Malik, Bennett, Google and Yahoo, Oh My!


Tech blogger Om Malik does some really good work covering the telecom/technology space. If he’s not on your reading list, he should be. I don’t always agree with him, but he brings some interesting perspective to coverage of this space.

Today he has an interesting look at two complementary articles on Google and its advertising future – the Wall Street Journal‘s Kevin Delaney offers the first and Richard Bennett, in the San Francisco Chronicle, provides the second.

Malik wonders if the WSJ article is intended to draw sympathy for Google as it tries to grab at the brass ring with the Yahoo deal.

If anything, the [Delaney] article paints a rather sympathetic view of Google and its money machine. I am surprised by the timing of this story. After all, these problems are quite well known and have been subject of many tomes.

I wonder if this story and Google’s challenges are meant to portray the search-and-online advertising giant as an underdog and win it some sympathy from regulators as it goes in to get its advertising deal with Yahoo approved.

Malik links to Bennett’s column which suggests that Google’s renewed interest in net neutrality (a concept it had begun to walk away from, until Cerf’s recent comments implying a preference for nationalization) may be an effort at drawing attention away from the Google-Yahoo deal.

Nearing an agreement with Yahoo to grab the ailing company’s search business, Google scripted a series of dramatic public events apparently designed to distract from the pending deal. These events emphasize network neutrality, an ever-changing regulatory ideal that Google thrust into the political spotlight two years ago. As entertaining as this spectacle is, regulators should not be fooled.

In his exploration of Google’s Net neutrality efforts and the timing, Bennett charges that there is a certain amount of doublespeak going on. While highlighting Google’s argument that net neutrality is necessary because there are only a few competitors in broadband provision, Bennett points out that the Google-Yahoo deal would give the Big-G 85% of the market for search ads, and the ability to set prices with no competitive controls.

I think both articles are interesting reads, and thank Om for pointing them out. Malik also has a poll up on his site asking readers to weigh in on whether the Google-Yahoo deal should go through.

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