On the back of the close of the DoubleClick acquisition, Google has started to cut numbers and have has made some interesting moves with Performics, the SEM part of DoubleClick. They have first separated it into two business units: affiliate marketing and search marketing. And second, have announced that the search marketing business is up for sale.
This is generally seen as a positive move, as it avoids a potential direct conflict of interest. In other words, customers would be paying Google to get higher rankings/results.
Tom Phillips, Google’s director of DoubleClick Integration, says this about it:
It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users. For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party. We believe this will allow us to maintain objectivity and the search marketing business to continue to grow and innovate and serve its customers.
This is a very positive sentiment from Google and only those with a really cynical industry view would say that any purchase price of Performics would have to include some understanding about maintaining a special relationship to ensure Performics can continue to take advantage of all they have learned during their time at the Googleplex.