Yahoo Roundup: AOL And Yahoo Resume Merger Talks, Answers For Sale?, “Start Wearing Purple?” And Institute Recommends Conditions For Google Paid Search Ads

With Yahoo’s stock nearing its 52 week low, conspiracy theorists might think that the Financial Times report about the resumption of merger talks between AOL and Yahoo was based on news leaked with the intention of boosting Yahoo and/or TimeWarner shares. However, it appears that discussions which began to fend off Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo are resuming, as the two companies now try to figure out how to improve their respective fortunes.

The other noteworthy aspect of all this is that it comes out of the first board meeting following the ascension of Carl Icahn and two allies to the Yahoo board.

If the AOL-Yahoo merger were to happen there would be many challenges and issues to resolve, not the least of which would be: what would become of Yahoo’s Apex and/or AOL’s Platform A? Then there would be the question of US and EU regulatory approvals, etc.

I’m a little numb to this category of news given all the twists and turns — and eventual anti-climax — of the prolonged MicroHoo episode.

Separately, TechCrunch is reporting a rumor that Yahoo may be trying to sell Answers. Mike Arrington says the idea is “ridiculous.” Perhaps.

The service is widely used but flawed. There’s a Yahoo Answers mobile waiting to be built that could — if there were a more real-time element developed — rival twitter and be much more practical.

In the category of “what the heck is this?” is Yahoo’s Start Wearing Purple site. I’m sure more will become apparent soon.

Finally, according to recommendations in a report issued by the independent American Antitrust Institute, the Yahoo-Google paid search deal should only be permitted after the imposition of a range of conditions. “We believe that the transaction could be blocked on antitrust grounds,” the group said. But the group also recognizes the deal as having benefits.

According to a summary in MediaPost:

One proposed term is that Google and Yahoo be prohibited from setting minimum prices for search ads.

The institute also urged the government to ban Yahoo from showing Google search ads on any pages other than organic search results in North America. In addition, the institute said Yahoo should not be allowed to display Google ads if Yahoo “has a sufficient number of ads of its own to fill the white space surrounding an organic search result.” And the group said that Yahoo’s share of revenue from Google ads should be constant, meaning that the company would not receive a higher share of revenue for using more Google ads.

Related Topics: AOL: General | Channel: Industry | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: General

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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