If the FTC asked me for my opinion on the Google/AdMeld acquisition, I would tell them that they are actively reducing competition in a market and that Google should not be allowed to do it.
What proof have I? Look no further than the DoubleClick acquisition. With DoubleClick owned by Google and the free Google Ad Manager product, I got the distinct impression that the life was sucked out of the ad serving market. When you talked with investors, they would tell you that no one valued ad serving – it was a commodity product. When you talked with customers, they would tell you how ad serving was a commodity and they expected to pay virtually nothing for the product.
This, despite the fact that ad serving products basically sucked. (Apologies in all these regards to OpenX, 24/7, AdTech, etc.)
I suspect that we will see much of the same now with SSPs – AdMeld, probably the market leader from a technology perspective, will now be a part of Google. How could someone fund a competitor? And AdMeld is good (I know Ben, etc.), but DCLK was good 5 years ago.
Lot’s of people I talk to feel like the industry is going through a period of maturation and consolidation – I see very few (none?) companies that blow my mind like that first meeting with Invite Media did when they were 8 guys in an apartment in Philadelphia.
And let’s face it, online advertising still sucks. I laughed time and again at the new commercial for Siri with Santa Claus. I made my wife come watch it. I haven’t seen a good online ad since subservient chicken. Online advertising is good at bottom of the funnel, not so good at the stuff that TV excels at. Big opportunities out there remain unrealized.
Of course, Google recognizes that this is where they will make their money so they are land grabbing left and right. I can’t blame them, but it does make our industry less interesting.