Commentary

Google Defends Yahoo Deal

Google is taking its case for a search deal with Yahoo directly to Web users with a new site defending the plan.

The Google-Yahoo agreement, announced earlier this year, involves Google serving some paid search ads for Yahoo. The companies say the deal will help boost Yahoo's revenue by giving it the chance to show more search ads than at present.

But the deal faces pushback from marketing and publishing groups. The Association of National Advertisers weighed in against the deal, on the ground that it could lead to higher search prices. The World Association of Newspapers also argued against the deal, saying that any decrease in competition could hurt publishers because they rely on search for visitors. "To date, competition between both these two search companies has provided a necessary check to any potential market abuses," the newspaper group wrote.

For its part, Google says the deal won't lead to consolidation. "This is about expanding the pie, not dividing it differently," Google states on its new site.

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Google also denies that the deal will necessarily lead to any increases in paid search prices. "Ads are priced by an auction where an advertiser only bids what an ad is worth to them," Google writes. "And because of the wide variety of keywords and ads it is impossible for anyone to predict with certainty what might happen to prices for individual queries or even across the board."

Meanwhile, the consumer rights group Center for Digital Democracy added its voice to those who oppose the deal. The group just asked Sen. Herb Kohl to urge the Department of Justice to either block the deal or to impose conditions on it. In addition to concerns about market consolidation, the organization also is worried about the deal's implications for users' privacy.

"It is troubling that the DoJ doesn't appear to be examining the privacy concerns intrinsic to the potential melding of online consumer information from leading competitors," states the letter.

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