Search Engines Battle with Agencies for Client Cash - Business or War?

Thread Title:
A scandal surfaces in the world of search marketing: Publishers are not our friends.
Thread Description:

"Soul-less Cash Mongers who couldn't Care Less About You"

Kevin Ryan posted an interesting article threadlinked above over at imediaconnection about the business of search publishing and the relationship between publisher, agency and advertiser. And more specifically, how engine reps have been trying to bypass agencies in a bid to deal with the client directly.

Getting the point that Search is a business and not a public commons to some thickheaded marketers is tough but maybe some of Kevin's war stories will enlighten the rose tinted spectacle wearing brigade.

For the most part, search engines are public entities. Despite the pretty façade and love-in style introductions, they are soul-less cash mongers who couldn’t care less about you.

I remember going to a search party the last time AD:TECH was held in Los Angeles (frankly, there were no other parties). While boozing it up, my rep enjoyed telling me how much fun it was to go out and sign up my client’s biggest competitor to drive up bid costs.

Now that’s nice, isn’t it? True story folks, I am not making this up.

The argument from the search engines is very simple and effective. “Agencies don’t understand search and specialized SEM shops don’t carry enough weight to be effective in the marketing world,” one search provider told me on condition of anonymity. “If we can’t get a direct introduction, we’ll try to get the agency to get us in so we can then move around them.”

Danny Sullivan posted on the article also. He says:

I also see the search engines -- the publishers as Kevin rightly calls them -- fighting the wrong battle if they think they can replace what agencies provide. The search publishers know their own publications, but it is extremely rare for an advertiser to want to be on only one network. People want both Google and Yahoo/Overture, to have as much reach as possible.

So when Google gains a client, will they do everything possible to ensure that client gets the best play on its competitor Overture? I doubt it. Instead, it will naturally want to keep as much of that client money as it can at home -- and the same would be true for Overture.

Not only is trying to bypass agencies stupid, it's downright destructive and as Kevin points out, the Search publishing industry has a lot of growing up to do yet.