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Microsoft to Buy DoubleClick? 195

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the double-or-nuthin dept.
roscoetoon writes to tell us Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is in talks to buy DoubleClick. Seen as a move to compete against the Google advertising engine Double Click owners Hellman & Friedman are seeking a $2 billion payday. "The purchase would give Microsoft tools to battle Google Inc. for ads that appear on Web sites. DoubleClick works with advertisers to create online campaigns, such as streaming video clips to promote New Line Cinema's movie "The Number 23." The New York-based company's Dart technology monitors the performance of Internet ads for marketing companies."
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Microsoft to Buy DoubleClick?

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  • Micosoft? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:08PM (#18520505)
    Edit please.
  • Valuations (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:09PM (#18520511) Homepage
    Youtube = 1.6 billion
    DoubleClick = 2?

    Your thoughts?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mpapet (761907)
      If the two were in the exact same segments, this is kind of how acquisitions go. The first one goes relatively cheap and the price of acquisitions rise in a given segment while the last few acquisitions are astronomically priced.

      But they aren't the same sort of acquisitions so I think it's a coincidence.
    • by rve (4436) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:30PM (#18520817)
      Yet again, insane amounts of money are spent on things with very little substance but a high internet buzzword count.

      Like last time, eventually investors will panic when they contemplate the very expensive pile of hot air they will have accumulated, and yet again the bubble will burst dramatically, sucking up billions of dollars that could have been invested in companies that actually make something and / or actually provide a service, and causing another European and North American recession.

      Meanwhile, I'm investing all of my money in tulip bulbs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        eventually investors will panic when they contemplate the very expensive pile of hot air they will have accumulated, and yet again the bubble will burst dramatically

        In the mean time the people who orchestrated the event, having named themselves the execs and CEOs of both the investment firms and the hot air companies, will have portioned out to themselves a majority of the billions of dollars. The money doesn't just get sucked up--it gets laundered and funnelled back to the top of the pyramid.

      • The difference in this case is that (in theory) DoubleClick actually has an income right now, so Microsoft (in theory) knows about how much money they'll make from DoubleClick.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        this time of year?
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        I see you fail to understand the intricacies of the modern stock market. Stock brokers make money when stock prices go up and they make just as much money when stock prices go down. The only time they don't make much money is when stock prices stay stable.

        Stock Brokers drive the stock market to suit their needs, not that of the investors or the companies that form the stock market, or a countries economy.

    • Re:Valuations (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:56PM (#18521133) Homepage Journal

      Youtube = 1.6 billion DoubleClick = 2? Your thoughts?

      My copies of AdBlock don't block YouTube.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yo_tuco (795102)
      "Your thoughts?"

      Is this the same doublclick that gets special treatment in my /etc/hosts file?

      $ sudo cat /etc/hosts |grep doubleclick
      127.0.0.1 www.doubleclick.com
      127.0.0.1 www2.doubleclick.com
      127.0.0.1 ww3.doubleclick.com
      127.0.0.1 www.doubleclick.net
      127.0.0.1 doubleclick.com
      127.0.0.1 ad.us..doubleclick.com ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dscruggs (858714)
      I know some folks that work at DoubleClick. The difference between it and YouTube is that DoubleClick actually makes money. I'm not sure it's worth $2 billion, but it's definitely profitable.
  • by 517714 (762276) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:10PM (#18520523)
    DoubleClick is not accessible from any computer I use. I don't believe a change in its ownership will change that
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krbvroc1 (725200)
      Perhaps the next IE update will add a new 'feature' to detect if ads are blocked/domains are localhosted and deny access to the webpage?
    • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:23PM (#18520709) Homepage Journal

      If you use Firefox, snag Adblock Plus [mozilla.org] and the Filterset.G Updater [mozilla.org]. If you're using Internet Destr-- Er, I mean Internet Explorer, woe is you, but at least snag the Google Toolbar [google.com], which I think blocks DoubleClick ads.

      • by Doctor Memory (6336) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:34PM (#18520857)

        snag the Google Toolbar, which I think blocks DoubleClick ads
        If it doesn't now, it will after the acquisition!
      • by ZiZ (564727) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:36PM (#18520889) Homepage
        Or you could use the EasyList and EasyElement [adblockplus.org] filter subscriptions with Adblock Plus - no extra extension needed, and they're simpler and easier to maintain (and, at least subjectively, faster) than the Filterset.G is. I was a huge fan of Filterset.G for a long time, but I've been even happier with Easy*.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by yoyhed (651244)
          Thanks for the tip, it was encouraging to hear that from someone who actually used Filterset.G.

          I've been using Filterset.G for a long time too, but I just switched to EasyList and EasyElement. This [adblockplus.org] part of the Adblock Plus FAQ helped me make that decision (in summary, Filterset.G sometimes whitelists ads, and it uses complicated regexes that slow down browsing).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:52PM (#18521075)
        Yay, I finally get to tell my awesome Doubleclick story.

        To back up all the way to the beginning, a couple of years ago, I got a call from a recruiter about a job with a small local company that was writing some software that would allow people to track advertising campaigns. I interviewed, and felt rather ambivalent about them... they seemed like they were writing decent software, but I'm over the whole startup thing, and spending 80 hours in the office. They passed on me. At the time I was a little upset, even though I wasn't all that interested in them. As my neighbor put it, "It's like when the ugly girl doesn't want to dance with you."

        A while later, I saw some of the guys who interviewed me walking around the building I worked in. I checked the building directory, but the company wasn't on the list. So I hit their website, and lo and behold, they'd been bought by Doubleclick.

        Whew. Dodged a bullet. I mean, Doubleclick. Yikes. I'm past the point in my life where I can walk out of a job on principle without another job already lined up, and I'm still paranoid from the bust.

        So I tell the recruiter all this, and I don't really mince words about my opinion concerning Doubleclick.

        He submitted me anyway.

        I got a call a couple days later from someone. It was outside normal business hours, and I normally don't answer numbers I don't recognize during my off time, but a good friend of mine was expecting the birth of his son any day, so I answered just in case. I was in a guitar shop at the time, and couldn't hear too well, but they were talking about the opportunity at Doubleclick. I assumed it was another recruiter, so I went into my whole spiel about my history with the other company, how glad I wasn't working for them when they were acquired, and how distasteful I found Doubleclick.

        I guess there's really no suspense here. Naturally, the guy I was talking to was the hiring manager over at Doubleclick, and I had just unloaded on him. In fact, I do believe I mentioned being "glad I don't have that stain on my resume."

        I felt pretty horrible. It was an accident, and I'm sure the poor guy didn't want to work at Doubleclick any more than I did. But still... in retrospect, it was pretty funny.

        Even funnier was the fact that Doubleclick had an office in our building. When I told a coworker the story the following day, she pointed out that, undoubtedly, someone on the second floor was telling the exact same story :)

      • by sconeu (64226)
        If you're using Internet Destr-- Er, I mean Internet Explorer,

        You mean Insecure Exploder?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rainman_bc (735332)
        If you use Firefox, snag Adblock Plus [mozilla.org] and the Filterset.G Updater [mozilla.org

        FYI, Adblock Plus advises against Filterset.G [adblockplus.org] - they have their own sets of filters that work better.

        I still use it out of ignorance because it works just fine for me TYVM.
      • by gertam (1019200) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @06:53PM (#18521959)
        Have you thought about the fact that Microsoft doesn't just get access to the doubleclick domains, but doubleclick gets access to the microsoft domains. You gonna block all them, go ahead. Not many companies will.
        • Mod the parent up...this is a good point. If Microsoft starts serving all of the doubleclick ads from their domains then it will become more difficult to filter them, although AdBlock could probably still do it using regular expressions on the http elements in the pages, but they could always randomize those if they haven't already. This could be a very bad day for ad filtering admins and their users.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I have no problem at all blocking Microsoft domains too. Especially since I use Firefox on my Mac. In fact I'll do that now and see what if anything I miss...
      • f you use Firefox, snag Adblock Plus and the Filterset.G Updater. If you're using Internet Destr-- Er, I mean Internet Explorer, woe is you, but at least snag the Google Toolbar, which I think blocks DoubleClick ads.

        Try one of the easy to get hosts files. Not only does it getting ads from doubleclick, it also prevents software on your machine from calling home from an app other than the browser. The hosts file is compatible Windows and Linux systems. Google toolbar works in the browser. A hosts file wor
        • The hosts file in windows will *not* block certain micosoft sites. Guess how long before double click is added to that list?
      • And it's pretty damn good at it. Spread the word.
      • >snag the Google Toolbar, which I think blocks DoubleClick ads

        Suddenly a thousand monopoly/competition lawyers start rubbing their hands in glee: MS IE allows by default Google's adSense scripts to run unhindered but Google's Toolbar blocks MS-DoublClick's scripts.
    • Yeah, I too have just about every Doubleclick server blocked on my browsers. I'm just hoping that they keep the Doubleclick functions separate from MS servers. Unfortunately, I have legitimate needs to visit MS sites, and it would be a pain if I had to go and start blocking various MS subdomains just to keep some of the more nefarious pop-ups at bay.
    • by daeg (828071) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:24PM (#18520743)
      Which makes them a perfect advertiser in my books. They are easy to block. Their ad spaces on client websites generally collapse very neatly, too.

      That said, I wonder what Microsoft could bring to DoubleClick. I'd hate to see Microsoft add various "stealth" techniques that other advertisers use, e.g., frequently rotating hostnames, formats, etc.

      If customers are going to block your ads, at least make it easy. They're going to do it either way. The easier you make it, the more those people will remain on those websites, which at least brings you minimal value as an advertiser. When I worked in media, we typically gave clients two different sets of stats for this exact purpose. You don't disclose your traffic count based on your advertising banners/etc, instead you tell them your server stats traffic, which is always higher. Of course, you're selling impressions/clicks/referrals, so the advertiser doesn't actually care if the site users are blocking their ad as long as they get what they paid for. The website, of course, may or may not care, depending on who they are.
      • by FLEB (312391)
        I don't follow you as to the "value". If ads are blocked, there's not even an "impression" made. The goodwill and pulling in other unblocking viewers might bring in some new revenue, but I doubt that would counteract the server usage from the lost hits.
        • by daeg (828071)
          It won't make up all the lost value, no. However, your site traffic can be a powerful bargaining chip, particularly in local markets, e.g., local television o local newspapers. While your paper may be selling the same 300,000 impressions for about the same cost as local competitors, you can use your higher server traffic as a "wow" factor. As in, "Wow, you guys get how many millions of hits a month? That's three times as many as the other paper...".

      • What MS can bring? Three hundred million users that suddenly cannot block DoubleCluck no matter what they do.

        The added readership should raise the valuation of the company very nicely.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Yurka (468420)
      This statement (about change of ownership not affecting accessibility) is clearly wrong for those people who use Windows. I am predicting a networking patch through WindowsUpdate soon after the deal is completed which, among other effects, suddenly makes the computer fail to acknowledge your "127.0.0.1 www.doubleclick.com" entry in hosts.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      DoubleClick is not accessible from any computer I use. I don't believe a change in its ownership will change that

      This just in,
      • Microsoft announce plans to buy AddBlock!!!
    • by rbochan (827946)
      Yeah, and will Microsoft's anti-spyware detect doubleclick?

      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        probably not, after all, it will become a 'valuable tool for the customer' or some such crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rick17JJ (744063)

      I use Mike's add blocking hosts files [everythingisnt.com] on my three computers that blocks advertising related communication with DoubleClick and other similar advertising related URL's. The modified hosts file takes the attempts to communicate with them and diverts them to the 127.0.0.1 loop back address on my computers. I use one of their modified hosts files on all three of my computers. One of the computers is a Windows 2000, another runs Windows XP and the third runs Ubuntu Linux. The modified hosts file trick works

    • "I don't believe a change in its ownership will change that"

      Really? Just wait for the next Patch Tuesday... ;)
    • I don't believe a change in its ownership will change that

      Sure it will! Now I've got two reasons to block those ads if I wasn't blocking them before.

  • once MS gets through with them!
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:13PM (#18520569) Homepage
    The company that does bloated and hated software buys the company that does bloated and hated internet ads. Its a perfect match.
    • Privacy Issues? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by transporter_ii (986545) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:30PM (#18520811) Homepage
      Yeah, a bloated and hated company that has a huge amount of computers going to its site every day buys a company that has a huge amount of cookies on everybody's computers. Match the two together somehow and you probably have more of an issue than searching on google and using gmail at the same time...at least this would probably be able to tie a much lager portion of users to their surfing habits.

      What could only add to the mix would be Microsoft + Double Click + Homeland Security (and maybe throw AT&T into the mix as well)

      Transporter_ii
    • apparently they've done away with an "r" ....
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rebootconrad (836537)
      I don't care what they do as long as they don't change the name... then I'd have to change all my doubleclick filters
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:13PM (#18520573)
    MS have a very poor history of taking away market share from others, especially on a playing field that is stacked against them.

    Their roaring success: DOS + Windows was not achieved by taking away market share from others (ie. Apple etc), but by going into a new market. They used illegal means to get Office in place.

    Whenever they have tried to eat into an existing market where they cannot leverage Windows they have failed miserably: Zune, MSN, .... Their aquisitions are much the same: hotmail...

    Doubleclick is likely to end up on the junk pile too.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:23PM (#18520717)

      Doubleclick is likely to end up on the junk pile too.
      Looks to me like Microsoft has just decided to stop asking, "Where do you want to go today?" and decided to buy the company that has already harvested the answer. They now have access to a huge database of cross-site cookies tracking where people have gone on the web.
    • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:24PM (#18520741) Homepage
      Windows wasn't a foregone conclusion - in the early days there was GEM, and during Windows' development there was also OS/2. Office didn't just materialise either, there was Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect/WordStar/DBase III. Then there's Netscape - they killed Netscape-the-company completely by, despite the many myths, simply being better than Netscape v4.

      Tried to eat into an existing market with Hotmail? Hotmail was the market - it's all the others that are the followers here. Some did it better of course, but MS were not trying to take away market share from others. They were trying to prevent losing users to web-based interfaces which they did not own.

      Zune and MSN...yep, agreed. Doubleclick - different class. It's not an end-user product, and due to this I rather suspect they'll do well with it. MS do cater to developers and API users pretty well, and that's what you're talking about when it comes to an advert site. In the end it can only be good to have two vast firms competing for your site's space and offering you cash accordingly.

      Well, good for the site creator of course. For me, I mutter a few words of gratitude for AdBlock and Pithhelmet and then carry on regardless.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rucs_hack (784150)
        You know what, as unfashionable as it is, you're right about netscape 4 and IE.

        At the time I had no idea what Microsoft were doing. I just got so utterly sick of trying to use Netscape that I started casting about for any alternative. IE wasn't great, but it was faster. In 33/56k modem days the speed of IE was an awesome advantage, even if it didn't have the features. I didn't care about what was happening to Netscape, but at that point I had only just got back into computing after an eight year break.

        I did
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)
        " they killed Netscape-the-company completely by, despite the many myths, simply being better than Netscape v4"

        no, the FACT of the matters is, they beat them by leveraging there vast fortune to give away, and later include IE into the OS. IE was no better the Netscape.

        This is not a myth, there was some sort of court case about it. It might have been mentioned on /.

        Of course, MS bought Hotmail, and with that purchase, all smart innovation with Hotmail came to a halt.
    • by dedazo (737510)

      They used illegal means to get Office in place.

      They did? And what would those be?

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      Whenever they have tried to eat into an existing market where they cannot leverage Windows they have failed miserably: Zune, MSN, ..xbox 360

      Oh wait.
    • MS have a very poor history of taking away market share from others, especially on a playing field that is stacked against them.
      [sarcasm] Yes, exactly! As illustrated by Microsoft never achieving the dominant browser after Netscape's early lead...[/sarcasm] oh wait...
  • Feel free, MS... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadphNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:14PM (#18520593) Homepage
    ...I've had doubleclick's servers blocked in my HOSTS file for ages now.
    • Wouldn't it be cool if a distro shipped an "ad-free" version of firefox, i.e. it comes with a hosts file of good repute and just asks you for root password to install it?

      I think that should be an installation option on the new generation (Cf. ubuntu) of desktop distros.
    • by biocute (936687)
      Maybe it's time then to find a way to secure your HOSTS file, for the next Windows Update might kindly remove any hostile addition to it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AndroidCat (229562)
        Get a cheap router, then throw all the DoubleClick domains into the "parental blocking" filter.
    • by penix1 (722987)
      I've had both doubleclick and google-syndication blocked in mine for some time as well. Sure speeds up my web browsing experience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Taelron (1046946)
      lol I blocked Doubleclick at home and on everyone of my client sites ever since they came out...

      The only thing that concerns me is as someone else has said, they start rotating the hosts or even outright dropping "doubleclick" anywhere in the domain name so those filters no longer work.

      If the ads suddenly start coming from Microsoft.com servers suddenly trying to block them would cause issues getting updates and patches.

      I can see it now, the new Eula and Verification tool, in order to access MS Updates you
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CodeBuster (516420)
      Yeah, but they keep changing their domains from ad1.doubleclick to ad2.doubleclick or some such combinations to try and stay one step ahead of the host file blockers. This would not get by a regular expression of course, but the windows hosts system does not support regular expression based filtering. Fortunately, AdBlock [mozilla.org] does support regular expression based filtering and it manages to keep double click out despite the games they try to play.
    • "...I've had doubleclick's servers blocked in my HOSTS file for ages now."

      Don't worry, next Patch Tuesday will restore your full internet experience for you...

      "Where do you want to click today?"
  • like google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:17PM (#18520623) Homepage
    Will it be as repressive as google? Read their terms of service. There is a whole list of things you cant discuss on an adsence page. Guns and drugs to name two.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:19PM (#18520661)
    Oh boy, the Zune of internet advertising. I'm sure the Google people are really worried.
  • by tverbeek (457094) * on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:20PM (#18520687) Homepage
    Just so long as they don't patent the double-click.
  • Let's see... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wireless Joe (604314) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:25PM (#18520745) Homepage
    AdBlock Plus filter set to *doubleclick.net*? Yes. Purchase away Microsoft.
  • Couldn't msft set it up so that the page won't load if filtering is enabled, or something?
  • SmoothWall Firewall [smoothwall.org]
    DansGuardian Content Filter [dansguardian.org]
    Domain Block of Ad-Servers [yoyo.org].


    Nope...I won't notice at all.
  • by tacokill (531275) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:59PM (#18521185)
    Imagine what you could do - if you were not limited - with all of the data MSFT could gather and combine it with the marketing/advertising data of DoubleClick.

    Think operating systems, browser, and office "features" here, people. The features gather more and more information as time goes on. Its already been happening over the last 5-10 years so the trend is certainly in that direction. I mean, thus far, Mr. Softie has been pretty easy (all things considered) on how much data he sends back home but I am sure things could be configured differently to gather a whole new set of information. A much larger, complex, and more intrusive set of information. And then they can market based on that data (DoubleClick). Like Google, cept Google doesn't have an operating system sitting on every damn computer in the world.

    It could get very very ugly. I can envision several nasty things that I would do and thats only thinking about it 5 min.

    Access to customers (data) + Marketing/advertising = big revenues for the seller of marketing and advertising products. That's what we are talking about here -- selling ads.
  • I already block them in my hosts file. This changes nothing.
  • Really? There's advertising on web pages? I hadn't noticed [adblockplus.org].
  • to promote New Line Cinema's movie ``The Number 23.''
    Brought to you by the letter Q, and the letter E.
  • Wrong Half, M$ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnonymousRobin (1058634) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @06:55PM (#18522005)
    Nobody goes to Google Whatever for the ads. They go there because they want to use a useful, well-made service. You don't compete by making better ads. Nobody likes ads. Google gets away with it because their ads are unobtrusive, and nobody minds seeing (occasionally useful) ads on the side of their Gmail inbox. People are going to mind seeing giant streaming videos playing at full volume when they're trying to read an e-mail from their niece. If Microsoft wants to compete, they're going to have to spend a little less time trying to think about how to steal money from you by annoying you enough, and a bit more on making applications good enough that people won't mind ads.
    • I totally agree with what you said. However, there is another angle. People are going to mind seeing all of these things in a web browser, and they're going to use firefox and various plugins to get around them. Yes.

      But my guess is Microsoft has more insidious plans. (Don't they always?) They control your desktop, remember? Now imagine instead of those ads popping up in the browser you can pick and control, they pop up on your desktop. They become part of the OS, such that you can't remove them wit

  • oh yeah ad.doublick.* I vaguely remember them...I added a 127.0.0.1 dns entry for them loooong ago. That would probably explain the broken link on the ad-box on THIS VERY PAGE, now wouldn't it :)
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @07:49PM (#18522609)
    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to buy RightClick.
  • by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie&semiaccurate,com> on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @08:33PM (#18523013) Homepage
    You guys don't get it. Hopefully MS will buy doubleclick and make them THE source for all MS based adds. Instead of the boring old flash, or worse yet, non-interactive dull jpegs, you can now get ads enhanced with all sorts of advanced features. Instead of plain old JPEGs, you can see the glory of the new MS format. You can protect your video ads so they will only play in WiMP11 with DRM user enhancements. Flash? Yestertech, MS has their newer better version.

    This will be absolute nirvana! Why? Because they sure as hell won't put out those bullshit DRM infected formats for linux, and I will never have to see their ads again. I won't even have to install a plugin to avoid them. Oh happy day.

              -Charlie
  • Is there anybody left on the planet that isn't blocking DoubleCluck? How on earth can they be viable?
  • by seanyboy (587819) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:48AM (#18525657)
    Considering the balls-up made when Yahoo bought Overture, I'm really suprised Microsoft are trying this. This is a bad, stupid idea.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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