Which was bigger, Adwords or Adsense? The latter changed more.
The Webby Awards has put out its “Ten Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade“, and I take issue with one of the listings. The list includes this entry from 2000:
Google AdWords launches (2000)
With the launch of AdWords in October 2000, Google turned advertising on its head. The self-service ad program opened up the marketplace to any business, no matter how big or small, and allowed advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision.
Although Google Adwords has certainly transformed the industry, Adwords was merely a copy of GoTo’s innovative system from the late 90s. Google didn’t turn advertising on its head; GoTo had already done that.
I’d argue a more important moment for the decade would be the introduction of Google Adsense; that is, syndicating Adwords ads across millions of small publishers’ web sites. Before then, it was very difficult for small publishers to monetize their sites. Adsense gave them an amazingly simple way to monetize their sites, even if the topic was as niche as the Barton Springs Salamander in Austin.