News Release

Google and DoubleClick Merger: Online Consumer Profiling


On Thursday and Friday, the Federal Trade Commission is holding a “town hall meeting” on Internet advertising.

Chester is the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, author of the recently released book Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy and will testify at the FTC. He said today: “A system has emerged where we are tracked, profiled, and analyzed, and then subjected to an array of sophisticated marketing communications designed to direct and change our personal behavior.

“The data and market clout that a DoubleClick acquisition will provide Google must be stopped by the FTC and the European Commission. We are seeing the emergence of a ‘new-media’ monopoly that should concern all of us. But in our interactive marketing era, it’s not about following the money. It’s all about who gets to access and harvest our personal information.”
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Ngo is director of the Identification and Surveillance Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. She said today: “Google has repeatedly claimed that it is not a competitor to DoubleClick, because Google states it is merely a search engine while DoubleClick is an ad server. However, on August 21, Google began selling display ads to select videos running on YouTube, which Google owns. YouTube is the most popular online video site, and Google is now its exclusive server of display rich media advertising. If it were not clear before, it is clear now that Google is a competitor to DoubleClick, the world’s largest Internet advertising company.

“Google’s insistence that it is a mere search engine, that it is not a part of the Internet display ad market, is disingenuous. With this merger, Google is attempting to subsume its biggest competitor in the online display ad market.”
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Amina Fazlullah is a media reform advocate and staff attorney at U.S. PIRG. She said today: “Most online shoppers believe they’re beating the system by going online and hunting down bargains in a wholesale environment. However today’s click per click data collection regime has turned the wholesale warehouse into a used car lot. Sellers hungry for profits hunt out every byte of data on prospective consumers so that they can dynamically change prices for each individual consumer, change the look and feel of the website, and even constrain product choice. While some of the ‘tailoring’ can be helpful to consumers, the utility of this kind of deep data collection is quickly extinguished when shoppers begin to face price discrimination and diminished product choice.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.