The State Of Aol; The Math State; The Real-Time Bidding Storm

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The State Of Aol

Pound for pound, market cap dollar for market cap dollar, no company is written about more than Aol. The NY Times added its latest Aol missive on Sunday and chronicled the state of affairs at Aol today and where it might be headed. The NYT’s Verne Kopytoff paraphrases RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler who says, “Mr. Armstrong has been too optimistic about AOL’s resurrection, [Sandler] said, suggesting that Mr. Armstrong spent too much on acquisitions with little short-term payoff while his turnaround will probably take longer than promised.” Read all about it. Armstrong sees content as the key asset of the future.

The Math State

Laredo Group’s Kendall Allen offers a rebuttal to those who she says are taking the math too far and forgetting about the message in an opinion piece on Ad Age titled, “The Dangers Of Online Advertising’s ‘Math State’.” She warns in the conclusion to her piece, “This ‘Math State’ is dangerous. This commoditized state makes our agencies and our teams more disposable than ever before. And when all is said and done — probably dumber.” Read more.

Real-Time Bidding 24/7/365

Real-time bidding and the data-driven world of digital advertising take the latest print issue of The Economist by storm. The piece includes looks at the benefits of RTB and traction in UK publishers such as BSkyB as well as sobering observations regarding pending legislation, “Regulators may yet stymie the growth of real-time bidding. Targeted advertising is drawing anxious scrutiny from congressmen and journalists. (…) Before May 25th European governments must incorporate a privacy directive that is expected to make it easier for users to opt out of targeted ads.” Read more.

On Liquidation Preferences

In a tweet, Yahoo! Dapper sales exec Chris Zaharias urges his Twitter followers, and startup employees in particular, to “not let your greed & sloth blind you” and ask questions about liquidation preferences. He links to a VentureBeat post from last year and offers a fresh comment in the VentureBeat post: “I’m convinced that if it ever became common knowledge how profound the lies are that founders and VCs make as they recruit, startup industry employees would demand far higher % of equity. I repeat – the tech startup industry is built on a) active lying and omission of fact on the part of founders, angels and VCs; and b) stupidity born of greed & sloth on the part of startup employees.” Read it.

Show Me The Ad Network

In preparation for his upcoming IAB Networks & Exchanges Marketplace keynote on May 16, Upstream Group’s Doug Weaver encourages his blog’s readers to add their thoughts to his prep notes for the speech. Among the points he will be making: “How Do Ad Networks Now Define the High Ground? Marshall McLuhan said that each new technology turns its predecessor into an art form (…) the glut of exchange-based inventory and the emergence of DSPs amount to a new technology and a new world. What manner of art – what combination of creativity, service, strategy and innovation – will you bring into this next era?” Give feedback now.

The Great Wealth Creation

Hey public shareholders, William Quigley of Clearstone Venture Partners thinks that if you wanna make the big money with tech stocks, you’re gonna need to re-think your investment strategy going forward. He writes in an op-ed in TechCrunch, “In order to participate in the great wealth creation taking place in this and future technology cycles, you will have to be a founder, an early employee or a private investor. The so-called easy money will be earned before a company goes public. This is a radical shift from earlier technology cycles.” All aboard!

Privacy Regs Du Jour

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and member of The U.S. Commerce, Science and Transportation Congressional Committee led by announced that he would introduce his “Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 next week.” In the press release outlining the new bill, it gets a bit confusing: “If consumers ask not to be tracked, allow companies to collect only the information that is necessary for the website or online service to function and be effective, but then place a legal obligation on the online company to destroy or anonymize the information once it is no longer needed.” If cookie-based ads allow a site to function, is that OK? Read the U.S. Senate press release. And, read more coverage from ClickZ’s Kate Kaye who says the U.S. House is about to launch a couple of new bills, too.

Incentivizing Viewership

If you’re a marketer, and you pay a user (let’s say with Facebook credits) to view a video of some movie trailer and therefore engage with an ad – is this really a valuable engagement for the advertiser? -especially when compared to “un-incentivized” engagements with where a user chooses to view an ad. This is the conundrum Darren Herman explores in his personal blog as Herman wonders aloud if forcing people to watch ads is really valuable. Read more including the comments.

Big Games

News Corp acquired Hearst’s UGO game network for its IGN unit which it will now spinout according to The Wall Street Journal on Friday. As the WSJ’s Russell Adams points out, unlike News Corp’s ailing MySpace property, IGN is growing quickly. Adams quotes a source who says, “IGN is expected to make about $10 million on about $100 million in revenue.” Next stop, IPO. Hearst keeps a stake, too. Read more.

Privacy & Consumer Data

Facebook Credits

Earnings & Funding

But Wait. There’s More!

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1 Comment

  1. John, I think we could have done without Liquidation Preference paragraph. I just dont like the reference to the ‘profound lies’. Too negative and for sure not always true.