FTC Questions Google AdMob Acquisition

December 30th, 2009 by Miranda Rutkowski

According to the Google Public Policy Blog posted last week, Google received a “second request” from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for more information FTC Investigates Google AdMob Acquisitionabout the planned Google acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob.  Apparently there are several technology watchdog agencies and lobbyists that have expressed serious concerns about how this will affect the mobile advertising world.  The most obvious argument against this marriage of technology is that this merger will allow Google to dominate the mobile ad world and discourage competition.

While the Google AdMob acquisition could potentially allow Google and their PPC advertising division, Google AdWords, to become an even more dominant one-stop-shop for advertisers, this deal could also eventually lead to higher prices for advertising space.  We all took Economics in high school or college and we all know that anti-trust laws were put into place for a reason – to stop monopolies from forming.  However, on the opposite side, I haven’t seen anything newsworthy about Yahoo! or MSN (Bing) attempting to break into the mobile advertising sector to offering this service to their advertisers.  Why should Google be essentially punished for being innovative, thinking outside the box and wanting to make its shareholders AND advertising customers more profits?

While I completely and wholeheartedly believe in the spirit of free enterprise and competition and I do believe that the FTC should have some concerns about this, the issue that I am most concerned about regarding this proposed Google AdMob acquisition is privacy.  First of all, you should know that I am a Google Fanatic;  I personally use Gmail, Voice, Wave, Docs, iGoogle, Reader, Friend Connect, Mobile, Picasa, Talk, Checkout, etc and I a love each and every one of them in their own way.  That being said, my main concern is that if Google is allowed to acquire AdMob they will have access to entirely too much of my personal information.  Will every webpage I visit from my Droid be logged?  Will every song that I favorite be remembered?  Will the locations that I travel to using my GPS be saved?  Will the information I send via text messaging be scanned and analyzed?

In order to serve their searchers relevant ads, Google already gathers a tremendous amount of user data.  This data combined with AdMobs mobile behavioral, demographic, contextual and geographical targeting would give Google a TREMENDOUS amount of user information.  Having all of this personal information saved somewhere in Google-land will allow Google to serve me with more relevant advertising, but it makes me uncomfortable.  All I can do is hope that Google will not take unfair advantage of this potential information goldmine.

Only time will tell how this Google AdMob acquisition situation will play out.  One thing is for sure though:  Having a professional PPC Management Company in place during these tumultuous advertising times is KEY.

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