First published in The National Business Review, July 21st, 2007. Written by Sineva Toevai
Google has anointed Sydney's FulfilNET as the first Australian reseller of its AdWords pay-per-click advertising service.
Wikipedia says AdWords is Google's flagship advertising product where "advertisers specify the words that should trigger their ads and the maximum amount they are willing to pay per click".
Google has 80 per cent of the $124 million a year search engine market, 40 per cent of which is spent be businesses with less than $1 in revenue, says analyst Frost & Sullivan
FulfilNET will market AdWords to small businesses under the Yodel™ Australia brand, building other services such as webpages and advertising-campaign management. Google will sell AdWords to bigger customers.
The company had 850 customers before the announcement and employs 45 in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Chief executive David Mayman says that although pay-per-click advertising is a new concept for most Australian small businesses, about 20 per cent are aware of it, even if they don't use it.
"A lot of the small companies that we talk to would have heard the concept of only paying when clicked on but they don't know how to get into it." Mr Mayman says, "FulfilNET understands the process that small businesses go through when they decide to advertise online. If it is something they haven't done before they need a lot of hand-holding."
Mr Mayman says the relationship started informally eight months ago through Google's interest in another FulfilNET company, ALS. That company's database powered Yahoo!'s Australian business search directory, sold to News Corporation in December.
"As Google looked at what FulfilNET could do, they realised that we had a pretty strong relationship with small businesses and we understood the way that they looked at online advertising," Mr Mayman says.
Frost & Sullivan research director Foad Fadaghi says the appointment of a channel partner is "testimony to Google Australia's growing maturity".
"It's a smart strategy as their business has become larger," Mr Fadaghi says. "They need channel partners to fulfil demand."
Fulfilnet began in 1998 as a web technology developer. Its web content management system, 4SiteCreation, has been rebranded and sold to customers by clients including Yahoo! and Melbourne IT, which is making a play for Brisbane web hosting company, Web Central. FulfilNET;s hopes of listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000 were dashed by the dotcom collapse of April of that year.