Google’s dogged pursuit of small business owners continues with a new web page that offers advice about “how to succeed online” and appears to have the backing of the U.S. government.
The page is called “Tools for Online Success” and shows both Google’s logo and the U.S. Small Business Administration at the top.
The introductory text explains that Google and the SBA “have partnered to educate local businesses about how to succeed online.” But the fine print at the bottom clarifies the relationship:
This web site is provided as a public service under Cosponsorship Authorization 10-2110-16. It is not an official U.S. government web site and may contain links to non-U.S. government information. Inclusion of such links does not constitute or imply an endorsement by SBA. SBA is not responsible for the content, accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of linked information. Please use caution when considering a product, service or opinion offered by a linked web site. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.
The page doesn’t promote Google products as the only way to find online success. But each of the nearly 10 topics includes a video and text that directly promotes Google products; Google employees speak in the videos about the benefits of paid online advertising, AdWords specifically, or the benefits of Google Place Pages, Google Analytics, and so forth. It’s a direct push to increase SMB adoption of the tools Google offers.
Google has previously reached out to small business owners via Favorite Places decals, its now-defunct Local Business Referrals program, a Small Business Network program, the development of Place Pages, and much more. The continued expansion of Google Maps is, in many ways, one big effort to reach the small business community.
(tip: Gary Price)