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Microsoft After 24/7; Another Search Engine To Own SEM Firm?
Yahoo said it
would acquire an ad network yesterday, in reaction to Google’s plans to expand
its own ad network by
acquiring DoubleClick. Now in
One Giant Leap, the New York Post reports rumors that Microsoft might want
to buy ad management company 24/7 Real
What’s wrong with this picture? The same thing wrong with Google’s planned
purchase of DoubleClick — that the move also puts a search engine into the
search marketing game.
As Usual," Despite Google’s Planned Purchase covers how Google will need to
dispose of the Performics division of DoubleClick if it want to have any
credibility as a search engine. You simply cannot — cannot! — have your own
in-house division designed to help people rank well on your own search engine.
It means the entire third party search marketing industry, which already has
some mistrust of search engines, is going to lose whatever faith they have left.
Moreover, it’s going to leave searchers eventually wondering whether you skew
things to ensure that your search marketing division is making money for the
company. This is especially tricky for Google. Remember back when it went
public, Google told the world in its
We will do our best to provide the most relevant and useful search results
possible, independent of financial incentives. Our search results will be
objective and we will not accept payment for inclusion or ranking in them.
Google might not take payment for putting paid inclusion in its own results,
but if Performics becomes part of Google, then Google will be directly taking
payment from others who want paid inclusion in Yahoo.
Further in the same filing, Google said:
Some of our competitors charge web sites for inclusion in their indices or
for more frequent updating of pages. Inclusion and frequent updating in our
index are open to all sites free of charge. We apply these principles to each
of our products and services. We believe it is important for users to have
access to the best available information and research, not just the
information that someone pays for them to see.
Again, while paid inclusion might not be part of Google, Performics itself
will be a Google service. If Performics continues to sell paid inclusion, then
Google will no longer being applying one of the longest-held principles that it
has had. Perhaps the
Google culture officer needs to make sure those involved with acquiring
DoubleClick understand this key part of Google’s culture.
As for Microsoft, it
dumped paid inclusion back in 2004, making a big deal of the move being good
for searchers. 24/7 is a
in paid inclusion services. That’s going to put Microsoft back into the space,
albeit indirectly, that it once abandoned.
Paid inclusion issues aside, both Google and Microsoft might end up owning
search marketing firms. That alone is too much an inherent conflict. Google
could have clarified that Performics would be spun off from the very beginning.
Instead, we’ll almost certainly see this happen, probably announced as part when
the DoubleClick deal eventually goes through. Microsoft, if it really wants
24/7, had better seriously carefully consider the conflicts it will face.
Finally, I’ve got no problem with either Performics or 24/7. Both are
companies with great reputations — and both should thrive on their own. They
just don’t belong as part of major search engines.
For related discussion, watch Techmeme