Worth Reading: Will Google Monopolize Display Ads?

It’s been clear what Google’s plan is for the display advertising infrastructure. It wants to piece to piece an end to end system. The charitable view is the driving force behind this is an effort to bring simplicity to an overly complex landscape. The less charitable view is Google wants to dominate display the same way it dominates search. There’s probably some truth to both. Jay Sears, general manager of the ContextWeb Ad Exchange, has a not completely unbiased view in AdAge of the Google move to acquire Admeld. Sears doesn’t bemoan Google’s efforts to build its share of queries bid on exchanges.

My concern is just the opposite — that Google’s peers Microsoft, Yahoo and others — are not being diabolical enough. We need more diabolical liquidity, otherwise we will have a display advertising monopoly. And that’s only fun for one person at the party. Google has been building its dominance in display in plain sight yet few seem to understand how to counterbalance its cunning and impactful moves.
Of course, those players would build their positions by buying sources of ad queries, such as the Contextweb Ad Exchange and other players. The counterpoint to Sears comes in the comments via Russ Fradin, echoing a point he made in Digiday yesterday: Facebook is the only player with enough heft to compete in display at this point.


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