It sure sounded like Google’s SVP of advertising Susan Wojcicki was promising phone support for all AdSense publishers “in the next quarter,” at yesterday’s annual shareholder meeting, but a Google spokesman now tells me it’s only “testing additional phone support” for AdSense publishers. Wojcicki’s statement regarding a timeline is said to have referred to the free phone support the company rolled out to advertisers in early April.
(Hear the discussion about publisher support here starting around 1:06.)
“We are working very hard to enable all of our advertisers and publishers to contact us and to be able to get phone support,” she said at the stockholder gathering. “We’ve been in the process of rolling that out.”
Wojcicki’s comment came in response to a shareholder and publisher’s question about Google being difficult to communicate with in the wake of changes like the Panda update.
“The gist of your question, that we should be providing better services to publishers is absolutely true,” said CEO Larry Page in answer to the question. “We should have better communication channels and all those things, and these are areas we’re actively working on.”
Wojcicki said Google has begun e-mailing groups of publishers — presumably the larger ones that don’t already have a number to call at Google — to offer them phone support. Google has more than 2 million AdSense publisher partners around the globe.
Google’s philosophy generally has been to automate all of its operations and rely on technology, rather than humans, as much as possible, for scalability. In keeping with this, most support for smaller advertisers and publishers has taken place via online help forums. The shift to providing the much more labor-intensive phone support may be a recognition that Google is expanding its business way beyond the early adopter publishers and online advertisers. This is especially visible in the advertiser arena, where Google is aggressively courting local mom-and-pop shops.
“We definitely recognize that [Google needs to be more accessible], and are working on that,” Wojcicki said.
9to5 Google reported on the phone support development earlier today.