Ross Levinsohn Returns; The MySpace Update

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Levinsohn Publishing

Though he lost out on the job of Yahoo CEO last summer, Ross Levinsohn has landed the chief executive role at newly created Guggenheim Digital Media, the digital arm of private equity firm Guggenheim Partners. The PE firm is the parent of Prometheus Global Media, the publisher of trade mags Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek. In the new role, Levinsohn will invest and acquire new digital properties, a role he handled most notably at News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media, reports AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka. Read more.

Performance Marketing Is Sexy

Venture capital has dipped back into the punch bowl of performance marketing as Pontiflex announced a $7.7 million investment ($16.5 million total since it was formed).  The company is positioning as “mobile signup ads platform.”  Read the release. (Mobile) Data capture, FTW.

More Graph Search

If Graph Search succeeds, Facebook will one day begin inserting ads into the time honored genre of social business referrals. Others have long been on the hunt for this particular grail. As Erin Griffith writes for Pando Daily, “Social, local recommendations is what Foursquare, for example, has gone after with its relaunch focused on recommendations from your friends. It’s what Yelp does already, and what Google+ touts as the benefits of Search Plus Your World. But if any site can gain a foothold in the increasingly crowded arena of social media-influenced search results, Facebook can. Once Facebook teaches us to use it as a utility for local search, we’ll begin to use it for non-local searches.” Read it. More: AdAge, TechCrunch, John Battelle. And, Neo@Ogilvy's Sophie Collins offers a soup-to-nuts view here (PDF).

Native Ad Sinks In The Atlantic

Of all the pitfalls you’ve heard of with regard to native advertising, few match the immediacy of the negative impact suffered by The Atlantic following the brief running of a sponsored post by the Church of Scientology. As the WSJ’s Lyneka Little writes, the site pulled the advertorial as reader complaints mounted over the running of a – clearly labeled – sponsored post touting Scientology’s “milestones” over the past year. Read it. In the apology on the Atlantic’s site, the magazine put it plainly: “We screwed up.” Read the rest.

My (Specific) Space

It’s a new year and Specific Media’s Myspace is looking to its high-profile backer, pop star Justin Timberlake, with its latest site redesign. As The Verge’s Amar Toor writes of Myspace’s new look, and users (who noticed) can easily reject it: “It's not entirely clear when the site went live to the public, as MySpace has yet to formally announce the launch, but it appears to be a recent development. It should also be noted that users can still switch back to the old MySpace layout by clicking the grey bar at the top of the homepage.”  Read more. Specific Media longs for the addressable, scalable, login/email subscription from days of yore, IMHO.  Think MySpace “Custom Audiences” - a la Facebook.

Competitive Patenting

The recent mania for technology patents, and the willingness of some companies to sue for infringement, has not spared the digital ad sector. But the era of patent warfare may be ending, or at least settling down a bit. Roger Kay, Endpoint Technologies analyst, tells MarketWatch, “Maybe the high tide has come for that sort of competitive patenting.” The story continues, “One effect of the popping of the so-called patent bubble will likely be felt in the market values of companies who hold broad intellectual-property portfolios.” More.

The Seller Whisperer

Doug Weaver whispers sweet ‘nothings’ into the ears of the needy Seller in a weekly post on his Upstream Group blog.  Reviewing the ins and outs of the client meeting, he leans in, “If you don’t put something urgent and provocative in front of the buyer in the first 90 seconds of your call, your buyer will step into the vacuum and fill it themselves.” So, fill it up.

Mobile Banner Ads

Mopub product marketer Elaine Szu shares some data on rich vs. static mobile CPMs with Adweek’s Tim Peterson who writes, “During this past December—the peak of mobile’s biggest spending season—rich media mobile ads cost 1.6 times as much as their static counterparts but only returned 1.2 times the clicks.” I’d rather be static. Read more. And, download the report (pay with PII).

From DSP To Healthcare

Invite Media founders Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg have taken their winnings from Invite Media (a demand-side platform acquired by Google in 2010) and turned it into Flatiron Health, essentially a data management platform for healthcare.  But, having “winnings” doesn’t mean they’re not taking venture capital as First Round Capital’s Josh Koppelman announces his firm’s investment in the former Invite-es on his personal blog. Read it. Google Ventures is aboard, too.

I’m Board

But Wait. There’s More!

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