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Do You Have a Fear of Google?

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During his speech at the Forbes shindig I attended, Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer’s funniest remark was when he told us that the “Fear of Google” was so prevelent that it even had a three-letter acronymn: FOG.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing more and more about FOG all weekend as I talk with advertising and marketing executives from some of the world’s biggest companies. Here’s a few examples:

1) Why did the stock market drive shares of Yahoo up so fast on total rumors that Microsoft was buying Yahoo? Easy, we wanted it to happen. “We” being journalists who are living in FOG land. Bloggers who’d like to see Microsoft be interesting again (which is why I linked to it).

2) What will do when Google’s growth slows down? One advertising agency exec says he’s afraid of pricing control Google will be able to have if they continue gobbling up market share and advertising companies like DoubleClick. Have a bad quarter coming up? Raise prices!

3) Google is changing expectations of advertisers. One advertising agency exec told me she’s seeing that more and more advertisers are only willing to pay for “the last click” — she works for an airline, for instance, who wants to see ROI reports on all ads now, so it’s getting harder and harder to do creative advertising (which is where advertising agencies add their value and get their fees) in exchange for “boring” text ads. Online “pay per action” ads are training advertisers that they should be able to track everything about advertising and how well it’s working for them. Of course, as we were talking about this on the bus we rolled by a Coca Cola umbrella. I wonder how well THAT is converting!

Anyway, back to #1. Several people on the boat were hoping that Microsoft would buy Yahoo simply to keep competition going in the advertising market. The perception on the street is that Google is leaving its competitors in the dust and they don’t like that, which is causing them to cheer on Microsoft and Yahoo just so they’ll do something interesting and stay in the game.

Oh, and advertisers want to track everything about you on the Internet. They want to know if you saw a blog about something, and a banner about that, and other stuff about that — how does that all mix into your purchasing behavior. They are looking to Google to give them more answers. I heard more than one brand manager decry that he couldn’t see anything about you other than you clicked on an ad on Google to find his company’s stuff.

Because these folks have so much advertising buying power, watch for Google (and Yahoo and Microsoft, to be fair) to cater to them and give them more data about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

Do you have FOG? If so, why?

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