Don't Try This At Work
May 16, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

The Google Job Experiment... or... how to get hired at Young & Rubicam using $6 of Google Ads. From the author of "50 Days Worse Than Yours" and "50 Relatives Worse Than Yours". Why it worked:

(1) the people in hiring positions are ego-driven enough to Google themselves frequently, AND be impressed with a personalized pitch*.
(2) in the Advertising biz, showing you know how to make Google Ads work is a plus.
(3) nobody had done it this way before (or if they had, they didn't make it public).
*in the Mad Men era, a personalized direct-mail-style brochure instead of a regular resumé might have accomplished the same thing
posted by oneswellfoop (40 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
I doubt this method will work for long, pretty soon every influential person will see a ton of ads directed to them.

But still the idea that you can actually advertise directly to a specific person is somewhat interesting.
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2010


Really smart. It'll only work the once, but this guy only needed to make it work the once. Soon to be imitated to a degree that will drive people batty.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:16 PM on May 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do people really still Google themselves? Haven't they heard of Google Alerts?
posted by sveskemus at 12:17 PM on May 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Of course, if the people are too famous (say, Steve Jobs or whoever) then enough people will see it that it would be economically inefficient.

This would be an entertaining way to do a marriage proposal. But you couldn't do anything too personal because it's actually a message to anyone who Googles them

Actually now that I think about it, maybe Google shouldn't allow these kids of ads? You could really mess with someone this way. If had dirt on someone you didn't like, you could buy a keyword ad, for example.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2010




There's a twitter bot that sends you a Seinfeld quote every time you mention Jerry Seinfeld. The profile's bio mentions the services he provides, but he looks as though he already has a job, so it's more annoying than anything else.

My employment plan is to make a 3 episode long single-player Half-Life 2 mod. The third, and last, episode is highly anticipated. And just as the plot comes to it's exciting conclusion...in comes a virtual representation of....ME! "Hello player! did you know in addition to telling a taught narrative within the context of a virtual world, I am also a skilled C# and Java programmer....If you'd like to show your gratitude for the experience I just provided, why not bug a few developers and ask them to hire me!" etc. And the credits are in the form of... My Resume!

This is strictly brain crack, of course.
posted by hellojed at 12:25 PM on May 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


This would be a great thing to do with your own name when applying for something - obviously when you submit job and college and other applications these days they are googling your name.

On the other hand, this Google Job Experiment video is also a viral way to convince lots of people to buy $6 ads. Maybe Google should hire him, or already did...
posted by jardinier at 12:38 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What surprises me most is that board execs or partners do their own Googling. I mean, secretaries aren't just for coffee and dry cleaning, amirite?
posted by mippy at 12:43 PM on May 16, 2010


due to a situation with an idiot deciding to use my "first name last name" as the keywords for his text ad for some consulting service or the other, I wrote to google to ask them to take that down

google guy writes back and says sorry they can't do anything unless its a copyrighted trademark.

I wrote back saying I'd never bothered to copyright my given name but would my passport or birth cert suffice?

google guy was not sure...

so I wrote back asking would they like to talk to my mother as author morally asserting copyright?

the ad was brought down and no person can use my name as a keyword - although you do get a lot of chemical results these days as the word is the equivalent of H20 type nomenclature for a particular metal alloy

I can live with that
posted by infini at 12:43 PM on May 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Moral of the story:

Tony Granger clearly does not Google himself.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:49 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, I saw this video earlier this week, and noticed that in the text of the ad, he writes: "Gooogling [sic] yourself is fun. Hiring me is fun, too."

Yes, the "Google" has three o's. A comment I saw said that this was necessary because you cannot use any form of the word Google in a Google Ad.

Can anyone comment as to the truth of this? It must be true, right? I mean, that big of a typo wouldn't get someone hired at a top ad firm, right?
posted by cheeken at 12:59 PM on May 16, 2010


due to a situation with an idiot deciding to use my "first name last name" as the keywords for his text ad for some consulting service or the other, I wrote to google to ask them to take that down
Wow, pissy. I wish Google had told you to get bent.
posted by planet at 1:14 PM on May 16, 2010


really? you think that its okay for people to advertise their competing services by purchasing your name as a keyword?
posted by infini at 1:31 PM on May 16, 2010


Buying Google Ads for specific, non-famous people's names is so open to abuse...

"Hey, who's that plumber I was talking to? Joe Mftblk? I'll just Google his name..."

GOOGLE AD
Joe Mftblk is a child-molesting goat-frakker
...besides, I'm a much better plumber. Fred 867-5309
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:39 PM on May 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


really? you think that its okay for people to advertise their competing services by purchasing your name as a keyword?

Is that the entire idea behind the ad results? If I were selling servers, I'd want to jump on "ibm servers." I probably wouldn't include IBM's name in the description for fear of nasty libel threat, even dealing with baseless libel threats costs money.
posted by geoff. at 1:44 PM on May 16, 2010


really? you think that its okay for people to advertise their competing services by purchasing your name as a keyword?


I assumed it was also the name of the "idiot". Also you did not originally mention that it was for a service competing with yours.
posted by Authorized User at 1:49 PM on May 16, 2010


his service did not compete with mine, that's what made it odd, although we have met in conferences and hovered in the same blogs or social networks. I don't offer any commercial service. and his name was certainly not mine. it was an individual with a problem - i'd recieved emails asking me to redesign the way my blog quoted his etc in the past. besides this is a derail from the main thread so any further questions please feel free to memail me.
posted by infini at 1:52 PM on May 16, 2010


Hmm, I assumed that the keyword was based on the 'metal alloy' and just happened to somehow rope your first name in as well.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2010


At a glance, I read it as "Google Jobs Experimental" and thought there was a crazy Google Labs experiment that would automatically fill out job applications for you at every location nearby that meets your criteria. I want that really bad right now, as I search for a summer job.

If I were less lazy, I'd make that. And I'd charge people to use it, thus eliminating my need for money, and thus meaning I no longer need to search for the highest bidder for my summer hours.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:55 PM on May 16, 2010


"Google Jobs Experimental"

Google Jobs Experimental would be a job testing Experimental Google Products. Like you show up and they give you a full rubber suit and goggles and have you have a rabbit in front of a computer for 3 hours while humming a perfect B flat note.

Whatever you do, don't let the rabbit touch the computer.
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on May 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


infini: really? you think that its okay for people to advertise their competing services by purchasing your name as a keyword?

As someone whose real name invites endless spam from both Chinese heavy industry and American porn sites, you have my total lack of sympathy ;-)
posted by Pinback at 4:13 PM on May 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have no sympathy for any of this, try being named "Roger Williams" for awhile. Googling yourself? LOL. I'd just be happy if the idiots at the airport could figure out when I hand them a valid US passport and driver's license that I am not the criminal asshat who decided to use Roger Williams as an alias one day back when.
posted by localroger at 4:14 PM on May 16, 2010


Wait, people still want to work at Young & Rubicam?
posted by dammitjim at 4:47 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I guess we've crossed the Rubicam, here.

I'll let myself out.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:55 PM on May 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Make sure you check out his AT&T ad. No way I'd give that guy an interview.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Hamms Bear, I think it's funny, but I wouldn't hire him. One has to have a sense of where the social boundaries are and push them to do great advertising. This guy obviously has no sense of those boundaries whatsoever, given that he blew right by them and apparently never stopped.
posted by wierdo at 5:19 PM on May 16, 2010


Fuck I hate when people are onto a good thing and decide they have to tell everybody. Oh well done, you're the only person to have ever thought of doing this, congratulations, write a blog post and give yourself a hug.
posted by doublehappy at 5:39 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


GOOGLE AD
Joe Mftblk is a child-molesting goat-frakker
...besides, I'm a much better plumber. Fred 867-5309


Defamation torts aside.
posted by doublehappy at 5:42 PM on May 16, 2010


This only works if you are willing to work for someone too stupid to use ad blocking.
posted by exogenous at 6:34 PM on May 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Exogenous: You are, of course, assuming ad execs don't want to keep up with the competition.
posted by Samizdata at 7:14 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If anybody ever tried this on me, I would dismiss them as a fucking creep.
posted by borges at 10:26 PM on May 16, 2010


MetaFilter: Whatever you do, don't let the rabbit touch the computer.

And I don't think anybody, even the high muckity-mucks, at an advertising agency is going be allowed to use ad blocking. That's one reason it's probably the only industry where it may work.

GOOGLE AD:
Hello, Site Foreman Leroy Schmendrick
While you're ego surfing, I'll be hard at work installing insulation, if you'll hire me.

Nope, not gonna work.

As far as unique names are concerned, I thought I had one until a few years ago when I discovered another person with my name in Orange County, California, who sold real estate. He apparently went out of business years before the Big Real Estate Bubble burst, so I may have to be more worried about somebody confusing my identity with his than he would. (I mean, I'm BROKE, but I'm not incompetent...)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:27 PM on May 16, 2010


oneswellfoop made the point

Buying Google Ads for specific, non-famous people's names is so open to abuse...


and i'd just intended to share a funny story of how reluctant google was to prevent that, rather than the hows and wherefores of what happened...

i'd rather have Pinback's problem ;p
posted by infini at 12:44 AM on May 17, 2010


You are, of course, assuming ad execs don't want to keep up with the competition.

And I don't think anybody, even the high muckity-mucks, at an advertising agency is going be allowed to use ad blocking.

I am a mid-high muckity-muck at an advertising agency, and I am allowed to use ad blocking.

I sort of see your rationale here, but it's a bit like saying that obviously people that work at Starbucks have to have coffee with every meal, or that people that work for Jimmy Choo have to buy and wear a new pair of shoes every day.

I am, in my daily life, fairly anti-advertising. I don't watch broadcast television, don't listen to commercial radio, and do most of my reading via books and the Internet. I use adblock and NoScript with Firefox to keep my computer ad-free.

Most of my colleagues don't try to keep their lives as ad-free as I do, but it's considered acceptable behaviour for a few reasons:

First, not being saturated in other people's approaches is something that helps me, creatively, as a thinker. Not having other campaigns rattling around in the back of my brain is good when you're trying to be innovative -- it prevents a short-circuit where good ideas are junked as being "too close to X," and a stalling effect where you can't stop thinking about how well another agency handled Y.

Second, it drives me to try to create things that will provide some sort of value (either high-information or high-entertainment content) so that I can make things that really do stand out when they get through to people like, well, me.

Paradoxically, I read a lot about advertising, keep up with the best of the medium, and really enjoy things like threads about marketing on MeFi because it's a regular opportunity to engage with people that hate what I do.

A bit of a tangent, but I thought I'd just clarify that not everybody in advertising is obliged to saturate themselves with it constantly, and it's fairly common and valuable in the industry to have deliberately "ad-naïve" people working on projects. If I need to cram to catch up on what's being done in a particular niche or industry for a particular client, there's no shortage of resources.
posted by Shepherd at 6:50 AM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


hellojed: And just as the plot comes to it's exciting conclusion...in comes a virtual representation of....ME!

Neal Stephenson had a character do something very similar to this in Snow Crash.

infini: really? you think that its okay for people to advertise their competing services by purchasing your name as a keyword?

I think it's definitely okay, and is a basic part of the way Google operates. However, as someone else alluded, it's usually done by competitors. I seriously doubt that Google took the ad down because they think you have the right to restrict the use of your own name. More likely, your persistence led them to look into this specific situation, they realized that the ad was placed by someone with a personal axe to grind, and they cited him with violating some kind of best practices policy.
posted by bingo at 9:50 AM on May 17, 2010


I seriously doubt that Google took the ad down because they think you have the right to restrict the use of your own name.

you are correct on this point. I don't know the reasons and your hypothesis sounds reasonable but for sure, they said that they had no policy on people purchasing someone's full name as a keyword even if it wasn't their name etc He has the "right" to do it per google's terms unless it was a copyrighted trademark or something.
posted by infini at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2010


Didn't somebody do this with Facebook ads last year? Set up ads specifically targeting people whose network was set to Microsoft or Google and ask them to hire him?
posted by jacquilynne at 4:59 PM on May 17, 2010


This AT&T ad...is that real? Was it actually broadcast? Given that Achmed the Dead Terrorist couldn't appear on clip form on British advertising, I'm pretty stunned.
posted by mippy at 6:51 AM on May 18, 2010


It was a spec ad, meaning it was made in house for promotional/heylookitme purposes.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on May 18, 2010


my lawyer just sent me an email with this story from cnn ;p so I sent him this thread back :P
posted by infini at 8:51 PM on May 18, 2010


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