Normally I wouldn't speculate about something like this, but after hearing a common theme so many times I can't resist... I'm talking about Google's AdWords program and whether it's a good investment.
In the past few weeks I've had three different conversations with three different people from totally different industries and all of them were complaining about the poor ROI from their AdWords campaigns. Only one of these three companies is involved in book publishing, but it was interesting to hear how all three have come to the same conclusion: They're all abandoning any future AdWords campaigns because the click-thru's have been so expensive and the conversion rates are miserable.
My own browsing experience is a reasonable example. I rarely click (maybe 6 times in my whole life) on any of the "sponsored links" in Google search results and I've never bought anything as a result of those clicks. Never.
I wonder how long it will be before someone comes up with a more effective advertising model than this. I realize that Google is making money hand over fist but it sure seems like there are opportunities to build a better mousetrap. I'm hoping that 10 years from now we'll look back and laugh at the simplicity and inefficiency of the current online advertising model.