Yahoo, Google build coalition of foes

    May 12, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

The potential deals to place Google’s ads on Yahoo’s search results beyond a previous test already garnered opposition from a motley crew of groups.

Poor Yahoo. All it wants to do is keep its stock price from submarining back down to $19 a share, where it was in January, by bringing in more revenue via a deal with Google. Any such search advertising deal requires a modest scope, as the Feds already made antitrust rumblings, no doubt encouraged from the sidelines by Microsoft.

Whatever breadth and depth Google and Yahoo have planned to place Google’s AdSense for Search in more of Yahoo’s search results, the Los Angeles Times said it will be too much to satisfy an assortment of early critics of such an arrangement:

In fact, it is safe to say that the American Corn Growers Assn. has never before joined forces with the Dominican American Business Network.

Those and 14 other nonprofit organizations sent a joint letter to the Justice Department on Friday asking for an antitrust investigation of the possible Google-Yahoo alliance, which they said “threatens to undermine privacy and consumer choice, increase consumer prices, irreversibly damage online competition, and hurt small and medium businesses across the country.”

Without government intervention, the groups feel Google gains far too much at the expense of others. Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy also write at Digital Destiny how he feels antitrust regulators also need to scrutinize another aspect of the ad business if the two companies make a deal:

“Among the questions we will raise with policymakers is what any alliance between Google and Yahoo! will also mean for their respective mobile search advertising businesses. Privacy is certainly a concern here, as companies such as Google migrate the user tracking and targeting model which fuels the traditional PC-focused online ad business.”

Chester cited figures from M:Metrics via AdAge, where Google and Yahoo controlled a combined 63.7 percent of mobile search as of August  2007.  Google may have gained a little at Yahoo’s expense, as Opera Software switched its default search in its mobile browsers to Google from Yahoo earlier this year.