Google Serving Display Ads In Its Email; The Struggles Of Bringing TV Online; Reviewing The Browser Opt-Out Options

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You’ve Got Display Mail

Although the Google main search page remains as clean and ad unit free as ever, users of the search giant’s Gmail may be noticing something extra in their inboxes. SearchEngineLand’s Greg Sterling believes he may have stumbled on a test of display ads in his Gmail. The ad in question was for t-shirts. Sterling’s reaction: “Image ads have made their way into paid search on and various other properties on Google. But this was really jarring for me to encounter. It’s the only such ad I saw (next to an email from a clothing retailer in my inbox) after purposely looking for others.” The NYT’s Claire Cain Miller spoke with Google’s Rob Shilkin who confirmed that the ads began showing up on Jan. 21. Read more. Jarring = Performance. And, maybe some peeved users.

Channel Change

Streaming video service Hulu is experiencing some internal struggles over its direction, reports the WSJ’s  Sam Schechner And Jessica Vascellaro. Though it has achieved more prominence than any web TV product that has come before – and more ad revenues – the joint venture’s main backers, NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co., cannot find common ground on how much of their content should be free and how much should be behind the subscription. Read more.

Grading Do Not Track

At this point, the FTC’s behavioral targeting recommendations are an after-thought. The online ad industry is already focused on what the three major browsers’ Do Not Track buttons will mean for their businesses. Bizo CEO Russell Glass has offered his personal grading system for the DNT buttons coming from  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. The three each get at least two grades for the general approach and the implementation. Suffice to say that Glass finds them all lacking in one way or another. “none of these are going to work by themselves. “To be fair, each company is still in the process of figuring out its strategy here, and the industry still lacks a best practice approach,” he writes. “However, combine all three in the right way, and there may be a wonderful consumer solution that will allow for continued success and innovation in the ad industry.” Read more.

Microsoft’s M&A Diet

While Microsoft’s fourth quarter earnings performance a bit mixed, Techcrunch’s Robin Wauters has some advice: start shopping. After all, the other big internet heavyweights have been on a buying binge the past few months: Google has bought three companies in the past month, AOL acquired display ad builder Pictela and Facebook has even made a purchase, Rel8tion. While you can’t necessarily buy your way to innovation, it can help. And who knows, Wauters wonders, maybe Microsoft has done a ton of acquisitions and hasn’t told anyone. But something appears to be holding the company back and at the moment, this could be one of the factors. Read more.

Mobile Misfires

Advertising industry stalwarts love repeating the old John Wanamaker chestnut about not knowing which half of a marketer’s ad spend is being wasted. Research by Harris Interactive on behalf of lead gen provider Pontiflex finds that 47 percent of mobile app users say they click/tap on mobile ads more often by mistake than they do on purpose. The solution to those wasted clicks is for marketers to rely more on in-app ads, which require a bit more attention on the part of mobile consumers (i.e., more engagement). Read the release.

Privacy Partners

Behavioral targeting privacy guardian Evidon (fka “Better Advertising”) has added its latest partner for its compliance program: Ad network Burst Media, Mediapost’s Wendy Davis reports. Burst will use Evidon’s “you-are-being-tracked” icon that alerts consumers to online behavioral advertising and allows them to opt out. The ad net joins Collective, GroupM and VivaKi in throwing its support to Evidon. Two other providers, DoubleVerify and TRUSTe, are also offering icons to advertisers and networks. Read more.

Mobile Drivers

We all know mobile advertising had a big year in 2010. But some verticals were bigger than others. Millennial Media has released its latest monthly SMART report and identified six verticals that had a tremendous year: namely, triple digit growth since 2009, reports WebProNews’s Chris Crum. The biggest was automotives, which grew a stunning 623 percent followed by retail and restaurants, which was up 572 percent for the year. Another big takeaway from Millennial’s report: nearly half of mobile ad campaigns were designed to drive consumers to a website, while16 percent were intended to push app downloads. Read more.

E-Shopping Spree

As MyBuys CEO Bob Cell told AdExchanger in a Q&A last summer, the social shopping space was becoming much more crowded. To differentiate MyBuys, which provides profile-driven targeting of e-commerce consumers, the company turned to Kinetic Ad Units that offered “predictive” display ads to web surfers. It appeared to be paying off, as MyBuys claims that doubled revenues year-over-year in 2010 and added 225 new clients. No dollar figures were revealed, however. Read the release.

Retargeting Plus Email

GSI Commerce Global Marketing Services division, which is run by ex-Gannett digital head Chris Saridakis, has folded in the retargeting capabilities of performance marketer Pepperjam and email specialist e-Dialog. By integrating retargeting inside email marketing, we make it easy for customers to understand how to use these two tactics together for more optimal results,” said John Rizzi, CEO of e-Dialog. Read the release.

Smart Money vs. Dumb

When entrepreneur Jerry Neumann decided not to invest in a company, it was personal as the make or break attribute was the lead investor. Neumann’s advice: “Smart people who know nothing about the startup world besides what they’ve read in the Wall Street Journal should not be your lead investor or a control person on your board of directors: there’s an excellent chance that they will not only not help your company but will actually harm it.” Read more.

DataLogix’s CPG Maven

DataLogix has hired former MEC/GroupM Managing Partner David Sommer as general manager of DataLogix Consumer Packaged Goods. In this new role, Sommer, who has spent his career managing CPG accounts, will handle DataLogix’ suite of audience and measurement solutions for CPG retailers and manufacturers. Read the release (PDF).

You Got Served

The self-serve ad business is looking “pretty grim” to Myles Younger, the cofounder of Canned Banners. Writing on Adotas, serve-serve display ads are becoming more out of reach for small and medium businesses. Offering what amounts to a take-down of AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, Facebook, AOL Ad Desk and AdBrite, Younger says that unless you have real money that will scale for the big boys, the best you’ll get are thumbnails and static text. Read more.

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