Google Snags SEO Services & SEMPO Seat in DoubleClick Deal

Well, it’s official. Google has acquired DoubleClick, a digital marketing company, for $3.1 billion. In the process of this acquisition, Google has also become the proud owner of its very own SEO/SEM company: DoubleClick Performics.

What was that? Google owns a search marketing company? That can’t be right.

Oh, but it’s all too true.

I can’t help make a comparison to Daffy Duck in the hands of the Abominable Snowman. Will Google make Performics its play-toy, tampering with its very own search results to please its new SEO clients? Or how about giving its newly acquired PPC clients preferred pricing on highly competitive terms? Obviously, you can see where the conflict of interest lies.

But like Daffy, DoubleClick may be in for a bumpy ride. In his acquisition announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt alludes to job cuts:

As with most mergers, there may be reductions in headcount. We expect these to take place in the U.S. and possibly in other regions as well. We know that DoubleClick is built on the strength of its people. For this reason we’ll strive to minimize the impact of this process on all of our clients and employees.

As of this posting, Google hasn’t issued any further statements on job cuts resulting from the purchase.

As an employee of an online marketing company, I agree with Danny Sullivan; Google should drop Performics like the problem stepchild it will become. This relationship will tarnish Google’s reputation in so many ways that Googlers will find themselves constantly digging out of PR holes, without the aid of a shovel.

In addition, the DoubleClick acquisition has bought Google a board seat in the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. Does SEMPO expect to continually serve the interests of search engine marketers with Google riding shotgun? One could argue that the relationship will help advance the industry’s growth. But I would prefer the industry to advance on its own free will, minus the weighty influences of a search engine company that wants to play for both teams.

Let’s hope the Abominable Snowman does the right thing and lets Daffy loose.