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Primedia bows to Adzilla

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Online advertising broker Google has swallowed up a competitor and acquired itself another distribution channel into the bargain.

Google will acquire Primedia's Sprinks ad business and gains exclusive rights to broker ads on its sites: the About.com network and 127 special interest magazine websites. Sprinks is also used to inject ads into email newsletters.

Sprinks was a leading competitor to the two giants, Overture's Content Match and Google's Adsense Programs.

It's almost quaint to think of Google as a search engine, but the astronomical estimates for the value of its flotation are based on its potential value as an advertising business. Google's own google.com front page is a valuable property, but it's conceivable that the business could prosper without its free flagship public search.

Recent bugs in the public search engine, and Google's reluctance to fix them, may not matter too much in the long run - and the company shows every sign of not being concerned. Far more damaging to the business is the potential disappearance of, or friction in its distribution channels. ®

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