An interesting thread at WebmasterWorld has discussion on the topic of less small businesses using Google AdWords. The thread create, senior member, annej, said:
I have a hobby related site and use AdSense. Ads from small online businesses were especially interesting to my visitors as they sell the hobby supplies. These small business ads have decreased.
I'm wondering if there is a reason. Have recent changes in AdWords affected small businesses? Or is the sinking economy the cause?
Have you also noticed a drop in small business competition in your AdWords sector? Let us know by taking this quick poll:
Many of the responses agree, but do you? As to why, many suspect it has to do with all the advanced features bundled into AdWords. Now, these are all features we have been asking for over the course of the years. But these advanced features simply make it hard for new advertisers to get started.
Senior member netmeg added that Google does have a starter edition but the issue with the starter edition is it is a form of "Budget Optimizer, and that lumps Search in with Content, no geo targeting, and sets an absurd maximum CPC amount." So small business allegedly are stuck paying a premium for not having the time to become an expert. I guess that is the price you pay - you either learn it yourself, pay someone to do it for you or pay the cost of competing against more seasoned advertisers.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.