Posted September 8, 2008 9:17 am by with 16 comments

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If you were in charge of approving or denying Google’s search ad deal with Yahoo, would $100 billion influence your decision?

I’m not talking about a check with your name in the "PAY TO" section, but a protest letter from a group of advertisers that, combined, control $100 billion in marketing spend. Would that make you think twice about giving your stamp of approval?

Well, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) just sent a letter to the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice, citing its opposition to the Google-Yahoo search advertising deal. In a statement, the ANA stated:

The ANA has sent a letter to Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), citing its objections to the announced Google-Yahoo search advertising partnership now under review by the DOJ. In preparing this letter, ANA conducted a comprehensive, independent analysis, which included input from the Board’s members and face-to-face discussions with Google and Yahoo.

The letter, authorized by the ANA Board, notes that a Google-Yahoo partnership will control 90 percent of search advertising inventory and states ANA’s concerns that the partnership will likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high quality, affordable search advertising.

There’s some serious clout behind those words. Aside from the $1B budget, the ANA consists of many Fortune 500 companies including Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble.

I personally don’t see what the big deal is. Under the partnership, Yahoo is still free to partner with other companies and advertisers are the ones who control search advertising prices–at least for the most part.

Google and Yahoo were prepared for some opposition to the deal–hence agreeing to give regulators 100 days to review the deal–but they probably weren’t expecting such stout opposition.

What’s your take on the deal?


  • Joe Hall

    I don’t care how much ad dollars ANA represents. Whats more important is how much of that they are spending on their lobbying efforts. If they can throw some of that corporate weight and money behind dramatically swaying law makers and department heads then yes they have a shot, but letters alone aren’t going to get the ball rolling.

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Bloggers deserve real tips not stolen goods!

  • Otilia @ Ad Ops Online

    I think the bashing and crying should stop… Yahoo should be free to partner with anybody they fancy, this is not an exclusive deal to start with!

    Otilia @ Ad Ops Online’s last blog post..Five Taps Brightcove to Launch Advertising-Supported Internet Video for Top News and Entertainment Web Properties

  • David D

    I really don’t get all that much traffic from Yahoo anyway. It doesn’t make any difference to me. I think the real story here is Google, and their access to all the user data which allows them to crunch numbers and arrive at a formula that gets them the best access to both users and advertising dollars. No other engine or site comes close to the “data control” google currently wields.

  • SEO forums

    If I was in-charge…….$100 billion would have really influenced my decision 😉

    SEO forums’s last blog post..Backlinks.Com – Make easy money with your Blog

  • Nicole Price

    Unlike other media, G and Y are not exactly the kind who will roll over and beg for business from the big ad agencies. The net is here to stay and it is up to the other media to take up this issue. This is what the ANA is trying to do.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Camping Gear at Great Prices

  • San Nayak

    I support ANA as it is very clear it not to do with Y but to do with G. It is Google going super power here and it will make others’ life tough in future. It is better to stop now else it will be too late later.

    San Nayak’s last blog post..BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Bartlett, Chicago, IL, 60103

  • Alexander M Zoltai

    Was watching “The Aviator” again last night, the Scorsese flick.

    PanAm is in bed with the government and Howard Hughes’ TWA is the renegade who “threatens” the “stability” of transcontinental flight…

    Actually, I think Hughes, though laying waste to a congressional hearing armed to take him down, could have learned something from Google.

    Alexander M Zoltai’s last blog post..Who Is Writing The Future ?

  • Ami Ohayon

    I think David D nailed it … Google has achieved what it has achieved primarily by being better than everyone else at what they do.

    They aren’t forcing their products on consumers or businesses, as Microsoft did with OEM installs of Windows. They simply have a superior product.

    Ami Ohayon’s last blog post..From Jerusalem to Boston

  • House Signs

    Google is a superior product in itself, and it doen’t need to be pushed on to people. It is naturally used because of how superior the product is against the other search engines. Although it would be nice to see another search engine give them a run for their money.

    House Signs’s last blog post..House Signs – Hand Painted Signs by Trudy Silcox

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  • Utah SEO Pro

    Interesting state of bribery. Still don’t think that influences the principle of the decision of stakeholders.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..Building an SEO Friendly Site – SES San Jose 2008 Presentation

  • iPod Fan

    I am against the deal purely over because of increasing concerns over the way in which Google handles users privacy.

    Did you know Google records every keystroke typed into the bar on Chrome, it’s new browser.

    Scary stuff.


  • Tiffany

    Agree with Utah…Not so sure if the stakeholder will be tempted with that amount.

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