FTC Wants Do-Not-Track, Says Ad Industry Not Helping; Specific Media Buys Display Ad Network; Mobile Continues Trajectory

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FTCHere's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Do-Not-Track Bubbling

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued a draft report recommending that a do-not-track function be implemented. From the release: "The Commission recommends a simple, easy to use choice mechanism for consumers to opt out of the collection of information about their Internet behavior for targeted ads. The most practical method would probably involve the placement of a persistent setting, similar to a cookie, on the consumer’s browser signaling the consumer’s choices about being tracked and receiving targeted ads." Read the release. And, then read the 122-page report (PDF). ClickZ's Kate Kaye paraphrases FTC Commissioner Jon Leibovitz on the conference call yesterday and says, "[He] threatened more privacy cases in the coming months during a conference call this afternoon about the report, and suggested 'a legislative solution will surely be needed if industry doesn't step up to the plate.' He indicated that browser providers should move to implement do-not-track capabilities." Visit ClickZ. Nancy Hill, President-CEO of the 4A's, took issue with the FTC's stance and said in a message to 4A members, "There is little understanding in the report of how complex a task it is to point such a vast, diverse and rapidly changing ecosystem in the same self-regulatory direction. The new program, devised by industry, through two years of hard work, is just now becoming operational. We believe that the new system will provide a very strong case for self-regulation and consumer protection as the roll-out becomes 100% functional."

Algorithm Updates

If your targeting algo isn't giving the best results, you update. That's what Google says it has done with its search algorithm as the company announced from the Official Google blog that last week's NY Times story about a guy in NYC who was trying to get people to write negative comments on the web about him so his website links rise to the top of the search engine result pages will no longer happen. Google's Amit Sighal writes, "In the last few days we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience." In other words, some merchants are feeling significant pain today. Nothing like the human eye for determining a brand-safe user experience. Read more.

More Ad Network M&A

PaidContent's David Kaplan reports that ad network Specific Media has acquired Amsterdam-based display ad network AdCombination "which follows its expansion into the Nordic region with office openings in Norway and Denmark in 2009 and Sweden in 2010." Kaplan notes a recent Petsky Prunier survey showing the merger mania momentum in the online ads space: "M&A activity in the marketing, information and digital media/commerce areas were 27 percent in Q3,said media investment bank Petsky Prunier, which tracked 200 deals for its September survey." The mania continues! Who's next? Read more from PaidContent. And, read the release.

Retargeter Round-Up

eConsultancy's Graham Charlton rounds up a few retargeting companies and asks them to drill down on the tools of their trade. Struq CEO Sam Barnett talks about recent retargeting controversy, "Retargeting has received some bad press in recent times, with users feeling they were being stalked or spammed with ads from sites they had visited before. It is in our interest to only serve ads to those people who are most likely to buy." Read more.

Negative Reaction: Google Buying GroupOn

Union Square Ventures' Albert Wenger thinks it doesn't make sense and that if you're sitting on the Google board you need to seriously question the thinking behind the acquisition of group buying site, GroupOn, for $5 billion +. He says, "First, Groupon is a feet on the street business employing over 3,000 people globally. So at $600 million in annual revenues, that amounts to only $200,000 of annual revenue per employee. Google on the other hand does about $30B in revenues with around 25,000 employees, which works out to $1.2 million in annual revenue per employee and that’s including all the employees that work in Google businesses that produce no revenues at all." Read more.

Mobile Only Growing

There have been a rash of mobile numbers floating around in the past days as BIA/Kelsey, Millenial Media and Flurry all released data in the form of a report. FierceMobile covers BIA/Kelsey and says, "[The firm] expects U.S. mobile local advertising revenues to grow from $213 million in 2009 to $2.03 billion in 2014 (57 percent CAGR). This represents 44 percent of total U.S. mobile ad revenues in 2009, growing to 69 percent in 2014." Read more. Mobile analytics provider Flurry is seeing mobile growth as Flurry's Peter Farago says in a post on the company blog, "Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Flurry measured strong growth for new smartphone devices and application downloads. Note that because the mobile device and application download markets continue to grow at accelerating rates, we used a week-over-week vs. year-over-year comparison." Finally, mobile ad network Millennial Media provided its monthly report for October. PC Magazine covers the news here and writes, Android and iOS had the same market share of ad impressions (how often an ad appears), at 37 percent each. For Android, that's an 8% increase from the previous month. After iOS and Android, the next largest mobile OS was RIM's BlackBerry platform, at 20 percent." Read more. And, download it on Millennial's site (sign-up).

Adding Bidding Rules In AdWords

From the Resolution Media blog, here's an interesting use case of automated bidding rules being implemented in Google Ad Words for search engine marketers. It's beta-only right now. One can see how this sort of thing could play out for display with an AdWords/Invite Media mashup for the masses. Resolutioin's Elaine Strauss writes, "The only complication I have noticed so far with the automated rules is that it can get complicated and time consuming. There is no way to make bulk changes for automated rules and everything has to be done in the online AdWords interface." Complicated? It's perfect for display. See it.

Ad Infrastructure Expansion

Stealthy ad infrastructure company MediaGeeks announced that is adding still more infrastructure as it supports some ad technology companies in the space with its computational horsepower. According to a release, the company is adding to its overseas data centers which will include metropolitan areas in the UK, Netherlands, Japan, and Hong Kong. Read the release.

Spend Going Up Up Up

From the Efficient Frontier blog, more up-to-the minute digital ad spend numbers from EF's director of analytics, Dr. Siddarth Shah, who looks at the Black-Cyber-Monday-Friday buying period as it will someday be known. The good doctor writes about a significant pop in spending this year, "Spend which was 27% more this Thanksgiving week than last year, increased because of a 31% increase in click volume. CPCs on the other hand declined 4%. Similarly, although the average consumer made a 4% smaller order this year, the overall number of orders was 38% higher." Clickers here.

AdReady Gets New Sales Dude

CEO Karl Siebrecht has added another former aQuantive exec to his team according to Seattle's TechFlash" "Randy Wootton, a former aQuantive executive who spent the past six years at Microsoft, most recently as vp of global search and online marketplace, has been named svp of sales and marketing at the online advertising upstart." AdQuantive? Read it.

The Crowded Marketplace

CEO Niel Robertson of Trada (AdExchanger.com Q&A) discusses the intersection of the crowd and the marketplace in a piece on Enterprise Irregulars. Robertson writes about the crowd and marketplace parts, "Each of these elements has at least two sides: buyers and sellers in a market, the crowd versus the consumer, etc. This means that the interactions and incentives between each party must be perfected. The more types of parties or diversity of desires of each party you have, the more complex it becomes." Can you say "big data"? Read more.

Neumann Munging

On his personal blog, angel investor Jerry Neumann returns to the world of data visualization as he "munges" data from ad tech companies and investors in the space. Calling it his "VC Co-investment Network Map," he writes about the latest version, "Now Linkfluence (a data viz company) has put up a visualization that does something different. It doesn't find the 'bones' of the data, (...) but it allows you to find nodes and interact with them." See the data viz coolness.

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