The Federal Trade Commission has opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Googleâ€™s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick, according to a report in the New York Times.
The inquiry began at the end of last week, after it was decided that the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Justice Department would conduct the review, said the executive, who asked not to be identified because he had not been authorized to speak. The two agencies split the duties of antitrust enforcement.
An F.T.C. spokesman said yesterday that the agency did not comment on pending inquiries.
The deal, involving powerful forces in their respective niches of the online advertising business, prompted privacy advocates and competitors to raise concerns after it was announced last month. Those concerns and the dealâ€™s size made a preliminary investigation all but certain, according to antitrust experts.
Microsoft, who was once rumored to be interested in DoubleClick, pushed for an antitrust investigation of the Google-DoubleClick deal. Recently, Microsoft agreed to pay $6 billion for aQuantive, and one of their units is Atlas, which competes with DoubleClick.
Will this clash of the titans filter down to affiliate marketing? Just a couple weeks ago, Microsoft announced the beta of their Microsoft Affiliate Network, and to the surprise of nobody but my dog, it’s not being powered by DoubleClick Performics.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are not the halcyon days of our Internet marketing lives.