One of the factors behind the US Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) objection to the now-defunct Google-Yahoo search ads deal, which was far less sweeping than the pending Yahoo-Bing/Microsoft deal, was the objection of the powerful advertising trade organization the Association of National Advertisers. Now, another advertising trade organization, the “4As,” or American Association of Advertising Agencies, has formally announced its support for the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal.
Below is the full text of the letter, which was signed by 4As President and CEO Nancy Hill, along with the heads of the four major advertising holding companies–Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe; Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP; Michael I. Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpubic Group of Companies; and John Wren, President and CEO, Omnicom Group:
Advertising is the fuel that powers the Internet. Most websites depend on online advertising to survive – it’s what allows them to offer consumers free content and services.
A very important form of online advertising is search advertising – the sponsored links that appear when a search engine answers a query. A healthy, competitive market for search and search advertising is crucial to the Internet’s future. We believe that Yahoo! and Microsoft’s proposal to combine their technologies and search platforms is good for advertisers, marketing services agencies, website publishers and consumers.
These benefits are too important to wait for. As leading members of the advertising and marketing services industry, we urge the Department of Justice to bring its antitrust review to a speedy conclusion. This proposal enhances competition, and should be allowed to take effect as soon as possible.
I’m sure there were plenty of discussions behind the scenes and this wasn’t simply a spontaneous expression of good will; just as there was much behind-the-scenes lobbying that resulted in objections to the earlier Google-Yahoo search ads deal. Regardless, this public pronouncement will have influence and make DOJ acceptance and approval of the Bing/Microsoft deal much more likely in my opinion.