Aol Buys Huffington Post; On The Decline -Or DSP Future?; Tremor Media Buys Transpera

Aol Acquires Huffington PostHere’s today’s news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Aol Buys Huffington Post

All Things D’s Kara Swisher reports that Aol has paid $315 million for Huffington Post. She writes, “The flashy acquisition–which essentially came together in less than two weeks in January–will become the linchpin of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s aggressive, if risky, strategy to focus the long-troubled company as a content and advertising powerhouse.” Read more and see the video interview with Armstrong and Huffington. Ariana Huffington will become Editor-In-Chief of all Aol content properties including TechCrunch according to Swisher. Read the press release.

The Decline – The DSP Future?

AdWeek’s Brian Morrisey reviews the latest, Q4 2010 Aol financial numbers as it relates to former ad network juggernaut and Aol-owned He quotes Adnetik’s CEO Ed Montes saying, “It’s not the big mothership ad network you used to see two years ago.” SVP Don Kennedy remains defiant in spite of innovations and competition from the DSP model and says, “We’ve been the leader in this space the past decade,(…) I think this revolution puts us in a very good spot.” Read it. In fact, Aol CEO Tim Armstrong addressed the DSP model specifically on the company’s earnings call last week, “I’m not going to go into details on it but we actively have a plan with the holding companies in the DSP space, which I’m excited about, I think they’re excited about, and I think it’s actually an augmentation of their DSP strategy.” Read transcript excerpts on Morningstar. It will be interesting to see if the purchase of page view machine Huffington Post positively impacts

UI/UX Where It At

Roger Ehrenberg, managing partner at IA Ventures, considered last week’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., a “magical event.” Inspired by his experience, Ehrenberg meditates on The Business Insider on the “importance of interface design and user experience in helping display the power and value of sophisticated Big Data technologies and analytics.” Because Big Data analysis is complex, confusing and overwhelming, startups with amazing UI/UX offerings have a leg way up on the competition. Read the article.

Old Agencies, New Tricks

Thanks to constantly improving digital technology, advertising is increasingly becoming a two-way conversation rather than the “interruptive one-way push” full-service agencies had become accustomed to. Integrating digital and recognizing the importance of interactive leadership hasn’t been easy for the old dogs at these agencies, but Andrew Cherwenka, vice president of U.S. sales for, notes on Huffingtone Post that “successful full-service agencies still have a strong edge over most of the specialty shops nipping at their heels: they know how to build brands.” Read the full article.

Online Ad Revenue Down Under

Vegemite for all! Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates 2011 digital ad spend in Australia to hit $2.24 billion. But the numbers are rather hazy as Google Australia and New Zealand — the leading ad tech firm as search is expected to reach $850 million in 2010 — hasn’t been providing advertising figures for the region to the IAB, and Chief Executive Paul Fisher doesn’t have a lot of faith that Google will start. Predicting display revenue is about as easy as tossing boomerang, but The Australian’s Simon Canning reports that media buyers are bully about video, “one of the smallest major categories, but which jumped by a meteoric 62 per cent for the third quarter year-on-year.” Read the full article.

Conversations With Billboards

Thanks to developments such as near-filed communication, The Wall Street Journal writers that companies like Google, Nokia and French wireless provider Orange are making subway, train station and phone booth posters billboards interactive. So far, such advertising test runs have mainly offered free mobile apps and ringtones, “but outdoor advertisers and marketers say the ads could also be used to distribute games, video ads, coupons and even as a way to sell physical or digital goods and services.” Read the full article.

Popularity Contest

File this one under “Social signal as targeting parameter.” The New York Times writes about computer scientists studying the 500 most popular hashtags on Twitter used between August 2009 and January 2010. Apparently contentious or politicized terms tend to take longer to catch on, while the latest conversational idioms are like a “sugar rush,” says study co-author and Cornell computer science professor Jon Kleinberg: “You see it once, you either use it or you don’t, but the rush wears off.” Read the full article.

Real-Time, Baby

MediaWeek’s Mike Shields reviews chartbeat and its ability to provide real-time website analytics to web publishers which can inform editorial. chartbeat GM Tony Haile tells Shields, “chartbeat’s real-time data, analytics become a tool for ‘response, not reporting,’ he said. ‘It’s less about the question, ‘How did we do it?’ but rather ‘What should we do?'” Read it.

Spoils of Semantics

In defense of ad operations personel, AdMonsters’ Rob Beeler explains semantic technology can be ad ops’ best friend, but AdMonsters’ Rob Beeler explains that semantic targeting’s value is beyond prevention: “It can be a tool to help drive revenue in real and meaningful ways.” Find out how.

Mobile Tremor

Tremor Media, the largest online video ad network according to comScore, is making a play on the mobile video front with the acquisition of Transpera. Leanna Rao at TechCrunch explains, “Tremor can offer its advertisers the ability to target consumers on a number of platforms within one campaign buy.” Pretty sweet for a company that’s looking at $100 million in revenue for 2011. Read the full article.

Ad Networks And Search

As a result the Yahoo-Microsoft search consolidation, search marketers are only managing campaigns on two major engines, and LookSmart Marketing Manager Kaley Dobson thinks “marketers have more time to explore new partnerships in the broader search advertising market, namely with ad networks.” The ad network model is not dead. Read the full article.

The Modellers Sign With DAS

And here I thought that The Modellers were the latest doo-wop singing sensation from Detroit – turns out it’s a marketing research and advanced analytics outfit recognized for its predictive modeling. (Oh! Now I get the name!) It’s also now a part of Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services (DAS), acquired on Friday for an undisclosed amount. Modellers CEO and cofounder Jeff D. Brazell swore the group wasn’t selling out to the majors: “We get to continue doing the work we love — using advanced analytical tools to solve our client’s toughest marketing problems — but now in partnership with a global network of diverse marketing services companies.” Read the press release.

CPCs In Decline, M-O-M

With comparables measuring against the busy holiday season, January’s cost-per-ciick (CPC) pricing didn’t stand a chance of staying at December 2010 levels. Efficient Frontier’s Dr. Siddarth Shah says, “As expected, Retail CPCs dropped the most MoM by over 27%. However, CPCs were up in all sectors YoY. With a 21.3% increase, the travel sector saw the biggest rise followed by the automotive,retail and finance sectors that saw increases in the 6.5-7.7% range.” See the chart.

Viacom Returns to Hulu

“Baby, I’m so sorry I took the ‘Daily Show’ and ‘Colbert Report’ away,” Viacom cried, as it begged on Hulu’s doorstep for another chance. “Please, please support them again with your wonderful advertising model.” Alas, other popular Viacom shows – classy material like “Jersey Shore,” “Tosh.0” and “Teen Mom 2” will only be available on the Hulu Plus subscription service. Keeping mum on the financial terms of the deal, the companies announced that Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to 2,000 episodes of Viacom programming – ad free… Perhaps Viacom’s cut of the ad revenue wasn’t satisfactory? On the same day Viacom announced that revenue had slipped for the fiscal first quarter, mainly due to lackluster DVD sales and rentals. Read the full article.

Guild Sells Winstar, Moves to Hungry?

Adam Guild has sold online publisher rep firm Winstar to current employees and moved on to the role of president and CEO of urban dining and drinking guide-printer Hungry? City Guides. As president of Interep Interactive, Guild acquired Winstar in 2001,and guided the company from bankruptcy to $20 million in annual sales. Read the press release.

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