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Googled Part 6

In a sedate company partial to charcoal suits or blazers, Smith called people dude, wore his wavy black hair long and his sideburns down to the bottom of his earlobes, favored loud purple shirts and chinos and shiny Adidas JAM's that were popular in the hip-hop world. He wanted to move fast, yet knew he had to help bring traditional CBS along gradually, Sumner Redstone included. When CBS budget executives questioned him about how much his proposed digital schemes would cost, he tried to instruct them that they should refer to these not as costs but as "investments." He recognized the differences between his old friends in the Valley and his new friends at CBS. He said, "Every win in my external world is a loss inside." He wanted to quarterback a digital offense, yet knew he also had to play defense for the network. "When you're Google or Facebook you're all offense," he said. But he understood that traditional companies have legacies to protect. "In our world you have sixteen reasons not to move too fast." He credits Moonves for pushing change. "They are letting me do a lot. Are there certain things I'd like to do more? Yes." He won't identify these, but he was acutely aware that he had to persuade, not just act.

When he acted he would do so based on a bedrock belief that "the Web is not simply a more efficient video distribution system. The bigger opportunity for the Web is as a new media." He didn't believe CBS would ever make "a material amount of our broadcasting dollars from rebroadcasting full episodes" of its programs online. He believed the Web would require CBS to devise fresh forms of programming, to create new and shorter ways of telling stories. He could proudly point to the fact that in its first month as a channel on YouTube, CBS clips got twenty-nine million views, making it the single most watched content on the site. It offered, he thought, great promotional value.

He described his job by recalling a conversation he had with a friend before accepting Moonves's offer. He repeated the friend's analysis as if it were his own: "'Your problem is that traditional media is sitting in a castle. If you ask them to run outside in the middle of the rain of arrows and go down a river and cross a bog to go up a hill to get to what we don't know is over there, we can't assure them it is out of arrow range. No promises. Facing that option, traditional media is going to stay in the castle. And what's going to happen to the castle? Those arrows are going to turn into catapults. You have to do something to escape.'" Smith adds his own coda, a kind of halftime talk to stir his new team: "You can be good in television and radio. But you're a media guy. Don't you want to be good online? It's a new medium. And aren't you better than those geeks in Mountain View? Right now they're kicking your ass!"

AS QUINCY SMITH AND CBS were reaching out to Google, Google fitfully tried to assuage traditional media's concerns. Eric Schmidt blamed Google's lack of outreach on its newness. "When you're a small company," he told Time, Time, "you sort of have to do everything yourself, and as you get more established, you begin to realize you'll never get everything done by yourself." Google reached an agreement with News Corporation's MySpace that was similar to the one they had made with AOL. In return for being chosen as MySpace's search engine, Google guaranteed the social network nine hundred million dollars in revenues over the next several years. YouTube made a series of smaller deals to pull in content from old media, gathering what company officials said at the time was a total of one thousand content partners, including the National Basketball Association, CBS, Sony, The Sundance Channel, and a channel to air the full library of "you sort of have to do everything yourself, and as you get more established, you begin to realize you'll never get everything done by yourself." Google reached an agreement with News Corporation's MySpace that was similar to the one they had made with AOL. In return for being chosen as MySpace's search engine, Google guaranteed the social network nine hundred million dollars in revenues over the next several years. YouTube made a series of smaller deals to pull in content from old media, gathering what company officials said at the time was a total of one thousand content partners, including the National Basketball Association, CBS, Sony, The Sundance Channel, and a channel to air the full library of Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose.

Before 2006 came to an end, Google tried to send a signal to traditional media that its intentions were honorable. It reached an accord with the Associated Press and three other wire services-the Canadian Press Association, AFP (Agence France-Presse), and the UK Press Association-thus eliminating the possibility of lawsuits dating back to 2004. The agreement allowed Google News to host and carry complete or partial stories as well as pictures from these wire services, and for Google search to link to these wire service stories; in return Google agreed to pay an undisclosed license fee. This was an acknowledgment that a wire service like the AP, whose articles are syndicated to countless newspapers, posed particular problems for Google search. Every time a user did a search, a waterfall of the same AP story appeared from different newspapers, clogging the search results. Google called this "duplicate detection," and announced that the agreement with the wire services "means we'll be able to display a better variety of sources with less duplication. Instead of 20 'different' articles (which actually use the same content), we'll show the definitive original copy and give credit to the original journalist." Google justified paying a license fee to the AP and other wire services-but not to newspapers-by claiming that since these four news agencies "don't have a consumer website where they publish their content, they have not been able to benefit from the traffic that Google News drives to other publishers."

Solving one problem created another, though. More than a few newspapers tried to make the same deal and were rebuffed, said a senior executive at Dow Jones, parent company of the Wall Street journal's Wall Street journal's Digital Network. "If they're really about the user, they should want to say, 'Some sources are better than others.' We've had many conversations with Google. The bottom line from their perspective is that they are not interested. They are about algorithms and links and 'the wisdom of crowds.' But is that really best for the user?" And since the Digital Network. "If they're really about the user, they should want to say, 'Some sources are better than others.' We've had many conversations with Google. The bottom line from their perspective is that they are not interested. They are about algorithms and links and 'the wisdom of crowds.' But is that really best for the user?" And since the journal journal charges for its online edition and is behind a firewall, Google cannot offer full links to charges for its online edition and is behind a firewall, Google cannot offer full links to journal journal stories as they do with other newspapers. stories as they do with other newspapers.

Amid declining sales, the anxiety of newspapers was inflamed. It was not difficult to incite newspaper owners. The average daily circulation of the largest 770 U.S. newspapers fell 2.8 percent in the first six months of 2006, and 2.5 percent the prior six months. Although online traffic for the top 100 newspapers rose 8 percent in the first half of 2006, and online ad dollars grew even faster, the gains did not compensate for the losses. The rule of thumb is that an online ad brings in at most about one-tenth the revenue as the same ad in the newspaper. There are two reasons for this: readers spend much less time reading a paper online than they do a newspaper, and because ad space is not scarce on the Web, advertisers pay lower rates. A regular newspaper reader of the New York Times New York Times spends thirty-five minutes each day with the print version, according to Nielsen, while those who read the Times online spend only thirty-seven minutes a month reading it. These figures can be misleading, because they average in the occasional visitors who may spend a minute or less online with those who are online devotees. Nevertheless, there is a wide disparity between online and print newspaper readers. Those who can read the paper online for free help explain the drop in newspaper circulation. And those who spend less time with newspapers have less time to scan the ads, which helps explain the drop in advertising. Advertising in major newspapers, which grew barely 1 percent in 2005, would actually drop 1.7 percent in 2006 and 8 percent in 2007. Coupled with the other dismal facts-the falling value of newspaper stocks and their rising debt load-only added to their agitation. spends thirty-five minutes each day with the print version, according to Nielsen, while those who read the Times online spend only thirty-seven minutes a month reading it. These figures can be misleading, because they average in the occasional visitors who may spend a minute or less online with those who are online devotees. Nevertheless, there is a wide disparity between online and print newspaper readers. Those who can read the paper online for free help explain the drop in newspaper circulation. And those who spend less time with newspapers have less time to scan the ads, which helps explain the drop in advertising. Advertising in major newspapers, which grew barely 1 percent in 2005, would actually drop 1.7 percent in 2006 and 8 percent in 2007. Coupled with the other dismal facts-the falling value of newspaper stocks and their rising debt load-only added to their agitation.

Inevitably, resentment toward the AP spread among newspapers. The AP is a nonprofit cooperative owned by its fifteen hundred or so newspapers. It employs a staff of about four thousand, and because the AP smartly diversified, a third of its revenues come from selling video and online news to its members. While most of its newspaper constituents struggle, the AP's revenues grow annually at about 5 percent. The licensing agreement with Google promised to boost these revenues. Unable to share this growth, U.S. newspapers began to petition the AP to lower the fees it charged them. As part of their cost cutting, the Chicago Tribune-owned Chicago Tribune-owned newspapers, along with about 7 percent of the AP's U.S. newspapers, announced plans to cancel their relationship, a step that, contractually, takes two years. newspapers, along with about 7 percent of the AP's U.S. newspapers, announced plans to cancel their relationship, a step that, contractually, takes two years.

In the spring of 2007, Rupert Murdoch summoned all his News Corporation newspaper editors and publishers from around the world to a retreat at his ranch in Carmel, California. There they spent a couple of days wrestling with one terrifying question: What is the future of newspapers? Their conclusions, according to Jeremy Philips, the News Corporation executive vice president who prepared the agenda, were bafflingly mixed. The short-term outlook for newspapers promised more declines in advertising, circulation, and classified ad revenues; the long-term prognosis-if the papers could hold on-promised lower costs for printing, paper, and distribution online. "The headline is a paradox," said Philips. "The macrotrends underlining these businesses have never been stronger. The consumption of news is greater than ever before. And the cost of delivering news is lower than ever before." He noted that the online version of The Times The Times of London and the of London and the New York Times New York Times have ten times the readers as their print editions had. On the other hand, he continued, "The microeconomic trends are problematic. The advertising available has declined because there are more places to advertise. Newspapers have lost control of classified advertising. In addition, the migration to online leads to a revenue gap because the print reader is more valuable today. And young people are reading fewer newspapers. This is a long-term trend." In a world where online links to content obscure the brand names that produce it, the economic vise tightens faster for small and midsize newspapers as their costs rise and their revenues decline. have ten times the readers as their print editions had. On the other hand, he continued, "The microeconomic trends are problematic. The advertising available has declined because there are more places to advertise. Newspapers have lost control of classified advertising. In addition, the migration to online leads to a revenue gap because the print reader is more valuable today. And young people are reading fewer newspapers. This is a long-term trend." In a world where online links to content obscure the brand names that produce it, the economic vise tightens faster for small and midsize newspapers as their costs rise and their revenues decline.

THE CONTROVERSIES DID NOT HINDER Google's growth. At the end of 2006, it had 10,674 full-time employees, about half of them engineers. It had reached $10 billion in revenues, a year ahead of Wall Street analysts' expectations, and $3.5 billion in profits, meaning that for every dollar collected, a hefty thirty cents was profit. (Amazon, which was sucessfully branching out from selling books to selling other goods, made a profit of about two cents on every dollar; Wal-Mart made almost four cents.) Google pleased many of its partners-from AOL to MySpace to thousands of Web sites-then paying them a total of $3 billion from its AdSense program. In their annual letter to shareholders, the founders spoke of improvements in search and pitched their new products. However, the core of their thirteen-page letter consisted of endorsements from those who benefited from Google, including Quincy Smith of CBS, who was quoted as saying: "YouTube users are clearly being entertained by the CBS programming they're watching as evidenced by the sheer number of video views. Professional content seeds YouTube and allows an open dialogue between established media players and a new set of viewers."

There was much in the annual letter to sharpen traditional media's concern about Google's intent. User-generated content was "central" to the site's success, the letter said, and these users would "become the broadcasters of tomorrow." Page and Brin spoke of their new efforts to sell radio and newspaper advertising, declaring, "Our goal is to create a single and complete advertising system." This system, they added, was one in which Google was "helping advertisers of all sizes buy and place offline ads more effectively"

A rain of arrows would soon be aimed at Google. Quincy Smith thought this was a mistake. "I've never seen a company so loved on Wall Street and by advertisers, yet so despised by media companies," he said. "Media companies don't understand that the platform is the business. Google is a platform. They help you monetize your content." For many media companies, however, this was a risk they were unwilling or unable to take.

CHAPTER NINE.

War on Multiple Fronts (2007).

Once you get to a certain size, you have to figure out new ways of growing," said Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon. "And then you start leaking on everyone else's industry. And when you do that, you sort of wake up the bears, and the bears come out of the woods and start beating the shit out of you." Seidenberg was speaking of Google, with whom he started jostling in 2007 to prevent Google from entering his mobile phone business. The Verizon bear was now awake to the perceived Google menace, as was Viacom.

Of the two, Sumner Redstone was the more openly belligerent. In late 2006 and early 2007, he demanded that YouTube immediately remove one hundred thousand clips of Viacom's copyrighted content. Viacom CEO Philippe Daumann became convinced that Google was "very lackadaisical" about the content that appeared on YouTube. He cited Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, An Inconvenient Truth, which Paramount released and which appeared on YouTube in its entirety. "We got frustrated. We told them to take our content down." How come, he asked, YouTube could successfully block spam and pornography and hate speech from appearing, yet said it couldn't block copyrighted Viacom content from being displayed? Redstone, who had long championed the idea that content was king, was furious. He and Daumann resented having to pay what they claimed to be one hundred thousand dollars a month to monitor what appeared on YouTube. which Paramount released and which appeared on YouTube in its entirety. "We got frustrated. We told them to take our content down." How come, he asked, YouTube could successfully block spam and pornography and hate speech from appearing, yet said it couldn't block copyrighted Viacom content from being displayed? Redstone, who had long championed the idea that content was king, was furious. He and Daumann resented having to pay what they claimed to be one hundred thousand dollars a month to monitor what appeared on YouTube.

Google countered that only the copyright holder knows what content is under copyright, said Eric Schmidt, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes monitoring a shared responsibility. "The law basically said that the copyright owner monitors, and then we expeditiously remove, and we've done that," he told Wired Wired magazine. "And it's well documented, because Viacom told everybody that they gave us one hundred thousand video takedowns, which we did very, very quickly. And what was interesting was that our traffic to YouTube has grown very strongly since then. So one of the arguments that they made was that somehow YouTube was built on stolen content, which is clearly false." He said Google was testing various technologies but had yet to solve the piracy puzzle. Viacom did not believe a technology company could fail to find a remedy-unless it lacked the will. magazine. "And it's well documented, because Viacom told everybody that they gave us one hundred thousand video takedowns, which we did very, very quickly. And what was interesting was that our traffic to YouTube has grown very strongly since then. So one of the arguments that they made was that somehow YouTube was built on stolen content, which is clearly false." He said Google was testing various technologies but had yet to solve the piracy puzzle. Viacom did not believe a technology company could fail to find a remedy-unless it lacked the will.

In March, Viacom filed a lawsuit in federal court charging Google and YouTube with "massive intentional copyright infringement" and asking for $1 billion in damages. Viacom said YouTube effectively stole almost 160,000 clips of its programming and allowed these to be shown more than 1.5 billion times. YouTube's Chad Hurley doesn't deny there were copyright infringements, but he insisted they were not deliberate. His argument was twofold: First, YouTube is just "a clip site. We don't want full programs." And second, Web videos are so new that "everybody's still trying to figure it out." Viacom, he believed, sought clear answers when there were none. Hurley, like top executives at Google, believed the litigious Redstone was using the lawsuit as leverage to negotiate a better deal. Schmidt grows uncharacteristically agitated when Viacom's suit is mentioned. At a 2008 conference at which Philippe Daumann spoke and castigated Google for stealing copyrighted materials, Schmidt sought me out and growled, "Everything Philippe said was a lie. And you can quote me!"

There were those who recognized Viacom's concerns yet thought Redstone was wrong. Esther Dyson, an early and prominent investor in digital media, said, "As a business, I think they are behaving foolishly-like the music companies. They are fighting their customers. What they should do is use YouTube as a platform and share in all the revenues." Those who agree that YouTube is a platform, not a content competitor-including some who work for Redstone but dare not be quoted-think the lawsuit is a declaration of war when what is needed is an agreement that encourages more trial and error.

Many media bears sympathized with Viacom even if they didn't join the lawsuit. "If we're putting up programming for free, why should cable or DirecTV pay us for content?" asked Mel Karmazin. And if consumers can get the content online or on iTunes, he said, unless the digital company pays a substantial licensing fee "you're trading analog dollars for digital dimes." Moreover, once a copy is made, it is easily duplicated and shared.

Anxiety about piracy was not peculiar to television. On the eve of Viacom's lawsuit, all the major Hollywood film studios jointly protested that Google was selling keywords such as bootleg movie download bootleg movie download or or pirated pirated for two Web sites it knew to be illegally downloading their movies. Google assured the studios it would prevent a recurrence. But although those keywords can be blocked, there will be others. Even the company that a decade earlier aroused the same fears Google now did, Microsoft, publicly accused Google of a "cavalier" approach to copyright, charging that Google was making "money solely on the backs of other people's content." for two Web sites it knew to be illegally downloading their movies. Google assured the studios it would prevent a recurrence. But although those keywords can be blocked, there will be others. Even the company that a decade earlier aroused the same fears Google now did, Microsoft, publicly accused Google of a "cavalier" approach to copyright, charging that Google was making "money solely on the backs of other people's content."

Undeterred, Google vowed to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Because Google was already warring in the courts with publishers and the Authors Guild, this battle with Viacom opened a second front in the war with old media. And soon there would be other skirmishes, including those with new media companies like Facebook, the fastest growing social network. With more than forty million active users in the summer of 2007, Facebook "doubles in size every six months," said founder Mark Zuckerberg. Then twenty-two, Zuckerberg is a Harvard dropout who in the early days of his company's life slept on a mattress on the floor of a Palo Alto apartment he rented near his office, allowing him to move effortlessly between work and sleep. His baby face is framed with curly hair, and because he is thin, with a relatively long torso, one is surprised that he stands only five feet eight inches tall.

He arrived for dinner at an outdoor Thai restaurant in Palo Alto sock-less, wearing Adidas sandals and a green T-shirt, and ordered lemonade that he sipped through a straw. He was on guard to avoid saying anything boastful about Facebook, or intemperate about rivals. He said he did not feel competent to discuss almost anything but Facebook. He lacked Brin's unguarded zest or Page's quiet confidence. But his long pauses when asked about Google, and the way he shifted uncomfortably in his chair, suggest the tension between the two companies. He was somewhat less circumspect about MySpace, his main competitor among social networking sites: "What they're doing is very much different from us. On a fundamental level, what they're doing is not mapping out real connections. They're helping people meet new people. Rather than using the social graph and the connections people have in order to facilitate decentralized communication, they're using it as a platform to pump and push media out to people. They call themselves a next-generation media company. We don't even think we're a media company. We're a technology company."

Facebook is not a content company, he said, just as a telephone company is not. In fact, in some ways Facebook is like a telephone conversation, with all your friends on the same call. But on this call, your friends can share photographs, text, political summons to action, video, and music, or can click to make purchases. "There is a big misconception around what social networks are," Zuckerberg said. "People think there are communities, or media sites, where people are going to meet new people or make new connections or consume a lot of media. But what they really are is a completely different paradigm for people sharing information. The traditional media models are all centralized. What we're enabling here is decentralized individual communication. When that happens with a certain level of efficiency, it starts to become easier for people to communicate and get a lot more of their information through this network than through a lot of the centralized approaches they used before."

This is precisely why Google, starting in 2007, began to worry about Facebook. If Facebook's community of users got more of their information through this network, their Internet search engine and navigator might become Facebook, not Google. As media companies agonized that Google and YouTube were capturing more eyeball time, Google began to have the same concerns about Facebook. What if Facebook became the equivalent of AOL's former walled garden, the home page, the place its users went not to roam but to comfortably nest? Google depends on more and more people surfing the Web. Relations were further strained when Microsoft outbid Google in October of 2007, laying claim to 1.6 percent ownership of Facebook and establishing Microsoft as Facebook's advertising sales agent.

There was another reason Google fretted about Facebook. The social networking site operated on a different business model than Google's. Like Flickr (Yahoo's photo-sharing site), Twitter, or Linux, they are part of what Lawrence Lessig, in his book Remix: Remix: Making Art and Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, refers to as hybrids-companies that take the shared efforts of many and build communities that help create commercial value. They are not strictly part of a "commercial economy," as Google, Amazon, and Netflix are, according to Lessig, nor are they strictly part of the not-for-profit "sharing economy," as Wikipedia and the open-source Linux operating system are. The hybrids, wrote Lessig, are those that combine making money with sharing-as Red Hat did by offering Linux for free but selling consultant services to corporations; as Craigslist does by offering 99 percent of its listings for free; as YouTube does by allowing users to freely share videos; and as community-building sites like Facebook do. Google was free, but it was not building a community. refers to as hybrids-companies that take the shared efforts of many and build communities that help create commercial value. They are not strictly part of a "commercial economy," as Google, Amazon, and Netflix are, according to Lessig, nor are they strictly part of the not-for-profit "sharing economy," as Wikipedia and the open-source Linux operating system are. The hybrids, wrote Lessig, are those that combine making money with sharing-as Red Hat did by offering Linux for free but selling consultant services to corporations; as Craigslist does by offering 99 percent of its listings for free; as YouTube does by allowing users to freely share videos; and as community-building sites like Facebook do. Google was free, but it was not building a community.

While Google warily watched Facebook, a real skirmish broke out between Google and the bear that is the advertising industry. Ad executives had been uneasy for some time that Google would displace media-buying agencies. But there were additional concerns. How many more ad dollars would Google siphon from traditional media companies? Would Google disintermediate the sales forces of these companies? Might Google bypass advertising agencies and develop a direct relationship with advertisers? If Google's automated auction system brought the cost efficiencies Larry Page touted, would it not inevitably lower old media's advertising rates as well as the fees ad agencies charged clients? Perhaps the overriding concern was the one identified by Herbert Allen III, who said of Google: "They want to be the digital advertising network for all forms of advertising. They want to be the advertising operating system, sitting in the middle of all advertising." Google was indeed "fucking with the magic."

Concern turned to fright in April 2007 when Google paid $3.1 billion to purchase DoubleClick, outbidding Microsoft and Yahoo. "There's no way Google would have acquired DoubleClick if not for their fear of Microsoft," said a DoubleClick executive close to the negotiations. The executive said that because Microsoft and Google were bidding against each other, DoubleClick was able to inflate its sales price by about $1 billion.

In the world of online advertising and marketing, DoubleClick was as dominant in its arena-placing display advertising-as Google was in placing text ads. DoubleClick provides the digital platform that allows sites like MySpace to sell online ads and advertisers and ad agencies to buy them, with DoubleClick culling from its database the information that targets the ads. The acquisition gave Google "an opportunity to be the infrastructure backbone for all ad-serving on the Internet," said a worried Wenda Harris Millard, then Yahoo's chief sales officer. In addition to potentially controlling the plumbing, DoubleClick offered rich new data-mining possibilities. By combining DoubleClick's data with its own, Google would house an unrivaled trove of data. As Randall Rothenberg, the CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said the day the deal was announced, "You can dive deep into that data and say, who were those people, where do they live, what were they doing when they looked at those ads?"

DoubleClick's promotional materials boast that they "track more than 100 metrics," including which ads users download, how long they view them, where they scroll, what links they click on, if they view an ad and later visit the site, what products interest them, what ads "resonate the most," what they buy and choose not to buy, and how much they spend. According to then CEO David Rosenblatt, the company delivered as many as twenty billion online ads each day. For the "sell side" (the content providers, who in the online world are called publishers), DoubleClick provides tools that help them evaluate the inventory they have to sell and where to target it, delivers the ads, and reports the results. For "the buy side" (advertisers), it provides the same service.

Google's purchase of DoubleClick triggered a flurry of digital advertising acquisitions. Within months, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and the WPP advertising/marketing colossus each swallowed online marketing agencies that compete with DoubleClick, with Microsoft spending six billion dollars, twice what Google had paid, to buy aQuantive. Why the rush to acquire digital ad agencies? And why was DoubleClick sold?

Since DoubleClick and Google share the same one-square-block building on West Fifteenth Street in Manhattan, CEO Rosenblatt joked that the free food was an enticement. But the main reason was that he saw the sell side changing. DoubleClick had promised to transform the business of selling remnant ads, the roughly 30 percent of an ad seller's inventory that is hardest to sell: the least read part of the magazine, the least watched TV shows, the least listened to radio programs. Selling these remnant ads was becoming more expensive for DoubleClick, and Rosenblatt feared that a Google or a Yahoo would come along and offer to sell these for free in exchange for an opportunity to sell more of a client's premium advertising, luring away his customers. DoubleClick needed to widen its scope. "We were selling transmissions. We were not in a position to sell cars," he said. In Google, Rosenblatt saw not just "the single best monetization engine on the Web," and a company with a base of over one million advertisers, but more vitally, a fellow and necessary "middleman" who did not compete with clients by entering the content business.

DoubleClick offered Google a way to pool the two databases and their networks of advertisers. But DoubleClick also brought something Google lacked: a dominant online position in display advertising (banner and video ads), which meshed nicely with YouTube's video offerings and Google's narrower text-based expertise. Tim Armstrong, Google's president, advertising and commerce, North America, envisioned three advantages for Google: better measurement of all online advertising, from text ads on search results to display ads on YouTube; better targeting of ads, which pleases both consumers and advertisers; and finally, higher fees for these better targeted, better measured, ads. Google's game plan, said Richard Holden, its product management director, is simple: "We'd like to create one-stop shopping for advertisers."

With reason, the advertising bears translated "one-stop shopping" to only-stop shopping, provoking dread about market domination. Rosenblatt, a bald, cheerful man of forty-one with a bright smile that provides cover for the technologist within, rises and goes to the whiteboard in his office to draw what he envisions as the future of advertising. Between "buyer" and "seller" he elongates an "ad exchange," a clearinghouse for all online inventory to be sold. There could be many of these, but Rosenblatt, who would become Google's president, display advertising, makes clear he hopes the Google/DoubleClick exchange will be dominant. This new approach can be much more efficient, he thinks, likening it to how online trading siphoned business from brokerage houses. Imagine, he said, that "instead of just selling remnant advertising to the exchange, the seller said, 'We'll expose all of our inventory onto this ad exchange. Maybe we'll carve out a small percent-maybe ten percent-of the really premium stuff and our sales force will sell that directly. But this other stuff"-he acknowledged that the distinction between remnant and premium ads can be arbitrary-"'I don't know where the line goes. I don't want to figure out where it goes. Instead, I want the ad network to bid."'

Why shouldn't a media buying agency, such as Irwin Gotlieb's GroupM, conclude that DoubleClick/Google might gobble his piece of the advertising pie by offering to charge, say, 2 percent rather than his 4 or 5 percent? And by promising better data about what ads worked? Irwin Gotlieb did see DoubleClick and its ad exchange as a potential disrupter. He was uncomfortable with the wealth of data that Google would now possess, and could one day refuse to share with advertisers. He was uncomfortable with Google's dominant market share. He was wary of its deals with EchoStar satellite television and Clear Channel radio and some newspapers, allowing Google to serve as the media-buying middleman for their online ads. He was rightly concerned that Google could be trying to usurp his role.

If that was Google's intention, Gotlieb did not believe they would succeed. He welcomed Google reaching into the long tail to match advertisers with smaller Web sites. But he did not think Google/DoubleClick could make inroads with brand advertisers, in part because these clients want to be serviced, to have relationships with media agencies they can consult. And he also expressed skepticism that Google would loom as large in the future as it now does. "If you and I were talking about this in 1998, we would have been talking about AOL," he said. "Two years later we would have been talking about Ask Jeeves."

IN THE ADVERTISING WORLD, if you say "Irwin," insiders instantly know whom you mean, just as people in Hollywood know who Warren and Bar bra are without hearing their surnames. In four decades in the advertising business, Irwin Gotlieb has seen fads come and go, though he hasn't changed his hairstyle (his bouffant, graying mane sits flat atop his head, like the deck of an aircraft carrier) or his attire (dark suits and ties). He is confident that with the largest worldwide market share of media buying-estimated to be 19 percent-GroupM is secure. He disputes the notion that there is a sharp definitional difference between new and old media. "As all media moves to digital delivery," he said, "the distinction between media types is going to become less relevant, or perhaps irrelevant. Hypothetically, if I'm reading my newspaper on an electronic display and I see a photograph of a touchdown in the Super Bowl and I click on it and get to see a sixty-second video of that touchdown play, am I now reading a newspaper or watching television? Or does the distinction cease to be relevant?" And whether the consumer is leaning forward over a PC, or leaning back to watch TV, or a combination of the two with a mobile device, he believes each medium will be "addressable," which means his agency will know a lot about that consumer, and each medium will allow the user to click a button for additional information or to make purchases.

Irwin Gotlieb approaches life with the air of a knowing skeptic, one who is conversant in nine languages, including Japanese, Russian, Polish, and Hebrew, and has lived all over the world. He believes Google, like most businesses he has observed in his sixty-one years, is a great company that does one thing brilliantly, but "will probably be leapfrogged by something that two Ph.D.'s in China are working on."

Irwin Gotlieb knows China, and much of the rest of the world. He was born in Shanghai in 1949 to Jacob Gotlieb and Genya Diatlovitzky, who were second cousins and Belarusian emigres; when he was a year old, the family left for the newly forming Israel. His father, Irwin said, bribed an official to allow them to exit with valuables, including small antiques and precious metals. Because Jews could not pass through the Suez Canal, the refugee boat took six months to arrive. A year later his father flew alone to Japan-Irwin does not know why-and several weeks later the family flew to join him. In Japan, his father suddenly had a new career as an exporter of pearls and an importer of diamonds. Irwin knew his father wasn't a trained jeweler, and he knew Asian currencies "were not worth the paper they were printed on," but he did not know how his father came to that business, or who funded it.

Irwin lived in Japan until he was fifteen and was a precocious student. His parents encouraged him to attend college in the United States and he was accepted by New York University, arriving alone at fifteen with a stipend of cash from his parents. He rented an apartment, learned to speak English, and served as his father's U.S. representative, working with Japanese and Chinese diamond dealers. In keeping with the many secrets held by the Gotlieb family, he never told his parents that he dropped out of college ten days after entering. "They were teaching me stuff I already knew," he said.

He met Elizabeth Billick, a paralegal, in 1968, when he was nineteen. They eloped the following year, fearful that his father, who at the time was not speaking to Irwin, might try to block their marriage. Irwin displayed the stealth of his father. "My mom and dad went to their graves," he said, "not knowing that I didn't go to school and that I eloped."

He had a friend in advertising and it sounded like "a fun business," so Irwin, at age twenty, sent a resume to various agencies. Over the next five years he worked for two of them, amassing a quiverful of skills: cash and barter syndication, spot buying, research, planning, network TV negotiations. He was recruited by Benton & Bowles in 1977 to run their national broadcast group; over the next twenty-two years he helped build their overseas business and also supervised the production of prime-time shows and made-for-TV movies. Throughout, he dabbled in computer software, creating the first application to measure the audience that ads attracted, and building software to manage ad inventory. "I wrote my first full-blown software system in 1973," he said. In 1979, he built "the first Monster system-eventually two million lines of code," he said, which became the standard yield management software that determined prices, modeled the national marketplace, and allocated ads. His last job at Benton & Bowles was CEO of MediaVest, their media buying and planning agency. In 1999, Sir Martin Sorrell, the CEO of the WPP Group, who was knighted in 2000, recruited him to become global chairman and CEO of Mindshare, a MediaVest competitor. Sorrell acquired other media-buying and planning agencies, and in 2003 Gotlieb was elevated to run them all under the rubric of GroupM. Today, 73 percent of his company's revenues come from outside North America.

Gotlieb's background well served GroupM's global expansion. "The fact that I didn't grow up in the United States was incredibly helpful as the business began to morph globally," he said. His techie background better prepared him to understand and compete against the Googles and Double-Clicks. His friend Michael Kassan, who had a successful advertising career and founded and is the CEO of Media Link LLC, which serves as a consultant to Microsoft and AT&T, among others, remembers the time he and his wife visited the Gotliebs' Westchester home and watched a movie in his screening room. "In Hollywood, a screening room is a show-off room," he said. "At Irwin's, he takes you behind the wall and shows you the wiring and how he does it himself."

Gotlieb tries to stay a step ahead. When digital recorders allowed viewers to dodge TV ads, he pushed to place his clients' products in programs, establishing a production arm of the agency to do it. He grew his digital staff, which now numbers more than two thousand employees. He invested in various companies with technologies that gather consumer data. Invidi, one of those investments, is a software system that resides in a cable box and monitors viewer behavior. It collects data on what we watch, what we like, and how much time we spend watching ads, and can correlate reams of television-watching data with other data collected from motor vehicle records, credit cards, purchase cards, and other credit-rating services and databases. The technology allows the advertiser to show different ads to different potential customers watching the same program.

Gotlieb doesn't think Google, outside of its search advertising, can rival GroupM because most advertising was "not in the sweet spot of their capabilities." Like Mel Karmazin, he believes that engineers cannot replicate what his sales force can do. They can't do product placement, an increasingly popular form of advertising requiring subtle judgment to avoid offending viewers. They miss the "art" part of selling ads, the judgment required to build a brand, the relationships that seller and client forge and that spark ideas. "As complex as the Google processes are, as robust as they are," Gotlieb said, "there is an inherent oversimplification because it is purely quantitative."

ASSUMING THAT GOTLIEB is truly undaunted by Google as a competitor, his would have been a lonely voice in the advertising community. Sorrell, the CEO of the WPP Group, worried that DoubleClick would allow Google to "take our client data." He began to refer to Google as a "frenemy," not quite a friend or enemy but a rival power to guard against. With mounting anxiety, executives noted that Google TV Ads was selling advertising for EchoStar's fourteen million set-top boxes and for Astound Cable, a small cable company. Google's sales pitch was that it could find new local advertisers and help advertisers better locate their targeted audiences. The way it works, according to Keval Desai, the product manager and director for the project, is that Google finds the advertisers through ad agencies or by dealing directly with companies that advertise and brings them to one of one hundred satellite channels. Once the ad airs, Google has software in the set-top box that collects data and analyzes the results. Among the things they learned, he said, turning to a series of slides to make his point, is that when grouped together the shows that have "less than a half of one percent audience share can have a share equal to ESPN." Unlike the Nielsen ratings, which make an estimate of the audience's size by extrapolating from a relatively small sample, Google takes a digital measurement of actual homes. Desai said they learned that advertisers were spending half their dollars on the twelve largest cable networks when they could be reaching audiences of comparable size by grouping smaller networks together. Because the ESPN and other large cable network spots are much more expensive, Google is saving advertisers money, removing the "inefficiencies," as Google had told Mel Karmazin they would. Or as Desai now said, "This slide fucks with the magic!" Through a digital box "we can measure second by second" what ads and programs viewers are watching or turning off, and share this information with advertisers within a day.

As Google's director of media platforms, Eileen Naughton, said, "It is absolutely our intention to be in every cable box." To accomplish this, she knew, would require the cooperation of the cable companies that own the box. And that cooperation depended on trust. Naughton said, "Google aims to improve the advertising quality in traditional media." If traditional media trusts her word, then Google is servicing them, not supplanting them. If they mistrust Google, they will never allow its software to invade the cable box. A decade ago, when Bill Gates tried to persuade the cable companies to trust Microsoft to be the operating system for digital cable boxes, he didn't get past first base.

Television executives had reason to be paranoid about the seventy billion dollars spent each year on TV advertising, as did advertising agencies. Not only was Google telling its customers they could do a better job of targeting ads and telling them which spots worked, but it was also extolling its array of other products. Among them were Google Print Ads, which by early 2008 was selling ads for seven hundred newspapers and allowing them to use an "ad creation tool" to craft inexpensive advertisements; Google Audio Ads, which was hoping to build on the deal it had made with Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the United States, to sell 5 percent of ad inventory; and Google TV Ads, which on the Google Web site is described as "a searchable directory of specialists" to create television commercials. Was Sorrell right? Was Google intent on taking over the media buying function? "Yes, he's right," said Terry Semel, the former Yahoo CEO. "Google and Yahoo are always working on platforms to sell ads. All [of the new Google programs] at the end of the day will have the capability to sell ads in any medium."

So why would a company like Procter & Gamble need a middleman media buyer like Irwin Gotlieb's GroupM? Smita Hashim, the group product manager for Google Print Ads, said "that's a good question," and conceded that, "the roles will start shifting." But Hashim, like Desai and others at the company, quickly assert that Google requires the "expertise" of ad agencies. With passion, Desai insisted that Google is engaged in a "win-win" game. If these programs succeed, the advertising revenues of traditional media as well as Google's will rise. This is a familiar Google refrain, one that relies on what might be called Google "magic": everyone wins. If old media gets with the program, makes a push to be more Internet-centric and share with Google, there will be no losers, no zero-sum games in this brave new digital world.

But these claims did not allay the anxiety of Sorrell, who feared Google would vie to obviate his creative teams as well as his sales and media-planning teams. The wellspring of this concern was not the Google TV Ads program, which does not generate the kind of slickly produced commercials his agencies create. He was troubled by Google's hiring of Andy Berndt, who was copresident of one of Sorrell's ad agencies, Ogilvy & Mather. Berndt was recruited in 2007 to run a new Google unit, the Creative Lab. Google denied that this was an attempt to enter the advertising business, and Berndt said his job is to focus on the Google brand, "to remind people why they love Google," and to create ads only for his new employer. His staff consisted of just twenty people, he said, and would expand to only thirty-five. He said "the short version" of why he joined Google is simple: "When the spaceship lands in your backyard and the door opens, you just get in the spaceship."

To most consumers, Google remained an iconic brand, a force for good, a company that made search easy and fast and free; a company that retained its bold, entrepreneurial spirit and was both a beneficent employer and a benefactor to shareholders.

To most media industries, Google was becoming a dreaded disrupter. The engineering efficiencies touted by Google were also perceived as threats to the sales forces of the television and radio and print industies. Weeks after the DoubleClick purchase, Beth Comstock, then the president, integrated media, for NBC Universal, and now the chief marketing officer for its parent, General Electric, said, "If Google could introduce us to tens of thousands or even a thousand advertisers we currently can't have, that would be a great thing. But when they start moving up the pyramid and they think you can put a self-serve model to what we know of as a very highly customized, high touch, more intuitive kind of business-it's a content co-creation in some cases-you can't do that with self-service and algorithms." In her dealings with Google, she said, "There is this undertone of: Is that all they're looking for? Why are they into television advertising?" Are they intent on replacing NBC's sales force? She would have gladly outsourced the selling of remnant advertising to Google; what she wanted to retain control of was the selling of premium advertising. Like Karmazin, she wanted her salesperson in on the process, persuading clients to spend more.

Days after the DoubleClick transaction, Microsoft and AT&T publicly called on federal regulators to block the deal, saying it would reduce competition and give Google access to too much private data. Sorrell called on regulators to review the acquisition, declaring, "It raises issues as to whether we are happy to let Google have our clients' data and our own data, which Google could use for its own purposes." A senior executive at Time Warner, who did not want to be identified because its AOL division is a Google partner, told me at the time, "You always have to worry when someone gets so much more powerful than all the competition out there. This is why I come down to this: I hope the government starts understanding this power sooner rather than later."

Tim Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University and a former Supreme Court clerk, looks at the issue from a different angle. He said he's not "worried about Google becoming large." One can make the argument, for example, that size brings standardization, he said. "I'm less concerned how they're behaving in their own market than what a company does to other markets." Will Google use its power to unfairly dominate other markets, as Microsoft used its operating system dominance to cripple the Netscape browser? "If Google remains true to its mission of being an 'honest broker,' I'm pleased. If they have an agenda, that's when I become fearful." He wasn't sure Google had an agenda, but was plainly worried: "If they're willing to block sites to placate China, are they willing to block sites to placate powerful advertisers?"

Here the issue of privacy becomes entwined with the issue of power. Together, Google and DoubleClick amass a mountain of consumer data. The more "personalized" this data, as Eric Schmidt said, the better the search answers. "When I decide to go to the movies," said Schmidt, "I'd like to rely on the recommendations of friends. How do we capture that? The more we know who you are, the more we can tailor the search results."

Of course, when a company retains as much data as Google does and also proclaims, "We are in the advertising business," as Eric Schmidt does, this arouses more privacy concerns. And since Google believes advertising is information users want if it is"relevant," it follows that sharing data serves users, which exacerbates these fears. Or as Sergey Brin told Wall Street analysts during Google's third-quarter conference call in October 2007, "I am really excited to tell you today what we have done over the past quarter in ads and apps. As you all know, for advertising our real philosophy is to create a win-win between advertisers and customers by presenting users with really relevant information which is interesting to them, but is likely to cause a transaction to commence." With technology making inroads toward improving how users' real desires are gauged and finding patterns of behavior, the data-mining discipline Sergey Brin studied at Stanford enters a new age. The pressures on Google-and all sellers of advertising-to share more data will intensify.

Privacy fears escalate when Google executives express peculiar ideas about privacy-ideas that suggest they don't grasp the reasons people are fearful. Each fall, Google hosts a two-day Zeitgeist Conference on its Mountain View campus, inviting a cross section of people from various fields. Much of the conference is moderated by journalist James Fallows, and a cavalcade of prominent scientists, musicians, artists, public officials, and others make presentations or appear on panels. The last event of Google's Zeitgeist is when Brin and Page come on stage-in jeans, of course-to answer Fallows's and the audience's questions. At the 2007 conference, Randall Rothenberg of the Interactive Advertising Bureau rose to ask Brin to access the importance of privacy.

Brin declared that "the number one" privacy issue was "stuff that is untrue about people on the Web." Because information "travels so fast" online, and because "anyone can publish anything," these untruths gain currency. The number two privacy issue, he said, was the "hijacking of credit cards." He dismissed concern about the information collected on cookies "as more of the Big Brother type"-in other words, fantasies. "Do they [users] trust what you're doing? That's not so much a privacy issue." By this logic, if we trust Google, there is little reason to fear they will misuse our data. Afterward, at a small press lunch with the founders and Schmidt, Page signaled his agreement with Brin. "Sergey is just saying there are practical privacy issues that are different than the ones debated." As was true when the founders pushed to add a delete button and allow Google's Gmail scanning technology to more aggressively deliver ads when users typed certain keywords and to forgo a delete button-a mistake Brin told me showed "we just weren't good" at anticipating fears, but "I think we've now learned"-once again, Brin and Page displayed an inability to imagine why anyone would question their motives and a deafness to fears that can't easily be quantified.

CHAPTER TEN.

Waking the Government Bear

While a full chorus of incensed media-advertising agencies, publishers, newspapers, television and telephone companies, and tech companies like Microsoft-complained about the growing power of Google, the Bush administration, steadfast in its belief that a free market provides its own regulation, was silent. Stepping into this breach was Brooklyn-born public interest advocate Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington, D.C. Chester founded this two-person organization with an annual budget of two hundred thousand dollars in 2001. He has mounted a ferocious campaign to induce the world's governments to handcuff Google. Its first petition was filed before the FTC in the fall of 2006, prodding them to investigate how online marketing encroaches on privacy. In the spring of 2007, Chester, then sixty-two, began to press for an antitrust investigation of the rapid consolidation of the online advertising sector, and urged the FTC to reject Google's proposed merger with DoubleClick. He petitioned the European Commission to do the same.

A voracious reader of trade publications, Chester became obsessed by what he saw as the pernicious power of the Internet to compile data on consumers. Chester is difficult to ignore. His Brooklyn-accented voice is loud and piercing. He hounds people. He speaks passionately and rapidly, leaping in midsentence from privacy to monopoly to a conversation he had that morning with an FTC staffer. He wears horn-rims and short-sleeved shirts with the neck open and the pockets bristling with pens. His tiny office on Connecticut Avenue is adorned with movie posters that assail McCarthyism and corporate power. He has little regard for the advertising industry, but knows that if he railed against commercialism and consumerism it would open him up to attack as a left-wing former social worker, which, of course, he is. So he sticks to the privacy issue. "The basic model for interactive advertising," he said, "combines this very powerful data-collection business designed to know your interests in a daily, updated way that is then utilized to create very powerful multimedia to get you to behave in some fashion, whether it's buying a product or liking a brand."

Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, rents a single office to Chester's organization and works just down the hall. He is in nearly all ways Chester's opposite. He wears charcoal business suits and has degrees in law and computer science; no pens can be found in his shirt pockets. But he and Chester work closely together to advance privacy protection measures. Rotenberg believes the central question should not be, Is Google invading people's privacy? Rather, it should be, Why does Google need to collect all of this information?

GOOGLE'S SERVERS NOW CONTAIN a tremendous amount of data about its users, and this database grows exponentially as search and a variety of Google services multiply. With the latest techniques to discern what really motivates consumers-often categorized as "behavioral targeting"-companies and advertisers will know even more. Some forms of such targeting are widely seen as helpful, such as when Amazon extrapolates from the browsing and purchase histories of a customer to recommend books. Other forms might be alarming to the lay consumer. New technology will allow cameras built into television set-top boxes to be armed with algorithmic models that read our facial expressions and tell advertisers what we do and don't like; Nielsen is investing in brain reading-called NeuroFocus-which is meant to take the guessing out of why consumers react to what they see on a screen or read or listen to.

New smart phones collect enormous amounts of data. Mobile telephone companies gather and store digital data on calls made and received and how long each lasted. In addition, the chips in the phone's GPS track a user's location, the length of stay, and other mobile users she is in touch with. Tapping this sort of data is known as reality mining, and is a cousin to Brin's data mining. Although telephone companies don't share the names of customers, they have begun to sell this data to companies seeking to market products. Phorm, an American company with offices around the world, proposed to go one step further, approaching telephone and broadband Internet service providers with software that tracks each consumer's online activities, so that a nameless portrait of each consumer can be created. In return for supplying the data, the telephone and cable companies can open a new revenue spigot. By late 2007, Phorm had done three deals in England that yielded data on two-thirds of Britain's broadband households.

Publicity about Phorm aroused the ire of Tim Berners-Lee, a senior researcher at MIT and the inventor of the World Wide Web. Because Berners-Lee refused to patent his invention, to cash in financially, or to become a talk-show celebrity, his opinion carries heft. In a rare interview with the BBC, Berners-Lee expressed outrage: "I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that's not going to get to my insurance company and I'm going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5 percent because they've figured I'm looking at those books."

The data did not belong to Phorm or the telephone or cable company, he said. "It's mine-you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me. I have to agree." This seemed to be the view of many European Union officials, for they were gathering evidence to determine whether to impose restrictions on this practice.

Because the financial rewards will be so huge if corporations can capture and use this data, pressure to do so will increase. Describing the effort to track the identity of an online user, Irwin Gotlieb invokes an imaginary user searching for an SUV: "If you're searching for an SUV and you price out a couple of them and you go to a site that requires you to register, I now have your name. If you want pricing, dealer costs, you've got to give me your name, your e-mail address. Now as soon as you do that, we've got more on you. There are lots of ways we can track you. If I've identified you with your address, I can go to DMV records and see what cars you own. I can then go to Experian and see what your credit history is. And if I find out you're in the last month of a thirty-six-month lease on a Land Rover ..." He doesn't finish the sentence but smiles, as if he's trapped his prey. "I can't do that today. In a few years I can."

There's no question that new technologies spur ways to improve services, and also to quietly redefine privacy. A home becomes less of a castle. Google's Street View has cameras on city streets that reveal street activity and traffic-and also license plate numbers and the faces of a passersby. If you know the address of a celebrity (or an old girlfriend), it allows close-ups. Similar closed-circuit television cameras on streets and in stores help police solve crimes, but might also catch an old paramour or celebrity smooching. Cell phones help parents track the location of their children, but can track much more. Part of YouTube's appeal is that it shares private moments. Facebook is a glass house, a complaint sometimes voiced by parents of teenagers who share their sexual exploits. Marketing companies create ads that annoyingly pop up when people are online, offering a premium-free telephone calls-in exchange for permission to monitor your activities.

Google's Web site acknowledges that it collects information about its users, but not names or other personally identifying information. It does, however, collect the names, credit card information, telephone number, and purchasing and credit history of those who sign up for such features as Google Checkout, a service that enables customers to make online purchases. In its five-page Checkout privacy policy, Google said that it may also "obtain information about you from third parties to verify the information you provide." Google said it "will not sell or rent your personal information to companies or individuals outside Google"-unless individuals give their "opt in consent." But even if consumers choose not to opt in, Google still retains a wealth of personal information, which it is free to use to better target search or YouTube advertising. This data, mingled with its search data and the data gathered by DoubleClick, induces privacy anxiety. Companies like eBay and Amazon.com, among others, also retain credit card and other personal information, but there is a difference: Google uses this data to assist advertisers, and eBay and Amazon do not have advertisers to assist.

This is where the specter of Big Brother enters the discussion. "In 1984, Winston Smith knew where the telescreen was," observed Lawrence Lessig. "In the Internet, you have no idea who is being watched by whom. In a world where everything is surveilled, how to protect privacy?"

Big Brother comes in different guises. Under the federal Patriot Act rushed to passage after 9/11, the executive branch can, without a warrant or users' knowledge, gain access to what Americans e-mail, search, read, say on the telephone, watch on YouTube, network with on Facebook, or purchase online. Ther

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