Barton Wants "Close Look" at Google-Yahoo!

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) asks Justice Department to examine "largely unexplored" privacy, price issues of advertising deal

Joe Barton (R-Tex.), ranking member on the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee, wants the Justice Department to take a "close look" at what he calls the "largely unexplored" privacy and price issues surrounding the search advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo!.

In a letter to Justice, Barton—who has registered his concern about the deal before, as well as about the privacy implications of Google's merger with DoubleClick—cited seven pages worth of redactions in Yahoo!'s eight-page response to his inquiry into the deal. He suggested the company's responses seemed designed "to obscure rather than clarify" how the deal will work.

"It is unclear why Yahoo! feels such an acute need to hide its actions from the public," Barton wrote to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Barnett.

The deal would give Yahoo nonexclusive access to Google’s AdSense ad-display technologies for search and content advertising—which means Google ads would run on Yahoo, too—and work to make their respective instant-messaging services more interoperable.

Advertisers have also registered their concerns with Justice over the merger, concerned it could drive up prices. Microsoft, which is looking to get deeper into search, has also pushed for a thorough vetting, arguing it could create a de facto monopoly.