Google’s recent decision to make its UK keyword bidding policy conform with the US practice of allowing competitors to bid on each other’s brands has drawn ire and threats of legal action. Today brings more such news of potential legal action against Google from a range of travel companies and retailers in the UK.
Also angry at Google is BusinessWeek writer Roben Farzad, who penned a sarcastic and even, at times, bitter commentary called Let’s Grab Google’s Gazillions, which laments the fact that Google is so successful and has so much cash in a economy that looks pretty bad for lots of other people.
On the theme of tough times, Read/Write Web speculates about what may be going on at social search engine and Swicki platform Eurekster. The site has been down for a few days and there have reportedly been some executive departures. I reached out to the company’s PR folks but haven’t heard anything. The site remains down.
Yahoo suffered the departure of one of its board members this week, Edward Kozel. The company decided to delay its annual shareholder meeting and reduced the number of directors from 10 to nine and it renominated all nine directors for the next term. They will go up against an alternative slate of directors nominated by investor Carl Icahn who has mounted a proxy battle for control of the Yahoo board (to force a deal with Microsoft).
AllThingsD reports that Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock “has assured major investors that there are now others in the room–such as Yahoo’s independent directors . . . to make sure Yahoo’s latest revived talks with Microsoft go more smoothly.”
The latest talks between Microsoft and Yahoo are tied to access to Yahoo search and its paid search platform. Meanwhile, Google is still working on a paid-search deal with Yahoo. Co-founder Larry Page reiterated the argument that a deal could be structured to avoid anti-trust concerns during a speech to the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.
As part of that speech Larry Page criticized any potential deal between Microsoft and Yahoo and pitched Google’s plan for use of unused TV “white space” spectrum for broadband internet access: “WiFi on Steroids.” Microsoft and other companies, including Intel, are part of the effort to persuade regulators to make that spectrum available for internet use.
Finally some interesting comments at a Goldman Sachs investor conference from Director of Business Product Management at Google, Nick Fox. He said that while Google has seen considerable demand for CPA products from advertisers, Google has no plans to copy the “cash back” consumer part of Microsoft’s new CPA-based ad program.
He also said mobile search usage was a complement to core web search usage because “there’s high volume on weekends and days when volume is low on desktop.” Fox added that Google had no plans to mine user profiles for behavioral targeting data and to use that in AdWords targeting. He did say that the company was further exploring “previous query refinement,” however, which is a form of behavioral monitoring that influences search results (and advertising).