The Crucial American Marketplace; SEM Revenue Hockey Stick; Europe’s Display Gets Social

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Open Internet: “A Crucial American Marketplace”

Enough FTC. How about some FCC? With the vote of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Mignon L. Clyburn to “preserve an open Internet,” (PDF) Chairman Julius Genachowski has rounded up enough votes to pass new net neutrality rules. The new regs would effectively block phone and cable companies from deliberately hindering or slowing legal Internet traffic, unnamed officials tell the WSJ’s Russell Adams. However, internet service providers would be able to charge companies, such as video sites and gamers, higher fees in exchange for faster than normal delivery speeds. But it doesn’t necessarily end here – except years of lawsuits first. Read PC Mag’s Chloe Albanesius’ take here.

Internet Beats Newspapers

It’s been predicted for a while, but the analysts at eMarketer have called it officially: by the moment the ball drops in Times Square this year, advertisers will have spent more on Internet ads in 2010 than newspaper ads for the first time. In all, online ad spending will grow 13.9 percent to $25.8 billion for the full year in 2010, while in comparison, newspaper print ads will attract $22.78 billion, down 8.2 percent from 2009. Even with online and print combined, total newspaper ad revenues will reach $25.7 billion this year, just below the Internet’s total. Meanwhile, eMarketer has a Q&A with Larisa Drake, VP of brand communications for credit card company Discover, on how it’s discovered (sorry!) ways for increasing its online ad spend. Read more.

Happy Days, Here Again?

California’s economy has been particularly devastated by the recession and concurrent real estate bust. But signs of life are appearing in Silicon Valley, as the tech sector is rife with company expansions and hiring. Still, tech is still too small to pull the rest of the state out of the doldrums, but it could eventually spark some economic comeback in the Valley’s surrounding environs. In November, joblessness in the greater San Jose metro area – including Sunnyvale, home of Yahoo, which just jettisoned hundreds of staffers – fell to 11 percent from 12.2 percent last December. Unemployment for the rest of the state has remained unchanged at around 12.4 percent. Taking a look at unemployment in the ad industry, AdAge reports the business is experiencing a slow recovery in hires, with digital accounting for one in eight media jobs today. One of the biggest areas of digital ad hiring is anything to do with real-time bidding, as a number of well-known media hands have been named to new posts in the segment of the business, notes UK VivaKi exec Marco Bertozzi. Read more.

Targeted TV Ads Go National

Targeted TV is still way behind targeted online ads, but a new deal between Publicis Groupe media shop Starcom MediaVest Group and DirecTV may give set-top box-based ads a shot in the arm. The deal involves delivering national TV ads to DVR households, which SMG claims is a first. The agency will select the audiences the ads are aimed at. The arrangement will be run by SMGx, the agency’s trading arm, and will targeted along geographical and consumer demographic lines, and will involve audience profiles from unspecified third-party sources along with marketers’ consumer databases. Read more.

Google Goes Hollywood?

Wait – Google always said it wasn’t a content company, right? The company is being tight-lipped about its latest hire, Malik Ducard, who is currently senior vice president of digital distribution at Viacom film studio Paramount, reports paidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein. It’s pretty much speculative at this point, but it appears likely that Ducard will have a hand in setting Google’s mysterious programming strategy. In any case, Ducard will be key in adding content for YouTube and/or Google TV given his deep studio ties, which in addition to his four years at Paramount, included time in the home video departments at MGM and Lionsgate.

Demo Delay For Google TV

This is kind of embarrassing: Google TV, which fully launched in the fall to disappointed reviews and aversion from major broadcasters, has asked its electronics company partners  — Sony, Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp – not to demo their respective versions of the set at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. The reason for the hold up is due to some software refinements Google says it needs to complete in order to get the web-based TV system fully operational. Read more.

SEM Revenue Hockey Stick

And now for some positive Google news: Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney is taking one last look at Google’s stock this year and likes what he sees in the months ahead. Mahaney has raised Google’s target share price to $725 over the next 12 months, mostly due to search engine marketing revenues. Trends for search giant’s growth trends in the current quarter are running about the same or better than the same period last year. Specifically, SEM revenues are running about 15- to 20 percent of search growth for 2011, stronger than the analyst’s previous estimate of 10-to 15 percent gains.

GroupM Opts-Out

WPP’s GroupM media buying unit is trying to beat the regulatory rush next year and will adopt the opt-out system for its behaviorally targeted ads, AdAge’s Edmund Lee reported. The media buying company is working with Better Advertising’s software platform to meet with the industry’s self-regulatory program. The industry’s solution includes an icon that will appear on ads leading consumers to an opt-out page. This extends WPP’s involvement with Better Advertising, as the ad holding company’s agency Ogilvy helped create the look of software provider’s icon, which is slated to appear on banners and box ads across the web over the next few months. Meanwhile, not many web users have been choosing Better Advertising’s opt-out choice over the past six months, ClickZ’s Jack Marshall reports. Only one in every 700,000 users has selected the icon’s off switch for targeted ads, amounting to an opt-out rate of around .00014 percent. Read more

Europe’s Display Gets Social

Social media and display activity are both rising in Europe, especially in the UK. The latest comScore numbers for the continent breaks it down:in October 2010, roughly 40 percent of all UK display ads were placed on social net sites, followed by Germany (27.5 percent) and France (26.9 percent). It would be interesting to see what effect that dynamic is having on traditional media companies. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it drive down CPMs for the newspaper and other generalist entities not look upon this as exactly positive news.

DSPs’ Neutral Needs

Paradoxically, transparency is both the biggest promise and biggest complaint about the use of ad exchanges. In its latest MarketPulse report, real-time bidding manager DataXu has some sound advice for its fellow demand-side platforms: prove you’re neutrality. The company, which boasts of its independence, cites a question raised this summer by consultancy Garner about conflicts of interest inherent when the largest sellers of display ads also operate ad exchanges at the same time. About the best thing an ad buyer can do to ensure that they’re not the victim of conflicts is to use multiple exchanges. DataXu says you don’t have to take its system’s word for it, as the company’s platform already connects to several exchanges that marketers can examine. Read more.

Angels And Demons

Can Boston keep part-time attracting angel investors like David Cancel, CEO of  web analytics firm Performable ( Q&A)? Cancel concedes that it’s becoming more difficult, as part-time angels are often full-time entrepreneurs as well (Cancel’s on his fourth startup and adds that time spent on angel funding is time taken away from Performable. Read more.

Losing The Network

A number of high profile companies, such as Undertone, have dropped the word “network” from its name lately, as they’ve found the label too limiting. It’s just as well, since in iMedia Connection’s Dan Reich’s view, Ad Networks Are No Longer Ad Networks.

Crosslink Hits $10.5M To Bleachers

Sports destination site Bleacher Report has closed a $10.5 million third round funding led by Crosslink Capital. The site, which counts Associated Content CEO Patrick Keane among its board members, attracts roughly 10 million unique users a month these days (versus Dec. ‘09’s 6 million uniques) and is working to build out its content offerings. The company last raised $7.3 million in its last round in June ‘09. Back in July, the sports content company hired former Fox Sports Interactive exec Brian Grey from venture firm Polaris Venture Partners to take on the CEO post.  More details in the press release.

Winner Takes Most

There’s some lessons in daily deals site Groupon’s success for cost-per action performance networks. Unlike dominant sites like eBay and Facebook, where any auction or social graph marketing elsewhere represents a loss for those respective companies, deals sites just need “winner takes most” to rule the day. The same is true for CPA, says Jay Weintraub, founder of LeadsCon in a personal blog post. The low barrier to entry and the ability to take most of economies of scale works for CPA networks and for deals sites. So where’s the Groupon equivalent for performance networks?

But Wait, There’s More!

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