It seems that one of Google’s latest doodles, a homage to the 25th anniversary of the discovery of Buckyballs was, as we suspected, too clever by half. Two, presumably, unintentional consequences have emerged: costing Google’s users money, while making a heck of a lot of cash for the maker of the Buckyballs desktoy overnight.
The way the doodle itself had been designed put a very heavy load on users’ computers, increasing power consumption at a cost to those users, as well as causing many a browser crash. That’s kind of clumsy and, arguably, irresponsible when you consider how many people have Google as their browser’s default start page.
But more bizarrely was another side effect, which surely Google must have anticipated: sending a massive amount of traffic to GetBuckyballs.com, a site that sells the Buckyballs desktoy, described as “a set of building spheres containing 216 powerful Rare Earth magnets that can be shaped, molded, torn apart and snapped together in unlimited ways.”
That’s because clicking on Google’s doodle brought up search results for “Buckyballs”, and GetBuckyballs.com was one of the top results, sending over 2,000,000+ unique visitors to the site and generating 10,000 unit sales in a single day. Which translates to more than $250,000 in revenue, at least according to the announcement the online retailer distributed today.
That’s one way of making your search engine positioning efforts pay off – but it’s certainly a rare occasion to see Google lending such a big virtual hand.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...