Google Launches API for Online Ads

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-01-27 Print this article Print

Following reports of an upcoming release, Google formally introduces an AdWords API beta that lets advertisers and search-engine marketers access its ad system.

Google Inc. on Thursday launched a program that gives developers greater access to its search-based advertising system. Google, of Mountain View, Calif., introduced a beta of an API (Application Programming Interface) for its AdWords program. AdWords is Googles pay-per-click advertising program where advertisers bid on the keywords that trigger the displaying of sponsored links in search results and on content pages. As previously reported, Google is offering the API for free to developers and is targeting it at advertisers, search-engine marketing companies and ad agencies that want to more closely tie their ad-tracking tools into AdWords.
"There are a lot of things Google hasnt thought of that people could do with their ad campaigns," said Nelson Minar, a Google software engineer. "One of goals is to enable advertisers and third parties to create tools for their own purposes."
The API provides access to AdWords for managing an ad campaign, creating reports on campaigns and estimating the traffic that a campaign will generate, Minar said. It uses Web services specification such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to allow for the exchange of XML between AdWords and external systems. For example, an advertiser or third party could integrate AdWords functionality into an inventory management system so that a sponsored links campaign could be halted if supplies of an item being sold were out of stock, Minar said. Search-engine marketers, in particular, have been seeking more direct access to AdWords. An API would let them access more accurate information on ad campaigns for their internal tracking and management tools, marketers said in previous interviews. Click here to read more about how sponsored links are extending their reach for publishers. Googles major ad program competitor, Yahoo Inc.s Overture Services, already offers Web services access to its sponsored-links program. The AdWords API beta is available to any AdWords advertiser. Developers receive a token to authenticate themselves with the AdWords system. Each token also includes a monthly cap on the number of operations that a developer can make to the AdWords system. The limit is based on the amount of advertising spending from an advertiser or from third-party marketers or agency. "The quota is in place [so that] no single developer can bring system down," Minar said. "We intend them to be permissive enough [for] reasonable usage." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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