The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has sent a letter to the Justice Department opposing Yahoo's plan to hand much of its search advertising over to Google
. We've already explained some reasons
why this combination shouldn't set off antitrust alarms, but the reasons given by the ANA don't make much sense. It claims that the deal would basically mean that one company would control 90% of the market, which would lead to increased prices for advertisers. However, that doesn't necessarily seem true to follow -- because Google doesn't set prices for ads. Google's ad system is, famously, an auction system where the prices are set by the market. So it's difficult to see why the inclusion of Yahoo's ad inventory would significantly raise the prices -- unless the argument is that the market is artificially depressed right now, and this would just raise it to the proper levels. However, apparently, that might not matter much, as reports are coming out that the Justice Department has already hired
a big time antitrust lawyer to use against Google. This is increasingly looking like a political attack on a company that is "big" rather than looking to see if its success actually harms or helps consumers.