SM: How do you view the DoubleClick acquisition by Google? RF: It looks like a very smart acquisition, because it looks like it helps Google get where they were going anyways, just faster, which is being in the ad serving space and really trying to compete in the display ad portion of the market. I am sure there are folks who find it scary. Google is very large, and they were going to get into that market anyways, so for them it seems like a very logical acquisition to speed things up.
SM: Do you see DoubleClick as the leader in the display ad business? RF: DoubleClick is a leader in the tools used to display ads. They are not really the leader in the display ad business. They are an important part of the infrastructure. It has been disputed how big DoubleClick is compared to Atlas and all of the others. DoubleClick is certainly a major player in both the publisher side and the agency / advertiser side. I am sure Google could have built their own competing solution and tried to gain market share that way or make an acquisition, which they now did.
SM: Yes. Strengthening display advertising was a necessary step, and Google clearly realized that the amount of dollars allocated for brand advertising is significantly higher than that allocated for direct response advertising. Hence, they had to work out a fast entry into Brand advertising, which meant needing a display advertising infrastructure.