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Google In Bidding To Buy DoubleClick 120

Posted by kdawson
from the no-bargains-left dept.
A number of readers clued us to the latest development in the saga of te sale of DoubleClick: Google has thrown its hat into the ring against Microsoft and (reportedly) Yahoo and AOL. Most of the stories quote a Wall Street Journal piece that is only available to subscribers. Google's entry into the bidding may boost the price for the remaining pieces of DoubleClick (parts of the company having already been sold off) to $2 billion, twice what its current owners paid for the whole thing. Some reports speculate that this figure could give Microsoft pause.
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Google In Bidding To Buy DoubleClick

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  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:54PM (#18582423) Journal
    Mr. "Don't be evil" in the running to buy one of the most Evil and Rude companies on the 'net.

    Somehow I doubt it's to dismantle them and slowly kill the bastards responsible...
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      They'll just redefine the activities of DoubleClick to not be evil. That's the great thing about that slogan.. you can redefine "evil" at will.
      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:20PM (#18582561) Journal
        How about they just change the actions of double click and stop them from being evil with the current definition. Thats the great thing about buying a company. You can change the way it operates.
        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:28PM (#18582619) Homepage Journal
          Yeah, that's a great idea. Why don't they buy DoubleClick and turn it into a bakery. Everyone likes bread!

          Presumably they'd be buying DoubleClick because it has value.. maybe they're just after their customer list, but more likely they're of the opinion that DoubleClick is doing some good business.
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            Or maybe they could incorporate some of double click's non evil activities into one of their own products and have a winner.

            Besides, With all double click does, not everything is evil is it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Traa (158207)
          You buy a company, you buy the people that work there. If you work for a company like double-click you know what the company does, and it ain't pretty. If Google buys them they will either have to strip double-click clean of their employees and lose most all of the intellectual property that have put double-click on the money board or claim that they will teach all the employees how to "not be evil". Rrrrrright.

          Same goes for Microsoft, I just can't believe even they will sink this low.

          AOL, yeah...they swim
          • Re:Great... (Score:4, Funny)

            by MarsDude (74832) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:47AM (#18583915) Homepage
            "Same goes for Microsoft, I just can't believe even they will sink this low."

            You must be new here... ;-)
          • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mgblst (80109) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:49AM (#18584681) Homepage
            Doubleclick doesn't have that much IP, and the stuff they do have has nothing to do with the people that work there, it is in patents. It doesn't do anything that complicated.

            The only reason Doubleclick is such a big target, is because it is used by a lot of people. It already has a huge market presence. This was the same with youtube. Most people don't seem to understand that that is the important aspect of these buys. Anybody can build another video site, or myspace, but why would people move to them when they already have the originals. That is why they cost so much. It isn't really that complicated to understand.
        • ... for companies such as Google and Microsoft. Once they become so wealthy that the dollars are meaningless, the next step is power, and DoubleClick offers this by being an intelligence source. Ain't no better way of being a step ahead.
        • by 3m_w018 (1002627)
          Heh, easier stated than done. I interviewed there once when I was living in NYC; the employees there truly are scumbags. When I went into the interview, I wasn't too serious about it, since I wasn't really looking to go into an advertising field. I figured that it would be good interview experience.

          First, I was asked the same questions by 3 different interviewers. I didn't have very good answers for them, because they were looking for a windows system developer, which I was not. They probably would hav
        • I think that they're more likely to change the current definition of evil to not include what the company does, not vice versa. But that's just me.
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            Thats the problem with the glass being half empty verses half full. Personally, I prefer to see it half full unless i see someone pulling the drain and letting the water out.

            I get disappointed a lot more then you probably do, but I think I have an overall good time dealing with it and my stress levels are probably lower on average. In the end, it will be the same, I will be disappointed or you will be vindicated, or I will remain the same and you will be relived. However, I'm not sure if vindicated was the
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:01PM (#18582469)
      Why don't double-click just put out a "buy double-click" ad. Then everyone can play!
    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Checkmait (1062974) <byron&phareware,com> on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:20PM (#18582567)

      I agree: Google probably put the bid in to stop its rival Microsoft from entering the online advertising market in force. Plus, with with Microsoft menacing with its touted eye-tracking ad technology [slashdot.org], Google may be anxious to keep MS out of the ring, at least through merger or acquisition.

      As for the union of the opposite ends of the online ad spectrum, I think Google will influence DoubleClick more than vice-versa simply because it is the acquiring company and has the prerogative of tossing out all of the old management. I hope.

    • by stratjakt (596332)
      whats "evil"?

      if it's not legal, it's not "evil", that's how google defines it

      it's a faggy motto, not a business plan

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:48PM (#18582777)
      Or, it is to make Microsoft over-pay for Doubleclick. Their warchest has dwindled to under $30B for the first time in something like a decade. If they over-pay for Doubleclick, then it might just be one big brick in the wall, ultimately contributing to the death of two of the greatest evils ever to walk the Earth! Muahahahahaha!
    • I don't know much about DoubleClick, but from what I've heard people say about their ads and their company, they don't sound entirely desirable. It could be possible that Google might buy them simply so that their competitors (MS and Yahoo) don't. Lets face it, this is Google's territory, and I would not be surprised to see them go to extreme lengths (blowing 2Bil$) just to protect it and ensure their security. This could be Google flexing their muscles and screaming "I AM GOOGLE!" right in MS's face.
    • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:23AM (#18583007) Homepage
      Haven't you guys ever played Monopoly ? Google probably doesn't want the glorified pile of funk that is DoubleClick, because AdSense is far friendlier and more successful than DoubleClick ever was. However, Microsoft DOES want DoubleClick because they want to compete with AdSense, somehow, in a bastardized half-assed rip-off kind of way like everything else they've released in the past 30 years. If Google ends up buying DoubleClick, just to keep it away from Microsoft, it's a smart strategic move and one that Google can afford, especially if it means protecting their ad business. We all know how Microsoft plays... they don't care if they lose tons of money, as long as they drag everyone else down with 'em, then when the time is right they' pounce on their tired enemies. They're like chinese computer importers, only less puny!

      Google buying DC is kind of like a good monopoly player buying a single lot they don't want, just to keep someone else from completing their set and building friggin hotels. Believe me, buying St. James Place for $180 now is way better than paying your opponent $950 rent later. Same idea here!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Boosting the price that 'Evil' will have to pay to compete isn't evil. It's fighting evil.

      (Cue comic book style superhero in cape posing)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grcumb (781340)

      Somehow I doubt it's to dismantle them and slowly kill the bastards responsible...

      I think we'd all enjoy it more if they killed DoubleClick and slowly dismantled the bastards responsible....

  • Makes sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by _merlin (160982) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:57PM (#18582451) Homepage Journal
    It makes perfect sense - Google and DoubleClick both make money from inserting ads into web sites. But while Google have some of the least intrusive/annoying ads, DoubleClick are at the opposite end of the spectrum. But then both of them have a reputation for gathering personal information, too. If this does happen, I hope Google makes DoubleClick ads less irritating, and not the other way around.
  • by Wireless Joe (604314) on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:59PM (#18582457) Homepage
    I don't care who buys it. I'll never see a DoubleClick ad again as long as Adblock Plus can be set to *doubleclick* . Whoever gets them gets a losing business model.
    • by Kpau (621891) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:10PM (#18582517)
      I have a personal policy of allowing unintrusive ads into my view and punishing obnoxious ads (and not buying their products). Doubleclick is one of the few domains that is completely wildcarded into Oblivion by my adblocker for their behavior.

      If the domain changes to "google.*" .... I may just be on the hunt for another search engine, eh?
      Listen carefully, google-bots... right now, I've got no problem with google-ads and try to click through on anything that interests me. Change that model and you'll summon one of my less pleasant personalities :)
    • by Animats (122034)

      Me too. I've had them blocked for so long I wasn't really aware they were still around.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:25PM (#18582587)
      I share your sentiments. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of Web surfers even know who DoubleClick are, Google may very well decide the loss of your dollars are worth the dollars of the unwashed masses.
      • by Stormx2 (1003260)

        Google may very well decide the loss of your dollars are worth the dollars of the unwashed masses.

        Wait, the general public are now unwashed? Things must have changed since I last visited slashdot...
    • by rm69990 (885744) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:05AM (#18582883)
      Internet Explorer has no widely used ad blockers available, and controls almost 80% of the market. Every non-geek Firefox install I've seen also doesn't have adblock installed. I'm sure a small percentage of users blocking their ads aren't going to hurt them all that much.

      However, I do hate Doubleclick....
      • by houghi (78078)
        They do have a hosts file that they can use. One that is pretty up to date is http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.txt [mvps.org]
        I update my hostsfile with it every week and I don't even run Windows.
    • by elchuppa (602031)
      it's really not DoubleClick. The person you should be annoyed with is the publisher. They are responsible for not irritating their customers. DoubleClick simply delivers a product which is manufactured by an ad agency and sold by a publisher (i.e. website). I fail to see how what DoubleClick does in serving the ads and supporting the desired form factors is evil. DoubleClick could exist perfectly well in an industry that chose not to annoy you. Oh and those annoying ads. They are what makes the people who
      • I disagree. I do try to be legal and ethical in my consuming (as an example: my whole music collection is legal), but what you are saying is not what web is about.

        This is my take on it: The website owner is free to send me any crap they want when I request a page. Likewise, I'm free to do anything I want with the data I receive. If I don't want to see any images, I don't have to see them. If I want to read the thing translated into latin, I can. If I want to filter ads, I will.

        There is no contract, or ev

        • And what do you do with your so-called 'ethics' when the terms of use of a site include refraining from the use of ad-blockers?
          • In that case, they should display the terms of use at each visit: plain in my face. Let's see how long I'll be visiting that site.

          • If I make a contract that states I won't use an ad blocker, of course I won't use one. What's your point? While you're at it, could you explain why you refer to my stated opinions as "so-called 'ethics'" -- sounds like you want to say something with that phrasing, but I'm not sure what.
          • by Ken D (100098)
            I don't read terms of use.

            Besides, every GET that I send includes my terms.

            What? They don't read them either?
          • by jp10558 (748604)
            I don't think I've ever read the terms of use of any website that didn't require an account for login.

            First: I often can't find the things, or I'm not terribly interested in trying to hunt them down anyway.

            Second: I have to view the site to read the TOS. I don't buy that I agree to the damn TOS in just trying to READ it. And I don't buy I agree to anything when I send a request to a server, and it responds with html...

            Third: if it sends me html I request, and images I request, but fails to send me the ads s
    • I don't care who buys it. I'll never see a DoubleClick ad again as long as Adblock Plus can be set to *doubleclick* .

      Unless all the ads would be hosted on google.com... try blocking -that- :-/
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2007 @10:59PM (#18582459)
    I remember a few years back, before Google's advertising services became popular, that using DoubleClick's ads on your site was all the rage. There used to be large groups of people who'd defend DoubleClick to the death, it seemed. Whenever talk of competitors' offerings arose, even the early ones of Google, these folks would come out in force just to prove you wrong. Sometimes they bordered on insanity. I recall one fellow asking me if I'd "shave my balls" for Google after I remarked that I liked how their ads were unobtrusive and relevant.

    Now we hear virtually nothing from these people. I think that this whole situation just goes to show how some of the most significant online media companies can become irrelevant so quickly. The MySpaces and YouTubes of today will likely be long forgotten even in as little as two to three years.

  • Now my NoScript can block Google along with many other services!
  • by Ariastis (797888)
    ...people fight to buy DoubleClick.
  • They probably pay more than that in fines.
  • Google is getting seduced by the dark force...
  • Patents? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:45PM (#18582751)
    Perhaps Google wants doubleclicks patents, with it they could potentially scare away any new comers into their cash cow ad business....

    #

    DoubleClick's "DART" Patent

    # 5,948,061. This is DoubleClick's "DART" patent, entitled "Method of delivery, targeting, and measuring advertising over networks." Here is the abstract:

            Methods and apparatuses for targeting the delivery of advertisements over a network such as the Internet are disclosed. Statistics are compiled on individual users and networks and the use of the advertisements is tracked to permit targeting of the advertisements of individual users. In response to requests from affiliated sites, an advertising server transmits to people accessing the page of a site an appropriate one of the advertisement based upon profiling of users and networks.
  • Google: "Don't Be Evil"
    DoubleClick: "Be Evil"

    This actually scares me... Google buying YouTube was a question of intelligence... seeing this is really a question of morals....
    • Anyone else remember the Google complicity in the Great Firewall of China? This is it all over again. Google shouldn't be trusted; shame I store all my email with them.
    • by pacalis (970205)
      My understanding is that Google bought YouTube was so that insiders on Google's board could exit several hundred million from their YouTube investment under the lunacy of public google stock hype. My understanding is that DoubleClick went private becuase it was making too much money to be punished in the stock market from being so nasty, and for the dot com implosion. And probably for less regs too. So it's really just the 'oil' that google is greasing these deals with.
  • I don't think google's search engine is nearly as good as it used to be. These days, I seem to be flooding with ads which have nothing to do with I type.

    As I understand it, the cost of using google's adsense is sky-rocketing.

    Is google now going the way of doubleclick?

    I guess I can't blame googe. They exist to make a profit. But, I might start looking elsewhere.
    • by rm69990 (885744) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:12AM (#18582931)
      I often hear this "flooded with ads" argument, but generally anything I look for I find on the first page. I'm willing to bet that no less than 99% of my searches require me to look beyond the second page at the worst. What exactly are you looking for all of the time? Any examples so I can see what you're talking about? (I've tried Yahoo! as well and don't have any issues with them either).

      As for Adsense, if you're paying to use adsense, you need your head examined. Google pays you to use Adsense :-P (I'm assuming you meant Adwords).
  • by neonmonk (467567) on Monday April 02, 2007 @11:58PM (#18582825)
    I guess Google are looking at it like this.

    1. They manage to win the bidding war = one less adspace competitor and quite possibly more customers.
    2. They manage to up the price by millions maybe even billions of dollars and one of their major competitors (Microsoft or Yahoo) ends up spending an inflated amount on something they would have bought even if Google didn't enter the race.

    Google can't lose.

    I seriously doubt they'd continue the marketing style of DoubleClick.

    (I too didn't even realise doubleclick was still around *hugs adblock*)
  • I don't mean to be a troll. I swear. But who thinks here that buying youtube, a company with a net profit of 0 was worth 1.65 billions? It may pay off, in the very long term. I'm willing to yield that. And I'll go as far as to say that doubleclick is a much, much better fit for google, it's an advertising company. However, the question we should ask now is, how profitable is doubleclick? It's not publicly traded anymore, so recent numbers are hard to come by (or at least they are hard to come by for me, fee
    • by Mjec (666932)
      The thing about Google buying Youtube was they paid $1.65B in stock. Thanks to rumours in the days before the sale, the value of the stock they owned went up by about $2.20B. So Youtube cost them nothing. Ahh, the brilliance of a market economy and publicly traded shares..
      • by Chryana (708485)

        The thing about Google buying Youtube was they paid $1.65B in stock. Thanks to rumours in the days before the sale, the value of the stock they owned went up by about $2.20B. So Youtube cost them nothing.

        Interesting, I didn't know that. I do not think it refutes my point, though. I don't think anyone would argue that the actual value of google went up by 2.2 billion overnight. It's stock value, which is a totally different animal, did go up. But given google's current share price, I don't think this sudden

    • But who thinks here that buying youtube, a company with a net profit of 0 was worth 1.65 billions?

      Depends, with offerings like Google Images, Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Desktop, Google News, I think a hefty investment in Google Video probably wasn't a bad idea.

  • by XenonOfArcticus (53312) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:08AM (#18582897) Homepage
    Isn't it possible, that Google is engaged in a little eBay-style shill bidding? Google doesn't really want Doubleclick. In fact, Google would probably prefer NOT to have DoubleClick, and not to have DoubleClick EXIST at all. Google just wants to deny Microsoft an opportunity, or failing that, make them pay WAY more than fair value for the privilege. Google can play the table for a few rounds in a bidding war with Microsoft, and then back away at the last second when they think Bill has reached his table stakes. Not that Bill can't afford to pay some amount, it's just that at some point, Microsoft will really regret lining Hellman & Friedman's pockets any more than they had to. Google doesn't care if H&F get rich, as long as it makes Bill poorer. ;)

    And in Google's mind, it might not even be evil. It might be PREVENTING evil. If I were Google (and I'm not, darn it) I'd totally play it that way.
    • by pacalis (970205)
      Ya, and my glass is half a swimming pool full.
    • The question is, how much is it worth to Google to eliminate Doubleclick?
    • by jorghis (1000092) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:02AM (#18583305)
      Haha, you google fan boys crack me up. Multi billion dollar companies dont enter fake bids. They are serious about buying.

      It really is surprising to me that everyone here seems to come up with conspiracy theories to rationalize their worldview of doublclick as 'bad' and google as 'good'. They are both companies in business to make money. Doubleclick uses annoying ads because they make money. Google uses unobtrusive ads because they make billions. The 'dont be evil' thing is just good marketing.
      • Multi billion dollar companies don't enter fake bids.

        You're right, they don't, but whether it's a multi billion dollar company or a broken lawn gnome, this is still a bidding war. Fact is Google probably doesn't need DoubleClick at all, but win or lose entering this "auction" is causing "all" of Google's competitors to ramp things up. Either way Google wins. You're right though the idea that Google would enter this without being willing to drop a billion or so on the table is well, goofy.

      • by mgblst (80109)
        Of course they do. This happens all the time, especially with TV sponsorship. Why would it not? What is intrinsically differnet between ordinary joes on ebay and multi-billion dollar companies, except that they pay-off for companies can be much bigger. Sure, you may not stop this purchase, but you may stop a couple down the line.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:23AM (#18583009)
    Google is buying more and more companies that harvest user preference information. With their own service they know what kind of things people are looking for, what people they are in contact with and (if they're so inclined) what topics people discuss, with YouTube they know what kind of entertainment people enjoy to watch and what kind of content interests them, with doubleclick they'd know what "pathes" people take on their way through the WWW.

    And to be honest, I don't even have an idea what other companies they scooped up on the road that we didn't even hear about. I'm quite sure a decent profiler has no trouble putting the puzzle together.

    So my question is why. At least I know, I wouldn't collect that amount of data just for kicks.
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @12:48AM (#18583205) Homepage Journal
      I'll ask the question you seem to be asking but can't for some reason:

      Is it possible to do anything good with this data, or is the fact that it is collected at all make any use of it intrinsically evil?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        What's good, what's evil? Absolute terms don't fit here 'cause they are very subjective and biased. Crushing a rebellion is always good from the point of view of the ruler, while his subjects might see it as good or evil, depending on whether they see him as a tyrant or their white knight.

        I don't want to ask whether they want to do good or evil with the data. I just want to ask what they're doing with it. Whether I deem it good or evil is my subjective decision.
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          So, from your subjective perspective.. what would you consider a good thing they could be doing with the data?
          • Well, since I just heard that Google wants to push into the US TV network market now, too, maybe more interesting shows that match the interest of the people. Information for webpages how to make themselves more interesting by additionally covering topics that are also interesting to people who come there for their core features. It could be used to make search results in Google more personal (preferably user driven whether it's wanted or not) by cross checking the search parameters against the general inte
          • by bogjobber (880402)
            Trying to sell you something you actually want, as opposed to mass-marketed stuff you aren't interested in. Hardly worthy of a peace prize, but certainly not evil.
      • I think tht if Google knows everything about me and makes it extremely efficient for me to find the services and products I want, without forcing me to do so, that's pretty far from evil. As always, Evil is subjective.
    • if (betterMarketAnalysis == betterMarketing) { collectMoreData(); } else { annoyPeopleWithRandomAds(); }
      • darnit!
        if (betterMarketAnalysis == betterMarketing) {
        collectMoreData();
        } else {
        annoyPeopleWithRandomAds();
        }
    • by bogjobber (880402)

      So my question is why. At least I know, I wouldn't collect that amount of data just for kicks.

      It's not difficult. They want that stuff so they can sell you things in an efficient way. Mass advertisements are inherently inefficient. If you can somehow target advertisements based on someone's personal preferences (or most likely broad generalizations) then you have a higher chance of actually selling them something. If they sell more (or help others sell more), it results in them making more money. I

      • Well, I'm from a country close to Germany. Don't ask my grandparents what they think of sentences like "It won't be that bad".
        • by bogjobber (880402)
          I never said it wouldn't be bad. I just said they didn't have evil intent. That's a very big difference. Although I seriously doubt the information they are collecting will be of interest to anyone but marketers, pretty much anything can/will be abused.
  • Does That Mean... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jschmerge (228731) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:26AM (#18584161)

    Does that mean I get a reduction in the number of cookies I tell FireFox to reject?

    Darn... I was getting used to saying no.

    :p
  • Okay, this is it. I've had it with the "don't be evil" crap. I'm moving to an open-source variant of search engines. Can anyone forward me a link?
  • So who is gona buy single click?
  • Waiting for ads.doubleclick.net..............

  • by subzero_ice (624972) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:35AM (#18584957)
    Bottom line they are in the race to buy out the competition. DoubleClick is Googles closest competitor.
  • ....it's not like their corporate charter says "Buy no evil". :)

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • Google is the varacious acquisition machine that Microsoft never was. It's going to be very interesting to see how they cope with this growth. My prediction: in a year or so Google is floundering in terms of managemenet because they're trying to absorb so many different entities with different cultures and losing their focus on Search.
  • Maybe Google is just interesting to raise the bid and slow down the buyer. Maybe the do want to buy them in order to "dismiss" them.

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