Saturday, 4 March 2006

Google's IPO an image nightmare?

Although it's not that Google will be viewed as "just another company on the stock exchange" any time soon, it seems that ever since Google filed their IPO (and making billions in the process) their image has taken a few hits.

Before they went public, all that Google did was considered cool. The way they ran their business, the software they created (even if it was in beta) and the people involved. They were considered a novelty with Adsense and Adwords and the power of their search engine. Even if they messed up on the PR side of things, that was seen as being a learning experience for a young web company.

But things have changed. Now Google has stockholders to report to and a little slip of the tongue from a CFO can lead to falling of stock prices, causing the company to lose millions. New products are more scrutinized and the company is being scoffed for their dealings with the Chinese government (on this blog discussed here). It even seems that journalists who at first where delighted with Google are now taking a more criticizing role. Even their hiring of all those PHD's is being looked at differently. It's often wondered if that practice leads to better products for consumers or to pet projects of those highly intelligent programmers. Things that were seen as being the faults of a young company are now attacked as un-businesslike.

But that's what happens as soon as you become a public company. There is a growth process to go through and it seems that however Google is successful in other things, that part of the business world is not going as smoothly as hoped for. Google has to find a way to become a respectable publicly owned company which analysts and investors trust and are willing to put money in, but still be considered a leader in both search technology and advertising, thus creating positive publicity with the press. Otherwise the goodwill and great image that is still there will vanish like snow in the sun.

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