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Group criticizes ad deal

September 08, 2008|From the Associated Press

A group representing big-spending national advertisers said Sunday that it had sent a letter to the Justice Department asserting that an online ad partnership between Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. would stifle competition and probably raise prices.

The Assn. of National Advertisers said on its website that the letter to Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division, came after a "comprehensive, independent analysis" and meetings with Google and Yahoo executives.

The group did not disclose the text of the letter but said it stated its concern that "a Google-Yahoo partnership will control 90% of search advertising inventory and . . . will likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high-quality, affordable search advertising."

The group said it represented 400 companies -- including Apple Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Proctor & Gamble Co. and General Motors Corp. -- with 9,000 brands.

The Justice Department and several state attorneys general are examining the partnership between Yahoo and Google, which would allow Google to sell some of the ads displayed alongside search results on Yahoo's website. Yahoo and Google have insisted that the deal would benefit consumers and advertisers.

U.S. lawmakers, as well as consumer and civic groups, also have voiced concern over the deal.

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