Google Merger to Usurp Control of Internet Ad Market Worldwide

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is well positioned to expand its dominance of the Internet advertising space -- if -- it can pull off a triple play in the market.

In baseball, a triple play is almost unheard of: it requires one team to get three outs in a single, continuous play. But it does happen. The most recent was this last September when the Philadelphia Phillies made a triple play while playing the Colorado Rockies. Now Google may be on its way to the first Internet advertising "triple play."

Google's first play, of course, was unseating Yahoo! as the search-engine-of-choice. From Google's launch in 1998, it rapidly unseated Yahoo! and currently holds about 58% of the search engine share compared with 23% for Yahoo! and just over 10% for Microsoft sites. (Source:

Google's second play was Adwords and Adsense. While launched in 2000, by 2003 Adwords had reduced Overture's market share from 80% to 50%. Today Google controls more than two-thirds of search result advertising. (Source:

Google's third play -- still in progress -- is the acquisition of DoubleClick. While Google controls the lion's share of search engine advertising (which is approximately 40% of the ad spending online), there remains a large portion that is not controlled by Google. This includes ad dollars spent on display ads and banners on the web -- DoubleClick's forte.

According to industry sources concerned about the merger, the acquisition would give Google-DoubleClick the ability to manage more than 80% -- an overwhelming control -- of the advertising served to U.S. third-party websites. (Source:

The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. has approved the deal in a vote of 4-to-1 over the protests of Microsoft, Time Warner (AOL), Yahoo! and Viacom who argued that the deal was anti-competitive and would represent a potentially dangerous exposure of consumer privacy to the Google-DoubleClick giant.

The real test, however, is whether the European Commission will approve the merger. In Europe, the combined companies would control almost 90% of the Internet advertising business. (Source:

On April 2, 2008, the European Commission will decide whether to allow Google+DoubleClick to dominate the Internet advertising marketplace and, potentially, to put into the hands of a single organization, the capability of profiling a large segment of consumers. If they do, Google's triple play will be a milestone in the history of the Internet that will make any triple play in the history of baseball seem like an easy-out.

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