Yesterday, Google updated the AdWords alcohol policy to loosen restrictions on hard alcohol and liqueurs.
... in response to advertiser feedback we've received over the years, we'll permit the advertisement of hard alcohol and liqueurs that target the U.S.
It's not as straight forward as the beer related policy though. You can't outright sell Bombay Sapphire. Instead you have to play a bit of semantic dodge ball.
To comply with the updated hard alcohol and liqueurs policy, advertisers must promote the information about hard alcohol and liqueurs that their websites contain, such as recipes and brand messages.
For example, under the hard alcohol and liqueurs policy, you might market to individuals searching for helpful and relevant alcohol-related information by promoting holiday cocktail ideas or the caloric content of popular spiked beverages.
Google isn't doing this simply to appease advertisers. Feedback wasn't the motivating factor, not by a long shot. Google is looking to boost revenue for a maturing product in an increasingly tight economic environment. Growth in paid search is projected to slow according to eMarketer.
Q1 And 2009 Could Be Materially Challenged - We sensed specific nervousness about the Q1 outlook and the possibility that Q1 could actually be the real inflection point quarter - i.e. the first negative sequential growth quarter ever for Search. We also interpret recent statements by GOOG execs and company actions as an acknowledgement of this material challenge.
As search matures, Google realizes they'll need to do more to achieve substantial growth. Alcohol is clearly a vertical with lots of pent up ad dollars. It's a smart move by Google.
Hey, we all might need a drink the way things are going. Google's just making sure it cashes in when we do.