The Federal Trade Commission says corporate raider Carl Icahn should feel free to buy more large blocks of Yahoo shares. At last count, Icahn already owned 4.3 percent of Yahoo. Shareholders allied with his view on the Microsoft-Yahoo merger — that it should happen — now control at least 31 percent of the company. Too bad for them it seems less likely every day that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — or really, chairman Bill Gates — wants to go back down that road.
Yahoo executives want to let Google serve ads next to its search results. But that would mean Google would be selling ads on 80 percent of all search queries online. Microsoft won't let that happen without stirring up antitrust fears in Washington. Secret Google sources tell the New York Times they plan to get around these concerns by schooling regulators on the concept of "co-opetition," which they say what Toyota does when it sells hybrid engines to GM, or when Whirlpool makes appliances for Sears.
In 2007, Google spent $1.5 million lobbying Washington, D.C politicians and regulators. According to public filings, much of that cash went toward getting the Google-DoubleClick merger approved. Google says the rest went toward patent and copyright reform, online privacy, energy independence, getting funding for scientific research and education, increasing the H-1B visa quota and making the case for net neutrality. (Net neutrality is the belief that Google, not telephone companies, should dictate what's carried on broadband lines.) It's unclear whether the $1.5 million sum includes the money a Google-backed foundation spent hosting a 2007 Aspen Summit conference held at the St. Regis Resort in Colorado. FTC commissioner William E. Kovacic attended and he later voted to approve Google's merger. So did fellow commisioners Jon Leibowitz and Deborah Platt Majoras, who attended a similar conference in 2006.
Kevin Trudeau is the infomercial star and dressed-up hustler who cons the gullible of America by claiming to sell things that "THEY" don't want you to know. Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About. The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You To Know About. Debt Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About. The Federal Trade Commission (maybe the real "They?") has fined Trudeau millions over the years and tried to ban him from making misleading claims, but he just keeps it up [WBZ TV]. In the olden days, thousands of people who had wasted money on his worthless books would storm his home with pitchforks and torches, and that would be that. Today, though, it has to go through the system. After the jump, a look at Trudeau's scams.
ValueClick's $2.9 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission of charges it spammed users with deceptive offers was filed in federal court today. While ValueClick publicly announced the settlement terms last month, and gets away without having to admit wrongdoing, the bad news couldn't have come at a worse time. The company also stands to lose eBay's affiliate marketing business next month The company's stock was down 7 percent today, hitting a one-year low at $16.20 a share. Look for the company to start offering free iPhones to anyone who buys 50 shares of VLCK, subscribes to Ladies Home Journal and applies for auto insurance.
Two consumer advocacy groups say FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras has no place judging the merit of their privacy complaints stemming from the proposed merger of Google and DoubleClick. Majoras's husband, John M. Majoras, works as an antitrust lawyer at Jones Day. DoubleClick is a firm client. That's a conflict of interest, say the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy.
Better hurry up with those rumored changes to Beacon, Mark Zuckerberg. The Federal Trade Commission, which we warned might pose a problem, is about to get on your case. According to reports, agitators from the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy just announced their intent to file complaints with the commission. Maybe it's time to quit thinking this uproar is the same as last year's brief, quick-fading News Feed protest.
The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that its decision regarding Google's purchase of DoubleClick will focus on antitrust rather than privacy issues. A decision could come this month. And this has absolutely nothing to do with the detailed search logs Google keeps on all queries originating from ftc.gov. [AdAge]
Federal Trade Commission commissioner Jon Leibowitz is concerned. And not just about his obnoxiously redundant job title. In a "town hall" meeting held yesterday in Washington on the topic of online advertising and behavioral targeting, Leibowitz hinted that the agency might soon require users opt into behavioral targeting. Reportedly, executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were there to talk Leibowitz down from the ledge. This could be bad news for all them, but especially Facebook.