Google Ignores Madison Avenue, Even As Web Video Rivals Cash In (GOOG)

Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO), CBS Interactive (CBS) and Hulu (NWS, GE)  joined agency Starcom Mediavest and six of its advertisers, including Allstate, Capital One Financial and DineEquity’s Applebee’s, to form a group they’re calling “the pool.” The group’s goal is to finally decide on a standard for Web video advertising.

“The lack of standards makes it challenging from an efficiency perspective,” Applebee’s EVP Bill Leibengood told the Wall Street Journal. “Right now we put so much time into re-creating unit sizes, the content and the pricing for every site.”

The group first met in November, when they took a list of 30 ad types and narrowed it down to five. Focus groups will review those five this week. The top two formats will then go into beta testing. Advertisers in the pool agreed to use the winning ad format to buy inventory from participating sites.

Conspicuously absent from “the pool” is Google, which owns, by far the Web’s most popular video destination.

Google has a reputation for wanting to be the geniuses who come up with things — “someday they’ll have to listen to us,” a ad exec complained to us this week — but a spokesperson for MediaVest says Google’s absence is merely due to “timing.”

Odd excuse. Considering Google’s ongoing struggles to make money from YouTube, we think they would have been happy to rearrange the calendars of one or two of its 20,000 or so employees.

With big-spending clients like Proctor & Gamble, Mediavest dropped $16 billion on ads last year. Any standard it decides on could go a long way toward increasing the size of its clients’ buys in Web video advertising. Why would Google pass on a chance to shape that standard for its own benefit?

See Also:
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