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Friday, October 31, 2003
Reinventing The Butler - Ask Jeeves' rejuvenation
Red Herring published a great article which chronicles the rise fall and rise of Ask Jeeves this week. Many industry observers regard Ask Jeeves as one of the few potential threats to Google outside of Yahoo and MSN. Their technology they inherited from the purchase of Teoma is very good and offers ways to narrow down your search by dividing Web sites into communities of specialized subjects and uses these groups to decide how relevant a site is to a user’s search. However Ask Jeeves lacks the processing power to index more than a small percentage of the web (500M websites), whereas the big search engines are indexing billions. This website has still not been indexed by Teoma, yet it has been indexed by Google at least 20 times already. Ask Jeeves also lacks a pay for performance advertising solution and instead uses Google to supply commercial results. Ask Jeeves is one of the few search sites that still uses banners or graphical ads in their search results. They have beensuccessfull in selling these but in the absence of a large index or a PFP solution, I fear this is just a bubble for Ask Jeeves and they will soon be swallowed up by Google, who have an interest in the company already.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Google's plans for Sprinks
There has been much speculation on Google's recent purchase of contextual advertising rival Sprinks. The question is "what will Google do with the Sprinks technology and organization?" C|NET has compiled a lot of this speculation and many seem to think that Google is just swallowing competition to make themselves stronger and ditching the new technology they will inherit. However Sprinks has a good targeting system which is said to provide more relevant targeting for advertisers, so it could well be integrated into the Google Ad Sense program.
Rich Media ads getting Bigger and Bolder
According to the latest Ad Serving Trend Report from Doubleclick, rich media ads are increasing in popularity and may eventually edge out banner ads. Rich media ads increased in overall usage from 17.3% of all ads served in Q1 2002 to almost 37% in Q3 2003. This is all very promising for companies such as Eyeblaster and Unicast, but one has to bear in mind that this report only concerns itself with ads served through Doubleclick systems, and as Doubleclick charges more for heavier filesizes (rich media ads can weigh up to 1MB) it is in their interests to promote these formats. I wouldn't be surprised if text based ads such as those displayed at the head of this page have received even greater exponential growth than rich media, but Doubleclick would be loathe to acknowledge this.

Some news outlets are reporting that this increase in rich media usage includes pop-ups. Rick Bruner has pointed that this is in fact wrong. The DC report actually states, "[T]he square (250 x 250), which is most often used for behind or top of the page creative that "pops up," has lost ground by 33%...".
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Microsoft to Unleash Rich Media Havoc
Marketing Wonk comments today on problems rich media advertisers will have with Microsoft's new Internet Explorer browser. Advertisers make heavy use of Active X type plugins to display rich media ads, and in the new version, users will be shown a pop-up asking them if they want to proceed when sites contain such plug-ins. There are workarounds to avoid this, but Eric Picard at claims many advertisers are not taking this seriously enough, and the online advertising business could be in for some serious hiccups come January when the new version launches.
Broadband set to provide boost for Online Advertising in Europe
Broadband Users in the six biggest states in Europe are set to more than treble by 2007, providing a catalyst for growth in Online Advertising with bigger pipes providing more creative possibilities. According to new report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, Broadband is set to enjoy 35.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 4 years which will in turn promote a CAGR of 9.3% for internet advertising.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Google buys Sprinks
Google announced on Friday that it has bought the contextual advertising unit of Primedia, Sprinks. It looks likely that Google will just replace the Sprinks service with their own AdSense program.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Google to IPO next Spring
The FT reported today that Google is planning an IPO early next year. More interesting is that Google will offer shares via an internet auction, bypassing huge fees for investment banks. Sources on Wall St estimate the company to be valued at $15-25bn.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Online advertising 'to click again'
Following on from yesterday's news that UK Internet Advertising revenues are getting healthier, Price Waterhouse Coopers reports that Internet Advertising in Western Europe as a whole is on the verge of recovery following a three year slump. PWC is expecting double-digit growth taking income in the six major online marketing economies of the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Holland to $1.03bn this year. As with the Bellwhether report for the UK the catalyst to this revival is performance based advertising which brings more bangs for the buck. In particular the pay per click ad products of search engines is cited as the biggest driver. PWC stressed that although they forecast a rise in ad revenue it should not be seen as an indicator of a strengthening economy - I suspect this extra revenue is coming at the expense of cutting budgets from other traditional media. The internet marketing dollars are starting to follow the shift in eyeballs from press and TV to the internet.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
UK Internet Marketing Budgets on the rise
The British Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's latest Bellwether survey of marketing spend among the UK's top advertisers indicates that Internet Marketing budgets are growing faster than any other sector, with a full recovery in sight for advertising and marketing expenditure in the UK in early 2004. The report shows that 18.2% of companies surveyed have increased their internet marketing spend, with only 4.7% making cuts during Q3. Internet and Direct Marketing were the only sectors to buck a general downward trend in ad spend. It seems that marketers want more bang for their buck and are moving as much budget as possible into the more accountable sectors.
Yahoo!'s Turnaround
Motley Fool is publishing a 4 part interview with Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel over the next 4 days. Today's start only touches the tip of the iceberg and reveals nothing new except that Semel was disappointed the Giants didn't make it to the World Series. The next installments should make an interesting read.
Ad Pepper Media buys Italian Sales House Clickit
German based European Sales House, Ad Pepper has bought the biggest independent Italian Marketing group, Clickit. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. This deal makes Ad Pepper, the former sales house for MSN Germany, the biggest internet marketing group in Italy. Ad pepper has a huge ad network spanning 9 European countries covering 650 websites. The acquisition of Clickit will bring an extra 90 websites, and give AdPepper reach into practically all Italian households.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Are you the sort of person that emails your buddy who works at the desk next to you? Do your relatives and family describe your job as "works with computers"? If so then you could be an e-bore. Try the e-bore-ometer at to see how much of an e-bore you are.
Victory for Internet Marketing Scruples
There has long been discussions in the internet marketing industry that paid inclusion providers such as Google and Overture should police the process more to ensure trademarks are not 'hijacked' by competitors. The automation used in setting up these campaigns ensures low costs and introducing some kind of editorial approval would make the process slower and of course more costly. Now that Google has been ordered to pay €75K by a French court for allowing trademarks to be used as keywords by competitors. If this ruling holds (Google are appealing) and is validated in other countries then search providers will be forced to screen campaigns for invalid trademarks. It may increase costs, but as Google currently gives away advanced features these may be taken away instead and offered as premium add-ons. Whatever the outcome, scrupulous internet marketers will breathe a sigh of relief and the unscrupulous will have to actually do some real work.
This Town's Not Big Enough for the Two of us
QXL was set up to provide Europeans an auction service to rival eBay. Years later, it seems that eBay's dominance is too much for them with news that they are withdrawing from Germany and Spain and apparently giving up control of their Polish subsidiary. QXL lost control of their Polish business late last year in what the UK office claim was a "fraudulent share issue". QXL is launching a rival website in Poland with the nr2 auction service provider in what is a clear statement of defeat, although QXL's CEO is putting a more positive spin on this: "The launch of demonstrates our determination to give the Polish market an honest alternative and to recover what has been stolen from us". The company needs to reduce their costs and is facing an uphill battle for survival. The Polish unit was their most successful and the loss must be hurting them a lot.

Getting Rich on Fat hang on....
Mediapost reports today on the future plans for Doubleclick. That future is based around rich media advertising, and they want a fat piece of the $50M pie. Rich Media advertising normally has heavy filesizes, so the increase in bandwidth will help their ad-serving business, but the real big bet is on DART Motif, their new tool for creating rich media advertising creative. This tool puts them into competition with the likes of Eyeblaster and Unicast. It won't be launched until early 04 so they lose any first mover advantage, but with an impressive track record in service and existing relationships with agencies and publishers I am sure they will get fat from rich media.
Monday, October 20, 2003
Remembering Birthdays brings closer relationships
How often do you get birthday 'specials' from marketers? I remember getting these a lot when I was younger form nightclubs, restaurants, record stores, etc. After reading this article on New Media Age, it suddenly occurred to me that I give my birthdate to hundreds of web marketers every year, yet they never use this information to send me a birthday present. This surely is the biggest wasted opportunity of personal data on the net.
Searching the Web is like picking Berries
Sean Carlton makes some great points today about Search Engine Marketing. Usage of Search Engines is more like berrypicking where people "forage" from one information "bush" to another, than "a linear process of keyword search to result". He is perfectly right: search engine marketing should be a component of a broad media campaign, not just the be-all and end-all. However as Search Engine Optimization can be very cheap or even free to those that know how to do it, it is very easy to become reliant on this one form of traffic generation.
Regional websites, huge untapped marketing potential in the Middle East
AME Info reports that websites in the Middle East have a larger audience than conventional media. Yahoo! published a full page ad in local media showcasing its regional success - more people in Saudi Arabia view Yahoo! than the local nr1 newspaper. Especially impressive when you consider that Yahoo! has no local website, and all sales are made by Sales Houses for inventory. As with the rest of the world the revenue is not following the eyeballs and marketers are failing to grab this inexpensive advertising medium. 41% of advertising expenditure is presently on print media and just 0.23% on the Internet. AME Info's reporter can only offer optimistic hope as a solution, although it seems clear that a strong trade body could be far more efficient.
Friday, October 17, 2003
DoubleClick Doubles Quick
Doubleclick reported its third consecutive quarter in profit last night with their share price now doubling in value this year. Motley Fool reports this as positive signs of a strong recovery in the online ad business, despite other reports claiming that Wall Street was disappointed with their results.
Yahoo's CEO Semel Exercises Options
Just three months after Yahoo's chief, Terry Semel pocketed $11.1 million by exercising options, he's at it again with another $ million in profits from the exercise of options.

Yahoo's market value has more than doubled this year, resulting in an additional $16 billion in shareholder wealth. Since his last sell-off, Yahoo shares rose from around $32 to $42.
Blog Business World
Want some great tips on how to build a business blog and get it promoted across the internet for almost nothing? Check out Blog Business World if this is what you are looking for. It has some great tips and guidelines for creating a commercial blog.
AOL to relaunch Netscape as a value brand
AOL is planning a new discount Internet service, and in doing so will also revive the Netscape brand. The new Netscape service will cost just $9.95 a month compared to the standard AOL price of $23.90. AOL UK used the Netscape brand for a pay as you surf ISP a few years back in response to losing market share from non-subscription ISPs that take a cut from the phone call charges by the Telco networks. Again they are losing market share as many users in the US are defecting to discount providers such as United Online's NetZero and Juno.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Internet Marketers attack new Adwords 'enhancements'
Pay per Click Advertisers in the UK are attacking Google over their new AdWords 'enhancements'. These enhancements include 'extended matching capability' - a system that matches by more than just the selected keywords using synonyms or related phrases. Advertisers are angry as they have to opt out of expanded matching, and many internet marketers feel that Adwords is now generating a large number of irrelevant referrals which won't be cost-effective. This has even led to one marketer having synonyms of brand names sold on his site being matched, drawing users to his site thinking they will find the brand they are looking for thus causing a poor experience for users who will be reluctant to return.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
IAB to merge with AOP?
The UK branch of the IAB is considering a merger of its business with one or more trade bodies to create a unified voice for the internet marketing industry. Conversations have already started with the AOP (Association of Online Publishers). The IAB believes this change will be a catalyst in gaining 8% of all media expenditure for the web within a decade. Online media in the UK currently makes up 8% of all media consumption.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Google to offer free conversion Tracking to Customers
Following on from recent speculation, Google announced yesterday that AdWords customers will now receive free conversion tracking. Yahoo is still losing a lot of market share to Google, but it seems that Google still feels the need to add unique value to it's service. Lets see what reaction there is from the other search engines.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Pop-ups put users off brands and sites
Here is a bunch of good reasons not to use pop-ups in your ad campaigns. Recent research by NOP world claims that a fifth of users are using software to block the intrusive formats. Furthermore 38% said pop-ups make them feel less favorably about the brands they represent. 45% of users said that pop-ups make them feel less favorable about the website that is launching them. The argument is of course that the value of short term revenue gains need to be weighted by the potential loss in traffic. We have heard this argument many times in the world of internet marketing, but its always good to get some statistics to back it up.
Why Google has poor results
According to Andrew Orlowski, writer for the Register, "its [Google's] current brute-force text index produces search results with little or no context", and that "PageRank is now widely acknowledged to be broken, so new, smarter tricks are required." News to me - according to him, Teoma is a far superior search engine. Hmmm... This weblog is indexed by all the search engines, including a directory listing at Yahoo; however Teoma believes it not to exist and displays the results the phrase "noo meeja" would have yielded in Google 4 months ago. Anyway because Page Rank is broken, Google bought Kaltix as an act of desperation. Read the article to discover why Google is so bad, maybe he can convince you but it passed me by.
Yahoo posts huge profit
In what can only be good news for the rest of the internet marketing industry, Yahoo said profits more than doubled in the third quarter amid an ongoing revival in online advertising, during its latest quarterly results.
Mercury News | 10/09/2003 | Yahoo posts huge profit:
Paid Subscription Blogging
Vin Crosbie of asks, "how can we increase revenues for Blogs?" and looks into detail the possibility of paid subscriptions. Given that most Blogs are just full of links, there is little original content so I doubt anyone would pay for this. This argument is looked at and several other factors such as the legality of deep linking are looked into. It indicates that for the time being the best way to make money is through ads and sponsorships, but if you are prepared to write original industry reports then there seems to be a market for this as a revenue stream.
Email marketing is dead. Search is on its way out. What's next?
Is the Search Industry over-hyped? Masha Geller seems to think it may be.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Nissan Micra online ads (a bad example)
Adverblog today point out an example of how not to run a promotion by Nissan Micra. Bad targetting, poor copy and an unreadable ad. One wonders whether the ad space was badly sold (or even wrongly trafficked), or whether Nissan's media planning and execution really is that bad?
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Google acquires Kaltix
Google has aquired search technology start-up Kaltix for an undisclosed sum. Kaltix is only 3 months old, and develops personalized and context-sensitive search technology.

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