Google has quietly added an additional sponsored link to the number of paid ads that appear at the top of some of its search results. Now, three ads appear above the organic search results, depending on the search term used. Sponsored links still run down the right side of the page.
This appears to be the first time the company has sacrificed user experience for more revenue. Google has always prided itself on offering a simple, clean interface with minimal ads.
"Google is always working on improving the user experience and ad effectiveness," Google spokesman Mike Mayzel told The San Jose Mercury News. "For highly commercial queries, we believe an additional ad above the search results is good for both."
Google declined a CNET News.com request for comment. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)