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Dark Clouds On Google's Horizon?

Paying attention to details like ad relevance, clickable area and Quality Scores may hurt Google in the end--at least according to Cowen & Co. analyst Jim Friedland, who spoke up about the giant's ad platform tweaks during an SES NY session last week. Friedland was concerned that while Google's Quality Score changes would lead to higher ROI for advertisers, the resulting overall slowdown in clicks would continue to undercut any of the subsequent pricing benefits.

Friedland was also concerned about Google's struggles to monetize the MySpace inventory that it's still obligated to shill for News Corp. But David A. Utter casts an even gloomier outlook for the giant--noting that its prized DoubleClick acquisition may not be as valuable as it seemed just 12 months ago.

"ESPN and Disney dumped ad networks that filled their remnant ad inventory in favor of an as yet unspecified approach," Utter says. "That means DoubleClick, Google's little $3.24 billion ad network acquisition, isn't in the mix for Disney's properties, and possibly other major content creators in Hollywood and elsewhere who could follow suit."



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