Razorfish Rumors; Google's Display Dreams; Social Targeting with 33across and Media6Degrees

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RazorfishFollowing up on last week's news that Microsoft's Admira technology would provide the backbone for Publicis/VivaKi's entrance into the television ad exchange space (Reuters) as advertisers hunt for audience, today finds Microsoft peddling Razorfish to Publicis, supposedly one of the leading candidates to acquire the venerable Seattle-headquartered agency. The rumored acquisition price according to the Financial Times is $700 million - a drop in the bucket to Bernie Madoff perhaps, but sizable nevertheless. Razorfish's strong demand-side position will make it an attractive jewel for any holding company's crown.

The Guardian's Peter Kirwan rallies the display advertising troops in "Display has fallen short but to make money, something must be done." Kirwan provides an interesting series of quotes. Among them, one from a London-based Google employee: "We've proved to advertisers that search works. Now we're going to prove the value of display. Expect us to do a lot of research." A national newspaper exec assesses Google's aspirations simply: "Pipe dream." OpenX's Tim Cadogan adds that industry-wide, display has been under-supported with 5x fewer engineers compared to search and suggests that ad exchanges will increase the number of advertisers who buy display as attribution metrics are improved.

Venrock Partners' Brian Ascher discusses the current state of venture capital with ReadWriteWeb. In the interview, "Brian identified three areas of opportunity. First, better targeting by analyzing social media conversations. Second, ad exchanges. Third, branding via video advertising." For the full discussion, click here.

Social targeting could not be hotter as the data driven model to target social media users and their friends (birds of a feather, etc. etc.) continues to catch the mainstream and trade press's eyes.

AdWeekBrian Morrissey of AdWeek writes in "Connect the Thoughts:The analysis of social networking data promises to take behavioral targeting to a new level" and "clues to how online social networking will change the face of advertising lie in observations of telephone use." That particular report, "Network-Based Marketing: Identifying Likely Adopters via Consumer Networks," from 2005 can be downloaded here.

NY Times' writer Stefanie Clifford gives the friend targeting overview in her article featuring the current progress of social ad targeting firms, Media6Degrees and 33across.

Google Content NetworkMediaPost's Laurie Sullivan highlights Google's behavioral targeting prowess for people who have good credit scores. Sullivan writes, "Google has been testing the ability to lay consumer FICO scores on top of its Google Content Network to identify people with good credit." We wonder how regulators would react to news like this. Think they'd be concerned that PII is in play? But, Masha Korsunsky, Google's senior industry marketing manager for financial services explains it's targeting off an index not cookies with PII, "We can provide the advertiser with a list of Web sites on our Google content network that index against this segment."

In case you missed it last week, Calvin Lui's Tumri secured another $15 million in investment from Time Warner Investments and existing investors Accel Partners, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Rachel Lam, SVP of Time Warner Investments sets the bar way-high saying, "Tumri has all the ingredients to redefine the online display advertising market."

Finally, Darren Herman sheds light on the client-side and some of the challenges facing the client-agency relationship today in his post: "I’m the client, what questions should I be asking my agency?" Many good ideas here for the client - the one that may be the most difficult for the traditionally-minded client to consider is "Is digital receiving the correct attribution for overall impact to my brand’s sales?"

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