Posted October 20, 2009 5:17 pm by with 2 comments

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It hardly seems possible, but it was just last year that the Goohoo (Yahoogle?) search ad deal was under scrutiny from the US government. Ultimately, that scrutiny killed the deal—since the DoJ informed Google that they’d face anti-trust charges if they went through with the deal.

Here we are, a year later, and two search giants are once again bringing a proposed search ad deal before the skeptical DoJ. And once again, we have a powerful organization weighing in. Last year, major advertising groups, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies, spoke out against the Googahoo deal. This year, they’re weighing in again—this time in favor of Microsoft and Yahoo’s deal.

In a letter (PDF) to the Department of Justice, Nancy Hill, president and chief executive of the 4A, urged the governmental body to approve the deal—and fast:

We believe that Yahoo and Microsoft’s proposal to combine their technologies and search platforms is good for advertisers, marketing services agencies, website publishers and consumers. These benefits are too important to wait for. As leading members of the advertising and marketing services industry, we urge the Department of Justice to bring its antitrust review to a speedy conclusion. This proposal enhances competition, and should be allowed to take effect as soon as possible.

Last year, another organization that opposed the deal, the ANA, argued against the Google-Yahoo partnership, saying it would “control 90 percent of search advertising inventory[,] . . . and . . . likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high quality, affordable search advertising.”

Of course, the obvious difference here is that Bing/Microsoft is no Google in the search world. While Bing is inching up the charts, they have nothing on the search giant.

But let’s be honest—do you think Bingahoo has a chance of taking on Google? Or do you just hope against hope?

  • Since “search market share” is just a measure of pageviews and has nothing to do with what is actually happening in search, a union between Microsoft and Yahoo! won’t change anything.

    They just need to leverage their own content better in their search results to inflate their page views the way Google inflates its own page views by leveraging its content.

    But consumers and advertisers alike stand to lose if the union goes through. The companies that sent that letter would stand to gain increase revenues from the fees they charge on placing ads with the search engines.
    .-= Michael Martinez´s last blog ..Another 20 Hard Core SEO Tips =-.

  • In my opinion, the continued references to Goggle’s overall market share has more relevance to stockholders than advertisers… and I have to disagree with Michael.

    A drill down into G’s numbers reveals a different picture. Within emerging U.S. markets, Google faces challenges from Yahoo and Microsoft already. Google’s market share in African-American and Hispanic markets is very different than the numbers we hear about daily.

    Lee Vann, in an insightful October 8th MediaPost article noted that Google’s share of the US Hispanic market is about 47%. Yahoo and Microsoft account for 40%.
    (Implications Of Yahoo Microsoft Search Deal, The U.S. Hispanic Search Market After the Yahoo
    Microsoft Partnership; MediaPost Engage:Hispanics)

    G’s dominance in the African-American market is equally questionable. Coupled with the fact that both these populations use the mobile web at a rate that’s 50+% higher than the overall norm AND use social networks at TWICE the norm– the merger decision is significant.

    I don’t get the connection between higher fees/costs. Seems to me that comes with less competition, not more. That’s what the anti-trust hearings are about.

    In any case– marketers need to be where their prospects are. The 32% that G misses (using the popular numbers) represents about 4.5 billion searches a month. Reach them– and the economy will seem to have suddenly turned around.