Microsoft acquires online ad firm aQuantive for $6 Billion


First we had Google buying DoubleClick for $3 Billion and now Microsoft is buying aQuantive (the company that operates Avenue A/Razorfish) for double that.

From the AP:

Microsoft Corp. said Friday it will purchase online advertising firm aQuantive Inc. for about $6 billion in cash in a move to expand the software company's role in the Internet advertising technologies market.

From Bloomberg:

The purchase responds to Google Inc.'s announcement last month that it would acquire aQuantive competitor DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion. Both companies make software for creating and measuring Internet ad campaigns.


Jesus, that makes

Jesus, that makes DoubleClick look like the bargain of the century.

yahoo must be worried, this

yahoo must be worried, this deal leaves m$ft with only $19 billion of cash to buy yahoo with

Avenue A Razorfish

And we have another SEO firm also being aquired (Avenue A | Razorfish). Google bought Performics and now Microsoft has Razorfish.

Don't worry about MSFT cash reserve

MSFT's cash reserve always sees a bump after pushing a large release (like Vista), so that $19B will likely improve to acceptable levels. Also keep in mind that by both MSFT and GOOG going out to pick up online ad platforms, YHOO's stock may suffer [even if it is only perception of need] -- a reduced stock price means a reduced purchase price for the company.

If that happens, I might have to retract my thoughts on MSFT eventually picking up YHOO; EBAY should make a play.

Razorfish is not what I would consider an SEO firm

tell me if you guys think this is a proper text based site?

Text Cache of their site

Online marketing, addicted to flash company.. maybe.. but calling it an SEO company is a stretch.. a big stretch.. The clients that go to them generally follow the IBM 1980's motto 'no one ever got fired for choosing IBM'

In essence they about 10 years ago landed some big accounts, and hence were the safe bet..

Aquantive's bid management tool doesn't work on MSN (or G or Y!)

It's interesting that Aquantive's bid management system (Atlas Search) by their own admission doesn't work on opaque ppc marketplaces = MSN, Google and Y!Search:

Aquantive's Atlas Search might appear on the surface to be a passable SEM solution: it's available as a self-service ASP model which advertisers and agencies like, and works across all major search engines. Beautiful, splendid. Spend a little time reading their Atlas Search product brochure, however, and a deal-breaker emerges:

They admit it doesn’t work in opaque marketplaces. Check out the ** on page 3 of the product brochure (wherein on the right column they describe Campaign Optimizer, their ROI-based automated management feature) and the associated disclaimer at the bottom of page 3, which reads:

“Automated campaign optimization does not apply to engines with opaque bid landscapes.”

Given that MSN & the rest of the U.S. search market is now opaque (and 80%+ of the int'l market), that, folks, means MSN bought a system that doesn't work on MSN. Funny, eh?

That price is more than

That price is more than DoubleClick and YouTube combined. Google gained A LOT more inventory for a lot less. As time passes most of the bid management features will be rolled directly into the platform. I think buying SEO firms cost engines more credibility than they gain back in a revenue stream. Where is the value in buying this company at 90x earnings?

@The Founder

They're not (just) and SEO firm, they do more. But they're pretty stong in SEO/SEM, they pitch it on their site, and they've always had a pretty strong showing at the SES conferences.

I am not saying they are worthless

I am not saying they are worthless.. but that being said, I wouldn't even put them in the same league as what the common Threadwatch member is at in terms of priority towards SEO.

Most threadwatch users wouldn't leave their homepage looking like that in a text cache.

Who's next?

Any guesses?

Silverlining for Silverlight?

While the advertising aspect of this is undeniable. There is another element to this deal that works in Microsoft's favor. They have just acquired a massive interactive agency with which to push their new flash-killer toolset Silverlight. This gives them some instant credibility in the Rich Internet Application game.

If you are the rare SEO who

If you are the rare SEO who likes to donate 75% of earnings to a boss in exchange for job insecurity, things are looking up. These big mergers will lead to 2 things for sure:

1. A whole bunch o' web publishers awakened to the fact that they are not "SEO"d - they'll demand better SEO attention from their "agency"
2. A bunch o' managers re-aligning business units to SEO/SEM, where they have no existing talent on board.

Who's left

Who's next? Any guesses?

Crain's takes a look at some of the major remaining ones here in NY in this article:

TACODA, Quigo Technologies Inc., CheckM8 and Eyeblaster are all less than a decade old and have seen revenues at least double these past few years as a result of the boom in online advertising, estimated to reach $20 billion by year end.

The gist of the article is that these guys want to remain independent from larger traditional agencies or the G/Y!/M$'s of the world - positioning themselves as an alternative to the big providers. I guess until someone backs up the Brinks truck to their offices....

SEO and SEM firms are all targets

Ad Agencies are going to absolutely need SEO and SEM skills inhouse. There is no way these agencies can allow firms like that to constantly eat up a bigger chunk of the marketing dollars that would normally are allocated to them.

Plus the purchase of an SEO / SEM firm would allow the Ad Agencies to have a acquired a client list to pitch their additional print / branding and other services. It's a client list that they would of never had in the first place.

In my opinion, if a traditional firm hasn't yet purchased one they are already well behind the ball.

anyone else think like mymo

that the interest is in an agency to push Silverlight on the world.

They've just taken down a top Flash house. How many more flash only websites can we expect from Razorfish?

Break out the Silverlight toy boxes guys and have fun learning a new system.

(Like any of you, for me Flash is just a mediocre video technology. Silverlight in that sense will be a real improvement - much better codecs.)

silverlight is supposed to

silverlight is supposed to be more search engine friendly, according to it's wikipedia article.

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