Disruptive by Design business conference yesterday, Wojcicki covered several topics, including Page's reorganization efforts. One of his mandates, inspired by Mayor Mike Bloomberg efforts, are new weekly executive meetings every Friday dubbed "execute."

    "Every executive is in a big building, and I think one of the things Larry wanted to do was bring all the executives together," she says. "If somebody has an issue, we can resolve it right then and there."

    She also reflected on the early days of AdWords. When the company first decided it needed its own ad system, the company was just 20 or 30-strong, a far cry from the 20,000 or so currently employed there. Given Google's then-status as a David versus larger Internet Goliaths, she admits it was a crazy idea to build a full-fledged ad system in addition to a search engine.

    It also didn't help that they had steep demands. The company asked ad providers for ads for every topic, available in 40 different languages, and loaded in sub-second time. (At the time, Wojcicki says ad providers offered some 5 ads per campaign.) In theory, that meant for a bookseller, if there are 100,000 different authors, there should be 100,000 different ads.

    "We went to the all ad providers," she recalls. "Everybody said 'no.' … So we had all these debates internally. Some thought we could go bankrupt. Some people thought we could make money. It turns out that it was true -- we could make money." She's being modest: it's estimated that Wojcicki's products, including AdWords, were responsible for at least 96% of Google's $29.3 billion revenues last year.

    Moving forward, one of the biggest question remains: What is Google's social strategy? High-profile product releases (and failures) like Google Wave and Google Buzz come to mind, leading some critics to believe that "social" just isn't in Google's DNA. Much more recently, it launched the "+1" button, the equivalent of Facebook's Like button. "+1" is currently in limited release and only applies to search results at the moment, but will eventually let users to give the thumbs-up to search results, too.

    "I've heard that before," Wojcicki says. "I've also heard advertising isn't in our DNA. That's not true. Or that display advertising isn't in our DNA. That's also clearly that's not true. This is such a fast moving market and every company has to be able to move quickly and adapt, and we will."

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