The world leader in search engines has started up its advertising campaign.

It has still not managed to threaten the dominant position of Seznam in the Czech Republic.

Google has attacked the Czech Internet. The world leader in search engines operates in 181 lands; thus far it is not number one in only five countries, and the Czech Republic just happens to be among them. [Translator's Note: The Czech Republic has a population of 10.5 million.] The unshakeable leader, moreover, remains Seznam. Google is therefore reaching for its most powerful weapon: television advertising.

“The spot ‘Love from Paris,’ which has run on TV Nova, Nova Cinema, Prima, Prima Cool, Barrandov, and AT media Max, was the Google company s first television ad in the Czech Republic,” says Šimon Rákosník, who represents Google to the Czech public.

Officially, the main goal of the campaign was to show people how Google facilitates searching for diverse information necessary for everyday life.

“And that by many methods, and most importantly, in Czech,” continues Rákosník.

Google nevertheless has a poor position in the Czech market. Namely, 60 percent of Internet users in our country use Seznam for searching — five million real users visit it every month. According to the data of Navrcholu.cz, Google commands not even 25 percent of the Czech market. The incomes of search engines develop from the number of visitors.

Paid positions in search engines — firms pay for their reference to appear in a more visible position — dominate among earnings from Internet advertising. Paid positions represent 50 percent of search engine receipts, while classic small ads represent only a fourth. According to estimates, the importance of paid positions should continue to grow.

Obviously Seznam is capitalizing on that the most. Google has a very small portion of Internet receipts, according to the Internet portal Lupa. The Czech subsidiary of Google showed returns of 90 million crowns [Translator's Note: about $45 million] for 2009. An estimate of the size of the Czech market for 2009 puts it at about 6.4 billion crowns. So Google receives only 1.4 percent — but it lets some of its accounts be paid in Ireland. Therefore, its actual share of the advertising market is in reality higher.

“Google will not succeed at acquiring first place in the market by means of this advertising campaign. If it were that simple, they would have done it long ago. As long as that is the purpose of the campaign, the money has been thrown away,” says publicist Miloš Čermák, an Internet specialist.

The Czech market’s top performer is following Google’s activity closely. “We perceive the campaign as evidence of the increasing importance of the Internet as an advertising medium and an attempt by our competitor to build for itself a good position on it,” says Martin Šámal, senior brand manager for Seznam.cz. The Czech number one is confident in its position and is not preparing any media counteraction.

The dominance of Seznam has long been a mystery. Many explanations exist, but none of them are satisfactory. “It’s an anomaly. The reasons may be that Seznam started very early, has an easy-to-remember name [Translator's Note: seznam means "list" or "directory"] and many people have their email boxes on it,” explains Čermák.

The Google search engine has 135 language mutations and operates in 181 domains. Aside from the Czech Republic, it has failed to occupy first place in four other countries — most notably in China, where Baidu is in the lead.

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Top 5 Internet Operators in the Czech Republic

1. Seznam.cz: 5,212,554 customers

2. MAFRA (iDNES, Lidovky): 3,409,337

3. Impression Media: 3,300,886

4. Centrum Holdings: 3,182,450

5. ARB Ointeractive: 3,176,264

Source: Netmonitor, visitors for July