Hamman Heads To Chango; PubMatic Gets New CRO, GM; Aol Investing

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Hamman Heads To Chango

Parting is always tough, especially when you started the display media group at your digital marketing agency. Dax Hamman is giving up the reigns on the display media group at iCrossing — acquired by Hearst this past summer for a reported $325 million – to join Chango’s wild world of search retargeting. The search funnel is leaky, he laments on his blog, and search retargeting, which enables advertisers to target prospects searching for relevant terms who haven’t actually yet engaged with the brand, has the potential plug up those fissures.  Read the whole post at DaxThink.com.

PubMatic Gets CRO, GM

PaidContent’s David Kaplan reports that PubMatic is hiring from within as “Jeanne Houweling, will shift from her role as VP, demand partner solutions to chief revenue officer and Andrew Rutledge has been promoted to GM and Vice president of publisher development, from VP of publisher sales.” Also of note with Houweling’s promotion, another woman takes a key executive role in tech. Read more.

AOL Investing

Get out the party hats – AOL Ventures is celebrating its one-year anniversary, and what a first year it’s had with investments in Captcha ad supplier Solve Media and social identity aggregator about.me, which parent company AOL acquired last month. However, in an interview with Startup Lawyer, founder and partner Mike Brown Jr. says most of the consumer Internet businesses AOL Ventures pours early-stage capital into are not acquisition targets of AOL – the VC arm plays no role in which companies the media giant soaks up. Brown also explains why the $30 million fund ain’t your grandpappy’s corporate VC and what kind of pitches won’t float (hint: an investment doesn’t mean you get AOL’s traffic). Read the full interview at Startup Lawyer.

DSP Bake-off

The demand-side platform space has gotten awfully crowded with hotshots claiming they can optimize the targeting for your display campaign while shining your shoes and balancing your checkbook. Yep, there’s a lot of hot air blowing around the space and it ain’t easy for an advertiser to figure who is not just a ball of gas. At iMedia Connection, MediaMath COO Ari Buchalter details a six-point DSP stress test to find the tech platform that truly performs – by making DSPs compete against each other (a bakeoff!).  After pre-vetting to dwindle the list to two or three contenders, Buchalter goes into specifics about creating a level playing field, running a revealing campaign and rating the competitors. Read the full article on iMediaConnection.

Ad Ops Evolve for RTB

When ecosystems change, the inhabiting creatures must adapt to survive. Mother Nature’s rules also apply to the display ecosystem, but publisher ad ops would best adapt to thrive, AdMonsters’ Rob Beeler writes on ClickZ. Real-time bidding is capturing more impressions and revenue by the minute, so Beeler’s got four fast tips for you ad ops folks to do the evolution: study and learn from an RTB platform; set pricing floors on valuable inventory; put your audience segments out in the market; and centralize. Doesn’t sound as tough as growing legs and walking on dry land. Read the full article on ClickZ.

Nielsen Going IPO

According to the Wall Street Journal, media analytics firm Nielsen is hitting the road in order to sell its upcoming initial public offering to investors. The company may be public by the end of the month according to the article and “is aiming to raise as much as $1.7 billion in an initial public offering of common stock.” Read it.

The Universal ID

Just don’t call it a national ID card initiative: the G-men came to Silicon Valley, but it wasn’t the scary agencies like Homeland Security or the NSA. No, instead Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt said at Standford University that the private sector needs to take the lead in developing an online identity management system, the proposed “trusted identity ecosystem.” The Feds would simply patrol it. Sounds a bit like what the Federal Trade Commission was seeking from behavioral targeting firms before all this “Do Not Track” brouhaha. Read the coverage at Wired.

Privacy Regs “Nonsense”

Oh no you didn’t! Kevin Lee, founder and executive chairman for Didit, admits in an opinion piece on ClickZ that “Privacy policies are nonsense.” The online advertising industry has seriously dropped the ball on educating the public about tracking and targeting, so now the Federal Trade Commission wants to step in and muck things up with a “Do Not Track” initiative. Even though it’s mainly display causing all the ruckus (and Lee wonders how hard it is to throw tracking info on a banner), the fallout could work it’s way to U.S. SEM and SEO professionals, hobbling their targeting efforts while less reputable firms move offshore to outmaneuver privacy regulations. Read the whole commentary at ClickZ.

TV Makers Add Internet Gaming

You’ll pry the NES out of my cold, dead hands, TV makers. Video games – and the big data that comes with it – look to be a big deal for Internet-connected televisions, with the selling point of allowing players to bypass gaming consoles. At CES, LG unveiled a motion-sensing remote control similar to Nintendo’s Wii controller that could be used in playing Internet games. Samsung just had a contest encouraging developers to build apps for its Internet-connected television. Gameloft President and CEO Michel Guillemot puts it bluntly: “With these TVs, you are going to be able to play straight out of the box.” Whatever – no TV can replace my Power Glove, which I still sleep with. Read the full coverage at WSJ.com.

AdMeld On Data

Close the blinds, publishers, as the AV club nerd sets up the film projector (wheezing the whole time): today’s educational film comes from revenue optimizer AdMeld and is called, “Data Is the New Black.” There’s a lot of confused and fearful chatter in the hallways these days about data, but do you actually know the many things that comprise user data? Or what collectors do once they get data? The video talks about real dilemmas such as data leakage, but also offers smart ways to make data selling work for you, including conversing with data buyers to learn more about your audience – all to a hip soundtrack made on space-age synthesizers. We hope everyone is mature enough to watch this video because, no, you don’t need a permission slip from your parents to view it on You Tube.

Brand Metrics Matter

Brand metrics just aren’t getting the TLC they deserve. Brand.net’s Andy Atherton, commenting on a piece by Hill Holiday’s Adam Cahill in ClickZ about the hunt for quality inventory, laments about shoving brand campaigns being shoved through the DR audience-buying machine, substituting abstract brand metrics for CTRs and cleverly named audience pools. Truly valuable brand metrics, which Atherton notes aren’t really being collected in brand campaigns, take more time to measure and translate into financial terms – and most inconvenient, the financial value typically appears offline. However, using the DR audience-buying infrastructure can actually have negative side effects for the relevant brand metrics. Read the full column at Brand.net.

Recruiting With Food

If you’re in the Orange County area in California, some tasty food may be headed in your direction along with a “pitch.” Online ad tech company BlueCava is getting the behind the wheel of a food truck in an effort to supercharge recruitment efforts. BlueCava CEO David Norris tells Mobile Food News, “We think this is will be a fun sort of competitive thing. We are going throughout OC and identifying the places where talented people might be.”  Read more and see the truck.

Ad Choice Icon Giveaway

As soon as ad verification mainstay Double Verify got approved by the Digital Advertising Alliance to serve the “Forward I” online behavioral targeting stamp of compliance, it announced it was giving away new the online behavioral advertising solution free of charge to verification customers – but for a limited time only! (Till July 2011 to be exact.) According to Double Verify, that’s 35 billion impressions with Ad Choice icons served every month, which will likely give industry self-regulatory efforts a lot more exposure. CEO Oren Netzer discusses the program over at Digiday Daily. Read the full interview and then check out our conversation with Netzer about Double Verify’s recently launched Fraud Lab.

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