The search giant plans to scrap its controversial Best Practice Funding (BPF) programme in 2009, bringing to an end discounts for agencies running search campaigns.
Google had introduced the initiative across Europe, the Middle East and Africa last year to incentivise agencies to invest in search by returning a percentage of their spend to be invested in technology, training and research, to create better campaigns.
However, some agencies effectively passed this discount to clients by using it to charge less for campaigns, negating the original intention of the incentive.
Google is abandoning the BPF programme at the end of next year in an effort to create a 'level playing field' for all agencies and advertisers investing in search.
'We thought agencies would invest the discount in improving their business,' said Damien Burns, head of agency relations for Google EMEA. 'Instead, they were passing it on to advertisers to win new business.'
The search giant is changing next year's BPF scheme to allow agencies to spend less in order to receive maximum payouts of 7% and 8%, with qualifying spend now including ads on YouTube.
- Andrew Walmsley, page 13.