FT Looks at GoogleClick – From Another Planet

FT.com.jpgThe “Financial Times” published an editorial today, “Google clicks twice,” about the search engine’s DoubleClick acquisition, that would indicate one of the world’s leading business publications understands little about Google (or search, for that matter), and still less about online advertising.

I just keep reading sentences in it over again in utter bafflement. Take this one: “Google plans to acquire the oddly named Doubleclick – most web adverts land you in an online casino with one or sometimes zero clicks – for $3.1bn.”

It’s not like Google just dropped over $3B on an obscure start-up that serves pop-up casino ads — or am I missing something?

It only gets stranger: “Google is like a TV station, attracting viewers and then selling their attention to advertisers. Doubleclick is more like a media buying agency, buying space from broadcasters on behalf of advertisers.”

That would be so true…if, for example, Google conceived of, produced, bought and/or created and distributed content. Like TV stations do. Google is no more a TV station than DoubleClick is a media buyer. Or am I missing something again?

How about this: “Buying Doubleclick does not increase Google’s share of the total web audience, a more meaningful measure of the market.”

Google a TV station, remember? It’s all about the ratings.

But wait — there’s more: “The real questions are why Google wants to be in advertising…Google is good at wacky stunts and has unusual office furniture, both advertising staples, but its laid-back computer engineers probably lack the necessary lunching skills. The right career advice for Silicon Valley’s finest: an adman’s pointy calfskin loafers are all very well, but the real money is in search engines.”

Where has the FT been all this time? Google’s a $150 billion market cap company that should stick with search and stay out of advertising? A company lacking the qualifications, experience, or the staff to broker ad deals? A company that could have achieved this level of success in less than 10 years’ time reaping the rich financial rewards inherent in being a search engine with no significant monetization model?

I’d always assumed the FT’s editors knew a thing or two more about financial models than ClickZ’s editorial staff and our readers. Perhaps they do, and we’ve all been missing the real value in search engines: charging users 5 cents per search.

Sure, that’ll work. We always knew this keyword bidding thing was way too complicated to last.

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