Google Inside your Business

Google and Intuit have announced a major partnership. Along with the Google Maps changes this week where an organisation can advertise at a location – the world of web applications and deeper connection between the desktop and information – is at hand.

It would be extremely unlikely in the near-term that a web-based accounting application for small businesses would fly – as financial information is the holy-of-holies for business. One can just imagine the privacy watchers having a field day arguing against sensitive numbers being scattered through the tubes.

In my mind, being more connected with this information aids the flow of business. The less paperwork in the world is a good thing. But my mind is a not a safe place for ideas such as this.

Back onto Intuit: recently, Australian retailers such as OfficeWorks and City Software have been advertising Quicken for AU$0.00 (after $99 cash back). Everyone in marketing knows that there is never a 100% redemption on these cash back offers; but still the numbers seemed “odd” to me – didn’t add up to being beneficial to Intuit at all. If the redemption rate drifted above 70% (that is, 70% of purchasers sent in their Intuit coupon, the each unit sold would cost more than they received in revenue in direct costs)

There are secondary revenue opportunities: post-sales support agreements and the ability to direct-mail market future upgrades to the users who have redeemed their cash-back.

With the Google announcement, it all falls into place: the revenue is either from support agreements you would purchase to help you determine whether something is an asset or a expense. The second revenue source is online, in-your-face, in context advertising.

Accountants and bookkeepers the world over are now going to see multiple advertisements whilst sending out the day’s invoices.

As the world of pure-in browser applications moves to richer client applications, the new revenue stream open to smaller developers is enticing.

Getting marketing people into the application as an advertising “platform” is the challenge. Interesting world.