The Death Of The Agency

A flurry of deals this week has seen the end of the delineation between media buying and selling that has been a cornerstone of the advertising business for decades. With the exception of Japanese ad agency Dentsu (which was formed from the wartime Department of Information), which has acted as buyer and seller, other agencies reserved their role to buying media.

This has now changed. With Google as the catalyst, WPP's acquisition of 24/7 Real Media, who sell inventory on behalf of websites, and the slightly more obscure purchase of AQuantive by Microsoft (which now means that dot com hotshot agency Razorfish is part of the company). Then there was the purchase of Digitas by Publicis and Right Media by Yahoo. This signifies a new world order where the major agencies look to own, or at least control inventory for their customers. The reality is that all of this is a reaction to Google's dominance of the online advertising world thanks to their acquisition of Doubleclick.

But it does not overcome the genius of Google's positioning whereby the own no inventory, yet control almost all online ad inventory.