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Who Is Behind AdSense?

Valleywag’s Owen Thomas is currently claiming that Google’s Susan Wojcicki is lying about having started AdSense, referring to an article by USA Today. “AdSense was not a prototype that Wojcicki developed … Why would Wojcicki make such a bald-faced, easily detected lie?”, Owen asks. Actually, Valleywag gets it wrong: the author of the USA Today article mixes things up a bit and forgets to mention that the technology Susan says Google came up with wasn’t called AdSense at the time – something which Susan doesn’t claim either, judging from the USA Today quotes. Here’s the chronology:

  1. Google launched search-targeted contextual ads, called AdWords. Not directly connected to AdSense, but worth mentioning, and USA Today falsely dates this to 2002. (Announcement: October 23, 2000)
  2. Applied Semantics announces their service called AdSense. (Announcement: October 21, 2002, with launch in November)
  3. At around the same time, Google launched their contextual targeting ads into an early test phase for some limited sites. This of course means it had already been thought of and in building state (at least) earlier that year. (“Fourth quarter” 2003 2002, Traffick.com)
  4. Google goes fully live with their contextual ads technology. (Announcement: March 4, 2003)
  5. Shortly later, Google acquires Applied Semantics, and their contextual ads product AdSense, to (according to Google) complement their “content targeted advertising programs.” (Announcement: April 23, 2003)
  6. Google then renamed their context ads program to AdSense (and probably incorporated a little, or a lot, of the Applied Semantics technology into their existing ads system). (Announcement: June 18, 2003.)

More info

Google, AdSense, AdSense Invention, Susan Wojcicki, Valleywag, Owen Thomas

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