LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – Is Google too strong in the online adver…

LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – Is Google too strong in the online advertising area?

That’s the question the US Federal Trade Commission is asking as it investigates Google’s $3.1 billion takeover of internet marketing firm DoubleClick.

The purchase of DoubleClick, announced last month, is intended to give Google enhanced software and stronger relationships with agencies seeking to place advertisements in strategically important positions on the web, The Guardian reports.

But privacy campaigners say the tie-up poses risks to consumers by allowing Google to track the online activity of individuals more closely. Industry rivals, including Microsoft, AT&T and WPP, complain that it will give Google too much muscle in the online advertising market, which was worth $17bn last year in the US.

The FTC declined to comment on the investigation, which was leaked to the US media.

Google’s senior corporate counsel, Dan Harrison, said: “We are confident that upon further review the FTC will conclude that this acquisition poses no risk to competition and should be approved.”

He said “numerous” analysts and academics have determined that online advertising is a “dynamic and evolving space” and that rich competition would bring more relevant ads to consumers.

DoubleClick is a specialist in targeting online advertisements. Its ads reach an estimated 80% to 85% of internet users.