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Google's Video Ads and the Power of "Anyone"

MarketWatch columnist Bambi Francisco is optimistic about the prospects for video advertising on Google's publisher network, in stark contrast to Tech Crunch's Michael Arrington (see Section 2 Wednesday) and other pundits, who don't see a sizable market for pay-per-click video ads. Today, Google will start letting anyone from large national advertisers to providers of local products and services to upload video advertisements lasting up to two minutes in length. Google director Gokul Rajaram said anyone can upload nearly any kind of video content in the form of an advertisement; Francisco uses the example of a homeowner wishing to rent their house in Lake Tahoe using a camera to take some video and uploading that to Google. The power of regular people posting video ads is what makes this idea so powerful, she says, but is quick to add that she expected something more along the lines of a self-service video ad auction service whereby advertisers would bid against each other for placements within video. That said, video inventory is scarce these days, so it may not be worth it to advertisers yet. With this service, you get placement across Google's expansive network, which is far broader than the total amount of video inventory out there now. The search giant has been testing its video ad service since late last quarter, collecting less than 10 video ads from a dozen participating advertisers. Google said viewers typically watched 75 percent of the entire ad.

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