What Will Google Do With Performics?

Now that Google has acquired the Internet advertising giant DoubleClick, what are they planning to do with its search marketing company Performics?

You mean, Google now owns one of the largest SEO companies in the world? Yep!

1. Google Buys DoubleClick
2. DoubleClick owns Performics
3. Google decides to keep Performics

Initial reaction may be that there is a conflict of interest by Google owning one of the largest search marketing firms in the business, since the goal Performics is to rank their clients highly and efficiently on Google and other search engines.

Performics clients include:

America Online, Blair Corp., Bose, Cingular, CompUSA, Eddie Bauer, Fairmont Hotels, HP Shopping, J. Jill, Jos. A. Banks, Kohl’s, L.L. Bean, Motorola, OfficeMax, PC Connection, RedEnvelope, My Sony, Quickbook, Staples, Verizon Wireless, and Wyndham Hotels.

Such services offered by Performics include paid search marketing, ‘natural’ search engine optimization and data feed marketing.

So, Performics is essentially an SEO company owned by Google.

Shawn Collins of AffiliateTip points out some bizarre language on the Google DoubleClick acquisition FAQ:

Q. What will Google do with Performics?
A. Performics is part of DoubleClick, and we are acquiring it as part of the transaction. We have no plans to dispose of it at this time.

‘No plans to dispose’ of Performics? Dispose is an interesting choice of words.

What do you think Google will do with Performics?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker

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68 thoughts on “What Will Google Do With Performics?

  1. – Get their Google Pay per action feature right

    – Use the Performics 50 Index to improve their Metrics across platforms and compensation methods to make it easier for Advertisers to make the right choices regarding which advertising to use (display ads, publisher network, CPA, PPC ads, radio, TV, you name it)

    – might add revenue share as option to the mix as option to choose from by Google Advertisers

    that are just a few that I can think of out of my head

  2. Google will keep them. Why loose existing customers and reinvent the wheel?

    The SEO/SEM part of the company will likely be sold but the third largest affiliate marketing company in the world is a keeper.

  3. Carsten,

    Do you think it would be ethical for Google to continue running Performics as an SEO & Search Marketing company?

    I mean, if there is a raise in client rankings across the board, that would really raise eyebrows… and if Performics uses “well, we’re owned by Google” line to differentiate themselves from the competition….

  4. Any bets on 5 years from now they’re the only place to do serious online advertising?

    They totally have the full spectrum now with the engine, adwords to checkout.

  5. At the end of the day, I don’t see any difficulty with Google owning Perfomics, especially if the firm’s operation is above-board.

    Unless Google comes under pressure to sell it off, I doubt they would.

  6. If they keep Performics it will basically turn them into an agency for selling placement in their organic results. Effectively making every link in their index a “sponsored link”. Which overtime will detoriate their results and users will switch to the more fairer little guys (like http://www.tallstreet.com/)

    So eventually they will have to draw a line and either make their ranking fairer, or dispose of it.

  7. Carsten brings up some good points. I suspect that Google will keep Performics, but might consider “rebranding” them from calling it a Search Engine Marketing company, to another form of advertising. Or they might just leave it as-is.

    As far as ethics goes and Google owning a Search Engine Marketing firm, you need to consider that both Yahoo! and MSN have “search engine marketing” employees.

  8. Yes because if everyone else if doing it, it must be ok.

    What made Google more popular in the first place was that their results wern’t influenced by how much money someone was willing to spend to get a good position on Google. It meant if you searched a term and an acedemic document appeared at the top, it was ok.

    This clearly isn’t the case, if an acedmic document deserves to be at the top but some company wants that position more – the company hires an SEO firm and it’ll get the top spot. If you have the money you can get to the top of any term. Its time for a new way of ranking results, one that it about pleasing your USERS not the search engine.

  9. i reckon they will continue to run performics and take on some high profile customers who will rank really well for some difficult keywords at which point google will sandbox them and sue themselves in a big lawsuit.

    would be totally stupid but great headline news

  10. There will be too much pressure. They will have to ‘dispose’ of the SEO component of the business. GOOG is starting to raise some interest by the Feds into where they are headed.

    Is this Microsoft 2.0?

  11. Google will have to sell it, the criticism will be overwhelming. Most of us can agree that it was not their reason for wanting DoubleClick.

    I bet it will fetch a top price for any company looking for an SEO firm, the ebay auction may start soon.

    I’ll start the bidding!!!!

  12. This seems insane to me. By the way, Google, you can buy my SEO/Web Analytics company, too. Asking price: priceless. Seriously, though, if you bought me out for $500,000, I would sell it to you and open an organic beer brew pub. You could sponsor my pub, too, if you’d like.

  13. It would be more interesting to hear what sort of SEO model Performics actually offers.

    For example, is it general “search engine friendliness” and similar entry level stuff?

    Or does it offer serious link buying or cloaking solutions?

    If the first, it’s no big deal – Google have already “SEO’ed” eBay to make the listings properly indexable (filling themselves with eBay subdomain spam at the same time).

    If the second – then a valuable window of data on how to hurt blackhats, algo style. :)

    I suspect much more the former, though… :)

  14. No matter how this plays out, marketing firms worldwide should diversify, employing techniques that target traffic in a long-term cross-engine fashion. It will be interesting to see what happens with Performics, if the DoubleClick aquisition itself isn’t blocked.

  15. What bizarre language? The word ‘dispose’ is a common word used in the business world. Companies dispose of assets, they dispose of inventory, they dispose of division. Dispose is just another term for ‘sell’.

  16. No worries or concerns here. :)

    Google didn’t buy Doubleclick based upon Performics SEO offerings.

    It might not be a bad idea to spin the company off on its own to remove any perception of conflict of interest, but if they don’t, I’m not sure that it really worries me.

  17. So, what happened to the “don’t be evil” catchphrase Google used to go by? Doesn’t this seem horribly unfair for all the other little SEO guys out there? I recognize it’s their prerogative to buy who they want to buy, but it sure seems evil towards anyone who is not Performics.

    I think the only “fair” thing to do to make it look like Google’s treating everyone equitably is to sell off the clients to other SEOs as soon as they can and meld the SEO guys at Performics into Google’s metrics-writing team.

  18. Are you kidding? The government is never going to beat on their endless source of information and metrics.

    Jim L:
    “There will be too much pressure. They will have to ‘dispose’ of the SEO component of the business. GOOG is starting to raise some interest by the Feds into where they are headed.

    Is this Microsoft 2.0?”

  19. Think.

    You are all so worried about Performics, but John Doe and his wife surfing the web this evening won’t give a damn, and won’t even understand the issue.

    They will not sell Performics. I think they will see the opportunities in keeping it. Google is about marrying strategy and technology to get an advantage and earn more money than the competition, and the main driving force is ads. To leave such an opportunity would make sense only if they have an even better strategy to wield their search-powers on the adds market, and make money off it.

  20. I think a more interesting question is ‘what are Performics client going to do with Performics?’ There are some good frontline folks there that can help ease the transition (if there is one), but there will always be apprehension. Can the clients be made comfortable enough that they can trust Google to allow the agency to be really autonomous?

  21. I think the big issue is, what does this do to help solve the issue with indexing and ranking of content for the benefit of the searcher? It doesnt seem like much, just another move by Google to flex their muscles.

    They better be careful as all that flexing could cause a hernia and a user generated content search portal like Wiki could slip right underneath their enormous pecs!

  22. I have to agree that Google will eventually sell off that part of the pie. I couldn’t image them actually selling SEO/M services to the general public. How much would you pay to have your site optimized, not for, but BY Google?

    Google does like to keep SEO’s in their good graces, i mean honestly, how much extra revenue does SEO/M firms contribute to their core business, which is selling ads? I’d say quite a bit.

  23. What they will do is keep the company and help them with their own knowhow and than they’ll together earn big money… is there any better way?

  24. I agree with Bill H. MSN and Yahoo have SEO/SEM people on staff; by acquiring 2xClick/Performics, Google automatically adds a qualified level of sophisticated staff. Personally, I think they should spin it off, but I don’t think they will.

  25. great thing to point out Loren… it would definitely leave people with their head scratching, that’s for sure..

    if they don’t “dispose” of Performics, they could be called on the carpet for “being evil” (my daily dose of snark for the day), however keeping Performics could potentially affect them if the regulators really do start digging into this.

    a search engine owning a search engine optimization firm…. isn’t that a bit monopolistic? i can see senator stevens now…. blathering on about tubes and monopoly (hmmm.. could that be a new game?).

    again, great catch loren! :)

  26. It’s incompatible for Google to own a firm that generates a large part of its business by people ranking well on Google. It opens them up to accusations that Performics will get insider knowledge or be favored over other “third party” firms. I expect it to be sold in short order and remain amazed the FAQ doesn’t actually say something like “we’re aware of the inherent conflicts in owning this unit and are exploring options.” It makes it feel that Performics, and the issues it poses, were barely an afterthought in the entire deal.

  27. Great story here. I think Google is already trying to clean up their act in anticipation of what to do with Performics. Makes you wonder why Matt Cutts is getting all “hot & heavy” over paid links.

    You have to question how much is performics and it’s past revenue, clients and processes are worth to Google’s investors? and what would the investors want to do with it, because at the end of the day, it’s the investors who payed for their right to voice about the position of the company.

    Google knew what they were getting into when they purchased Doubleclick. I find it very unlikely that they do not know what to do with Performics. I guess we’ll here something in the coming months, but if they decide to keep performics, they need to be very careful about how they position themselves in this industry.

  28. Let’s not forget Performics is one of the largest and the fastest growing AFFILIATE marketing companies. With the recent Google foray in PPA keeping Performics starts to make a lot more sense.

  29. The Search Part must probably get reduced to the analytics portion of it to help their Advertisers to determine and measure channel conflicts between affiliate marketing and SEO/SEM campaigns.

    The other big Affiliate Networks Commission Junction and Linkshare offer Search Marketing services as well, because it makes sense.


    CJ is owned by ValueClick, so Google would had have a similar problem, if they would have bought them and not DoubleClick.

    Performics does a bit more Search Marketing business than its competitor Networks, but that does not change the general conflict that Danny pointed out.

    What Google can use though is Performics expertise in Analytics because they did Cross Channel advertising using different compensation models (CPC, CPA, CPS and CPM ) for Advertisers, something Google didn’t do yet, but will do.

  30. Those are big clients, and whatever organic search they were doing can now go bye-bye. Google gets to see what exactly they were doing besides PPC (if anything), and address that market opportunity.

  31. Since when is performics an SEO company?

    I’ve never heard of them offering SEO services until today, but rather always knew them (for years) as an affiliate network, like CJ or Linkshare. For instance I just got an email that Target was moving their affiliate program to Performics, from Linkshare, in May.

    Digging further it looks like Peformics only launched their organic SEO service 8 days ago.


    This post is probably making a mountain out of a molehill.

  32. This is straight conflict of interest.
    Hey, we often see this advice to newbie website owners around on seo forums : “don’t trust seo firms who tell you that they have close relationship with the search engines”. IMHO I think we have to revise this now to “you can trust … blah blah blah” . Well , for the moment.

  33. Chris Beasley, Performics has offered Search Marketing & SEO services for more than 4 years.

    ” 1. Paid Placement – know what paid keywords convert to sales and optimize ROI on advertising investments with Overture, Google and several other paid search engines.
    2. Paid Inclusion – distribute comprehensive product data feeds to multiple search engines and directories.
    3. Natural SEO consultation – drive customers to the right Web page so they can take action.
    4. Optimization – proactively manage search engine placement based on real-time sales conversion tracking and predictable ROI measurement.
    5. Robust reporting – track all online customer acquisition programs – from affiliate, search, e-mail marketing and portal relationships – in one technology and reporting application.”

  34. The largest search engine in the world buying one of the larger SEO companies in the world? Than this as “evil” as it gets if you ask me. They HAVE to sell the SEO part and of course consider keeping the affiliate component.

    If anything I feel bad for the clients of Performics if they were happy with the results, because those are going bye bye. If I was SEO sale person (smile, smile) I would be on the horn to these clients right now. John A is right…I wonder if Google will be taking a very close look at the internal SEO workings of Performics before selling them. Much might be gained of this if the results from the organic work of Performics was any good.

  35. Google will, undoubtedly, use it to bully webmasters into even fewer options regarding SEO… and at the same time they are asking real people to “out” companies using paid text links. So soon, unless you are a multi-national, corporate conglomerate with public news posted across the web on a daily basis, UR skrewed… Don’t worry, they’ll soon own Digg and Delicious as well….

  36. This just goes to show how “do no evil” can’t hold up. If they get rid of performics that might be evil to the division, and if they keep it, well that’s evil to the world.

  37. Google should keep “Performics ” along with Double Click. It will defenietly be an evolution in current SEO/SEM scenario. Changes ever committed to revelutions.

  38. SEO/SEM is part of Google and Performics is a part of Double Click then how those can be separated. Google will continue with Performics to make much better its clients relationship.

  39. I didn’t realize that Google had bought a search marketing firm in that dell. This posts a year old does anyone know what they did do with Performics?

  40. I believe that when all is said and done, “Google will make the right decision by keeping Performics”. There has to be competition !, its in the best interest of all. By acquiring Performics the rest of the field will have to play by the rules of equity which will inturn keep Google in check thus creating an advertising win-fall for merchants with the other three competing top marketing companies. but then again Google really does not need Performics relevant of attracting new businesses but on a secondary scale would increase its percentage of traffic.

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  42. Looks like someone is getting nervous. I think Google has taken this step because DoubleClick was confronting with Google’s interest. Since it is the largest SEO company of the world, it means it was well aware of Google’s algo and this was making Google go haywire.