Monday, April 16, 2007

Forget Big Brother, Watch Out for Google

The biggest news in the online marketing industry this week was the acquisition of DoubleClick by Google for a reported $3.1 billion. If you didn't know, DoubleClick is the largest full service ad server in the industry. If you've been online today, chances are you've already hit a dozen ads served by DoubleClick.

Why did Google pay $3.1 billion for something they already know how to do? Was it for DoubleClick's earning potential? Probably not, the word on the street is that they're paying upwards of 30 times earnings (moderately high if you compare it to others in the space). Google isn't interested in buying someone else's business to run, it bought DoubleClick for one simple reason. Data.

With the acquisition, Google now has the ability to monitor almost all online behavior. They can now plant the same cookie for all your online activities such as gmail, search and surfing. The latter will find you either through Google's own vast network of AdSense sites (these tend to be the small guys trying to make a buck or two on their traffic) or now through DoubleClick's network (these are in almost all of the big publishers). The data we're talking about is incredibly powerful and as we can tell, valuable. Just imagine how well Google would be able to target an ad to you if their cookie has followed you all day long.

I'm sure the privacy folks are going to take note.

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