FTC Talks Irony, Do-Not-Track; Fox Ramping Video Ads; Private Equity And The Publisher

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FTC Talks Do-Not Track

FTC’s David Vladeck presented his unit’s views on the online privacy debate and legislation at yesterday’s IAB Networks and Exchanges Marketplace. Vladeck spoke to Ad Age’s Edmund Lee after his speech and answered questions about the latest legislative efforts around online behavioral advertising and consumer data. Vladeck wanted to make clear that the FTC isn’t just looking at Do-Not-Track as he told Lee, “One thing I have to bring up, if you look back at our privacy report, one irony we’re amused by, that no one else seems to get, do-not-track was a paragraph in a very long report that worries about a whole host of things.” Read more. Vladeck was positive about industry initiatives.

Fox Ramping Video Ads

The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Schechner writes that the user’s commercial-freer lunch is over as Fox will increase the commercials in an online show to the same number as its traditional TV counterpart. And, they’ll be sold bundled. Schechner explains, “Selling across the Web and TV would lower ad rates per viewer in online-video commercials, which are sold at high costs per viewer in part because there are fewer of them. But by counting online viewers when setting traditional commercial rates, the strategy could boost the audience and revenue for Fox’s TV broadcasts, where it makes the bulk of its money.” Read more (subscription).

AMEX Feeding Display To The Masses

First, Clickable supplied a white-labeled search and Facebook marketing platform and now AdReady will offer a white-labeled version of its display ad, demand-side platform for American Express’ Open unit. Dubbed “AdManager” (see the landing page), Amex Open VP Robert Ciccone tells ClickZ about the latest SMB-focused initiative: “It is quickly becoming clear that there are huge opportunities that online display advertising presents to reach and convert their customers where they live their digital lives.” Read more. Why is American Express in the do-it-yourself ad business? They’ve got the right audience: small business owners. This is similar to why it makes sense for airlines to offer hotel and car rental deals. Audience. As companies realize their audience’s attributes, white-label opportunities would appear to be compelling with little or no investment necessary beyond a rev share with a partner(s) resulting in incremental revenue to the company. Brand management becomes more critical, too.

About.com Machinations

PaidContent’s David Kaplan digs deep into the details to try and understand why Cella Irvine was let go from her CEO role and what’s ailing special interest, destination site About.com. Beyond flagging financials, Kaplan finds, “The basic argument against Irvine was that she was not a ‘product-oriented’ executive and that she was not creative enough in terms of finding ways to build up the guide sites as individual destinations (…).” Read Kaplan’s interview with the NYT’s Martin Nisenholtz for still more insights. From here, About.com needs to get its “social” on. If the guides are truly connected to their topics, they need to at least appear to be connected to the readers through the sharing of ideas in social media and Facebook. Also, belly fat ads in an “archaeology” section, for example, aren’t helping credibility with niche content seekers.

Gaming The Algo!

On iMedia Connection, consultant Daniel Flamberg discusses what he says is Facebook’s “EdgeRank algorithm” which helps determine personalization features… If your inner geek is getting warmer as it moves closer to the algo “flame,” Flamberg pours on the lighter fluid, “The algorithm looks at frequency of posts, relevance (number of friends clicking, liking and commenting) plus your history of clicking and messaging within Facebook. Facebook is sorting content based on affinity, weight and relevancy.” On fy-uh! Now read more about how he says you game it.

The Value Of Like

In a detailed post centering around the value of a “like” as in Facebook “like”, Kevin Lee writes on ClickZ that a marketer needs to be smart when embarking on a Facebook fan page campaign, “If you are currently only using ‘likes’ as an objective for your online marketing (advertising and earned media), you may want to come up with a strategy that includes the use of Facebook Connect, and make sure you have something of value to offer your prospects and customers…” Read more. Bottom line- There’s potential for more data being gathered from the user with Facebook Connect (an email address is one piece) then the click of a “like” button.

Private Equity And The Publisher

Is this the future for some publishers? Well, maybe. Primedia with its print and online real estate-focused publications has been taken over by a private equity (PE) group and will no doubt be overhauled in hopes of another sale at a higher price down the road. David Trujillo of TPG Principal, which acquired Primedia, says in the release, “We believe the Company will benefit from the continuing secular transition from print to digital media and we look forward to building upon the Company’s innovative products and services for consumers searching for the ideal place to live.” Read the release. Caveat: So in this case, a PE firm is selling its stake to another PE firm. Read more in the NY Times.

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