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'New World Order' in Advertising Up for Grabs

Advertising executives are weighing in on the potentially landscape altering war over Yahoo. As Tim Hanlon, EVP of Publicis Group unit Denuo, says: "Nothing short of a new world order in this space is up for grabs."

Consolidation usually reduces competition, and advertisers could find themselves having to work with fewer companies that have a greater hold on certain online sectors. For example, if Google were to power Yahoo's search advertising, it would have a near 90% share of that market. On the other hand, a Microsoft-News Corp.-Yahoo combination or a Yahoo-AOL merger could serve to spread the power in sectors like display advertising, social networking and online video.

However, some advertisers worry about search, in particular. "If all of a sudden the cost-per-click prices go very high for Google and the return on investment goes down, you can instantaneously move money away from Google and into Yahoo. If you lose that option to move money into Yahoo or a Yahoo-Microsoft combination, the only option is to retreat from the search market, lower your spend, or grin and bear it," says Bryan Wiener, chief executive of search marketing firm 360i.

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