Meebo Buys Mindset Media; Sniffing History; Microsoft Management Shake-Up

Mindset Media and MeeboHere’s today’s news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Meebo Acquires Mindset Media

More M&A! Psychographic targeter Mindset Media has been acquired by Meebo for an undisclosed sum according to PaidContent’s David Kaplan. Meebo COO Martin Green tells Kaplan about the core of his company’s interests in Mindset, “When it comes to CPG, companies are not necessarily selling on price or ingredients. They’re selling on brand affinity. That’s what Mindset offers.” Read more. Meebo has taken $70 million in financing since inception and according to Mashable’s Christina Warren, “Meebo’s strategy as a sharing platform has been to create advertising opportunities [through a toolbar] that engage the user and get results for the advertiser. These ads – which are similar to Apple’s iAds concept – are interactive and multimedia rich (if engaged by the user) and shareable in the same way that other content is shareable via the Meebo Minibar.”

History Sniffing Legal War

Forget chasing ambulances, lawyers — consumer class action suits are being filed left and right since researchers at the University of California, San Diego, released a study showing that 46 internet sites were practicing “history sniffing” — clandestinely running code inside a user’s browser to access sites visited. E. Todd Presnell, a partner at Miller & Martin, surveys the legal battlefield and concludes concludes, “[D]espite questions about speculative and undefined damages, expect class action suits involving history sniffing to proliferate, particularly in the short term, while regulators remain at work debating the appropriate government solution.”  Read it.

Microsoft Management Shake-Up

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is shaking up the executive ranks like they’re a pair of maracas. A month after shoving out Server Division President Bob Muglia, who had been with Microsoft for nearly a quarter century, sources are saying the chief wants to add two senior product executives – hand-picked managers with engineering backgrounds and experience executing product plans. Ballmer is seeking to move past recent false starts in mobile and tablet computers to catch up with rivals Apple and Google. Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller tells Bloomberg Businessweek, “You see the engineering team ascending because Steve is realizing that there is a need to execute on a vision and in order to do that you have to actually understand how software is built.” Indeed – you know you want to read more.

Mobile Malware Massacre

The mobile space is being bombarded by malware at an increasing rate – according to McAfee new mobile malware threats increased 46% year over year during the fourth quarter, with Android labeled a prime target. “Mobile malware and threats have been around for years, but we must now accept them as part of the mobile landscape, both in awareness and deployment,” McAfee warns. In better news, email is only 80% spam now – apparently hackers are moving to more popular platforms. Read the full article on ZDnet here.

Ixnay on the Tracking

According to Krux Digital, 87% of Internet users get the deal — they have to view some ads in exchange for all the online content they can eat. “While 57% of internet users surveyed said it was OK for websites to serve targeted ads based on their activity on that website, less than half as many had positive attitudes toward tracking that followed them from site to site,” eMarkerter reports. “Targeting using offline data was even more unpopular.” It seems 86% would like a centralized tool that managed tracking and targeting – something akin to a do-not-track registry. That can’t be music to behavioral targeters’ ears… Read.

Chevy Gets Bowl Boost From OneRiot

Who says you can’t teach an old car company new targeting tricks? Chevrolet procured the services of OneRiot to target Twitter users — “based on influence, interest profiles, demographics and real-time conversations,” according to OneRiot – and invite them to watch Chevy’s ad on YouTube. Read the bloggage here.

Outsourcing Ad Ops

Ad ops are the Rodney Dangerfield of the online advertising world – no respect, no respect at all.  So why not outsource the roles, asks Aashay Paradkar, head of ad ops and creative services at Zedo. “There are many advantages to outsourcing — such as lower costs and fewer employee retention hassles — and if your chosen outsourcing partner works in a different time zone, then this business arrangement may actually result in quicker turnaround times.” However, Paradkar notes you should keep a few ad ops pros in-house so you don’t lose control. Read the full article at iMedia Connection.

Social Networks Dominate Display

As Facebook usurped the display crown from Yahoo, it’s not surprising comScore reports that  social networking publishers were responsible for 34% of all display impressions in December 2010, up 11% from the year before. Portals, on the other had, dropped by 4 percentage points year over year to take a 17% share of impressions. See the stats here.

Attribution Equation

Advertisers big and small yearn for better attribution systems to optimize their ad buys. Looking at the small side, Staten Island’s Carrol’s Florist spends $500 a month in online buys, and while the company feels like business is improving, there’s no hard proof. Time to install an attribution system, but how? Mark has three steps: “by improving our web analytics, by implementing dedicated and unique phone numbers and by providing unique discounts or special offers to customers.” Read the full plan here.

Investors Doubt AOL’s Ad Prowess

Apparently AOL ad sales people are excited about the high-profile new real estate they just acquired with The Huffington Post – they haven’t been this worked up since the Glengarry leads. But according to The Wall Street Journal, “Some investors are dubious that AOL has the advertising prowess to make money off the content it is distributing and Wall Street had some doubts about the deal and the price. AOL stock fell 75 cents, or 3.4%, to $21.19 in Monday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.” Not a great omen – read the full report here.

Unleashing Duomentis

From the people that brought you Jagtag comes Duomentis. Yes, Duomentis – it’s a firm dedicated to helping brands build new technology-enabled marketing properties, methods, services and products. As cofounders Dudley Allen Fitzpatrick and Jason Alan Snyder explain to ClickZ, “brands are better off investing in the development of their own digital products and platforms, placing themselves in direct contact with consumers as opposed to paying a third party for access to an audience.” Read more.

VisualDNA Taps McCartney as CTO

Poached! Steve McCartney, who was a critical part of building Specific Media’s Adviva ad-serving platform, has moved on to audience data wheeler and dealer VisualDNA. As the new CTO, McCartney has his hands full building out VisualDNA’s audience segmentation platform to enable mass scale – the company is planning to hook up with DSP AppNexus in the next few weeks. “It’s a big coup for us,” said VisualDNA founder and CEO Alex Willcock about McCartney’s hiring. Read the full article at New Media Age.

What’s Cookin’ in MDC’s Kitchen

What is that delicious smell coming out of MDC Partners? Why, it’s emanating from the Media Kitchen, MDC’s media services division. MDC thinks the 12 digital media companies baking in the oven will tantalize the taste buds of industry, specifically in the content, personalization, distribution and platforms categories. “We believe that the next big ideas, specifically in the technology landscape, are going to be won and lost in garages,” says Darren Herman, head of the Kitchen’s digital operations. One of the bets in the portfolio, however, is the Android mobile operating system – bit of a stretch to compare the Google complex to a garage. Read the full article at MediaPost.

Upgrading The Cookie Blocker

Do not track this! PrivacyChoice just released version 1.1 of its TrackerBlock plugin for Mozilla Firefox, which prevents 200 ad companies from dropping cookies on you and erases pesky Flash cookies. PrivacyChoice claims that in testing its browser plugin was “significantly more effective at blocking cookies than Abine, Ghostery or Adblock Plus.” Shield yourself from all that nasty tracking right here.

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