As we’ve seen several times recently, there’s a chasm between consumer usage of search and SEM by small business advertisers (SMBs). Google developed its authorized reseller program to address this issue in part and create a network of third party relationships that could help it gain more traditional small business (SMB) advertisers, which it had difficulty doing through traditional AdWords self-service.
These third parties were and are largely established media companies (i.e., yellow pages publishers, newspaper publishers) and selected others who sell directly to small businesses (e.g., Yodle, ReachLocal). The traditional media companies need the traffic and Google needs their reach into the SMB market. (There’s quite a bit more to say about these relationships, but not for purposes of this post.) The “authorized reseller” certification is based on meeting a range of criteria that Brad Geddes explains in this post.
One of the things that Chris LaSala, Google’s Director of Local Markets, said to me recently is that companies with lots of SMB relationships often don’t have a technology platform sufficient to manage online advetising at scale or that integrates well with Google’s API. To address this Google has created a new certification within its authorized reseller program: technology platform provider. And Google has named Marchex (Marchex Connect), after a review of several companies and would-be vendors, the first “AdWords authorized reseller technology platform.”
LaSala said that the purpose of this new category or designation is to allow Google to recommend an approved technology partner to AdWords resellers if those partners don’t have the requisite scalable technology.
While only Marchex occupies this position currently, LaSala also told me that he expects others to qualify for the program in the future. He told me there were a number of considerations involved in Google’s determination of whether a technology platform can qualify. At a high level:
- The platform must integrate and be complaint with Google’s API
- The platform/company must provide comprehensive reporting that shows the SMB advertiser the value being delivered (clicks, impressions, etc.) through Google/SEM
- It must be highly scalable