Microsoft Selling Ads, New Ad Units; The Cross-Channel Challenge; Aol Adjusting Content Strategy

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Microsoft Selling Ads

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, global sales chief Carolyn Everson tells ClickZ’s Zach Rodgers about her company’s new focus on agencies as its sells ads across Microsoft properties: “We are now going very deep agency-by-agency, client-by-client. It’s part of a structural change” in how the spending agreement is handled.” Read more – including info on the new interactive “filmstrip” ad unit. It’s a purchase funnel in an ad unit.

New York Vs Boston

Garett Sloane of the New York Post reports in an article titled “Boston $uck$” that New York has moved ahead of Boston when it comes to tech investment. Sourcing data from a venture capital data firm called CB Insights, Sloane addresses his hometown audience, “In the final three months of 2010, New York tech startups struck 50 deals worth $332.8 million, while Massachusetts firms only tallied 39 deals worth $219.8 million, according to the report.” AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley adds a sound bite about his company’s recent Microsoft investment saying, “It’s possible to build a real global enterprise software company in New York. This isn’t just some blip. This is being blessed by a major player [Microsoft].” Read more.

Google Display Gets Contextual Tool

On Google’s Inside AdWords blog, the company announced that after a beta-testing period, the Contextual Targeting Tool has formally launched for the Google Display Network and is available through AdWords. How the tool works: “Simply type each product category into the search box, and the tool will automatically generate tightly-themed keyword lists for you. For example, when you enter soccer gear into the tool, you get more specific ad groups, such as youth soccer gear, discount soccer gear, soccer uniforms, soccer bags, etc.” Read the Inside AdWords blog. And, read more in AdWords Help section. So, contextual targeting through display has always been available through AdWords -now there’s a tool.

Buying Cross-Channel

Efficient Frontier announced release of a new whitepaper created in conjunction with Forrester Research called “The Case For A Dedicated Online Ad Management Platform.” Among the findings was the challenge of working cross channels such as display and search. From the press release, “Marketers cite that the biggest barrier to integration is the difficulty in proper measurement. Marketers do not know how to systematically measure and optimize and see a need for a management platform to help them streamline the campaign measurement process.” Read the release. Download the report (sign-up required).

AdMeld Reprises

Sell-side platform AdMeld announced V.2 of its AdMeld Partner Forum as the company will host a day-long event on February 10 at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Among the speakers and panelists will be The Weather Channel’s Mike Kelly, CBS Interactive’s Zack Rogers, agency trading desk Cadreon’s Brendan Moorcroft, Nick Johnson of NBC Universal and Nat Turner of Invite Media among others. Read more and request an invite.

Simulmedia Adds MIG Vet

Tune-in tuner Simulmedia announced that it has hired Jack Smith as Chief Product Officer. Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan commented in a press release, “”Not only did Jack help design and build one of the world’s most deployed online ad serving technologies at 24/7 Real Media, but he also helped design and build one of the ad industry’s largest demand-side platforms at WPP’s MIG.” Read the release.

The Digital Shopper

Need a graphic that shows how important the at-home digital shopper is? eMarketer extracts data from a OTX and Ipsos (hey batta batta, swing!) report that shows, “Consumers are receptive to tools that give them a tangible benefit, like saving time, and will respond to value-added services provided by retailers.” And, digital in-store tools are important, too. See all the graphics.

Rubicon Project On MySpace

In spite of a comprehensive ad deal between MySpace and Google, Rubicon Project has apparently not lost all MySpace inventory as a system update on the MyAds developer blog says: “In an effort to maintain a position of transparency with all of our advertisers, we are alerting you to a change that will have a direct impact on the existing campaigns in the MyAds system. With tonight’s maintenance release, we’re removing MySpace as its own separate channel within MyAds and merging it with the Social Media channel.” Read the post.

Aol Adjusts Content Strategy

Aol’s Tim Armstrong announced in a conference call that it is turning over the reigns to its in-house sports site (Fanhouse) brand to Sporting News while still using the content for its sites. The Business Insider’s Henry Blodget summarizes, “AOL appears to be reverting to the ‘portal’ strategy that originally made it and Yahoo and other portals massive sites back in the days before Google, blogs, and social media. (…) AOL’s Tim Armstrong explained that these moves will allow AOL to focus on what it’s best at, which at least for now, appears to include premium content in some other verticals (tech, for example, where the company owns Engadget and TechCrunch…).” Read more. And, read TBI’s call transcript. Make no mistake, Aol is still creating content such as upcoming video content chronicled by MediaPost’s Steve Smith.

Twitter Ads

ClickZ’s Christopher Heine takes the pulse of recent Twitter advertisers who are a part of Twitters Promoted Tweets and Accounts beta advertising program. Heine writes, “Nextag has been running ads on Twitter’s Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets platforms since early November and has seen its follower base skyrocket from 200 to 51,000.” NexTag’s hope on gaining new followers is that it has gathered a lead gen hive. Read more.

Friday Fun

In a post on his personal blog, angel investor Jerry Neumann ruminates bravely about what we know, “Just as with Gödel’s incompleteness, or the stack of turtles holding up the universe, we continue ignoring the logical problem of relying on the things they show are inconsistent. We relegate to the back of our minds the question of why the heck anything seems to work at all. Because how would we exist in a world where that concern was everpresent?” Drive further into the depths here.

The Anti-Trust Inquisition

The Google acquisition of airline ticket info software company, ITA software, continues to be buffeted as Bloomberg News reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is about to bring an anti-trust lawsuit against Google. Bloomberg adds, “Google triggered preparation for the government’s possible lawsuit last month by invoking a provision of federal law that forces the government to decide within 30 days whether to challenge the deal, the people said. In bringing the matter to a head, they said, Google prompted Justice Department lawyers to cancel Christmas holiday plans and put together a case.” Read more.

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