ad:tech San Francisco This Week; Microsoft Ads Gets New Leader; Gannett Reports Big Q1; Forrester Talking Display

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ad:tech Party, Uh, Conference This Week

This week, the annual San Francisco version of ad:tech comes to the cavernous Moscone Center in downtown SF. Lots of panels, likely lots of booths (exhibitor list here). And, free drinks and apps (edible kind) galore, as parties are planned by ad technology and media companies, venture capital firms and even a few wannabees. The ad:tech panels last Monday to Wednesday with the trade show on Tuesday/Wednesday only. See the conference agenda. Need a discount for a conference ticket? – try this.

New Leadership For Microsoft Ads

From the Microsoft Advertising blog, a letter from Qi Lu, President, Online Services Division, Microsoft, announces the hiring of Rik van der Kooi to replace outgoing, former aQuantive executive, Scott Howe. Van der Kooi ” has served on the Online Services Division (OSD) Leadership Team since 2006, most recently as Corporate Vice President and CFO, overseeing Finance, Systems, M&A, Strategy and the Yahoo Integration effort,” writes Lu.   Read more.

Web Coupons And Consumers

The New York Times’ Stephanie Clifford visits the web coupons business and discovers the use of search keywords to deliver more targeted landing pages to consumers. Clifford quotes Don Batsford Jr., an online marketer from Jackson Hewitt, who says, “You can really key into who they are. It’s almost like being able to read their mind, because they’re confessing to the search engine what they’re looking for.” After that, most of the story revolves around privacy concerns and a company called RevTrax, which helps identify online shoppers through the use of coupons. Read more.

Gannett Squeezing Big Profits

Gannett had no trouble with profit Q1 2010 as the company reported “net income of $119.3 million, or 49 cents a share, up from $77.7 million, or 34 cents a share, in the period a year ago,” according to The New York Times. CEO Craig Debow added that advertisers are no longer sitting on the sidelines like they were a few months ago. The “digital segment” was down to 2% and accounted for 17% of the company’s overall revenue. Some of the digital units within were percolating as PointRoll enjoyed “double-digit revenue growth.” Read the call transcript on Seeking Alpha.

The Media Optimization Landscape

Peter Kim breaks down the capabilities of media optimization platforms such as X+1, Adchemy, Aggregate Knowledge, Dapper, ChoiceStream and Media Math, after latter acquired Adroit Interactive. Kim concludes, “My bet, and apparently the bet of companies like MediaMath and others [I’ve] mentioned, is that simplicity and performance will eventually carry the day over flexibility. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.” Read more.

Riley On Revolution, Anarchy, Display

Forrester’s Emily Riley asks if the new hubbub around display advertising is revolution or anarchy. Riley then unloads a nice, bulleted list of “musts” for ad ecosystem participants such as publishers, for example: “Publishers must rework their inventory and rate card to empower their sales team to sell bundled premium and data targeted inventory.” Read the post on the Forrester blog.

Sorting Out Verification

Keying off of the recent Winterberry Group brand safety study which was sponsored by AdSafe Media, AdWeek’s Scott Morrissey looks at the media verification companies which can help tell marketers about placement and where their media is going. But, it’s not all wine roses for verifiers as VivaKi Nerve Center’s Kurt Unkel says that the new technology isn’t perfect and “It can create more problems than it solves.” Lotame’s Eric Porres chimes in asking how many more “taxes” are needed in online display advertising. Verify the story.

2011 Is The Real Test

MediaPost editor-at-large Diane Mermigas writes that earnings this year may sound great, but with year-over-year comparisons with 2009, it’s hard not to score big. Mermigas says the real test is in 2011: “There is insufficient focus on such shifting fundamentals, which will not be able to hide from any company balance sheets and playbooks in 2011.” Read more.

IASH Reveals Unnamed Ad Network

It’s now out in the open. eSpot Ad Network in the UK is the unnamed ad network suspended recently by the UK regulatory body, IASH. According to a release, “The online ad network did not submit an audit for the period July to Dec 2009, and has therefore been suspended.” Read more.

Forget Attribution Models

On ClickZ, Did-it’s search expert Kevin Lee says “Forget attribution modeling and embrace econometric media mix models.” Lee reasons that econometric models are able to take into what he calls “market elasticities” such as the beneficial effect – or not – of raising prices across different media mix types. Need more? Read more.

Employment Agreement Third-Rail

IPG’s McCann Erickson and MDC Partners are close to a settlement in the dispute over the fallout from the recent hiring of Lori Senecal by MDC Partner’s Kirschenbaum and Bond unit (now kbs+p). Specifically, writes Ad Age’s Rupal Parekh, “McCann claims that [MDC Partners] and its agency were poaching employees and trying to steal McCann’s Weight Watchers account.” Watch more weight here.

To Be Or Not To Be: Video Upfront

Last week, Mediaweek’s Mike Shields wrote a piece on the question of whether or not a video upfront is viable or necessary. The reactions varied. Neo@Ogilvy’s CEO Greg Smith said, ““[An upfront] doesn’t help me or my client. In a medium when I’m starting to look at real time buying…there is no reason to plan fourth quarter in April.” Read more.

Batelle Laments Apple Secrecy

From his Searchblog, John Batelle of Federated Media creates an open letter telling Steve Jobs and Apple that their company is on a path to its own demise if they keep pulling back from the public conversation. Batelle points to the end of MacWorld, only highly-scripted events, not allowing employees to blog in the public sphere and more. It will be interesting to see if Jobs reacts. Maybe he’ll just send Batelle an email that says, “Stay Tuned.” Read the letter.

Volcano Means Venture

Due to volcanic ash, venture capital guy and First Round-er Chris Fralic was unable to get a flight out of London like most travelers and decided to use the opportunity to meet with London-area entrepreneurs in an officially-sanctioned, First Round Office Hours. Given the volume of earth currently spewing from the Icelandic volcano, is another Office Hours in London far away? Read Fralic’s blog.

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