eBay Sees Profits While Mobile Rockets; Apple Answers On Data, iPhone; The Year Of Exchanges, RTB And All That

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eBay Makin’ Money

eBay reported its first quarter 2011 revenue results and things are looking good at the world’s largest digital garage sale as revenue “increased 16% to $2.5 billion, compared to the same period of 2010. The company recorded first quarter net income on a GAAP basis of $475.9 million, or $0.36 per diluted share,” according to the release. On San Jose Mercury News’ website, Rachel Metz says that eBay beat Wall Street estimates by one cent and that Pay Pal services are printing cash. Quoting an eBay exec, Metz say the company’s mobile revenue will double last year and reach $4 billion. Read more. Obviously, there is a big opportunity for the recently-acquired Marketing Services unit of GSI Commerce across eBay’s digital channels. The earnings webcast is here.

Apple Questions, Answers On Privacy

Yesterday, Apple firmly planted its feet in the consumer data and online privacy discussion as it sought to answer recent questions raised in the media regarding the iPhone’s tracking capabilities. In a Q&A with itself (scary!) on the Apple website, the company begins: “1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone? Answer: Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.” You got that, fella! Read more.

Media Buying And Exchanges

UK-based Marketing Week takes a survey of agency and marketing execs on the evolution of media buying. GroupM CEO Irwin Gottlieb is unequivocal in the possibility of disintermediation of agencies as he states, “The idea that evolution will bring us a scenario where brands buy their own media directly from media owners is very silly. I do not have a single client that I am aware of that is looking to go into that business.” Read more. Later, global chief executiv Mike Cooper of PHD thinks exchanges are about to shake things up, “In the next 12 months, we are likely to see the emergence of real-time bidding for auctioned ad space, in the closed environment of ad exchanges.” Read more.

Just F’n RTB

The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green gives readers an overview on the use of retargeting in real-time biddable environments and thinks marketers need to get with the program. He says, “There is a meaningful segment of marketers that say in effect – there is so much hype and so much incomprehensible talking in RTB that I’ll stick to what I know. But let me say emphatically, that would be a mistake. RTB is worth it. Every marketer should be buying RTB display remarketing.” Drink the hype, bay-bay!

Hard News For News

On his Buzz Machine blog, Jeff Jarvis gives the newspaper model and its proponents a colonic and paints a bleak portrait on the future of traditional newspapers. He offers digital as a way out, of course, but using key tactics such as: “Scaling local sales is the key opportunity. I think the answer will lie in productizing services for local merchants (across all these platforms — not just selling them space in a media site but also helping them with Google Place pages and Foursquare and Facebook deals and Twitter specials) and establishing new, independent, entrepreneurial sales forces. The key challenge then will be holding down the cost of sale and production.” Read more.

European Exchange Buying

On ExchangeWire, Ciaran O’Kane interviews EMEA Director Laurnet Cordier who drives ad exchange and display partnerships for Google. Cordier offers recent data on European buying through DoubleClick Ad Exchange: “On top of our AdSense publishers and AdWords Buyers, we have nearly 500 large buyers and sellers transacting on the platform, of which 150 are based in Europe. It is worth highlighting that Europe now represents around 20% of our global volume.” Read more.

Epsilon Going Agency

Email marketing firm Epsilon (owned by Alliance Data Systems) announced that it has acquired Aspen Marketing Services. Kate Kaye distills the details of the acquisition on ClickZ and quotes Epsilon president and CEO Brian Kennedy who says, “Over the years acquisitions have helped build out Epsilon’s overall business, as well as our agency services, to best serve clients and remain an industry leader. Our current focus is the Aspen transaction, the integration of the Aspen team and the transformation of our agency business.” Read more. How long until an ad network/DSP buys an agency? It would make sense as these companies start serving direct advertisers and consequently need to service them like an agency.

Consumers And Mobile

In a TRUSTe-sponsored Harris Interactive study looking at consumers’ perceptions around privacy and the mobile phone, researchers found that “Thirty-eight percent say privacy is the number one concern when using mobile applications, followed by security (26%); identity tracking (19%); and sharing information with or without permission (14%).” Read the release with more findings.

Selling Your Start-up

Fresh from the sale of his own company, Brent Halliburton looks at how a start-up company gets sold on his Cogmap blog. He writes, “No matter how good a fit you think you are for the business, you have virtually no input into the process. This is where I always thought half of the cliche came from – the key things that have to happen to make this transaction take place are events inside the buyer where you have little or no control.” Read more.

Avoiding Display Somnambulism

In a Search Engine Land piece, Efficient Frontier data-mad scientist Dr. Siddarth Shah looks at “Tips For Managing Ad Fatigue” on the Facebook platform. He votes for more creative testing, creative refreshes, systematic testing and managing the rotation of ads (kind of like frequency capping.). He outlines, “Setting up a systematic ad testing process on Facebook campaigns is a little involved as Facebook does not currently allow you to rotate ads evenly. To overcome this, you can place your creative/target combinations in different campaigns and allocate separate budgets. This will force spend on the combinations you want to test.Read more.

Diversify Or Die

In a piece titled “Marketers to Digital Shops: Diversify or Die… ‘We’re digital’ no longer compelling,” AdWeek’s Andrew McMains looks at a survey of marketers by RSW/US that finds marketers want better “digital” out of their agency. McMains writes that results also show there is “a desire among some marketers to integrate their business under one roof. Furthermore, it explains why interactive shops like R/GA, Razorfish, and AKQA have hired creative directors and strategic planners from the traditional world and pitched full-service accounts.” Read more.

Audience Event

In a one-day conference on the audience buying world in digital ads, AdMonsters is gathering together execs for OPS: Markets on May 19 in New York City. AdMonsters says its “open to anyone who understands the importance of operations and wants to learn more (…).” Data-driven digerati to speak include Eric Picard of Traffiq; Bennett Zucker of Ziff Davis, Did-It co-founder Kevin Lee, Sara Livingston of Seamless Web and more. See the agenda.

Outclick It

On Adotas, Oliver Roup makes the case for his company, VigLink, and the importance of the outclick as a marketing opportunity. He writes, “If you aren’t tracking your outclicks – the traffic leaving your site – you’re ignoring a significant revenue opportunity.” Read more.

Smoking The Signal

On the GuideMe blog, Pat McCarthy asks the simple question, “Are long in-depth reviews better than ratings?” He writes, “Ratings can be confusing, but classifying or quantifying a place is very helpful. It’s not enough though, so there needs to be some aspect or review or context to go along with it. Ideally, this written content also wouldn’t be as verbose and difficult to read through as 500 word reviews.” Read more about the GuideMe solution to the review/rating conundrum.

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