Press Release

Consumer Groups Call on FTC to Investigate Latest Google Ad Company Purchase

CONTACT: , 310-292-1902; or Jeff Chester, 202-494-7100

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

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Consumer Groups Call on FTC to Investigate Latest Google Ad Company Purchase

WASHINGTON, DC — Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy today called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s announced plan to buy Invite Media, a display advertising company, for around $70 million, saying the deal raises substantial competitive and privacy concerns.

“The ink is hardly dry on Google’s questionable AdMob acquisition,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate for the nonprofit, nonpartisan group, “and the Internet giant is forging ahead with an insatiable appetite for more. When is enough, enough?”

Simpson and the Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester said that combining Invite Media’s database with the information Google gathered though the $750 million AdMob deal and the earlier DoubleClick acquisition raised substantial privacy concerns. The deals give Google unprecedented access to consumers’ personal data. The Invite purchase appears to be anticompetitive, they said.

“The FTC blinked in the face of Google’s Washington clout on the AdMob deal,” said Simpson. “It’s time for the Commissioners to stand firm and give Google the scrutiny it deserves.”

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Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is www.consumerwatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://InsideGoogle.com

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) is dedicated to ensuring that the public interest is a fundamental part of the new digital communications landscape. URL: http://www.democraticmedia.org

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 350 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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