the merged entity) or any of its rivals because contrary to the merged entity's data collection efforts, this data source covers every page on every site a user visits.
Microsoft also has access to vast amounts of user data through its internet- based update service139 as well as through its ad agency Avenue A. Its portals, websites and services can derive information from user registrations and behaviour in connection with content pages (the cookies dropped on these content pages are a source of targeting information). In addition, Microsoft gained behavioural targeting technology through its acquisition of Atlas/Accipiter and has been actively publicizing this functionality to potential customers. The partnership with Facebook further increases this database that can be used in combination with its behavioural ad targeting technology140.
It is important to note that much of the information described in the previous paragraphs cannot be replicated by DoubleClick or even the merged entity because it has other structures and types than the information collected by DoubleClick or Google. Competition based on the quality of collected data thus is not only decided by virtue of the sheer size of the respective databases, but also determined by the different types of data the competitors have access to and the question which type eventually will prove to be the most useful for internet advertising purposes.
To sum up, the current situation would be unlikely to change as DoubleClick without the merger, would not acquire any additional means to put pressure on its customers to agree to less constraining contract provisions. As a consequence, advertisers contemplating the use of DFA are not compelled to switch to this service because it already serves many other advertisers. There is no network effect in the ad serving market on the advertiser’s side. The same is true on the publisher side of the ad serving market for the use of DFP. Apart from the comforting knowledge that other customers also trust the quality of DoubleClick's services, publishers switching to DFP are not better off even if more publishers join.
This finding deprives DoubleClick's ad exchange of one of its alleged main advantages, this being that publishers and advertisers would supposedly be drawn to it by virtue of its unique network effect based on DoubleClick's ad serving business and the use it makes of the data it collects through it. While it must be recognised that DoubleClick collects a given amount of data, this does
This update service automatically determines content and configuration of Personal Computers running the Windows operating system and proposes updates for download from Microsoft’s centralised servers. This gives Microsoft access to information that is potentially very valuable for advertising. For example, it would be very interesting for advertisers to know whether the users they target have an up-to-date modern system (indicating above-average buyer power in view of the required more expensive hardware) or whether they use certain software products that may indicate their profession.
140 “Facebook presents a big opportunity for online advertising, in part because it collects detailed information about its users -- such as their hobbies, favourite music, location, age, and gender -- that can be used to place highly targeted ads” Microsoft Bets On Facebook Stake And Web Ad Boom, by Robert A. Guth, Vauhini Vara and Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal Online, 25 October 2007.