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June 2007, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to Reboot Yahoo

Yahoo has the largest audience, but somehow the company always plays second fiddle to Google as an innovator and revenue generator. Now that Terry Semel has been given the heave-ho in favor of "remember me" Jerry Yang, the company will make a renewed effort to become king of the hill.

Yahoo's network of sites has the most traffic according to comScore, and that will increase with the purchase of sports fan site

Google's profitability is much greater than Yahoo's because its ad network extends beyond its own properties. I received an email from SEMDirector with thoughts from CEO Russ Mann, on what Yahoo should do to improve its search/ad revenue.

- Truly integrate search and display at Yahoo. Companies need to be able to purchase both without having to deal with multiple groups.
- Recreate a culture of engineering innovation.
- Leverage Yahoo's great content and detailed user information and give advertisers micro-control of ad buys across the Yahoo network.
- Buy a 3rd party ad server with market share and make the serving costs free to publishers; use Right Media platform to sell remnant space across that network - all through the Panama interface.
- Buy Facebook.
- Strike a deal with Baidu to serve all ads since Yahoo has so many more advertisers. This will increase cpcs for Baidu.
- Extend Panama to mobile search ASAP.

I agree with most of these ideas, although I'm still not sure about Facebook. The company has been unrealistic in its demands for being acquired, so the price would have to go down to make it a wise investment for Yahoo.

Yahoo has a great brand (better than Google's in consumer perception), quality content, and a loyal audience, but they need to be able to translate these assets into revenue more effectively.

How to Reboot Yahoo By John Gartner at 10:00 AM
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Widgets Pave Way to Market Growth

One of the best mechanisms for growing your audience is to break your content into automatically updated and easily distributable components, aka widgets.

Widgets let you share headlines, multimedia content, blogs, photos to other websites with links back to your site. NewsGator has expanded its widget library that spreads formatted and branded content through RSS.

RSS readers enable consumers to bring content from around the web into one application, but they are still and underutilized technology. Widgets go one better by not requiring people to subscribe to a feed, and by delivering content to websites that people are reading. NewsGator currently works with Discovery Channel, USA Today and many other publishers who encourage websites to post selective portions of their content.

Widgets have great promise in affiliate marketing and advertising but so far have not implemented very often. Affiliates receive product information through data files or RSS feeds, but widgets have the advantage of formatting how the content (eliminating a task for affiliates) and of providing the most up to date information.

Widgets based on RSS could also reshape advertising. Instead of the same ad code being used everywhere, advertisers could customize the display for each publisher's audience. Instead of branded ads, smart widgets could update ads with pricing changes or rotate between an advertisers product catalogue.

Last week comScore established a service for tracking widget use so that companies can understand where and how their content is being used.

Widgets Pave Way to Market Growth By John Gartner at 09:59 AM
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Video Ad Network Tailors Pitch

Real Time Content, a spin-off from British Telecom, has developed an ad network that tracks the video watched by consumers and customizes the ads based on their preferences.

The company describes this as "adaptive media," delivering behavioral/targeted ads based on the fly. But it is not possible to completely understand video watching habits for all types of media while respecting privacy, so the data collection set is limited to those sites that are part of the ad network.

RTC uses the example of editing a movie trailer so that it will appeal to both action and romance fans. While many films can appeal to multiple tastes, isn't this a tad deceptive (sort of like using "content" in the name of an advertising company)? Movie trailers are crafted to appeal to a certain type of audience, and selectively editing them to seem like something they aren't will leave consumers dissatisfied.

Video search engines/ad networks need to take a page from TiVo and let consumers quickly vote a piece of content up or down, and combine that with demographic information. As I've said before, giving people access to premium content in exchange for answering a few questions would be a fair exchange.

For example, before watching a video, you could be asked to rank which type of product appeals to you most: Coors, Diet Coke, or Aquafina, and then customize the ads based on that information. Over time sufficient data could be collected to deliver the most relevant ads.

Video Ad Network Tailors Pitch By John Gartner at 10:10 AM
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Blinkx Matches Speech With Ads

Video search engine blinkx has developed technology that listens to the words spoken during a video for keywords and matches ads.

The company has beaten Google, IBM and others to the punch by combining the ability to scan text descriptions of a video and speech, according to Business 2.0's Erick Schonfeld.

Some advertisers will like the ability to target their ads that way, but most of this can be accomplished by effective tagging. If you tag your video accurately, I'm not so sure that hearing the words is so important. A five minute interview video can cover a lot of subjects, many that are not relevant to the focus of the interview.

This is a nice feature to offer advertisers, but the bottom line in selecting a video site is quality videos (which blinkx has) and traffic (which it is building).

Blinkx Matches Speech With Ads By John Gartner at 09:28 AM
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Joost Not Alone in Worrying About Veoh

Ever since the AlwaysOn Media conference earlier this year where Jason and I met Dmitry Shapiro of Veoh I've been extremely intrigued by the company. Even though Joost and the AppleTV are getting all of the publicity and attention, Veoh is silently kicking the tar out of everyone in the IPTv industry.

The AppleTV is a $300-$400 piece of equipment which is limited to iTunes, YouTube and private collections for its content and the one thing about Joost that I've questioned since trying the application is its content. The content is controlled by its publishers and the Joosters as AppleTV is controlled by iTunes. To me those are quite limiting. Enter Veoh.

Veoh having just annouced the release of VeohTV later this week, takes the Joost content problems and squashes them with a vengeance. With VeohTV the web is your DVR. Any video on the web can be played on your PC or even better your TV. As Dmitry showed us, nearly any PC can handle the VeohTV application and add a cheap IR remote and some video cables and you have an inexpensive gadget that puts the AppleTV to shame while at the same time embarrassing the content library of Joost.

The winner of the IPTv war will be the winner of the video content battle. With Veoh's ability to push video to the main video sites, publishers will turn to Veoh first giving Veoh a strong surge towards winning the video content battle.

Does anyone else think AppleTV is in the same Veoh-worrying boat as Joost? Or am I completely nuts?

More coverage of Veoh on techmeme.

Joost Not Alone in Worrying About Veoh By Matt O'Hern at 12:52 AM
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Microsoft Capitulates on Desktop Search

The window on Microsoft's monopoly of search within Vista is closing. Microsoft says it will comply with antitrust regulations and allow Google and other third party search tools to be included in addition to its desktop search tool.

Google and Microsoft are taking their
legal sumo wrestling
to every industry where they compete.

Microsoft challenging Google's acquisition of DoubleClick is the perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. Microsoft is the Zen master at leveraging another part of its business to enhance its chances in other segments.

Very few companies can afford to fight Google or Microsoft in court, so having these heavyweights go at each other will help the smaller competitors.

Microsoft Capitulates on Desktop Search By John Gartner at 09:17 AM
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Google Maps, Part Deux

Our man Evan nailed it with his observation that Google is ready to pick the ripe fruit that is local search. Adding reviews puts it head to head with CitySearch and the yellow page directories, and Google is likely to come out on top.

The local yellow pages industry hasn't done a great job so far in serving advertisers or consumers, so Google could easily dominate if the company does things right.

Why? Because if you search for a business category and a city state (such as pizza in Raleigh) in Google, then its Maps/Local results along with a map is the first result. However, Google hasn't fully optimized this service yet because for some cities (such as my West Linn), you also have to type in the state name or postal code (OR) for the Maps results to come up first.

In this way, Google will drive considerable traffic through its main search engine to its Maps/Local and take away traffic from local directory competitors. Local search is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it will grow much bigger with Google in the lead.

Google Maps, Part Deux By John Gartner at 09:15 AM
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Google Maps Puts Local Search Industry On Notice

Local search is something I've been thinking about for a while, more specifically the lack of dominance by a company in this space. That is until today.

Google Lat Long blog, just announced they added reviews to Google Maps and subsequently putting the rest of the the local space on notice. To me, the biggest barrier to entry in the local search space is attracting local users across the country to your product. Instead each region of the US has its own service that is a little more popular than their competition. For example Yelp! in San Francisco is pretty widely known and used but in Raleigh, NC (where I am) I would bet less than .01% of the people have heard of Yelp! instead I think Yellow Pages or Yellow Book are the sites of choice.

Enter in Google Maps. Google has been pretty quiet in the local search space but their sheer popularity and name recognition makes them a danger for any sector. With the addition of Google Maps, Mapquest, and Yahoo Maps were a probably a little worried, well, its time for the rest of the local search space to be a little worried.

Google's addition of reviews to businesses on their maps is a book out of but it has a deeper purpose. Think universal search. Google has the potential to make the local search space irrelevant. If a user is able to go to and search for a local pizza place, find maps, pictures, address information and now user reviews of places nearby what need is there for a Yellow Pages? People want convenience and this is what they will get.

To test my theory, I've entered a review for a pizza place in my hometown (Randy's Pizza) which I suspect I will see in the SERPs as Universal Search gets rolled out more widely.

Am I overestimating the impact of the new Google Reviews?

Google Maps Puts Local Search Industry On Notice By Matt O'Hern at 07:10 AM
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

iPhone: Great Product or Great Marketing?

I'm not an Apple fanboy. I don't know Steve Jobs. Hell, until today I didn't own anything Apple related (iPod), but Apple's iPhone marketing group has got me drooling. Maybe its the geek in me that has me clamoring for a nifty new gadget, but its been a long time since a new toy has gotten my attention like this.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. MarketingVOX points to this report that says 64% of mobile phone users are aware of the iPhone and apparently 19 million mobile phone users are interested in buying one. While those numbers look really good there is one problem. AT&T.

AT&T has a five-year exclusive on the device in the US, but 67 percent of those who were most inclined to purchase an iPhone are subscribers on other carrier networks. This raises some questions that maybe some of you have input on.

Why would Apple limit their market by signing an exclusive deal with AT&T?
Is it Apple's marketing or the product that has everyone drooling for an iPhone?
And finally, How long before we can find unlocked iPhones?

iPhone: Great Product or Great Marketing? By Matt O'Hern at 07:06 PM
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Joost to Give Advertisers Options

Peer-to-peer video company Joost, which hasn't fully launched on PCs yet, wants to get into TVs and mobile devices. It is a smart strategy to play all sides in the coming battle for advertising dollars. Since Joost wants to give away its software and programming, the service is clearly an advertising play.

Marketers want to interact with consumers, and today the PC platform offers a better experience and more flexibility. Using p2p technology should give Joost a technical edge over programmers who use video networks such as Brightcove in fighting for online ad dollars.

But the sofa set is where the biggest advertising money has been and will continue to be, so Joost plans to put its software on a chips for consumer electronics. Joost can offer advertisers the best of both worlds by reaching consumers in the office and on TV.

Joost is also preparing to grease the political wheels to get legislation that will open up channels for their TV invasion. The company has hired a bi-partisan lobbying firm to ward off the FCC or other regulatory groups that might want to limit the company's access.

Joost to Give Advertisers Options By John Gartner at 10:40 AM
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DVD Service Typifies Long Tail Behavior

A collaboration between Trans World Entertainment and Hewlett-Packard will make a thousands of obscure TV shows and films available for purchase on DVD. The companies are hoping to "out Amazon" the best of the online video stores by making nearly any title available for purchase, usually shipping the DVD the next day.

The FYE website offers an extensive list of movies and TV shows, but many of my searches got zero results. Where's the CPO Sharkey, the Hello Larry, the Remote Control? The website also generated several error messages too.

This is the another attempt to purse a niche market (now beaten to death as the "long tail"), which requires a large commitment if you are attempting to be broad and comprehensive. This is what Internet publishers, with the help of search engines, are so good at answering, but when it comes to physical goods like DVDs, the barrier to entry is much higher.

Search engines such as Google define the long tail, enabling you to find information on anything within incredible precision.

The mystery that has yet to be unlocked is how to turn specific queries into additional purchases. How does one keyword relate to other interests, and how do we shift search into browse to expose consumers to other items of interest? Amazon and NetFlix have developed algorithms for relating books and movies, but isn't this an opportunity for search engines as well? Shouldn't a search for "General Tsao's chicken" also provide an opportunity to browse Chinese recipes without repeating the search?

DVD Service Typifies Long Tail Behavior By John Gartner at 10:18 AM
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Free Stuff Drives Game Ads

Video game companies are generating extra revenue and satisfying consumers by partnering with sponsors to give away extra levels and in-game tools.

Nissan and Discovery Channel are among the companies who are creating extra "content" for console games in exchange for branding and consumers interacting with ads, according to Advertising Age.

This is an effective strategy that makes everyone happy. It's less intrusive than pop-up ads because it is opt-in, and consumers get something of tangible value in exchange for looking at relevant content.

I'm surprised that more publishers haven't adopted this strategy. Salon offers free "site passes" for watching an ad to see its premium content. This is a good idea for two reasons -- it gets people used to viewing ads on a site, and it broadens the audience reach.

For publishers whose revenue is ad-driven (aka most everyone), reach is the stat that advertisers want, and being able to tout lofty readership to all advertisers can surpass the value of subscription content. For example, ESPN should take the same tact with its "Insider" columns to differentiate its content from competitors Yahoo and Fox Sports. If you've got great columnists, share them with the world, don't hide them behind a subscription wall.

Free Stuff Drives Game Ads By John Gartner at 11:04 AM
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IPTV Should Be Loss Leader

Delivering TV services through an internet connection should be the biggest shift to hit TV since cable, but so far it's just a blip on the screen.

Telcos need IPTV to fend off the bundled options from cable TV providers such as Comcast. Marguerite Reardon at CNet details the state of IPTV today and reveals that so far the coverage is minimal and the services don't stand out.

IPTV should put cable/satellite to shame because of the marketing possibilities and integration of consumer services. If done right, the set-top would be the gatekeeper of all of your digital media content and shopping services.

The age of truly interactive TV is long overdue. Commercials should be targeted to the consumer, who can pause TV to see more about an offer, make a purchase, and then resume what they are doing. Product placement tie-ins are unlimited, and every channel has the potential to become a home shopping network. Programs would like to their websites for consumers to get behind the scenes content or immediately comment on the show to enhance their fans' ardor.

For consumers, being able to record up to four programs at a time and watch them on any TV or online at any time (like Slingbox) would be huge. Remote programming of DVRs is a helpful feature, as is being able to listen to your music collection anywhere at any time. Adding a browser to the set-top would give instant access to YouTube and the plethora of online video.

Telecommunication companies should bundle IPTV at cost to win over cable subscribers and introduce the entire world to the beauty of DVRs. I'm looking forward to true open competition that will prevent the cable companies from jacking up their prices on a whim.

IPTV Should Be Loss Leader By John Gartner at 10:13 AM
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« June 2007 Week 2 June 2007 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (7 entries) June 1-9
  • Week 2 (5 entries) June 10-16
  • Week 3 (13 entries) June 17-23
  • Week 4 (12 entries) June 24-30

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