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Google Plans To Sell Part of DoubleClick 61

mudimba writes "Google has announced that they will be selling the search engine marketing branch of recently acquired company DoubleClick. Google's reason for the sale is that they do not want to appear to be giving preferential treatment in search rankings to DoubleClick customers. Tom Phillips, director of Google's integration with DoubleClick, said, 'Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google's mission and core to the trust we ask from our users.' Google was under scrutiny from the European Union and the FTC over their purchase of DoubleClick, but both eventually approved the deal."
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Google Plans To Sell Part of DoubleClick

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  • This makes me trust Google even more as my search engine of choice. Is their psychology working?
    • by adpsimpson ( 956630 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:26AM (#22961682)

      This is similar to the recent two-finger salute [theregister.co.uk] given to the BPI (British equiv. of RIAA) over their proposed "Three strikes and you're out" strategy.

      By putting the customer's desire/need first, they gain the customer's trust.

      This used to be called good business.

    • by eebra82 ( 907996 )
      I know Google wishes to maintain this don't be evil motto, but be realistic here.. A multi billion dollar company like Google certainly didn't plunge out $3.1 billion just to find out only a year later that it's immoral. Dig a little deeper and I'm sure you will find out that money is the issue, not morality.
      • by encoderer ( 1060616 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:32AM (#22962188)
        Of COURSE it's about money, but that doesn't mean it's not ALSO about morality!

        The bean counters create a probability curve to estimate how much revenue they could lose if the perception were to become that GOOG is manipulating their results and giving preference to the customers paying DC for search engine marketing.

        That is, how much would they lose by looking amoral.

        Subtract that from the projected revenue from that DC unit.

        If the number is negative on most points in the probability curve, then it's a no-brainer.

        But even if it's in the "barely positive" territory, say, less than $10MM a year, I could still see an enlightened manager, thinking of that motto, making the decision to forgo that marginal revenue to maintain brand cachet that is difficult to value but that could be negatively impacted by the perception of conflict of interest.

        So, certainly, it's an issue about money. But that doesn't preclude accounting for the morality of it.

        • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) *
          I think the previous poster's point was that if being amoral was profitable, Google would be amoral in a heartbeat.
      • by Nullav ( 1053766 )
        Actually, it could very well be that this is evil. When none of the users are directly paying you and thus have no reason to stubbornly cling to you, image really does matter.
  • Haha (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They should sell it to M$.

    See what I did? I substituted S with $. That's wit.
  • In related news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:21AM (#22961648)
    • will never be reported in the media. I'd throw my bet into the, "this doubleclick thing isn't as profitable as we had hoped. Let's dump it while we still have a chance to get a few bucks for it. Oh and let's also trim some jobs so that we see an immediate impact on the bottom line..." ring.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kestasjk ( 933987 )
      They were buying for market share less than the employees, there were obviously going to be redundancies, there always are in these mergers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajs ( 35943 )
      Well, that's not shocking. They've bought a company whose core technology and services are not only very like their own, but in general are vastly inferior. For the most part, they bought the customer base, not the people.

    • Old news. The cut about 20 percent of employees two days ago. My girlfriend works there as said it was like a funeral.
  • DoubleClick has always been one of those weird companies that seems like they are everywhere, putting cookies in my cache, and tracking my online habits. But I've never been clear what their actual business model was.

    I see now what Performix, the subcompany that Google is trying to sell, does. It sounds like SEO (search engine optimization => A process aimed at improving the search result ranking of a site by augmenting the site content and other factors to be more search engine friendly) for online sear
    • by Jellybob ( 597204 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:28AM (#22961690) Journal
      Their main business model is selling ad space on people's websites - find advertisers can be incredibly hard work, so a lot of sites outsource that to Double Click.

      They then sell the advertising space, and provide web apps that allow the advertisers to see how effective the campaign is, and site owners to see who's buying their ad space, and how much they're paying.

      That's also the reason there was so much scrutiny of this deal, since the largest banner advertising company has now been bought by the largest text advertising company.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jellybob ( 597204 )
        And just as an extra note - the banner ad that appeared when I posted that comment is hosted on ad.doubleclick.net.

        Now... when is Adblock going to get updated for Firefox 3 Beta 3!
      • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:19AM (#22962082)
        Since I worked for a competition, I feel compelled to mention: DoubleClick may, or may not, be the largest banner advertising company on the web. They're definitely in the top three, but this isn't an industry that actually has metrics to determine who the "leader" is, like most industries do, and DoubleClick (and the other two big players in this field) don't share enough data to really determine this.

        DoubleClick is certainly the most visible to the public, though.
        • by mgblst ( 80109 )

          They're definitely in the top three, but this isn't an industry that actually has metrics to determine who the "leader" is, like most industries do, and DoubleClick (and the other two big players in this field) don't share enough data to really determine this.
          In fact, this is like most industries. Most companies don't like sharing data about their practises, this is valuable information to their competition.

      • Sometimes it seems like an easy way for Google to get around its promise of only making us endure unobtrusive text ads. I've liked them less and less since they started doing bigger ads that call more attention to themselves. On the other hand, is there any good alternative to Google for selling text ad space?
    • Uh, they do online marketing campaigns, including selling and producing banner ads, video ads, and now widget ads(!)

      Think of them as the equivalent of the big media advertising companies in New York, but for online.
  • by Daniel Ellard ( 799842 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:23AM (#22961656)

    ... to give preferential treatment.

    Given that the entire world is already divided between people who believe the conspiracy theories circulating about Google and people who love Google unconditionally, I doubt they really care too much about appearances -- people are going to think whatever they want.

    More likely this is to keep them out of court.

    • by mgblst ( 80109 )

      Given that the entire world is already divided
      between people who believe the conspiracy theories circulating
      about Google and people who love Google
      unconditionally,

      I don't think that most of the world cares about Google all that much. Now you would be right about the people here at slashdot.

    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      Frankly I resent that. I am part of that neither of the aforementioned groups.
    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@ajs.cRABBITom minus herbivore> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:40AM (#22962916) Homepage Journal

      Given that the entire world is already divided between people who believe the conspiracy theories circulating about Google and people who love Google unconditionally,
      I wonder how I and just about everyone I know ended up not being in either of those camps....

      Google has three things going for them:

      1. They have technically sophisticated folks (not just someone who has worked with computers for a few years) in executive management.

      2. They made a point of scooping up the best and the brightest at a time that they could afford it.

      3. They have the phrase "do no evil," and a clear, financial explanation of what that means in their S1.

      Most people think that point number 3 is just PR. It's not. What it is is lawsuit insurance. Every other public company in the world is required to do everything that they can possibly describe as "not quite illegal" to enhance shareholder value. Google's shareholders, on the other hand were warned up-front and in SEC filings that they can't expect that, and that shields Google from reprisals when they don't do something because they don't like where it's going (e.g. when the DoJ asks them to turn over search records and say, "but Yahoo! and MSN were only too happy to comply!")

      It doesn't mean that they're not evil. It just means that, unlike everyone else, they're not required to be.

      I don't love Google. However, I don't see any reason to fear-monger over them, which is what I see on Slashdot all too often.

  • Piffle (Score:2, Interesting)

    What the hell is the difference if Google gives preferential treatment to DoubleClick customers or simply customers who pay more? Either way, the benefit to them is the same -- more money in their pockets. And neither course of actions seems to make them any more trustworthy, IMHO. The only thing that makes Google (as a search engine) trustworthy to any extent, in my mind, is that they don't try to disguise paid advertisements as search engine results.
    • "The only thing that makes Google (as a search engine) trustworthy to any extent, in my mind, is that they don't try to disguise paid advertisements as search engine results."

      Do they?
    • by maxume ( 22995 )
      I think they realize that a great deal of their income comes from providing good search results and that SEO(especially the 'consulting' part of it) is largely based on actively making search results worse.

      So it doesn't even have to be about keeping the search results clean, but about not executing conflicting strategies(or at least, having the sense not to sacrifice good revenue chasing after bad revenue, in the sense that SEO isn't a market if search goes away).
  • by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:25AM (#22961668) Homepage Journal
    I hope it's the evil part.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @08:57AM (#22961878)
    If you now have search and banner campaigns through DoubleClick, suddenly your search campaigns are shuttled off to some other company? You can't feed both campaigns off the same budget anymore or access all your performance indicators in one place?

    Sounds like Google is crippling DoubleClick's search business to provide a dubious benefit.
  • The other half will have a line under it, and they will paint it all blue.
  • by 1sockchuck ( 826398 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:29AM (#22962156) Homepage
    Prominent search expert Danny Sullivan outlined the reasons Google should divest Performics [searchengineland.com] in a post last month at Search Engine Land. He also notes that Microsoft has a similar conflict since it owns Aquantive, whose Avenue A/Razorfish unit offers search engine optimization.
  • by Eth1csGrad1ent ( 1175557 ) on Friday April 04, 2008 @09:38AM (#22962254)
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...

    and can now preview this comment...

    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...

    and post it.

    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...
    Waiting for ad.doubleclick.net...

    Nope.

    Apparently I need to put more text here to beat the postercompression filter. So here goes: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus non erat eu dui dignissim dictum. Integer iaculis nulla at nisl. Proin ut enim non ipsum varius laoreet. Integer feugiat, ante fringilla blandit convallis, leo sapien egestas velit, non condimentum nulla sem vitae risus. Mauris aliquam auctor quam. Sed ac enim. Donec mattis dui id ligula. Integer vel sem eget ante cursus tristique. Nullam vel orci vitae sem interdum placerat. In eget lectus. Donec blandit. Quisque lacus urna, malesuada vel, mollis sit amet, rutrum nec, est. Proin blandit ornare nibh. Duis et felis.

    Done :)
    • Just alias all the doubleclick servers to 127.0.0.1 in your /etc/hosts to solve this problem http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=110440 [ubuntuforums.org]
    • Seeing as I have studied Latin (first year uni only) I'm curious to know what you have written.

      Sadly, I too am waiting for ad.doubleclick.net to load on the free Latin translation site since I am too lazy to check myself. =)

      (Just kidding... Firefox 1.5.1.3 or whatever it is now running noscript, adblock plus, filtersetg, customizegoogle, etc.)

      Addendum: I write that then I get a "Loading" dela^H^H^H^H "feature!" from the new discussion system. Irony ftw?

      Keep up the good work. =)
  • and burn all the documentation? Sure, they might have to write off a couple of hundred mil, but I figure Larry and Sergei can afford that kind of money.

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama

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