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Russian Regulators Block Google Online Advertising Acquisition 120

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-money-to-be-cadged-yet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Russian regulators will not let Google buy a local online advertising company, halting a $140 million deal agreed to in July. Google had planned to acquire Zao Begun, which has a search and contextual video and text advertising business. Begun is owned by Rambler Media, a Russian company that own various Web sites and runs a search engine. Google said it is reviewing the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and hasn't decided how to react. Slashdot has previously covered some of the issues surrounding Google's muscle in the advertising market."
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Russian Regulators Block Google Online Advertising Acquisition

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They forgot to bribe the Russian mafia.

  • by unixarcade (513538)

    I imagine that Sergey Brin has already invested quite a bit of money into the Russian economy. Although if you control the advertising you control the propaganda.

    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Monday October 27, 2008 @12:26AM (#25523463) Homepage

      what kind of propaganda has Google put out? controlling the media is the way to put out propaganda. advertising is mainly used for branding and manipulating consumer purchase decisions. perhaps they're promoting consumerism in Russia, but it's still the media conglomerates who control TV/radio/newspaper/etc. that write the propaganda and influence societal perception & cultural attitudes.

      although in a consumerist society advertising dominates our culture, it's still the media that are the gatekeepers of information and our window into the world. the internet has actually democratized the media by allowing the public to bypass traditional channels of media distribution which are largely been consolidated and tightly controlled by a handful of media corporations.

      by supporting net neutrality, public internet access, open wireless networks, and generally promoting a free & open internet, Google is actually helping to decentralize media control and content distribution. YouTube lets anyone create video content and distribute it to millions of viewers. Google search also helps people browse the sea of information on the web on their own terms--compared to TV networks that restrict what you watch and decide for you what information you want to access.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eltaco (1311561)
        ugh, enough already. google & youtube have censored it all. whether it's as trivial as beautiful agony vids on youtube, sucking chinese censor cock to get a market share or giving commercial sites more facetime; it's all about the buck.
        seeing as you don't get that, I'm not surprised you see a difference between advertising and propaganda. same shit, different "smile".

        maybe you can understand these words: don't put all your eggs in one basket.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anpheus (908711)

          I looked up this "beautiful agony" thinking maybe it's gore or something, but I'll summarize for the unaware here:

          Women masturbating (presumably) and moaning with only their face shown to the camera.

          Given that youtube wants to remain a family-friendly site, and your beautiful agony videos can be pretty easily found via Google, I don't see the problem. Youtube is a video site with a few rules, and they are allowed to enforce those at will. They host the content, they write the rulebook. Google is a search en

          • by Ornedan (1093745)

            Ah, the good old "X is not quite as bad as Y, therefore we can ignore X being bad" defense.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by ijakings (982830)

              Noone is ignoring the fact that google is doing evil by our standards, and that censorship is bad. Yes we all get that.

              But currently, its chinas country and their rules. Its far better that google is in the country, providing searches and telling the population that these searches are being censored than not, both from a business and ethical point of view.

              Google staying out of china couldnt change something, and they arent doing evil by the standards of china, you cant just put the entire world under your i

              • by AlecC (512609)

                IMO, Google's behaviour in China is the least bad of the available options. To select it, therefore, is not "doing evil" even if the same actions in different circumstances would be evil. Cutting people with knives is usually evil - but not if you are doing life-improving surgery. If Google had the option of not censoring, then to censor would be evil. But it does not have that option; I can see no way it could open up that option; and therefore it is not evil.

      • advertising is mainly used for branding and manipulating consumer purchase decisions.

        advertisements are commercial propaganda

        • by mpe (36238)
          advertisements are commercial propaganda

          Where the partiality is typically fairly obvious. Unlike propaganda which masquerades as "news" or "balanced opinion".
      • the internet has actually democratized the media by allowing the public to bypass traditional channels of media distribution which are largely been consolidated and tightly controlled by a handful of media corporations.

        Interestingly enough, there was an article on Slashdot sometime in the past two years (not sure when) that referenced a study that showed that the "democratizing effect" the internet has on media has actually led to *less* information being available. All of the traditional sources of media

  • ... yet again being smarter than the United States monopoly regulators in recent years.

    Hey, American people: if you want to look for reasons why we are no longer on top, look straight to your government. You have looked to them solutions but they have been delivering the opposite.

    Try thinking for yourselves for a change.
    • Hey, I will sell you this rock that keeps tigers away. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, right?
      • but if you are implying that I, myself, have been making post hoc then you are incorrect. Perhaps I misunderstood you, and you were just making an amusing observation about the market.
        • No, it was you. Your basic line of logic was as thus: The American economy is in decline. Russian regulators blocked a Google acquisition. Therefore, the American economy is in decline because they did not block big business acquisitions.

          Maybe there is some evidence or argument supporting your assertion, somewhere, but it certainly isn't in your post. Your post is simply post hoc ergo propter hoc. You need to say why what Russia is doing is better than what the U.S. is doing.

          • No, that is NOT my argument, and frankly I do not know where your own assertions came from. I simply stated that Russian regulators had been smarter than United States regulators lately. The rest is ALL assumption on your part. You have been putting words in my mouth, and I will tell you straight: I do not appreciate that even a little bit.

            If you have a refutation of WHAT I WROTE, then state it. But you are arguing against things I did not even say, and assuming that I meant those things. You are very wr
            • You didn't write anything. You didn't define what a "better job" was. You just vaguely pointed to Russia and said "see? They're doing better!"

              Never mind that the current economic downturn in the states probably has more to do with the subprime crisis than with lackluster anti-trust regulation.

              And your arguments in the other threads are so drenched with the stink of classical economics that you can smell it from a mile away. When Smith was writing about the "invisible hand", he wasn't thinking goods as in te

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Blocking big corporate takeovers in unAmerican, right?

    • Hey, American people: if you want to look for reasons why we are no longer on top...

      Luckily, our strategy is to drag everyone right under us once more...

  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Monday October 27, 2008 @12:01AM (#25523325)
    Ads block you!
  • It's not Zao Begun (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Monday October 27, 2008 @12:13AM (#25523395)

    Please, translate correctly. It's "Begun Inc."

    ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.

    • Zao is a Greek word for "spiritually alive", which gives all sorts of false impressions if you didn't know that it was supposed to be ZAO as in Zakrytoye Aktsiohnernoye Obschestvo.
    • ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.

      Funny thing is that "zao" is adjective meaning "evil" in Serbian.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Please, translate correctly. It's "Begun Inc."

      Or possibly "Begun Ltd"

      ZAO means "Zakrytoye Aktsionernoye Obschestvo" (Privatly Held Corporation) in Russian, it's not a part of the name.


      On the other hand "GmbH", meaning "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" is often left unchanged when refering to a German company. The current approach with proper nouns is to avoid making changes unless required by different alphabets. Thus you have "The SNCF TGV" rather than "French Railways/Railroads HST" or e
      • by Cyberax (705495)

        Well, "GmbH", "LLC", "Inc.", "Ltd." are very well known. Also, GmbH is written in Latin alphabet.

        In Russia a practice of adding company type to its name is also widely used (like "OOO Stepanov" - "Stepanoff, LLC").

        But they are usually translated, not transliterated in international documents. In fact, I even remember that the official US visa application guide for Russians even had a table of company type translations.

  • Now, if after a while FAS reverses its decision, we will know that Google bribed the officials. Nearly any problem in Russia (or in the US, for that matter) can be resolved with a large enough bag of money.

  • ZAO, not Zao (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tetromino (807969) on Monday October 27, 2008 @12:27AM (#25523469)

    The official name of the company is ZAO Begun. However, "ZAO" is simply the Russian abbreviation for "proprietary joint stock company"; in the West, an equivalent formal corporate name would probably be "Begun Pty Ltd."

    In any case, the summary uses "Google" instead of "Google, Inc."; and "Rambler Media" instead of "Rambler Media, Ltd." Seems rather odd that of the 3 corporations mentioned, only Begun was listed with its full official (though miscapitalized) name.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      How is that odd?

      Here's a hint, the author doesn't know a single word of Russian. The author has no idea what ZAO means and hence doesn't realize including it is strange given the other company name uses.

      Sure a competent journalist would look it up, but that an article is written by someone lazy also does not seem "odd".

      • by mpe (36238)
        Here's a hint, the author doesn't know a single word of Russian. The author has no idea what ZAO means and hence doesn't realize including it is strange given the other company name uses.

        They wouldn't actually need to understand Russian (or even Russian abbreviations) just looking at a Russian business directory should be enough to clue someone in that it means something akin to "Inc", "LLC", "Ltd", "PLC", "GmbH", etc. just that the Russian convention is to prefix rather than suffix.
        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Again, you are assuming the journalist will actually do some work.

          The fact that that they don't is not "odd". I promise they didn't look at a business directory for any of the other company names either.

  • Google overseas (Score:3, Informative)

    by dj245 (732906) on Monday October 27, 2008 @12:33AM (#25523497) Homepage
    Google has a fairly dominating position in the US, but other places it varies considerably. Most Japanese cell phones have a Yahoo! button on them (not a google button) and in China they use Baidu. I think the 4 different ways of writing in Japanese are probably not Google's strength.
    • I was curious about that actually.

      I'm a Aussie and I got a new phone recently.
      It had the Yahoo button preinstalled.

    • Wouldn't it be wild if the market forced the Japanese version of the Android phone to use Yahoo's services?
    • >Most Japanese cell phones have a Yahoo! button on them (not a google button)

      Actually, that's just Softbank cell phones, and although Softbank has been getting the most new users every month for over a year now, it is hardly the largest carrier, and thus there is no way 'most Japanese cell phones...' can be a proper statement.

      And only reason Yahoo! can be found on Softbank phones is the CEO of Softbank originally started out running Yahoo's operations in Japan. au uses Google for their searches while Do

      • by Takichi (1053302)
        Aren't the maps on those DoCoMo phones based on Yahoo's service? Tied with Yahoo!BB for home internet access, I'd say Google is beat in Japan.
  • It is good to see a country standing up for itself and preventing a globalising multinational company (even google.com) from taking a well earned portion of their economy. Given the current state of all major economies, it only makes sense that the Russian GOVT is not prepared to let a major national advertisement franchise be taken up by the leaders in WWW. technologies.

    Kapai Russia

    Mother Russia will make google sleep with the fishes

    • by temcat (873475)

      from taking a well earned portion of their economy

      WTF is it supposed to mean? It's not "the economy of Russian Government," whatever that means. It's a private corporation owned by, well, its owners - the only ones who have earned something in this context.

      • by maxume (22995)

        Many people think trade is a great thing, but only when it directly benefits them (this is evident in their shopping in stores and so on). Trade that benefits someone else is generally not given such praise, especially if it might hurt a third party.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Russia is slowly falling back into what they feel comfortable with and what they know. They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country. Sure enough they will be back to their old communist ways. This is what the people know and I think they like it that way. Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

    • by chord.wav (599850)
      Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

      That's why you got Bush...twice.
    • by mpe (36238)
      They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country. Sure enough they will be back to their old communist ways. This is what the people know and I think they like it that way. Democracy for people that are not used to thinking for themselves is hard.

      Actually "democracy" could well include making it more difficult for foreign people to visit and foreign businesses to operate in their country. Fears of people coming from elsewhere and exploiting the locals are
    • by jetxee (940811)

      They are cracking down on visa's and have reduced the amount of American's allowed into the country.

      1) The same is true about Russians visiting the US; it is an expensive, long and tiresome procedure to obtain a US visa in Russia, with a high denial rate (no guarantee, no refund). Actually, USA and U.K. are the worst when it comes to requesting visas.

      At least Russian government does not require fingerprints during the application process, i.e. before the decision about the visa and for all the applicant

    • by temcat (873475)

      As a Russian, I don't like the current regime myself, but what you describe has very little to do with democracy. And Russian don't exactly have free pass to America, either.

  • I'm sure they are after targeted advertising... as in Soviet Russia, Google searches you!

    (Be kind, this is my first usage of a Slashdot meme =) )

  • Under related stories:
    "Firehose:Google online advertising acquisition blocked by Anonymous Coward"
    Wow, either Google has suffered in the economic crash or we have super cowards!
  • Why do you have to think whatever is done in Russia is wrong? I do like Google and all that, but I want them to avoid becoming a monopolist. You can't be a no-evil-guy anymore, once you've gained total control over the industry. Just think for a sec of a possibility that there might have been some good reason for blocking the deal. Like promoting competition in the market instead of creating a monopolist, eh? As of now, Google doesn't have a major share in Russia, it's about a half or less, I guess. And it
  • the entire country is a monopoly. russian government is nothing different than a mafia, complete with goons murdering outspoken reporters and opposition voices, even overseas dissidents. russian democracy is dead. that the russian government should have any apparatus called a "Federal Antimonopoly Service" is a pretty good definition of sarcasm

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