You'll Know Aquantive's part of MSFT when...
...they start saying things that hurt Google.
Aquantive put out research today in which they say that branded keywords are superfluous to SEM campaigns, as most consumers will find the merchants' sites anyways.
What's funny is that while their research clearly says much of the 50%+ of PPC budgets going to brand terms should be cut, Aquantive ends up saying they advise their clients not to drastically lower their branded PPC spend.
I don't get it. Is the data right, or the advice? It's gotta be one or the other. I also don't get why during the course of the previous 5 years Aquantive never had anything this potentially damaging to Google or the search industry to say. Frankly, either they were quiet for too long or have been assimiliated; good for them for taking the $$ & running, but something smells fishy.
Given that Atlas Search (the bid management tool Aquantive aquired but doesn't really use themselves) never was able to optimize on Google (nor Y! Panama or AdCenter), I'd take this data with more than a grain of salt. Frankly, I'm much more inclined to take great data from the likes of Jonathan Mendez and Avinash Kaushik than what is likely politically motivated research from Microsoft.