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Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Lycos Europe, Overture Expand Deal, Involve Yahoo!
Lycos Europe announced on Tuesday that they have renewed its search listings deal with Overture. What is remarkable about this is that the deal also involves Overture's parent Yahoo!, who will work with Lycos Europe on e-commerce and community products. Full details of the Yahoo! involvement were not announced, but it will be interesting to see how this pans out - this kind of collaboration with Yahoo could give Overture a strong competitive edge over Google.
Kanoodle Innovates
Kanoodle has just launched a tool that enables customers to set times for their keyword campaigns to be active or inactive depending on the time of day, day of month or month of year . This may seem like a simple innovation, but up until now keyword campaigns on Overture or Google cannot be planned in advance like this. The reason this is so great is this how marketers plan their campaigns - using specific set periods for their marketing, otherwise known as flights. A Kanoodle customer can now, for example, set campaigns to only run at certain times of the day, reflecting "dayparts" used in other media or regular banner advertising. This move may prove to be precedent for search engine PPC advertising, and I applaud Kanoodle for making this move and showing that PPC advertising can be planned just like other media.
Monday, December 22, 2003
Apparently more than 15m drunken text messages will be sent by mobile phone users in the UK in December.

"Intexticating", the habit of sending inappropriate messages on mobiles while drunk, affects one in four Brits, according to a survey created by Virgin Mobile. I know I have been guilty of this myself in the past - thankfully I have never been one of those to "mistext" - sending a love note to the wrong person, which is admitted by 13% of female Brits.
Friday, December 19, 2003
Google expands AdSense to five New Languages
Google announced today that it is adding five new interface languages to the AdSense contextual advertising programme. This will enable websites in Spanish, German, French, Italian and Japanese to sign upt to AdSense. Google has been running AdSense on some German sites already, albeit only the large portals such as, so this announcement makes it now available to small publishers as well.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Google Power Users reports on Google's Frequent Searcher Program. Google will be showing users how often they use the site - the big question is why and for what purpose? Google's answer to the question "What do I win?" on their FAQ page read, "There is no winning. There is only self-awareness. The search is endless." Very out there - even more quirky: Google installs fully automated digital toilets - a remote-control, computerized toilet seat with more functions than your VCR. It seems anything Google does gets a press mention these days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Former Sprinks executives set up rival shop to Google
After Google bought Sprinks, it seemed the contextual advertising game was now just a 2 horse race between Overture and Google. Not anymore: Kanoodle has hired 3 former Sprinks executives to create a new contextual advertising division within the privately held search firm. When Google bought Sprinks, it only acquired the intellectual rights to their technology, not their staff. Kanoodle have seized on the opportunity to hire these guys and create a new service for Kanoodle's existing 17,000 advertisers.
Survey Result: Users Prefer Organic Search Results to Paid Listings
According to

"When asked about the relevancy of search engine sponsored links and advertisements, business searchers responded that even when clicked on, paid links do not yield the best results.

[most] respondents feel that they find the information that they are looking for less than 40% of the time through sponsored links, and the search engine business searches go to first is Google, which 66 percent of the respondents say they use most."
UK Internet Ad Spend surpassing expectations
The IAB has just reported that online ad spend in the Uk reached £151.6m in the first six months of 2003, representing 85% from last years first 2 quarters. This brings the share of spend to 2% of all media in the UK, which the IAB had previously hoped to reach by Fall 2004. This comes as a welcome boost for internet industry in the UK, and is in stark contrast to downward trends in other media.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Hey pop ups, why don't you pop off?
According to the Guardian, WeCaSoWeWi advertising is so annoying and intrusive not even Satan himself could invent it. What is WeCaSoWeWi ? Read Paul Carr's article and then tell me there is a future to pop-up advertising - I dare you.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
LookSmart to cut Staff by 50%
In contrast to the rest of the search industry, LookSmart is looking more and more troubled each day. Shortly after announcing the closure of it's London office (and all European operations), the San Francisco search company is to cut its staff by about 50 percent , following the massive loss in business through MSN's cancellation of their agreement to provide listings for MSN Search. The deal with MSN provided two thirds of their revenue and they are due to lose deals that account for a further 6% of revenue in the next few months.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
What a Bunch of Muppets
In response to MSN not enabling its site for output to Opera web browsers, Opera has turned MSN into a bunch of muppets. The latest version of the Opera browser works properly on all sites except MSN, where all the words are turned into the language of the Swedish chef from The Muppet Show. This new version is called the Bork version, and is a joke but intended to make an important point about compatibility.
Ask Jeeves Confirms Expansion Plans
Ask Jeeves has confirmed plans to go on an acquisition and partnership spree in Europe next year. I know they have plans to move into Europe and have conducted focus groups in key markets already. It's about time as they have been around a long time without any presence on the continent while the competition has raced ahead with offices all over Europe. Again they are at pains to stress they will not be making any moves into PPC companies, instead relying on partnerships with companies like Google or Overture. I think the lack of a monetization engine makes them particularly vulnerable, although they are one of the few search engines continuing to make success with traditional ad units.
Ad Effectiveness Researcher Scraps Pop-Ups To Boost Its Own Effectiveness
As further proof of the imminent death of pop-ups, online ad effectiveness research firm InsightExpress has scrapped the use of pop-ups for recruiting survey panelists. Instead they will use rich media ad units in a hope this will increase response.
AOL UK launches Mediaspace (finally)
AOL UK has finally got it's act togehter and launched an online media kit. Woo hoo! I remember them starting this project 4 years when I used to work there - well done guys you really know how to innovate!
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
AdSubtract to snip paid search results
The latest version of the 'AdSubtract' software, which eliminates advertising from user's browsers, will also remove commercial listings form search results. The new feature, called Search Sanity is designed to shut out any links that are not relevant to the search and are there because of advertising agreements between the organization and the search engine company. InterMute Inc., which makes AdSubtract, acknowledges that some sites such as Google make a good job of making paid listings distinct form legitimate search results, but in the main sites are just stacking the paid listings above legitimate search results which often leads to lost productivity by clicking onto sites that are not relevant.
As someone that works in the industry that is being fueled by such advertising I am not really going to take too much notice of this as take-up is likely to be relatively small. However, pop-up blockers were once few and far between and are now almost ubiquitous after being added to search toolbars and client software such as MSN 9 and AOL 9. If search engines continue to use non-relevant advertising then internet users may force them out like they did with pop-ups.
Monday, December 08, 2003
Looksmart pulls out of Europe
After having been dropped from MSN Search listings, Looksmart is closing it's UK office after coming to the conlcusion that it cannot operate profitably without MSN in Europe.
Move ads Around Page for Effectiveness
According to a recently published survey by the Usability Company Online advertising could be more effective if they did not appear in the same position on each web page. Even though we need to press for more standardisation in advertising, these observations do agree with similar eye-tracking surveys I have worked on in the past. In particular, users that use web services such as email or chat become used to the UI and ignore the ads almost completely.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
FindWhat enters into Local Search Agreement
Reminding us there is an alternative to Overture or Google for contextual advertising, FindWhat has inked a deal to provide local advertising technology and services to the largest online Yellow pages in the US, Superpages, owned by Verizon. This of course also puts FindWhat firmly on the local search arena, an area in which Google and Overture are both currently testing capabilities for. FindWhat has also recently signed other white label deals to power advertisng services for Lycos and japanese firm Mitsui.
Internet Consumption greater than Magazines in Europe
Recent research from the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) has revealed that Europeans spend more time on the Internet than reading magazines. The data shows that the web makes up 10% of total media consumption for Europeans, 2% more than magazines. This also positions the internet close to Newspapers which represent 13% of all consumption, although still a long way form TV with it's 41% share.
Another interesting point is that 90% of those surveyed believe there is too much advertising on TV, with less than half this number saying the same for online.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Freeserve goes Continental
One of the UK's leading ISPs is now offering ad inventory across other European portals via its Sales team in London. Freeserve has created a network with Germany's, Italy's Libero and with its parent company, Wanadoo in France, Holland and Spain. All of these portals are very strong in their own local markets, particularly in Germany and Wanadoo in France. I imagine however this may not be so easy to execute on with diverse channels and inventories and the are no plans to centrally manage this until next year. That said, I would guess that this service will only be offered out to existing large clients or new clients with big budgets.

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