While Google and Microsoft battle for the control of DoubleClick, the company itself is making moves to strengthen its role in the online advertising space. The company already connects ad buyers with websites, and now trying build an all-encompassing exchange, a place for all the parties involved to easily auction off and bid on ad inventory, and then track performance. The company is likening the system to a cross between eBay and Sabre, the massive airline reservations system, while the New York Times compares it to the NASDAQ. Although there may be some room to make this space more efficient (and auctions should help), much of this sounds like the hyperbolic talk surrounding B2B exchanges during the last bubble. Back then, many companies had designs on becoming the NASDAQ of chemistry supplies or steel. Companies were particularly fond of the NASDAQ comparison, since it was the most visible manifestation of the boom. Needless to say, almost all of these companies eventually fizzled out. For DoubleClick, whose history is closely tied to the bubble, it's not a surprise to see them pursue such a big ambition, but actually getting all of these disparate players onto a single platform will prove extremely difficult. If Google or Microsoft were to buy the company out, it might prove even harder, since many of the independent advertising networks that are expected to participate in the exchange may be hesitant about handing more power to their larger competitors.
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