Is Ask.com Pulling Away From Google Relationship?
I read today on SEW that Ask.com will be using Anchor Intelligence's ClearMark system to detect and eliminate click fraud. Given that the overwhelming majority of Ask's paid search inventory currently goes to Google AdWords, you have to wonder why Ask would invest in Anchor Intelligence's solution if it's only going to apply to the <25% of Ask's inventory that the company sells direct to advertisers.
My guess is that this is a sign Ask is either
a) significantly increasing the percentage of inventory they sell direct; and/or
b) preparing to leave Google's distribution network altogether
I'm doubtful on (b) since the Google/Ask deal runs through the end of 2012, which leaves (a). In IAC's 2008-end 10Q, they say "For the years ended December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006, revenue earned from this arrangement was $610.8 million, $568.1 million and $379.0 million, respectively." Looks like they've topped out in terms of how much they can make with Google, so why not slowly cut out the middleman?