His student loans were paid off, and he’d decided he wouldn’t become a Political Science professor after all. Part of his spare time was spent blogging at Traffick.com, a website co-founded with Cory Kleinschmidt. The premise of Traffick was way ahead of its time: that an all-out arms race was on, led by seemingly scrappy young Internet upstarts to develop an iron (monopolistic) grip on user attention.
At the time, most assumed that Microsoft, AOL, or Yahoo had the inside track to win that battle. People didn’t suspect that Google would become anything more than a lovable search engine – not even when they acquired YouTube or rolled out the Chrome browser. Finally, when Android soared to #1 in mobile market share, it started sinking in.
Today, most folks in the industry are aware that Google and Facebook combined now take in well over half of all online ad dollars. Beyond that, their array of products and standards are baked into our work routines and our social interactions. They’re impossible to ignore.
Back in the day, Andrew was an avid reader of Business 2.0 Magazine (all those kooky flowcharts explaining where the money and/or your brain cells were supposed to go) and was fascinated with the exploding new Internet commerce landscape. (His first “Internet job” was a summer contract doing editorial work, for a traditional publisher, on a large paper book containing a directory of interesting websites and what they were about. Ha!)
Noticing some people made money offering services in the industry, Andrew took time out to study service offerings in search marketing. Talking with clients, he feared for the industry’s reputation. Agencies focused more on the legalese in their one-year contracts than client business success. Technical jargon about SEO masquerading as business strategy. And more full-time salespeople than people working on client accounts.
In 2002, Google rolled out Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), a revolutionary new way to buy ads that required marketers to master complex data and to consider the true essence of how searchers seek information (sometimes leading to a transaction). Life has never been quite the same since. Andrew released the world’s first book(s) about how to master this complex system. He began speaking at marketing conferences around the globe, learning as much as teaching. The client base grew steadily over the years.
We call ourselves PZ’ers. And if we had vanity plates (we don’t) on the company minivan (we don’t have one), it would probably read: