Google, DoubleClick: Myths and Facts

The ups and downs of Google's purchase of DoubleClick has created a lot of misinformation. Detailing what is happening may help people get a better grasp on the situation and an understanding of the inner fight going on in the industry.

DoubleClick is mainly an online advertising serving platform. It is helps supply the ads of many of the major online advertisers - giving the code to the publishers running the ads - and providing a third party that is the arbitrator of real clicks and impressions. An invaluable tool for the continued success of internet advertising. And one that has been getting attention lately as articles in the NYT and others can attest.

Microsoft had been a bidder for DoubleClick but stopped well before the $3.1 billion Google has offered. That makes DoubleClick twice as valuable as YouTube....

While Microsoft is fronting the Congressional inquiry into the purchase - conflict of interest and anti-trust issues seem to be getting bandied about - it should be noted that Microsoft owns DoubleClick's biggest competitor Atlas (acquired when they bought aQuantive).

Meanwhile in Europe Yahoo is heading the push with the EU. Yahoo has longer online advertising standing in Europe.

``Combining Google's search business with DoubleClick's ad technology will strengthen Google's dominant position in Europe,'' Andrew Cecil, head of public policy for Yahoo! Europe, said in an e-mailed statement today, Bloomberg reported. ``The end result will be higher prices for Internet publishers and advertisers and less choice for European consumers.''

Is Google moving towards being a total online advertising resource? Absolutely, they have search, analytics, content publishing resources both with AdSense and the newly added YouTube, and now an ad serving platform with video and rich media expertise - but also tracking abilities for the source of the pageviews, and more importantly the ability to monitor behavior across all sources of traffic.

Add DoubleClick and Google now has access to the bulk of the world's online behavior. Not only search behavior, but anywhere they are controlling the ads. Impression and click counts are not the only thing they gain buying DoubleClick.

They tried to get the world to give them access to online behavior when they bought Urchin and started giving away online analytics. Fortunately the majority of online companies decided to keep paying independent third parties - though Google would have had no problem forcing out all the web analytics companies that needed to have their customers pay for their programs.

The buy of DoubleClick is another end run - sure Google is claiming they will not use this information - bit hard not to collect it - but with each step Google is fast becoming Big Brother.

While Microsoft has had its own battles over their Big Brother aspirations and Yahoo may just be trying to protect their financial security - will the US government or the EU be able to pull Google back if they are allowed to add DoubleClick to their arsenal.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.