E-Commerce's Easy Gains; Waiting For Amazon

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E-Commerce’s Easy Gains

Trade group National Retail Federation projects growth for online sales will rise between 9% and 12% this year, compared to total retail sales gains - which are in the 3.4% growth range. Still, NRF analysts say the uncertain economy could dull digital sales increases. “While it’s too early to know the full effect of higher payroll taxes, there’s no question that many consumers will feel some kind of impact from the change in their paychecks,” says Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist. Read the release.  Another reason RTB buying will grow?

Waiting For Amazon

Amazon is the “Waiting for Godot” of ad tech companies -- or maybe it’s just the Amazon of ad tech companies. The secretive titan is still quietly ramping up its data-driven ad platform, reports the Financial Times, with placements happening on both O&O and off-site properties. FT’s Emily Steel does get a rare quote, as Amazon Media Group sales chief Lisa Utzschneider tells her, “We’ve been heads down, focused on building an advertising offering and solution that is right for marketers and right for our customers.” Read more. (registration required) And, see yesterday’s earnings release from AMZN.

Social Influx

For every brand that goes “all in” with social media, such as a Fab.com, there is a General Motors that turns up its nose – and plenty of others that just take it slow. But 2013 may bring some velocity, according to a survey from Vizu and Nielsen. The data suggests the year will deliver increases of 1 to 10% in social ad budgets, and in some cases significantly more. Where will the dollars come from? Forty-one percent said social spending will be incremental, 39% said it will poach from offline channels, and 33% said digital (display + rich media/video) will suffer.  Download the report. (Pay with some PII)

Rubicon’s Revolving Door

The Rubicon Project’s latest executive moves have promoted more talk about a possible IPO filing drawing closer. COO/CFO Brian Barnum and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Hulse are both on the way out and SocialVibe CEO Todd Tappin and Dragon Media chief Greg Raifman are on the way in. Tappin will replace Barnum, while Raifman has been named president. “Greg and Todd are extremely intelligent and capable executives who have guided significant, publicly traded companies,” said Rubicon founder/CEO Frank Addante to AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher. “Both Greg and Todd have great relationships within our industry as well as on Wall Street. Their presence will enable me to focus on our overall vision and product strategy so we can take best advantage of the opportunities we see.” Read more.

Buying A Good Reputation

Reputation.com, a company that offers consumers the chance to cleanse the web of nasty photos and dishonorable mentions, has acquired a UK rival, Reputation 24/7. A company spokeswoman told TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas that it would be investing “millions [GBP] over the next year to support the UK branch’s expansion — in both capabilities and hiring.” Read it. Meanwhile, Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of Reputation.com, told The Liverpool Daily Post (Reputation 24/7’s hometown paper) that his goal was to help his new property “dominate” the UK market.  Read More.

What Goes Up, Keeps Going Up

Five-year-old software analytics developer DataGravity has raised a whopping $30 million second round funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. The capital raise comes just just over six months after the Nashua, NH-based startup raised $12 million. “DataGravity is positioned to be in front of a potentially enormous market, and the management team’s technical and operational expertise has the experience to lead it. For me, that’s an unbeatable value proposition,” says Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Read the release.

Real-Time Mobile

Trading desk Accordant Media  says it’s installing online mobile apps on behalf of clients to provide them unique opportunities around cross-channel targeting on a real-time basis. Accordant pitches that their solution is “designed for marketers to test into web-based and in-app mobile solutions with clear results and insights – through one reporting source and a single service team.”  Read more.

$4 Billion In Spend

Wired covers new research from buying platform Marin Software on Google Product Listing ads - and discusses the voluminous spend pulsing through its system -mostly search engine marketing-related.  Wired’s Marcus Pohlsen writes, “Marin Software found that advertisers managing $4 billion annually in online ad campaigns through its platform spent 600 percent more on Google product listing ads after the change in October than before. That result alone doesn’t necessarily surprise: If Google says pay to play, advertisers have little choice.” Read more.

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