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Sunday, November 30, 2003
MSN to launch new site in the Philippines
Yep thats right, MSN is launching in the least expected of markets. The company announced this week that they will enter into a partnership with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to launch a new portal in the Philippines.
Saturday, November 29, 2003
Only 1 in 3 British Companies have a Website
This is the sort of thing that makes me feel ashamed to be British, as the Times reveals just 1/3 of all British firms have a presence on the web, and 20% of these have not been updated in over a year. I will agree with those that argue that a website is hard to set up, but I for one make most of my product choices researching the web - companoies that dont have a website will rarely get my attention. I am sure I am not alone in working this way.
Friday, November 28, 2003
ValueClick poaches DoubleClick director
Online ad sales house Valueclick has poached former Doubleclick director Vanessa Kent for the newly created position of Corp. Dev Director. Having also recently purchased affiliate network Commission Junction, it seems Valueclick is starting to ramp up with the company due to announce more new hires in the London office.

Surely when the fortunes of these bucket shops of the internet advertising industry are starting to pick up this is a sure sign of a healthy recovery? I certainly hope so.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Interview with Google's VP of Advertising Sales conducted an interview with Tim Armstrong, Google's VP of Ad Sales. The piece is split into two parts (although there is no link to each other (?)).Part 1 is here, and here's a link to Part 2.

Key takeaways:

- he admits Google must have some human optimization in their processes, it cannot all be automated;
- CPA pricing may be available in the future; Google remains adamant that Adwords (Placements in Search Listings) and AdSense (Content targeted ads on 3rd party sites - see example at top of this page) provide the same ROI as each other and should not be split into two distinct platforms;
- demographic targeting will not be featured by Google to preserve user privacy;
- local search will provide better targeting for advertisers;

Most of this I can agree with, but I am not sure that AdSense and AdWords provide the same kind of response as each other. To make the conscious effort to seek a product on a search engine means that the customer is already several steps into the buying process, whereas clicking on a banner ad while browsing other sites is normally going to increase awareness only, not driving sales so immediately.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Web spend to exceed 1bn euros in Europe
According to the latest report from Forrester, Web advertising in Europe could exceed 1bn euros by 2005. Online advertising continues to be the strongest growing advertising medium in Europe, and consumer spend online is set to hit over €140bn by 2007, up from €47bn this year even though internet access will only increase from 57% to 69% of all Europeans.
Monday, November 24, 2003
Google Bashers?
"'Google is about to join, I think, that rarified level enjoyed by Microsoft, the New York Yankees, the United States of America,' said Hayson. 'Too big, too powerful, too successful, too rich. And you're starting to see the rumblings right now.'"

How true is this? The Boston Globe thinks Google could become as hated as Microsoft. There are already Google bashers around, so it seems inevitable - how many big organisations can you name that are not hated in this way?
Yahoo buys foothold into Chinese Market
Yahoo agreed to purchase 3721 Network Software Co. last week, a developer of Chinese language search technology for around $120M in cash. Yahoo will be integrateing its technology into the portal's Asian sites.
AOL Cuts Agency Relations
In a strange move last week, AOL hascut its agency relations director position. Given the arrogance AOL used to have with agencies and the difficulty agencies have in planning campaigns on AOL's non-standard inventory, this seems a very short-minded move. I believe the argument for more short term revenue gain against strategy has won out here - this resource is no doubt being cut to provide extra sales heads. With the threat of a spin-off from parent company Time Warner they need to boost their numbers to gain interest from investors.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
MSN to launch rival product to Google News
Microsoft has launched a Beta Test version of their four language Newsbot which is seen by many to rival Google News. This is Microsoft's first move to truely launch a service that will compete with one of Google.

According to MS: "MSN Newsbot is an experimental, automated news service. We gather news from over 4,000 sources on the internet and speed your discovery of news stories. News headlines are clustered together to allow you to compare coverage from multiple sources and each story links to the publisher's site where you can read the full article.

"As news changes around the world, MSN Newsbot (beta) updates continuously to keep you current on what stories are being reported online. You can search to find news related to particular topics, or browse the sections to find news in Sports, Business, Technology, or World News. "

Sunday, November 16, 2003
Pop-ups on the brink of extinction
Yahoo recently announced that the next version of its search toolbar will include a pop-up blocker, and now Microsoft is incorporating one into its Internet Explorer software. This move has been speculated on for a while, but it was finally confirmed on Friday when it was revealed that a service pack to be launched in the first half of 2004 would carry such a feature. According to industry insiders quoted in this story, publishers and agencies are ready to kiss the units goodbye, although I fear this could prompt a greater usage of the flash layer ads which are even harder to click away from than pop-ups.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Guardian's New Media Top 10
According to the Guardian newspaper I am the 9th most important figure in New Media.
Ask Jeeves to increase Staff
Ask Jeeves is going to increase headcount by 20-30% over the next year as part of its push to grow market share. I still think Ask Jeeves has little chance in becoming a contender in the search arena and this is just more hyperbole to interest investors.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Lycos Overture Break-up Scandal
Lycos is suing Overture over claims that it broke competitive clauses in its contract with the paid listings provider when it was taken over by Yahoo! This has .echoes of Germany's T-Online pulling out of their contract with Overture in order to allow them to switch to Google. Funnily enough Lycos has now switched to using Google.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Yahoo! Europe drops Espotting
Hardly a surprise but noteworthy nonetheless, Yahoo has decided to use daughter company Overture for its sponsored search listings in Europe. This kills off a partnership with English firm Espotting who are already in strife over the possible annulment of their takeover by
Evil Google??
There is a lot of hype about the speculated Google IPO, and it all seems overwhelmingly positive. However, Jeremy c. Wright thinks the IPO is bad news for the tech industry, going so far as to call it evil.
IAB Europe Launches New Ad Standards
10 months after the US IAB launched their Universal Ad Package (UAP), the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe) and the The European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) announced the launch of the new standards for Europe. They have taken the 4 sizes recommended by their American counterparts, but somewhat disappointing is that they have refused to rule out the classic 468x60 banner size. The 120x60 skyscraper format was also added giving a total of 6 standard ad dimensions. The US effort to make obsolete the 468x60 size was very forward thinking and it shows a lack of ambition by the European IAB to not take the same stance. Instead it could lead to disarray amongst publishers and agencies as some of the global portals such as MSN and Yahoo will be rolling out the new 728x90 banners but many local players will continue to use the 468x60 size. Thus 2 ads need to be designed when one books campaigns across various sites including these big players. Some sites are able to support both sizes using dynamic ad-serving, where the ad placement can resize to accommodate either a 468x60 or 728x90 size. Yahoo is able to do this, however MSN cannot. This announcement will be a big disappointment for MSN who championed this new size and is now rolling out worldwide across their portals.
Monday, November 03, 2003
How to benefit from Local Search
The latest thing in the search industry is local search. How can a marketer benefit from this, and does need to make any changes to their websites to improve local search rankings? has published a handy guide to local search answering these sort of questions. According to a recent Kelsey report on Local Search most small businesses lack a website that will show up in local search rankings, so there is clearly a lot of work to do.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Friendster rejects Google
In September I reported that Google could make a move for According to Mecury News, Google in fact made a $30M offer for the company, which Friendster rejected, instead taking $13M in VC funding. Friendster have set a $53M valuation on themselves. The company was valued at $12.5M two months ago, but they and industry insiders believe the one year old company has great potential.
Microsoft courted Google over merger
The Guardian reported this weekendthat Microsoft has approached Google in the last two months to discuss a merger. A quick search on Google news shows 31 stories about this rumor. This story is dominating the headlines, although Google is making no comment whatsoever.

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