Jim Spanfeller's new company is closing a $2 million investment round and that "backers include RRE Ventures, Greenhill SAVP, Softbank and Lerer Media Ventures," according to Peter Kafka of All Things D. Kafka adds that the former Forbes.com CEO's business strategy will be concentrating on verticals such as "food" when his company is ready to roll. Read more.
More Time For The Agency, Better Ideas
Marco Bertozzi (his day job: Managing Director EMEA at Vivaki Nerve Center) laments on his personal blog that the agency request-for-proposal process is f'd up as clients want their RFP response "yesterday" and, consequently there's no time for coming up with good ideas. He writes, "I think a major pitch should afford the competing agencies the time to genuinely deliver ideas, if more time was spent, I think more would come out of the pitches, more questions asked and therefore more of a sense of the agency." Read it.
Data And The Startup
On the blog of web app developer Primitus, Vincent Chan answers the question: "Why did so many successful entrepreneurs and startups come out of PayPal?" Among many of Chan's findings, those involved in the early days of PayPal weren't necessarily payment specialists. Former Pay Pal GM Yee Lee reveals to Chan one of the keys to the startup's eventual, huge success: "Data-driven decision making – PayPal was filled with smart, opinionated people who were often at logger-heads. The way to win arguments was to bring data to bear." Read more. (source: @zachcoelius)
ClickZ's Kate Kaye says that language aimed at empowering the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's enforcement capabilities have been scuttled due to lobbying from the IAB and other ad industry organizations. The regulatory reform bill targeting the financial system had included the potential to give the FTC broad authority which could have allowed the FTC to "'just move unilaterally,' making the threat of overreaching privacy legislation moot," writes Kaye. Read more.
Futures Make Sense
On her Adsolver's Blog, Sonal Patel thinks that the futures contract is coming for digital advertising. Amidst a comparison between advertising and the oil industry, she writes, "While 20% (guaranteed inventory) has the bulk of the monetisation –we have an 80% pool of potential upside waiting in the wind. Technically, the spot market becoming competitive and working by market forces should only increase the guaranteed market." Read more.
IAC: The Tech Company
On The Business Insider, NY Tech Meetup chief Nate Westheimer thinks that IAC could be acquiring NYC tech startups. In a fanciful post, Westheimer argues, "Is there a snowball’s chance in hell that the right series of acquisitions and leaderships changes would turn IAC into a major tech (rather than media) player? Yes, there is - and I think this would be a good thing for the company and for the City." Read more.
NYU Adds Startup Fund
In what may be seen as an attempt to echo successful ventures by U.S. West Coast universities, NYU announced that it will seed a $20 million investment fund. Frank Rimalovski, who will be the fund’s managing director, tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "We’re looking to build an investor syndicate to support the growth of companies - Internet, life sciences and information technology, for example - that we spin out of NYU." Read more.
Looking At Ad Ops
Operative and DM2PRO have released a white paper coming out of last week's DPAC conference that surveys the industry on the state of digital ad operations. One finding from the report: "[...] in terms of what agencies will invest in this year to improve ad operations is an ad metrics and reporting solution or 'ad serving solution/software.' Both design and trafficking staff and internal technical ad operations staff topped DSP and 'outsourced ad operations,' which were tied at a little over 17 percent." Read more on the Operative blog. And, download the white paper (PDF).
Google Rating The Seller
Dan Friedman of The Google AdWords blog announced a new feature which magically aggregates all of an e-commerce seller's ratings from around the web and aggregates it into a rating for the seller in Google's Product Search. Furthermore, according to Friedman, "If your online store is rated in Google Product Search, you have 4 or more stars, and you have at least 30 reviews, you’ll automatically get seller ratings with your (Google paid search) ads." Read more.
Video Ads Are Like TV Ads
Frank Magid Associates with support from Metacafe has released results from a survey in a report titled, "Media Futures 2010: Online Video," which provides an overview of the audience for online video ads. One takeaway points to viewer perceptions of online video ads as 48% of survey respondents find online video ads "just as acceptable" as TV ads. Only 7% found online video ads better than TV. Download it (PDF).
The Story Is The Key
On iMedia Connection, Andy Robbins from bpg Advertising has had enough of campaigns that leverage digital ads technology for technology's sake, "A compelling story has always been the foundation on which good advertising campaigns are based. Why? Because stories are what our culture is based on." Read it.
Demand-side platform [x+1] announced new hires including Christopher Black as VP of Client Solutions. Black comes from Sears Media Holdings where he developed "mass media and online media strategies for Sears retails stores and brands such as Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, overseeing a $760 million media budget." Read more.
In case you haven't heard, popular location-based app Foursquare was finally funded to the tune of $20 million by investors that include Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz. Read more from Horowitz's blog.