Ad Age reports that the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers wrote a letter to both antitrust agencies. According to the article, the agencies were urged to conduct a “careful, wide-ranging and comprehensive perspective” of the mergers and the online ad industry market. Ad Age quotes from the letter: “During the past month, there have been several major acquisition announcements in the online advertising marketplace. These mergers, if approved, certainly would change the online advertising marketplace. As such, those proposed combinations deserve careful scrutiny. It is essential to ensure that none of these combinations restrict competition in the internet advertising marketplace. Advertising on the internet is one of the fastest-growing sectors of marketplace promotion; therefore, ensuring its competitiveness is critical for all participants.”
Even the ANA admits that the breathtaking nature of all the recent deal-making raises fundamental questions that require a serious examination. The Ad Age piece quotes ANA’s Bob Liodice: “It’s not just Google-DoubleClick,” Mr. Liodice said. “We looked at the whole portfolio of acquisitions and said the whole thing is moving very, very quickly. We don’t have the ability to understand the implications. … We asked in a very neutral kind of way to say, ‘would you please take a look?'”
One hopes that the FTC–and the Congress–will be responsive to this direct mail pitch from the ad lobby.
Source: “4A’s, ANA Weigh in on Google-DoubleClick, Online Ad Deals:Urge FTC, Justice Department to Apply ‘Careful’ Scrutiny.” Abbey Klaassen and Ira Teinowitz. Advertising Age. May 30, 2007 [sub may be required]