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DOJ Ups Bingahoo Scrutiny

Microsoft yahoo 2If you were just waiting for the other shoe to fall on the Yahoo-Microsoft deal—good news. Wait no longer. The US Department of Justice is taking another long, hard look at the deal.

The New York Times reports that the DoJ has requested a second round of information from the companies about the pending search deal. (Refresher, in the NYT’s terms: “Under the agreement, Yahoo would use the Bing search engine from Microsoft on its Web sites, and Yahoo would sell ads next to the search results.”)

Interesting that the DoJ is worried about antitrust measures from the companies best positioned to take on Google, the overwhelming favorite in search engines all over the world.

Although it appears that the EU and its executive arm, the European Commission, aren’t too concerned about the deal, approval from the DoJ is even more vital, since both companies are US-based. Concerns from the Department of Justice—and threats of anti-trust action—ultimately killed a search ad deal between Yahoo and Google last year—will the Bingahoo deal suffer the same fate?

What do you think? Is the Yahoo-Microsoft deal the lesser of two evils, and the only chance to unseat Google in the near future? Or does the deal merit more scrutiny from the DoJ?

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    Measuring search market share in terms of how many advertising pageviews a search engine can claim is totally absurd.

    SEMPO’s 2008 survey suggests we spend about $13 billion on search advertising (http://www.sempo.org/learning_center/research/2008_execsummary.pdf) and about $1.4 billion on organic search.

    Microsoft wants a larger piece of the $13 billion pie. Reducing the number of advertising options won’t in any way benefit the advertisers or the consumers — it will just drive up the cost of acquisition.

    On the organic side, small- to mid-size businesses and consumers will lose one of three major search algorithms, constricting the organic choices they have to choose from. That will just help increase the competition for paid advertising positions (thus driving up the cost of acquisition).

    No one in our industry needs a Googler-challenger to step up. We just need to stop using meaningless metrics that have no relevance to what the search industry is really all about.

    The sooner the SEO community stops citing those ridiculously unrealistic numbers from Compete, comScore, Hitwise, and Nielsen, the better.

    You might as well be judging search market share by how many page views CNN gets — it’s just as relevant as how many page views Google gets.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Jordan McCollum

    I’m uncomfortable with Google’s dominance largely because it’s poor job insurance—do one thing to get on Google’s bad side and you’re hosed. At the same time, I’m squeamish about this deal for the reasons you mentioned. In fact, I’ve been against the deal for the last eighteen months, but nobody asked me :cry: .