Last month, I did an open letter to Google wishing they’d quickly sell off Performics, to avoid the conflict of having a search marketing firm that works to improve results on Google’s own search engine. Well, thank you Google! They’ve acted far more quickly than I would have hoped for, announcing today that the company will be splitting Performics into two separate companies (affiliate marketing and search marketing) and selling the search marketing business off. Now to see if Microsoft will do the right thing and make a similar move with Avenue A/Razorfish, as I covered in my open letter and in my Ad Age column this month. Below, Google’s statement on the move:
Since we closed the acquisition of DoubleClick on March 11, we’ve been immersed in integration planning for each of our products and business units. Recently we completed this process for the DoubleClick Performics businesses, and have decided to split them into two separately-run business units: Affiliate Marketing and Search Marketing.
It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users. For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party. We believe this will allow us to maintain objectivity and the search marketing business to continue to grow and innovate and serve its customers. While we have not yet identified a buyer, we’ve received preliminary interest from a number of our current partners. Search Marketing will continue to run as a separate entity until the division is sold.
We plan to integrate the affiliate marketing business into existing Google operations, providing enhanced value and reach for our affiliate advertisers, and additional tools and monetization opportunities for our publishers. Together, we believe that we can continue to grow this business and deliver on the high expectations from partners.
Where it’s applicable in Europe, these plans and their implications for employees are subject to consultation with staff and employee representatives. During this transition, we will ensure that all affiliate and search marketing customers receive the same high level of service they have always experienced.