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Google-DoubleClick Deal Raising Lots of Questions

Do you think that perhaps Google expected some concerns over its acquisition of DoubleClick? Having handled PR and investor relations for a public company, I can tell you that you tend to announce negative news late on a Friday. This gives you time to assess the responses and hopefully see any negativity die down before the opening bell on Monday.

While Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick can’t really be classed as “bad” news, it is causing quite a stirr around the blogosphere.

First, we have Yahoo, AT&T and Microsoft suggesting that anti-trust regulators take a look at the deal.

“This proposed acquisition raises serious competition and privacy concerns in that it gives the Google-DoubleClick combination unprecedented control in the delivery of online advertising and access to a huge amount of consumer information by tracking what customers do online,” Smith said. “We think this merger deserves close scrutiny from regulatory authorities to ensure a competitive online-advertising market.”

Now, we have concerns raised that Google effectively owns a search marketing company – Performics is a DoubleClick unit – which represents a conflict of interest. Google would be wise to spin-off Performics to avoid any suggestions that its clients get a helping hand with their search marketing campaigns from Google, but then again they may not. Ask.com technically owns a search marketing company, and no one really cares about that conflict.

And, why didn’t Microsoft try to out-bid Google for DoubleClick? Were they really ever seriously interested, or was this an attemp to make Google spend more? Does their dropping out signal that perhaps they’re not that serious about building an advertising unit after all?