Tuesday morning I am interviewing Eric Schmidt at the Web 2 Expo. Usually I obsess about these interviews, this time, I’m more than obsessing. Why? Today there were 4000 people in the audience, and that’s quite something to look out over. And there’s much news happening around Google – this will be Eric’s first live interview in front of the industry since the DoubleClick deal, and I want to make sure it’s good. So can you help me? I’m reading a lot of stuff on the deal, of course, and still formulating my own thoughts (I think I’ll wait to post till after I talk to him), but here’s what’s on my reading list:
Alarm Clock: Google CEO Eric Schmidt called in on the announcement conference call and explained that Google did a strategic review this year and discovered that the scale of the display ad business was larger than the company had initially thought. To our ears this sounds like spin to justify the deal. Surely Google management knows that brand advertising is big business that Google has had problems with.
WatchMojo: …since the next wave of growth is display/banners at the expense of video (and the one after that being video), Google did not apparently blink today, spending twice what it spent on YouTube to keep DCLK out of the hands of MSFT.
PaidContent: When I asked why display advertising had taken on greater importance in the last year, Sergey Brin said, “We’ve though display advertising has been important for several years.” He mentioned several Google efforts in display but—to paraphrase—nothing on the scale of DoubleClick. He said “we’ve had a lot to keep us busy in search and search advertising” … that remains important but “we can now afford” to give more attention to display.
NYT (first story): The sale offers Google access to DoubleClick’s advertisement software and, more importantly, its relationships with Web publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies.
For months, Google has been trying to expand its foothold in online advertising into display ads, the area where DoubleClick is strongest. Google made its name and still generates most of its revenue from search and contextual text ads.
Charlene Li: There’s been rational points made from some voices in the privacy advocacy community — namely Lauren Weinstein from the California Initiative For Internet Privacy — that Google would refrain from creating detailed user profiles, especially to stay in the good graces of its users. My point above is that Google can create user profiles only with the permission of the publishers and advertisers that it serves — and can benefit from them only if those same parties participate. It’s unlikely that anyone in that value chain will want to risk violating user privacy, so only minimal data — if any — will be passed between parties.
Chicago Trib: At a time when advertising dollars and readership are drifting to the Internet at an increasingly rapid pace, many newspaper industry executives share Curley’s circumspection about the online giants.
Blogoscoped: Sergey Brin emphasized that user privacy will be handled as top priority among all the different integration challenges. Wonder what kind of potential privacy issues he had in mind? After all, DoubleClick is tracking a whole lot of web traffic with their cookies. Combine that with what Google can already track through all the sites running AdSense, and you got an even greater percentage of the web covered…(more)
The River: As Google moves to become more Madison Avenue — becoming more entrenched in the advertising/marketing mainstream — it takes the whole media world just a little more digital and technology-oriented. After all, Eric Schmidt has said he wants people to think of Google as an “operating system” for advertising, or some such. Can you imagine anyone even conceiving of an operating system for advertising, before Google?
Kedrosky: To borrow a phrase from Microsoft’s past, this is a brazen attempt to cut off Microsoft’s future air supply.
GoYaMi: In June of 2004 DoubleClick acquired Performics, an affiliate network and management company and search engine marketing agency in an all cash deal totaling between $58M and $65M.
Now, seemingly in an effort to acquire the DART ad technologies and publisher relationships, Google has also acquired an affiliate network and search engine marketing agency that consequently gets paid by their customers to help them perform better in Google.
Microsoft (via WaPo): Microsoft said yesterday that Google’s proposed purchase of Internet advertising company DoubleClick raises antitrust and privacy concerns that deserve careful review by authorities.
Executives at the software giant said they talked over the weekend with AT&T, AOL and Yahoo about similar concerns. Microsoft had bid for DoubleClick but lost to Google. (more from the Journal)
Google: This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.
The Search (written two years ago): There was always the fallback of simply running banners on Google’s prodigious trafﬁc—one deal with DoubleClick, an ad network that specialized in serving graphical banners, would probably net the company millions of dollars. But that felt like a sellout—DoubleClick’s ads were often gaudy and irrelevant. They represented everything Page and Brin felt was wrong with the Internet. “They didn’t want to turn the Web site into the online version of Forty-second Street,” recalls investor and director Michael Moritz.
So…what would YOU ask him?