Help Wanted on Google Base
Some customers think the hype for Google's (GOOG) newest product is off-base.
When the search-engine giant unveiled its free listings service, Google Base, press reports proclaimed it would revolutionize classified advertising and siphon off a lucrative business from newspaper publishers. But some users say Google Base so far has failed to live up to its extravagant billing.
"Google in the past has had very well-thought-out products," says Kyle Tinsley, the president of Google Base advertiser ifreelance.com, which matches freelance professionals with companies. "This doesn't appear to be along the same lines."
Indeed, Google Base is getting a cautious reception from some advertisers, who are also awaiting the launch of a rival offering from Microsoft (MSFT). Google Base has also been hit with technical glitches and has attracted pornographic Web sites and those that redirect listings from larger companies.Google didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. But investors bullish on Google's prospects have high hopes for Google Base, says Scott Kessler, an equity analyst with Standard & Poor's who rates Google hold and doesn't own the shares. "Sometimes there is a major difference between concept and execution," he says. "I don't see anything that compelling about what the company is currently offering. It's very possible that this product could be in testing for all of next year." Monster.com (MNST) is among the companies that plan to wait until Google proves that Google Base works. "Monster believes that associating the Monster brand with an unproven database -- even one developed by Google -- is not in the best interests of our customers at this time," says Lauren McDonald, a company spokeswoman. On the other hand, Monster rival CareerBuilder.com is providing ads to the site.
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