Local Ad Company Yext Adds $10 Million; DSPs And The Upper Funnel; Akamai Reports

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Local Ad “Plumber” Gets $10 Mil

Yext announced that is has raised $10 million led by inside investors including WGI Group – which includes Yext’s chairman Mike Walrath and Noah and Jonah Goodhart (the three are also driving creative ad tech/plumbing startup Moat). On the company blog, Yext CEO Howard Lerman (AdExchanger.com Q&A) says he’s ready for phase III of Yext’s growth after what he sees as success of the company’s pay-per-call and listings strategy. It looks like the focus will be sales and marketing and more publisher integration from here on out as the company looks to build out it’s local ad “plumbing.” Read more on Yext’s blog. And, on TechCrunch.

Reviewing The Regulation

Adventive Chairman David Koretz doesn’t mince words when discussing what he sees as the failure of self-regulation in the online ad business. He writes in MediaPost, “The right strategy is for [IAB President Randall] Rothenberg to step up, hat in hand, and acknowledge that we wasted four years and a lot of credibility beating the drum of self-regulation. He needs to admit that cheap propaganda like his 2008 HuffPo piece where he said ‘behavioral marketing… uses consumers’ own choices to provide them more choices,’ rings hollow when his member companies are not honoring the most basic choice of consumers: not to be tracked in the first place.” Read more.

Find Me Insights

IBM wants to dig into the data for YOU. Computerworld’s Joab Jackson reports, “The company has created what it calls the Services Innovation Lab, which will look for ways to better use real-time analytics, software automation and other software and services in customer engagements.” Perfect for marketing services purposes. Read more.

DSP And The Upper Funnel

Organic EVP Steve Kerho shines a light on demand-side platforms in an opinion piece on Fast Company. He wants more from his DSP: “Insights derived from the DSPs simply aren’t as actionable as they could be because there is still a fundamental disconnect in the algorithms used by a DSP to find an audience versus the ability to use audience insights to enhance performance. DSP’s were built to deliver efficiency, and until there are better measures of upper-funnel performance that the can be optimized, DSPs will remain stuck in the lower funnel doing what they do best, delivering performance very efficiently.” Read it.

Akamai Swings And Misses

Akamai announced its Q2 2011 earnings on Wednesday which missed Wall Street expectations. The company also revised Q3 predictions downward according to Bloomberg. Read more. Not much came out of the conference call regarding retargeting and Akamai’s Advertising Decision Solutions (which includes former Acerno tech/services) other than this from CFO J. Sherman: “What we’re seeing going on is that the value-added solution sort of are pretty stable in terms of the gross profit percentage. They’re very high and software-like, as we’ve talked about. We do get a little bit of ADS seasonality, which our advertising and business solution business has sort of a 50% — or sub-50% gross profit margins. So that’s a little bit of a decline.” Read the call transcript on Seeking Alpha. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney said in a note to investors on Akamai results: “Key Positives & Negatives – Positives: 1) VAS biz was healthy, with 21% Y/Y growth in Q3; 2) Record 147 net new customer adds; 3) Very solid Balance Sheet with Share Repo (repurchase); Negatives: 1) Weak Q3 Guidance; 2) Single digit growth for both Domestic & Int’l; 3) Weak VBS segment revenue results (3% Y/Y growth).” CDN services remain core for Akamai. Publicly, it doesn’t feel like they’re making a big push with media buying on behalf of e-Commerce.

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