Berin Szoka On User Empowerment; WPP Group Reports; NYC Ad Week Schedule; About.Com On Display Ads

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And The Winner IsWe Have A Winner

The advertising industry may have finally found an able spokesperson in the human form of Berin Szoka, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Internet Freedom at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. (The title alone is impressive!)

Szoka, in an interview with BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol on MediaPost, explains his views supporting user empowerment rather than government-instituted solutions for online privacy. The MediaPost article is just the beginning as Szoka’s argument spills over to the article’s comments and then on to the Technical Liberation Front blog in a post from Szoka entitled, “Online Advertising: Privacy Zealot-Elitists v. Real Consumer Advocates.”

It’s impressive to see Tawakol get involved in this fight. Certainly, his company’s core business proposition – behavioral data – is at stake. Regardless, this was an informative give-and-take that can help bring light to the advertising industry’s argument that targeting based on cookies, data, etc., is actually providing a good outcome for consumers and business, alike.

New York City’s Ad Week Lineup Announced

The schedule for the September 21-25 “Advertising Week” hoopla in New York City  has been announced and includes everyone from Al Sharpton to Chuck Porter, Chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky.  The IAB’s MIXX Conference remains a centerpiece and will feature AOL CEO Tim Armstrong giving a keynote entitled, “The Future of Media and AOL’s Vision.”  View the agenda.

The Venture Capital Winnowing

Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital gives a great overview on his blog, Above The Crowd, on the (coming?) attrition in the venture capital world. Gurley thinks a thinning of the crowd would do some good: “Reducing this to 2-3 players (per deal from 5-6) will result in less cutthroat behavior and much healthier returns for all companies and entrepreneurs in the market.” Read more.

WPP Reports Earnings

Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group reported second-quarter results yesterday that showed profit but strain from currency fluctuations according to Ruth Bender of The Wall Street Journal. She adds, “WPP said it expects quarter-to-quarter comparisons for organic revenue to stabilize from now on as comparatives become easier — and that July already indicated a ‘less-worse’ picture.” MediaPost’s Joe Mandese notes that digital is now up to 25% of revenues at WPP.

Orange Buying Ad Network

In the UK, mobile and connectivity provider, Orange, is considering jumping into the vibrant ad network space by purchasing Unanimis according to a story in New Media Age by Suzanne Bearne and Alex Farber. With £385m (~$620 million US) estimated to flow through ad networks in the UK in 2008, many UK companies see the network model as a healthy opportunity to grow their business.

CPA For Newspapers’s Evan Hessel covers Pontiflex’s recent report on CPL performance (Read the release.) which suggests that newspapers may be well-advised to start crafting content that gets users to give up information in return for the hefty payment per lead news site’s will receive from CPA/CPL companies like Pontiflex.

The Owners of Advertising Data

As it turns out, no one owns advertising data – not the publisher, advertiser, agency – except maybe the user argues Andrew Mirsky of Mirsky & Kong. Mirsky notes that while the 4As and the IAB work out the industry plan on who owns data, companies such as WPP have already “crammed down” terms (or, at least tried) with publishers and ad networks. (source: @jonathanmendez)

Local Video Ads Up

A video display advertising technology company, Mixpo, based in Seattle, Washington, says in a release that it is seeing a 300% increase in the use of video ads to local target “the local consumer” and named Comcast Spotlight, NBC Local Media and Tribune as some of the local online outlets showing improvement.’s Irvine on Display Ads

David Kaplan of interviews CEO Cella Irvine of regarding recent results at the guide site. Irvine states, “The entire media industry is sold on content adjacency. Context equals relevance for consumers.” Interesting view. Context may equal relevance for certain consumers, but, from here, ultimately it would seem that it’s increasingly about “audience” in the advertiser’s eyes. Perhaps, this trend relates to Irvine’s admission that ad networks have captured some of’s display business. Read more.

DOOH Gets DoubleClick-er

Grocery Shopping NetworkDoubleClick executives are everywherrrrrrrre.

Digital out-of-home ad network, Grocery Shopping Network, announced that a current member of its board of directors and former co-founder of DoubleClick, David Carlick, will become Vice President of Publishing. In the release, Carlick says, “The company will emerge as a key platform for Consumer Package Goods companies to join grocers in the migration from print.” Read the release.

Another $2 Million

Video ad network, Tremor Media, has secured an investment from SAP Ventures according to a release. added $2 million to its coffers according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. More on

Targeting The IP

Digital Element and LocalAdLink, a division of Beyond Commerce, announced a partnership which will enhance LocalAdLink’s ability to geo-target. Evidently LocalAdLink’s previous solution didn’t work out so well as Charles Lerch, CIO of LocalAdLink says in the release, “During our soft launch in the fall of 2008, we were using a lower-end geolocation solution that was not giving us the accuracy and reliability we needed.”Read more.

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