Online Ads Legislation: The Day After; Aggregate Knowledge Gets New CEO; WebMD Meets Q1 Expectations

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Online Ad Legislation Round-Up

There’s plenty of reaction to read as the dust settles since yesterday’s delivery of a draft of proposed legislation to manage consumer privacy online. Ad Age’s Edmund Lee says the new legislation “signals a shift by Washington from self-regulation to government regulation, a move that privacy groups have long sought.” Greg Sterling writes, “The legislation empowers the FTC to make more rules and enforce the law. The state attorneys general are also empowered to enforce these rules and punish offenders through civil litigation.” Digiday Daily’s John Gaffney says, “One thing has become very clear: A provision of the bill that puts an 18 month “expiration date” on customer data will prove to be problematic for a lot of companies that have invested in data warehousing.” And yet, from here, could have been a lot worse/draconian. Read more from Digiday Daily, MediaPost, Greg Sterling and Ad Age.

Aggregate Knowledge Hires New CEO

Paul Martino is moving to an Executive Chairman role as former CRO/GM David Jakubowski takes over as CEO at buy-side optimization platform, Aggregate Knowledge. According to a company release, Martino “will focus on product strategy and IP development. In addition, he will continue his angel investing activities with a focus on companies that will make quality partners for Aggregate Knowledge.” Read the release. Jakubowski was an SVP at Specific Media before coming to AK – and GM of Microsoft adCenter and Search Strategy before that. See his bio.

Managing The Board

Venture capitalist and blogger Brad Feld follows up his fellow VC Mark Suster’s post on managing board relationships with his own ideas on how to work best with the board. Specifically, Feld says to give them homework, or as he calls it, assignments. Feld writes, “The assignments should be specific – if they are general (such as “help with strategy” or “help with the financing”) they will be useless. Make sure the assignments play to the individual board members strengths and interests. They should provide leverage for the leadership team; not create make work. They should be impactful, but not mission critical.” Read more.

Looking At WebMD Results

In spite of other negative comments by some Wall Street analysts, Citibank’s Mark Mahaney reviews WebMD results in Q1 and offers three reasons why WebMD will remain strong and a “Buy”: “1) There is an accelerating shift in BioPharma ad budgets online – from relatively very low levels; 2) due to its brand strength/positioning with both consumers & medical professionals, WBMD is one of the major beneficiaries of this shift; & 3) WBMD’s model contains significant leverage.” Read the overview on Q1 from BusinessWeek.

Semantic Siri

Aaron Goldman, while plugging his new book, talks about how Siri (which was acquired by Apple) may change the game of search especially as it relates to mobile. Semantic web lovers unite – read more on MediaPost. Read the WSJ’s story about the Siri purchase from last week.

Publisher Syndication Strategy

The New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller looks at how Citysearch is trying to turn the tide on its declining unique numbers and give away its content while still owning ad placements within the syndicated content. The company announced a deal with (the Yellow Pages) as it looks to extend its local ad revenues. Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti admits to Miller, “For 12 years, we grew, grew, grew, but we were having trouble monetizing on our own Web site.” Read more.

Buy-Side Imbalance

On his Shift Market blog, AdGear’s Vlad Stesin notes the buy-side imbalance as it relates to innovation when looking at the GCA Savvian ecosystem map. He points to a lower barrier to entry for buysiders when it comes to ad serving. Publishers have a tougher time. Stesin writes, “convincing a publisher to change first-party ad serving technology is incredibly difficult. It’s mission-critical stuff. There are a lot of people to train. You simply cannot go down. If you do, money is being lost, literally.” Read more.

Augmented Reality Ads

And no need for those unsightly 3D glasses! From the IAB’s UK site, news of 3D ads on this June: “A promotional ad will appear in the June edition of T3 magazine and when it is held in front of a webcam the user can take part in the 3D experience.” Target augmented audience! (source: @aimatch)

New Pub Content Strategy: Audience Content

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s strategy for connecting with its audience begins with reaching out to its audience – user-generated-content-style. Jonathan Stray of Nieman Journalism Labs says the hub employs a staff of 20 people and helps the BBC go in-depth on big and small stories around the globe. Read Stray’s interview with the BBC about audience informing the content.

Rubicon Project On RTB

Dr. Neal Richter, Data Science Lead of The Rubicon Project, says in a Q&A on the company blog in regards to real-time bidding and the second-price auction (which is used by Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange): “It’s common knowledge in the industry that this mechanism is great for fairly allocating opportunities to buyers. However, it’s less well-known (outside of economics literature) that this method is not necessarily optimal for sellers. One flaw is its susceptibility to collusion among buyers, and explicit collusion is not necessary. The implicit collusion of the buyers having information that the seller does not exposes this flaw.” Read more.

VC Huddle

VC investors Chris Dixon, Mark Suster, and Naval Ravikant huddle for an interview recorded by Venture Hacks which says, “The interview was inspired by Mark Suster’s (VC) and Chris Dixon’s (super-angel) discussion on whether entrepreneurs should take seed money from VCs — and Mark’s claim that ‘if we discussed the issue live we’d probably end up agreeing more than disagreeing.’” Listen now.

AdMob Acquisition Maw

The latest buzz is that Google’s AdMob acquisition may get derailed by the Federal Trade Commission for anti-competitive reasons. Google has taken the offensive as Paul Feng, Group Product Manager, (think he got approval for his post?) lists recent ad ecosystem commentary supporting the acquisition and says, “With Google and AdMob facing strong competition every day from businesses like Apple, JumpTap, Millennial Media, Microsoft, inMobi, Greystripe, Mobclix and many more, we agree that there’s vibrant competition in this space.” Read more.

Swedish E-Commerce Injection

GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram reports that Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital has invested in swedish e-commerce startup, Klarna AB, “which provides mobile payments and other e-commerce solutions in several European countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Holland.” Moritz joins the board. Sequoia was an early investor in PayPal according to Ingram. Read more. And, read the release on Klarna AB’s site.

Analyzing Apps

Mashable’s Jolie O’Dell says that “Google is giving users even more tools for finding and understanding their website’s visitor stats. The company has just announced they’re opening a full App Gallery for Google Analytics.” Read it and see them.

Offline To Online With Search

Allie Lemke of search marketing firm, iProspect, says “search is the glue that connects offline interest with online communications. For example, (iProspect) research shows that 67% of online users are driven to search by an offline channel.” It will be interesting to see when/if iProspect starts wrapping display into its product strategy. Read more.

Google Acquisitions By The Numbers

Joseph Tartikoff of PaidContent looks at Google’s 10Q from the first calendar quarter and notes that the company made 9 acquisitions for a total $145 million. See the story. And, the 10Q.

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