This week Google kicked off a new service that gives local merchants the ability to offer printable coupons integrated into Google Maps. The service is free, but Google’s hope is the merchants will buy ads in AdWords that drive traffic to their free coupon pages. “At that point, the advertiser doesn’t need a website,” said Gokul Rajaram, product management director at Google. Sounds like a powerful idea. Terry Heaton points out that company’s real aim is “to pull money from local advertisers into the Google coffers, and this is another slap in the face of local media companies and local ad agencies.” Yep, absolutely.
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