When Google decided to buy DoubleClick, it sent some shock through the search marketing industry. DoubleClick has owned Performics, the third largest affiliate network, since 2004. Performics not only provided affiliate marketing services, but also search-engine marketing (SEM) and search-engine optimization (SEO) services.
Suddenly it looked like agencies would be competing against Google – a serious conflict of interest. Agencies were suddenly worried that Google would give away the services that they sold to clients. And Performics may get unfair advantages, such as insight into Google’s algorithms (more details from InfoWorld).
Clients of SEM and SEO companies likely wouldn’t like the conflict of interest either. Clients want to save money, Google wants those same clients to spend it on more advertising.
This afternoon Google announced that they split Performics into two divisions and are selling the search marketing piece. The Google blog explains:
“It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users.”
Though they say there is interest, Google hasn’t named a buyer. This doesn’t help affiliate marketers sleep easy though…
“We plan to integrate the affiliate marketing business into existing Google operations, providing enhanced value and reach for our affiliate advertisers, and additional tools and monetization opportunities for our publishers.”
I was hoping Google would sell all of Performics. Internet marketing companies must feel relief at this news, while companies like Commission Junction and other affiliate networks have reason to be concerned.