December 5th, 2007

Google looks to ad partners beyond DoubleClick deal

By Michele Gershberg
Reuters

Google Inc is looking at more advertising partners outside its proposed purchase of DoubleClick Ltd and sees a move to a single system for selling ads across media taking up to five years, a top executive said on Tuesday.

Tim Armstrong, Google’s president of advertising and commerce in North America, said the Web search leader’s forays into selling ads in print, radio and television had shown that marketers would be keen to use a joint system that let them better manage ad inventory.

“We’re intent on bringing more and more scale to the digital dashboard space,” Armstrong said at a UBS media conference in New York, referring to Web-based systems used to buy and sell ad inventory.

“There’s a high level of interest and a high level of work that needs to be done,” he said. “We’re very very early stage on connecting those businesses. I think this is a two-, three-, five-year product that we’re going to work on.”

He noted getting Google’s AdWords system for auctioning search terms had taken more than two years to build into a high-level product, while migrating other media platforms with a long history could take longer.

Google’s plan to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion aims to place it firmly in the market for graphical display advertising online, with capabilities for better serving and tracking the response to ads.

“Outside of that deal, there are also other opportunities for us to work in that space with other companies,” Armstrong said. “We’re exploring the ability to basically work with multiple companies in that space.”

Armstrong described the deal as a way for Google to bridge the market between advertisers who buy commercial space and the publishers who sell that inventory.

“DoubleClick is one piece of it,” he said. “We think the deal should close. We think our competitors have been able to close their deals.”

Microsoft Corp, which is becoming a bigger rival to Google for Web audiences and applications, bought ad technology company aQuantive for $6 billion in August.

The European Commission has opened an in-depth review of the DoubleClick purchase to determine whether it would create too dominant a force in online advertising. U.S. lawmakers have also urged closer scrutiny of the deal.

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