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Google buys "Feedburner" blog ad network, as it further Googleopolizes the Internet

For anyone watching Google closely, they are cleverly locking up all the leading segments of the Internet which control the monetization access points to Internet content.

  • Per MediaWeek, June 1st Google bought Feedburner, the largest feed and blog advertising network, which also happens to have the best quality and quantity of major content providers who subscribe to blog feeds.
    • It's a shrewd and brilliant move, if the antitrust authorities allow it.
  • This comes on the heels of its April proposed merger with DoubleClick, the largest adserving company on the Internet, which is estimated to serve 80-85% of Internet users with display ads per EPIC.
  • That came on the heels of the closing of Google's YouTube acquisition, which makes Google the owner of the largest user-created video content network and one of the most popular destinations on the web.

Anyone else see a pattern here?

  • Google has a ton of cash and is burning to put it to work buying up companies.
  • Google understands first mover advantage and is willing and able to buy at a premium any very early established market leader in a market that helps Google control access to Internet content for the purposes of monetization the offering and viewing of that content.
  • I suspect Google thinks because this acquisition involves only $100m it will slip by the antitrust authorities as too small and too nascent a market to investigate.
    • As one of the leading bloggers on antitrust and regulation issues in the tech and communications space, I certainly hope the FTC is wise enough to connect these dots and ask for a second request so it can roll this into the Google-DoubleClick merger investigation. This is just another flavor of ad serving to a different subset of web sites -- blogging sites.
    • The additional data point would prove to be very instructive and illuminating for the FTC investigators because nothing helps gain perspective than a different point of view on looking at the same problem.
    • It would be a big analytical and competitive mistake for the FTC to let this merger slide by under the radar when it is so very "relevant" and "targeted" in helping them understand the online advertising market.

I will also be interested to learn whether the blogosphere tunes into this new development and theat to a free and open Internet.

  • The blogosphere purports to care about free speech, and potential blocking by companies with market power.
    • If 65% of the search market in the US and rising rapidly, 75% market share in the UK and Europe and ~90% share in Germany, is not market power -- I don't know what is.
  • We will learn if the blogosphere is truly savy, on their toes, and really cares about the "freedom" of their new medium. Or if they give Google a pass...

The stakes are enormously high. A few more mergers like this ... Google will effectively lock up the monetization network for accessing content on the Internet.