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Marketers Step Into Google FOG

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It wasn’t too long ago that a possible Microsoft purchase of Yahoo would have spooked the living daylights out of everybody. Not anymore, not even close. Fear of Google, the FOG, rolls in so thick the folks enveloped within are looking to Microsoft for daylight.


Microsoft has been unable to compete on its own with MSN (and less effectively so far with Live Search), and Yahoo last year conceded that second place was just fine by them. Meanwhile, Google swallows nearly two-thirds of the search market, buys YouTube and then DoubleClick.

And the people start shouting for somebody to pull on the reins. A Microsoft/Yahoo assault seems to be the only recourse for blocking an all-out Google takeover of the advertising/publishing industry.

Former Microsoft employee Robert Scoble says the acronym "FOG" (Fear of Google) has entered the common lexicon of the marketing world:

"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."

Coupled with the fear of monopolies is the fear of what Google knows about the average searcher/consumer. Demographic and behavioral data that Google could collect will become increasingly valuable commodities in the marketing world, which will bring up serious concerns about privacy on the Web.

FOG isn’t new, even if it’s new to the mainstream. A quick Google search shows that the acronym was used as far back as 2005, when more astute observers began to notice the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s potential.

The Fear is prevalent enough at least to have inspired poems, even if this one has more to do with tedious time-consumption than all-encompassing market panic. Warning to the wise: Google poetry has quite the checkered history, but Stock’s send-up of the Googtopia at least brings it up a notch from its Vogon past.

Then again, this could just be traditional (nearly annual) Google jitters.

Marketers Step Into Google FOG
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