The Justice Department has hired a litigator to look at going after Google and its growing dominance in advertising.
This isn’t surprising, of course. It’s the yin-yang of American business: we love success stories but we hate too much success.
The problem with going after Google is that unlike Microsoft or earlier monopolies, the industries Google affects handed it its dominance on a silver platter. Google didn’t steal it away. Yahoo went to Google to be rescued from erstwhile monopolist Microsoft and to improve its bottom line by hundreds of millions of dollars. Newspapers–non-French-speaking ones at least–hire specialists to make their content more attractive to Google and happily take its ads–including this week’s announcement about Google digitizing and monetizing newspaper archives. See also this week’s announcement by NBC that it is handing over some ad inventory to Google. That’s not just about the money. It’s about bringing in a new population of advertisers that big media couldn’t serve (being too big–irony noted).
The agency side of the business, too, is eager to do business with Google. When I interviewed Rishad Tobaccowalla of Publcis’ Denou for my book, he explained that the giant agency consolidated all its digital divisions so it would have better negotiating leverage with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, et al — and also so it would gather more data (as Google does) to learn more about users and target ads better.
But Google gobbles up advertising companies, you say. Well, its acquisition of Doubleclick was approved by the government only recently. Has Google gotten too big since then?
I’ve long argued that we do, indeed, need competition in the ad market but it’s not going to come from regulation. It’s going to come from getting off our asses and creating those competitors. I said that we need an open-source ad marketplace. Nobody’s heeded that advice. Meanwhile, Glam has built a non-Google network that has grown to gigantic proportion–CEO Samir Arora told me at a Burda party the other night that it now serves more than 80 million uniques worldwide, more than 40 million in the U.S. with brand advertisers. That is a competitor to Google.
(Full disclosure: I’m writing a book about Google, What Would Google Do? And I own Google stock.)
That underwear ad you see to the right is one of 483 million American Apparel is serving, making it the No. 1 fashion advertiser online, according to Comscore. That amazes me: that the top advertiser would also be advertising on blogs, including this one. So don’t accept it when you hear that blogs are too small for the big advertisers.
I so like that underwear ad that’s over to the right right now that I think I might pay the advertiser to keep it. A reader complained that it is irrelevant advertising but I say: Isn’t underwear relevant to us all?
UPDATE: Michael Madej uses this to riff on the value of untargeted ads.
Is Google psychoanalyzing me?
I just noticed that all the AdSense ads on the page with this post were for anger management.
Well, I didn’t think I sounded angry. How did Google conclude that I was? Is it targeting ads just to words or now to moods?
Next time I do go on a rant, I expect them to advertise massages, spas, merlots, and drugs.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Steve Ballmer goes a bit farther than even I would go killing print. But that’s the problem; that’s the way print people look at it. What he’s really saying is that delivery over IP will have so much greater advantage over delivery via one-way media. Why? Interaction. He’s right.
In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down — my opinion.
Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form.
Yeah. If it’s 14 or if it’s 8, it’s immaterial to my fundamental point. . . . If we want TV to be more interactive, you’ll deliver it over an IP network. I mean, it’s sort of funny today. My son will stay up all night basically playing Xbox Live with friends that are in various parts of the world, and yet I can’t sit there in front of the TV and have the same kind of a social interaction around my favorite basketball game or golf match. It’s just because one of these things is delivered over an IP network and the other is not. . . .
Also in the world of 10 years from now, there are going to be far more producers of content than exist today. We’ve already started to see that certainly in the online world, but we’ve just scratched the surface. . . . I always take my favorite case: I grew up in Detroit. I went to a place called Detroit Country Day School. They’ve got a great basketball team. Why can’t I sit in front of my television and watch the Country Day basketball game when I know darn well it’s being video-recorded at all times? It’s there. It’s just not easy to navigate to.
In this video, he also talks about the future of advertising. Ballmer argues that it will be hard to distinguish between communication and entertainment and that advertising, commerce, and content will all blend.