By The Associated Press
Google Inc. has started testing a long-awaited radio advertising
service that represents the Internet search leader's most elaborate
attempt yet at expanding its financial clout beyond the Web.
The test announced Thursday will help sell advertising on more than
700 radio stations in more than 200 U.S. metropolitan markets. Google
hopes to eventually sign up more than 5,000 stations, according to
documents shown potential advertisers.
For now, at least, Google will lag well behind other radio advertising
placement services like Softwave Media Exchange, which says it has
enlisted more than 1,500 stations with a combined daily audience of
more than 9 million listeners.
Thursday's announcement didn't specify how many advertisers are
involved in the early radio tests nor set a timetable for opening the
service to all comers.
Google is betting its technology can do for radio what it has already
done for the Internet by automating the process for selling and
distributing ads to an audience where the messages are most likely to
pique consumer interest. As it does on the Web, Google plans to charge
a commission for helping radio stations sell ads.
The Mountain View-based company signaled its intention to expand into
radio advertising in January with a $102 million acquisition of dMarc
Broadcasting Inc. Since then, Google has been working to make the
service compatible with a system that already serves millions of
The Internet ad platform has turned into a gold mine, with Google's
profit this year expected to approach $3 billion — nearly a 30-fold
increase since 2002. The company makes virtually all its money from
short, written ads posted on the Web, raising worries among some
analysts about Google's lack of other moneymaking channels.
As part of its expansion efforts, Google also is trying to help
newspaper and magazine publishers fill some of their unsold
advertising space. Google's early efforts in magazines have had little
impact. The company just started working with 50 of the nation's
Google appears intent on pouring far more resources into the radio
service, with management openly discussing plans to employ about 1,000
workers in the division.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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