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ANA Weighs In vs. Google-Yahoo

The Association of National Advertisers weighed in at the Justice Department in opposition to the proposed advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo.

In a letter to Justice, the ANA said it was concerned that the move would "diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high-quality, affordable search advertising," according to a release issued by CooperKatz for ANA.

“We believe the overall impact of this deal is a negative for advertisers and the marketplace,” ANA president and CEO Robert Liodice said. “As such, ANA and its board of directors do not support the Google-Yahoo partnership.”

A spokesman for Google pointed out that some ad agencies praised the proposal, as well.

"Numerous advertisers have recognized that this agreement will help them to better match their ads to users' interests and that ad prices will continue to be set by competitive auction," said Adam Kovacevich, Google's senior manager of global communications and public affairs.

"While some have raised questions about the agreement's potential impact on ad prices, advertisers care far more about getting a good return on their advertising dollar than they do about buying cheap ads that don't bring in customers, and this agreement will clearly help advertisers to reach Yahoo users more efficiently," Kovacevich added.

Microsoft, for one, has been lobbying hard against the partnership.

At a dinner meeting in June, Microsoft brought together a Washington A-list crowd of regulators, journalists and activists to talk about online advertising and the growing power of Google.

And at an August Hill hearing on the deal, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith argued in testimony, "If one company -- Google -- controls up to 90% of online-search advertising, it will have a complete picture of your online activities. If that happens, Congress won’t need to enact a federal privacy policy: We will already have a national privacy policy -- Google’s privacy policy.”

Liodice told B&C Microsoft was among a number of companies, including his own members, who lobbied ANA against the deal. “Microsoft was not the instigator,” he said. ANA is concerned that the result of their partnership would be higher prices for advertising and no quarantee of a higher return on investment. 

And finally, he said "we listened to our members.The overwhelming majority we talked with and worked with and dealt with are against this... If they are opposed, so are we."