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Antitrust

"Ultimate Internet Gatekeeper" -- My Washington Times Op-Ed

http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070930/COMMENTARY/109300009/1012/commentary


 


Article published Sep 30, 2007
Ultimate Internet gatekeeper?


September 30, 2007


Scott Cleland - Imagine one company was allowed to become the world's de facto editorial filter by which Internet content gets found, the only revenue collector for most Web sites and the dominant gatekeeper for any business seeking to reach Internet users and Web sites.

Imagine further that one company had "private dossiers" on most all Internet users that could, with substantial accuracy, tell the company any individual's religion, politics, health status, income level, sexual preference, gender, age and personal secrets — and had an economic incentive to secretly exploit those individuals' private information for financial gain. Finally, imagine that company had little accountability to consumers, competition, regulators, or independent third-party oversight.

My Senate Judiciary Testimony why the Google-DoubleClick merger should be blocked

Below is the summary of my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust yesterday on why the Google-DoubleClick merger should be blocked.

  • I find the Google-DoubleClick merger review process to be one of the most illuminating and fascinating ways to explore the future of the business of the Internet.
    • I also strongly believe the trajectory of Internet content business will be profoundly affected by the outcome of this merger review.
  • I highly recommend you review the six charts I prepared which provide a very useful visual overview of why this merger is so far-reaching, little understood and important. 
  • My full testimony and my previous white paper, "Googleopoly" can be found at www.googleopoly.net.

Responding to Art Brodsky's broadside on my credibility and integrity on Huffington Post

Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge comes to Google's defense in an extensive broadside attack on my credibility and integrity because I have the gall to stand up to one of his patrons -- Google -- by testifying tomorrow at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust -- where I will show in great detail why the Google-DoubleClick merger is anti-competitive and why I recommend that it should be blocked by the FTC. Stay tuned.

Mr. Brodsky is not the first person to come after me for my provocative forward-thinking and unconventional views, nor will he be the last.

New academic study challenges notion Google & DoubleClick aren't competitors

A new antitrust analysis by leading academics in the field provides some very relevant and eyebrow-raising new third-party survey data that appears to debunk Google's main defense of the DoubleClick acquisition: that Google and DoubleClick are not competitors. 

  • This first and most comprehensive market survey of advertisers suggests that DoubleClick's customers do indeed view Google and DoubleClick offering as substitutes/competitors for their ad dollars.  

For those following this merger review closely, this study is a must read:

Why is this study important?

Great FT article on Google provides more evidence of Google's cultural aversion to internal controls

Richard Waters of the FT produced a very insightful and newsy article on how Google reportedly passed on buying DoubleClick two years earlier over internal concerns about how that alignment of businesses could clash with Google's famed "don't be evil' highmindedness.

  • It's a must read article for Googlephiles.

My big takeaway from this article was an undercurrent of Google's struggle over internal controls to ensure Google's "ethics" are carried out in practice.  

Google competing in yet another way with DoubleClick

The New York Times (and others) reported yesterday Google's announcement that it was launching a "Gadget ads" program  which is essentially display-ad-serving to "widgets' which are essentially "mini-websites" within websites.

It is getting harder and harder for Google antitrust lawyers to argue with a straight face that Google does not compete in the market of "display-ad-serving" with DoubleClick.

  • Google is the world leader in "serving":
    • search text ads
    • contextual ads;
    • video display ads through YouTube,
  • And is now entering: 
    • mobile ad- serving;
    • and widget ad-serving to these mini-websites withing websites.
  • Google's definition of "ad-serving" is increasingly becoming too-cute-by-half semantic wordplay and not a functional or factual definition.

Antitrust officials should ask Google if they are colluding with DoubleClick to not compete while the merger is pending.

Implications for Google-DoubleClick of Microsoft losing antitrust appeal

So what are the implications of Microsoft losing its antitrust appeal in the EU's Appeals court -- which was a page one story in all the major papers?

More and different than most may think.

The EU is signalling in it's harsh treatment of Microsoft, that the EU is going to be tough on "dominant" firms. 

New evidence bolstering why Google-DoubleClick merger is anti-competitive

The New York Times has twin articles today that provide fresh additional evidence of why the Google-DoubleClick merger is anticompetitive: "Google to sell Webpage ads on Mobile phones" and "Times stops charging for parts of its website." 

The first article is yet more compelling evidence that Google's main merger defense -- that Google and DoubleClick don't compete in serving ads -- is simply bogus.

Mounting evidence of Googleopoly...

 

Evidence continues to mount that the Google-DoubleClick merger presents serious anti-competitive concerns.

Let me share a series of antitrust developments over the last several days that cumulatively are very significant.

First, and most ominous, is that Yahoo, the weak #2 in the search market, which used to use Google's search engine, has been actively considering exiting the search business and outsourcing to #1 dominant Google or distant #3 Microsoft, because investors want the greatly expanded investment returns such a revenue-enhancing and cost cutting move would generate for shareholders.  

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