Collective Says Increased Display Spend in Autos Targets In-Market; Microsoft Sues On Click Fraud; Hot Entrepreneurs Become VC

Autos and Online AdvertisingCollective Media hired former Yahoo! automotive category director, Brian Elliott, to lead its Detroit office. Which got us thinking… Isn’t the domestic U.S. auto industry on life support? Haven’t they had their marketing budgets reduced dramatically? What is Collective Media thinking?

In response, Joe Apprendi, Collective CEO told, “Yes, the auto industry in aggregate, and in the US in particular, is undergoing massive changes across the board, including ad spending. While overall spending will likely be down dramatically for this year and likely next, automotive advertisers are spending a greater percentage online. More importantly, their spending on display media is shifting towards a more targeted segment of the in-market automotive buyer. To reach them, display spending is going towards in-market automotive sites and in-market automotive behavioral marketing.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Nick Wingfield reports that Microsoft has sued 3 alleged click fraudsters which includes a mother and her two sons. (The family that lives together, clicks together.) Reportedly, the three “made more than $250,000 in profits through the scheme.” Microsoft claims this is a case of “‘competitor click fraud,’ … in which a perpetrator seeks to exhaust a competitor’s advertising budget while boosting the prospects of their own advertisements.” (If you don’t have a WSJ subscription and you want to read the whole story, use the WSJ backdoor: go to Google and search for the story title, “Microsoft Suit Targets ‘Click Fraud’.”)

Finally, from the world of venture capital comes the new fund from Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz which succeeded in raising $300 million according to Kara Swisher. The Deal’s George White observes that “funds led by former entrepreneurs appear to be having an easier time thanks to their track record and the names in their e-mail address books” and points to recent funds created by Skype’s and MyPoints’ founders

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