In Google's quest to make sure its search advertising deal with Yahoo goes through, it has added yet another defense to its arsenal: a new facts site. If it sounds political, that's because it is. The Department of Justice opened an official investigation into the deal months ago. It turns out that when the largest search engine teams up with the second largest search engine to combine advertising, it raises antitrust issues!
On the homepage, Google doesn't waste any time getting to the three major talking points it touts in support of the deal:
- This is a non-exclusive deal that will strengthen Yahoo!.
- Ad prices will continue to be set by competitive auction.
- The deal is win-win for consumers, advertisers and publishers: more and better ads.
On the right hand side is a link to an in-the-tank New York Times article that drinks extremely potent Kool-aid by practically copying and pasting a previous Google blog post supporting the deal.
Underneath that are quotes from rather large advertisers who also support the deal.
But those who have the most to lose from the deal are small businesses and web entrepreneurs who, rightly or wrongly, have built their success on Google. They fear a sharp increase in prices once the deal goes through.
Google assures that hardly anything will change, save for Adsense ads showing up on Yahoo. They also point to their relationship with Ask.com as proof that the marketplace will remain competitive.
But Ask, despite its slight growth, is not Yahoo. And when it comes to politicking, people have been burned far too often by broken promises. Plus, websites have also been burned by changing algorithms and vague policies.
Right now, in the midst of a significant economic prices, people are looking for stability. And they're not finding it in huge companies with enormous, quick growth. The housing market is certainly different from the search market, but with sensitive emotions running high, Google just seems insensitive right now, another characteristic of companies "too big to fail."
I don't know what they hope is the outcome of this site. Do they hope for a groundswell of support and grassroots letter writing campaigns on their behalf? I just don't see that happening.
Google needs to continue its lobbying and legal advocacy with the Department of Justice. But unless Google wants to suddenly become more transparent on their algorithms and site penalties, then they should just leave the little guy alone in this effort.
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