Google/Yahoo! Combine also raises questions about Publicis and WPP deals

Officials need to examine the recent deals made both by Google and Yahoo! with advertising agency powerhouses, Publicis and WPP, respectfully. The Google/Yahoo! combine reduces competition in the online ad sector, and these agreements need to be part of the analysis. Google and Publicis completed their deal last January “based on a shared vision of how new technologies can be used to improve advertising.” Last month, Yahoo! and WPP formed a “multi-year strategic partnership” that is connected to the online ad trading Right Media Exchange.

Search should not be considered a “natural monopoly,” as some cynics suggest. Nor should search by viewed as separate from display; increasingly the two are intertwined. Marketers desire cross-platform strategies. Perhaps that’s one reason Google is hiring cross-platform ad specialists. To quote from a Google job posting: “The Cross Platform Solutions team forms partnerships with advertisers and agencies to build brands online. We strive to deliver the most efficient and effective digital platform upon which the world’s leading brands are built. We connect advertiser’s brand messages to their target audience through innovative, precise and accountable online marketing solutions whose reach can extend around the world.”

It’s hard to keep up with the online ad world, so it’s not surprising that regulators have been slow to address the critical consumer and competition issues. But much is at stake in how diverse and consumer-friendly the new media world will become. That’s why the DoJ and the Hill need to look at these ad agency deals, among other issues we will discuss soon.  Btw, privacy is a serious issue in the deal, no matter how Yahoo! may be spinning it.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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