Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hamlet Batista Webinar - Part II | Mediatrust Blog

Hamlet Batista Webinar - Part II | Mediatrust Blog

Today we bring you the second installment of our MediaTrust video webinar series. SEO legend, Hamlet Batista, bring us all the follow-up to his first presentation – this one is title “From Clicks to Profits.”

Make sure you leave any comments or questions for Hamlet in the comments of this post and he’ll be sure to reply.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The FASTForward Blog » The FASTforward Blog Guide to Twitter: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary

The FASTForward Blog » The FASTforward Blog Guide to Twitter: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary: "The FASTforward Blog Guide to Twitter

The FASTforward Blog Guide to Twitter

Over the last three years, the members of the Fast Forward Blog have been writing regularly on the developing 2.0 world. If you been tracking the blog since early on, or diligently follow all the links into the archives, or even search for an item of interest - you hopefully have founds lots of interesting ideas and insights that helped you track and understand the emergence of enterprise 2.0, social media, and more. And yet it can still be hard to get the full value of all the insights that have been discussed or pointed to from here without some overarching narrative thread.

Hence the idea for these guides to see if we can aggregate, edit and make more accessible the collective “wisdom” that has been published here over the years. Our hope: that one of us can approach a topic and do our best to extract the most value from it for you.

Where to begin? Many think that Twitter is a great place to start as it embodies nearly all the lessons that we have to learn to become adept in this new world. It is also very simple and easy to adopt with a great many immediate benefits.

So, with that, the first of our guides: The Fast Forward Blog Guide to Twitter.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How Much Ads Cost

APRIL 23, 2009

Online ads “all over the place” says one executive.

Data from Jefferies and Company puts a hard number on the cost of traditional ads in 2008.

The firm estimates that broadcast TV had the highest cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate of $10.25, with syndicated TV at $8.77. Magazines, cable TV, newspapers, radio and outdoor advertising round out the space.

As for spending in the online sector... it’s a little more complicated.

“It is all over the place,” said Rino Scanzoni of GroupM in a MediaPost article.

“It is very hard to say this is what the average is. The average is made up of some big, big swings, depending on what you are buying.”

A few companies have tried to measure those swings.

For display advertising, Credit Suisse estimated that in 2009 the average CPM will be $2.39, down from $2.46 in 2008.

Pricing for video ads also varied depending on where they were located on-screen. Online video consultancy LiveRail estimated that overlay ads ran CPMs of $7.40 and in-stream ads were priced at $16.40 in Q4 2008. AccuStream iMedia Research put the average 2008 figure as high as $35 for premium preroll online video ads.

As for paid search, JPMorgan projected that for every 1,000 searches, $75.33 would be generated from ads in 2009.

Getting a complete picture of CPMs for the online advertising space is difficult—especially when published rate card prices don’t always reflect reality. But averages and estimates reveal important trends and tendencies.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UPDATE:P&G Puts Added Focus On Digital Media As TV Soap Ends

(Updates with added information on the company's plans for digital media, changes focus)

By Anjali Cordeiro

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) will make a bigger push to develop more digital media properties and Web sites targeted at women following the cancellation of its soap opera Guiding Light, which the company used for decades to peddle soap and household necessities.

Guiding Light, the longest running show in broadcast history is due to be canceled on CBS. Procter & Gamble Productions, the company's unit that owns the soap opera, is weighing options to make the show available elsewhere or in another medium, spokeswoman Jeannie Tharrington said.

But a big focus for the unit - which looks to connect the company with its consumers - will now be to develop digital media and Web sites that interact with moms.

"We are just trying to keep up with the times," Tharrington said. She declined to say how many sites or media properties are planned, saying only "there is a pipeline." The sites won't all be targeted at women, but may touch on subjects ranging from health and wellness to the kitchen, while advertising P&G products. P&G will develop some of these Web sites in partnership with NBC Universal, she said. P&G Productions already has a partnership with NBC Universal for a Web site called petside.com, which discusses subjects like health and wellness for pets, while carrying ads for products like P&G's pet food brand Iams.

The P&G unit still has another day-time drama called As The World Turns, as well as the People's Choice Awards show.

P&G products are advertised on Guiding Light, and the soap opera genre got its name from the consumer product companies that helped develop these shows and hawked their brands on them. For years, consumer product makers resisted moving their advertising online, but that has been slowly changing as they find more of their consumers can be reached online.

Consumer companies believed soap operas were an excellent way to reach their target audience - women who did much of the shopping for the household. But as more women moved into the workforce, they began to miss these day-time shows. Many makers of household products and food are now using Web sites that can offer anything from health and wellness advice to recipes as one indirect way of advertising their brands to women.

P&G, the world's largest advertiser and seller of household staples like Tide detergent and Pampers diapers, has recently been attempting to make a greater push into this space. More recently it has had some of its employees swap ideas with those at Google Inc. (GOOG). According to TNS Media Intelligence, Procter & Gamble's overall advertising expenditures fell to $3.2 billion in 2008 from $3.45 billion in 2007.

Ratings for Guiding Light had been falling and Tharrington said the company was still weighing the financial viability of keeping the soap opera alive elsewhere. She did not discount some kind of a digital format for the show, but said the company was considering several options for the program, which will have its finale on CBS Sept. 18.

Guiding Light, which was created in 1937, was originally on radio before its moved to television and follows the lives of four families in a fictional town in the Midwest called Springfield.

-By Anjali Cordeiro, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2408; anjali.cordeiro@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-03-09 1525ET

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

URL for this article:

Top 50 Web Rankings: Affiliate Networks

Now is the time to join a reputable, high-paying affiliate network. The longer the recession looms, the more individuals and businesses will be turning to online sources of revenue. And that means more opportunities for merchants and affiliates alike. There are millions of affiliate marketers working online right now and millions more will be coming online soon.

link: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2009/04/07/top-50-web-rankings-affiliate-networks.aspx

Affiliate marketing features few if any start-up costs, low barriers to entry, and carries with it the potential for extraordinarily high payouts. Aspiring Web publishers might have the ease of contextual programs like Google’s AdSense, or the hundreds of possible alternatives, but most will ultimately turn to more customizable options.

But do not delay. The only thing you have to fear is...less revenue. This edition of Website Magazine features 50 of the top affiliate networks on the Internet. Readers are sure to be familiar with many of those listed (either using them currently or having done so in the past) or were exposed to them through the routine course of running a Web business. If the affiliate network you use is absent from this list, fear not; what is really important is the trustworthiness of the network (whether they pay, and pay on time) and the number and quality of merchants and their offers.

As an aside, Website Magazine intentionally left out two heavy hitters in the world of affiliate marketing; Google (and the Google Affiliate Network) and Amazon (Amazon Associates). There are few programs that match these offerings in industry momentum, mindshare and reach. These programs may rule, but it doesn’t mean they’re right for you. You might also notice the absence of contextual networks, PPC search engine ad networks and MLM programs. While there may be a place for those somewhere on a list of ways to generate website revenue, we’ve included only pure-play, first tier affiliate networks — those that cater to both merchants and publishers.

Research for this report comes courtesy of Ranking.com, the Web’s largest provider of website popularity metrics and detailed website information on more than one million Internet destinations. To suggest a Top50 category for consideration in upcoming issues of Website Magazine, please visit us online or e-mail Top50@websitemagazine.com.

1. ClickBooth.com
2. OurFreeStuff.net
3. Copeac.com
4. XY7.com
5. RevenueLoop.com
6. CJ.com

7. ClickBank.com
8. FriendFinder.com
9. ShareaSale.com

10. Zanox.com
11. Fluxads.com
12. LinkShare.com
13. Axill.com
14. TradeDoubler.com
15. AffiliateFuture.co.uk
16. HydraNetwork.com

17. AdsMarket.com
18. Advaliant.com
19. WebGains.com
20. InstantDollarz.com
21. MarketLeverage.com
22. PantheraNetwork.com
23. LevelClick.com
24. aZoogleAds.com
25. DirectLeads.com
26. MaxBounty.com

27. MotiveInteractive.com
28. ROIrocket.com
29. ShareResults.com
30. PlatinumPartner.com
31. Rextopia.com
32. IronOffers.com
33. ClickXChange.com
34. LeaderMarkets.com
35. MarketHealth.com
36. TriadMediaNetwork.com
37. OfferWeb.com
38. ClixGalore.com
39. Convert2Media.com
40. PepperJamNetwork.com

41. iLogins.com
42. PrimaryAds.com
43. CandadianSponsors.com
44. Affiliateer.com
45. AffiliateWindow.com
46. LogicalMedia.com
47. AffiliateFuel.com
48. MoreNiche.com
49. Affiliatebot.com
50. LinkConnector.com

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dire Predictions: Global Ad Spending to Plummet

APRIL 20, 2009

Down, down, down...

Who cares if global ad spending is down?

Almost everyone should, because ad spending is a barometer of economic confidence. And while many political leaders in the US and worldwide point to “signs of recovery,” three major buyers of advertising around the world are giving the situation thumbs down.

Last month, GroupM, a division of WPP, predicted a 4.4% decline in global ad spending for 2009.

That forecast was topped (or bottomed, if you will) by one from Carat Insight, owned by Aegis, which put the worldwide ad spending decline for 2009 at 5.8%.

Now ZenithOptimedia, the media-buying unit of Publicis, the world’s fourth-largest advertising group, has weighed in with the heaviest hit yet.

Last December, ZenithOptimedia had expected merely a 0.2% decline for 2009, but the firm’s revisited figures now predict nearly a 7% decline in worldwide ad spending this year.

In fact, ZenithOptimedia now sees ad spending dropping 11% for magazines, 10% for radio, 5.5% for television, and on and on through the worldwide media spectrum.

“A lot of markets we were expecting to show at least modest growth this year are clearly going to be down substantially,” Jonathan Barnard of ZenithOptimedia told the Financial Times.

Amid the nearly unrelenting gloom, however, one figure shines out.

Internet advertising around the world continues to grow, projected to be up 8.6% this year—to reach 12.1% of overall global ad spending.

At least there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Facebook Refers 19% of Google's Uniques

RBC Capital Markets points out that 19% of Google's unique visitors are referred by Facebook, up from just 9% a year ago. Given current rates of growth, they also suggest that Facebook will overtake Google in terms of number of unique visitors by 2011-2012.

These two fairly amazing data points permit a couple of interesting conclusions:

A much higher proportion of referrals from Facebook go to Google rather than to Yahoo or Microsoft (who actually have a paid agreement with Facebook) which means that Facebook's growth is pushing Google's share of search higher than it would be otherwise.
If Facebook are seeking monetization, then a referral deal with Google seems like a good place to begin.
RBC concludes:

Facebook is actually positive and complementary for Google thus far, but that could change if Facebook's rapid growth trajectory continues on its current path, or if/when social media can find a business model and attract ad dollars from other online media.

At the very least, we think Facebook as the "starting point" for more and more users on the Internet could create some multiple compression for Google over time, if the momentum continues.

Using my secret-agent financial analyst decoder ring, I can tell you that "multiple compression for Google" in this context should be taken to read, "Google is paying MySpace $1 billion per year for perhaps 3% of Google's traffic. On that basis Facebook should be hitting Google up for $6 billion a year, no?"

Death, Taxes and Advertising

APRIL 15, 2009

TV, radio biggest winners

Taxes are a big business and not just for Uncle Sam.

According to Nielsen, $220 million was spent by tax services companies on advertising in 2008, up 11% from 2007.

Nearly $171 million, or 78% of the total tax prep advertising budget, was spent by H&R Block, American Tax Relief, Jackson Hewitt, JKH Holding and TaxMasters (TMIRS Enterprises).

Most of the budget was spent in Q1 and Q4 (the period preceding Tax Day) in traditional media such as TV and radio.

Nielsen estimates that $76.9 million, or 35% of total spending, went toward cable TV. A further $40.5 million was spent on spot TV and $35.7 million on network TV. Network and spot radio combined received $34.4 million, or 16% of total tax services advertising.

Only 3% of total tax services ad spending, or $6.4 million, was online, which seems strange in light of the fact that more and more filing is being done via the IRS’s e-file.

Looking ahead, whispers abound that higher taxes are coming from a new presidential administration. True or not, total ad spending by tax services firms may increase in coming years.

With that in mind, perhaps Benjamin Franklin’s adage will have to be amended: “...in this world nothing is said to be certain, except death and taxes”—and advertising.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Small Businesses Seek Solutions Online

APRIL 13, 2009

Having to do more with less, many small shops go digital.

Small businesses face stiff challenges in 2009.

According to a poll of US marketers by Bredin Business Information, the primary challenges in marketing to small businesses are funding new projects, growing the business with limited resources and increasing awareness.

In addition, marketers say the outlook for small-business marketing has changed in 2009. They are increasing their online activities, becoming more focused and conducting segmentation research to better target their customers.

It is no surprise that the local online marketing space is where many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are moving their efforts—and their dollars.

Borrell Associates estimated SMBs spent $7.4 billion on local online marketing in 2008.

That figure accounted for 11% of all SMB marketing spending, and more than one-half of total US local digital spending, including Website development.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Online Advertising Pushes Through

APRIL 8, 2009

The recession slows, but does not stop, online ad growth.

As strange as it may sound, the economic downturn may speed up the transition to digital advertising for many marketers.

The Internet’s share of total media ad spending is rising by at least 1 percentage point every year. Simply put: Marketers are spending more on Internet ads, while spending less on advertising in other media, such as newspapers, radio and magazines.

Furthermore, eMarketer projects that the online share of ad dollars will continue to grow, rising from nearly 10% this year to slightly more than 15% in 2013.

“The spending shifts predate the recession,” says David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, US Advertising Spending: The New Reality. “But the current economy is reinforcing the new advertising models—and making them more permanent.”

Does this make sense in light of the fact that the rate of growth for even Internet ad spending is slowing? Mr. Hallerman thinks it does.

“Digital marketing offers compelling benefits, especially for cash-conscious companies,” he says. “Marketers can more readily measure the results of Internet advertising than with most traditional media. This produces more-efficient advertising and higher ROI, which in turn pushes traditional media to compete with lower pricing.”

Which puts more pressure on traditional media’s bottom line.

“At the same time, successful Internet advertising creates a new paradigm for marketing on other media,” adds Mr. Hallerman. “Search is the prime example of the new model.”

When marketers link ads to an individual’s stated interest at the precise moment that interest is expressed—as happens with a search query—relevance breaks down the usual resistance.

“Advertising that consumers welcome is the new reality,” says Mr. Hallerman, “combining effectiveness with efficiency for marketers.”

And in the not-so-long run, that’s where the money will go.

Coupons.com Sees 192% Increase Over Last Year

Consumers Print Out $57 Million Worth in March; Cereal, Baby Products Top List

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- One area where consumers aren't cutting back: coupon usage. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. The total value of the coupons was $57 million.

Coupons.com had 6.6 million unique visitors this February, up 29% from 5 million the year before.
Coupons.com had 6.6 million unique visitors this February, up 29% from 5 million the year before.

"Consumers printed a record amount of savings in March, almost tripling the amount printed last year," Coupons CEO Steven R. Boal said in a statement. "Consumers are using digital coupons to save on virtually everything they spend money on, from food to household essentials to entertainment items. We see no slowdown in sight."

Coupons have been the second-most-visited category on the internet -- behind jobs -- for about a year, said ComScore spokesman Andrew Lippsman. Coupon sites had 28 million unique visitors in February, up 41% from the year before, when they drew 20 million. Coupons.com had the biggest share of the category, with 6.6 million unique visitors, up 29% from 5 million the year before. Eversave.com came in second, with 5.5 million unique visitors in February.

In general, consumers seem to veer toward necessities at Coupons.com. Ready-to-eat cereal was the most popular category for coupon usage, followed by baby products and baking ingredients. Diet aids and yogurt rounded out the top five. Laundry supplies and personal care entered the top 10 in March, while salty and portable snacks fell off the list, after ranking in the top five in February.

Online coupon usage has grown dramatically in the past year and in direct opposition to the faltering economy. Mr. Boal said his business has been growing about 25% every month since the recession began. It's helped that major marketers have pulled spending from newspapers as local papers continue to fold. The company's clients include Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Clorox, Kroger, Safeway, CVS and Kmart.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Pricing Revolution Looms in Online Advertising

Demographic profiling and behavioral targeting by such companies as Google, Quantcast, and ValueClick is slashing ad costs and threatening Web publishers


Look just to the right of this article. There, on your computer screen, lies a little, two-dimensional secret that will soon threaten major online publishers and their precious advertising revenue.

It's called the banner ad, and its cost may plummet.

For a decade, Web site publishers have relied on an old advertising model: Publishers provided advertisers access to readers, and the more desirable those readers, the more an online publisher could charge. WSJ.com, for example, charges advertisers as much as $64.60 to show a banner ad to 1,000 viewers. (In advertising language, this is called CPM, or cost per thousand impressions.) In the past these fees made sense because The Wall Street Journal's readers are highly affluent, a perfect target for many upscale brands. The better the audience, the more advertisers are willing to pay for ad space.

But what if marketers could find new ways to reach the same audience—with ads on sites that won't charge nearly as much? What if those other ads cost as much as 95% less?

Profiling and Targeting Site Visitors

Online publishers face a big revenue squeeze as companies become more sophisticated in their ability to determine who is visiting what Web sites and when—just as marketers look to squeeze more from dwindling ad budgets.

The old online ad model is getting turned on its ear by such firms as ComScore (SCOR) and Quantcast. These and other upstarts specialize in such methods as so-called demographic profiling, which pinpoints the types of people visiting each Web site, and behavioral targeting, which helps advertisers reach a desired audience based on a person's past Web-surfing behavior.

Marketers can use these tools to reduce online ad costs dramatically. Say your company sells "Bidgets," a luxury product. Ordinarily you'd run banner ads on FancyOldSite.com, which reaches your target audience of men and women who earn more than $150,000 a year. The ads are expensive—say $60 per thousand impressions—but they reach your ideal audience.

You might instead embed a snippet of code in the banners that run on FancyOldSite.com. This places so-called cookies on the computers of everyone who sees the ad so you can track them when they visit other Web sites. That's where retargeting kicks in. Every time a former FancyOldSite.com reader who saw your ad visits other Web sites, your Bidget banner ads pop up again. The banner ads reappear because the cookie on that computer flags a retargeting "network" of thousands of sites, saying "This desirable reader is back." These new ads are cheap—$3 CPM—but they reach exactly the same audience.

Here Comes Google, via DoubleClick

Congratulations! You just used behavioral targeting to reduce your ad costs from $60 to $3 CPM, a 95% savings. (And yes, those cost quotes are based on real client experience.) Online targeting of individuals has been around for more than a decade, notes John Ardis, vice-president for corporate strategy at ValueClick (VCLK), another firm that specializes in online advertising. But interest has surged during the recession. "Obviously today's economy has advertisers looking to do more and more efficient things," he says. Not only are costs lower; results are often better. ValueClick, which provides retargeting, says click-through rates on such ads are 110% to 840% higher than average because they reach an audience more likely to be interested in a product or service.

Google (GOOG) is using its $3.2 billion acquisition of DoubleClick to get into the behavioral targeting game, using the data it monitors from millions of Web users to place more relevant ads. The size of the prize is significant; today Google has less than a 2% share of the $8 billion U.S. market for online display advertising, compared with its 63% share of the U.S. search market.

Quantcast is breaking some of the most interesting new ground in consumer targeting. Several services such as ComScore estimate Web audience demographics by using panels, or small, representative groups of people who agree to have their behavior tracked. Quantcast, however, makes 6 billion direct observations a day from cookies on computers that track the media habits of more than 900 million people worldwide. Quantcast then uses mathematical models to track the paths of consumers through millions of Web sites to determine, for instance, if you are a man age 35 to 44 with more than $100,000 in household income. The data is not individually identifiable—neither your name nor your address are collected—but the sheer size of the data set lets advertisers know exactly what type of people visit each Web site. This approach is relatively new. Quantcast launched its directly measured data service in 2006 and has been rapidly expanding it to new publishers.

And that's the rub. If you, an advertiser, know every Web site visited by your most desirable audience, you can find many ways to reach them other than through such marquee Web sites as WSJ.com (NWS), BusinessWeek.com (MHP), or that of The New York Times (NYT)—especially if the cost is lower. "Why would I pay $60 if I can pay $4?" asks Ardis of ValueClick. "There is really going to be a backlash. Newspapers felt it. Magazines felt it. There is a reckoning coming in online channels, too."

Publishers Can Use Data to Fight Back

But online publications don't have to go the way of newspapers—if they, too, learn to use the new customer data. "It will give them new and more innovative ways to sell the audience," says Quantcast Chief Marketing Officer Adam Gerber. Consider a site whose visitors are 80% male. In the past, that site may have attracted only advertisers who wish to reach men, leaving some inventory unsold. But with better data about readers, the site can now sell to a new set of advertisers the 20% of its space that attracts women.

Christine Peterson, president of 212, New York's Interactive Advertising Club, agrees that publishers can defend themselves. For example, they could charge an advertiser a premium if they can predict that readers are in the market for that advertiser's services. "Just because I looked at a financial page doesn't mean I'm ready to hear from Charles Schwab (SCHW)," she says. "But if I've been back and forth to multiple financial pages in recent days, could they charge Charles Schwab more? Yes."

The new, behavioral-targeted data could spur demand for online advertising. "We had a marketer who was launching a low-carb bread when Atkins and the South Beach diets were all the rage," Ardis notes. "They were targeting women—but it turned out a huge portion of those who signed up were men in their 40s who were starting to develop a little paunch." The advertiser started to spend more on advertising to reach the newly discovered male audience, he says.

So hope remains for online publishers: Find unsold segments of your readers and sell them to advertisers that previously couldn't access them. Use data on past reader "click streams" from other Web sites to help advertisers reach the consumers who are most interested in their products.

Publishers, your audience data is waiting. Advertisers want it. But you'd better hurry, because the price of your old online business model is falling fast.

What CMOs Are Saying: Part III

APRIL 6, 2009

Marketing dollars get tight, but don’t disappear.

A number of reports, and many media articles, say the sky is falling on marketers—and ad dollars are evaporating.

The annual “Marketing Outlook” study, from the CMO Council, doesn’t agree.

Following What Are CMOs Thinking? and More About What CMOs Are Thinking, this, a third survey of CMOs, found that, despite the economy, marketers see budgets holding up fairly well and tightly controlled dollars going to growing and retaining market share.

But isn’t that where marketing dollars always go?

Yes, but as the report states: “Marketing, we are happy to report, is not running scared from the economy by slashing budgets and headcount. Instead, marketing is getting back to our key function: driving business and opportunity to sales and owning the customer experience.”

The pressure is on, however, for marketers to contribute to the bottom line. Management is demanding that marketers grow market share and improve operational efficiencies. Read: more accountability.

That is probably why Website development and digital marketing topped the list of agency changes for 2009.

“Digital marketing has moved well beyond search as social media and experiential marketing continue to grow and evolve,” said Dave Couture of Deloitte Consulting LLP, one of the sponsors of the report. “Savvy marketers are applying collaboration marketing methods as a central component of their efforts to maximize customer lifetime value in the digital economy.”

One-half of the global marketers surveyed claimed they were either holding firm on budgets or anticipating increases. Nearly one-third planned small budget increases, and 8% expected increases of more than 10%.

On the other hand, nearly one-half said they would decrease spending, with 19% expecting cuts of more than 15%.

In fact, when asked pointedly how economic conditions were influencing their budgets, 34% of the marketers said they were sharpening focus and reducing spending.

As noted above, however, not everyone shares the relatively rosy outlook of the marketers surveyed by the CMO Council.

In an article in Brandweek, Marc Babej of the marketing consultancy Reason inc. said, “Marketing budgets in many, if not most categories, are subject to cuts and in many cases they are deep cuts. That’s just the reality. Marketing positions are being cut too, absolutely.”

He believes that many marketers are simply “putting on a brave face.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Big Money: Anatomy of a Web Advertising Scam (Trip Foster/Advaliant Quoted)


The Anatomy of a Web Advertising Scam

[1] http://wilmens.net/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/screenshot.png
[2] http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/372/RipOff0372878.htm
[3] http://wafflesatnoon.com/2009/02/16/the-newest-phony-blog-stretch-marks/
[4] http://maryswhiteteeth.com/?t202id=987&t202kw=white teeth
[5] http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/0s-1s-and-s/2009/02/25/get-your-not-so-free-grant-money
[6] http://google-cash-system.com/gms.php?t202id=8259&t202kw=google money&gclid=CJnc-a2I05kCFRMhnAodegzFug
[7] https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=adwords&hl=en-US&ltmpl=adwords&passive=true&ifr=false&alwf=true&continue=https://adwords.google.com/select/gaiaauth?apt=None&ugl=true
[8] https://adcenter.microsoft.com/
[9] http://publisher.yahoo.com/
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Açaí_Palm
[11] http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=7132495
[12] http://www.advaliant.com/
[13] http://jackysdietblog.com/
[14] http://www.monicasdietblog.com/
[15] http://elliesweightloss.com/
[16] http://www.istockphoto.com/file_search.php?action=Browse&Cache=8ae59014f78474ba7b757faa9b370727&page=1
[17] http://www.nickycakes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/free_acai.zip
[18] http://www.acaireviewed.org/
[19] http://wafflesatnoon.com/2009/03/01/what-is-facebook-thinking/#more-535
[20] http://prosper202.com/apps/
[21] http://www.nickycakes.com/
[22] http://www.nickycakes.com/newbie-guide/
[23] http://wafflesatnoon.com/
[24] http://wafflesatnoon.com/2009/01/20/the-fake-diet-girls/
[25] mailto:chadwick.matlin tbm@gmail.com

Easter Sales Dropping, Not Hopping

APRIL 3, 2009

Finding sales tougher for retailers this holiday.

Easter baskets may still be colorful, but they won’t be as full this year. The economy is forcing even the Easter Bunny to cut back on traditional holiday candy, gifts and new spring outfits.

According to the “2009 Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey” from the National Retail Federation (NRF), conducted by BIGresearch, US consumers will spend an average of $116.59 on Easter candy, gifts, food and decorations. That is down from $135.03 in 2008.

NRF estimates that total US spending on the holiday will be $12.73 billion.

The largest expense this year will be Easter dinner, with the average person spending $37.67 on food, a figure that is down from $41.09 last year.

Spending is off across the board. Gift spending will drop from $21.42 in 2008 to $17.30 this year, flowers will droop from $9.11 to $7.55 and candy will crumble from $18.12 to $16.55.

Spending on spring attire is also down—despite the fact that Easter falls three weeks later than it did in 2008. On average, consumers in the survey said they would spend only $19.44 on clothing, down from $23.82 last year.

As befitting the season, though, hope springs eternal.

“Retailers are hopeful that a late Easter will bring warmer weather and put shoppers in the mood to buy clothing, flowers and other holiday gifts,” said NRF CEO Tracy Mullin.

Not surprisingly, the survey found the majority of people (64%) will shop at discount stores this year, and that is up from the 59% who discount-shopped last year.

Approximately one-third of shoppers will go to department stores for Easter merchandise and nearly one in four will visit a specialty store.

Only 11% of Easter shoppers expect to buy online.

The NRF figures are backed up by an industry survey from IBISWorld, which showed Easter holiday expenditures declining 8%.

The firm estimates that total sales from Easter clothing, candy, flowers, decorations, food and greeting cards will fall from $14.8 billion in 2008 to $13.6 in 2009.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

eMarketer’s Online Ad Spending Forecast

APRIL 1, 2009

Recession-proof no more.

On Monday the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released its online advertising spending numbers for 2008.

For an advertising channel that many pundits had claimed—unlike its traditional counterparts, such as newspapers, magazines and television—was immune to the effects of the economic slowdown, the figures were not good news.

After years of soaring growth, online advertisers have started pumping the brakes.

The IAB report, based on a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), showed that online advertising growth was cut in half last year. US online advertising revenues grew only 11% in 2008 to $23.4 billion—the slowest rate of growth since 2002.

Moreover, the road ahead will be even slower.

According to eMarketer’s revised projections, released today, the rate of US online ad spending growth will halve again in 2009, falling to 4.5%.

As a result, eMarketer projects that in 2009 online ad spending will reach only $24.5 billion.

Previously, eMarketer had predicted an increase of 8.9% for 2009, with online ad spending reaching $25.7 billion.

David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst, does not look at the figures and see a glass half empty, however.

“Particularly in this economy, it has to be considered good times when US online ad spending reaches record highs,” says Mr. Hallerman, “as it did in Q4 2008 at $6.1 billion and as it will in 2009, at $24.5 billion.”

“Now that we've entered into the depths of the current recession, the Internet is emerging as one of the only bright spots in an otherwise decimated media landscape,” adds Geoff Ramsey, eMarketer CEO.

“It is true that the growth rate for interactive has slowed over the past 12 months, but marketers are continuing to migrate a greater percentage of their precious ad dollars toward the digital channel.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Are agencies ready for digital consumers? - iMedia Connection

All About Facebook

MARCH 24, 2009

Don’t place ads—build brands.

More and more every day, the social networking giant Facebook is becoming a large part of the overall Internet experience. Company estimates state that over 175 million people have joined since its founding in 2005, and the users themselves contribute millions of pieces of content daily.

The February 2009 Facebook numbers are striking.

Each day during the month, Facebook users averaged over 3 billion minutes on the site. They updated their status 15 million times and became “fans” of a particular company, brand, product or person 3.5 million times daily.

In addition, Compete found that that US residents spent more time on Facebook than any other Website, beating out previous leader Yahoo!. However, Nielsen Online still ranks the site third behind AOL and Yahoo!.

But Facebook’s rapid user growth has not translated into advertising revenues.

The habits of social network users are one obstacle. In 2008, IDC found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads, a dramatic difference from the 80% of other Internet users who did so at least once a year. Further, 23% of nonusers who clicked on an ad then made a purchase; only 11% of social network users who clicked on ads did the same.

If not through advertising, how can marketers leverage Facebook for their campaigns?

When marketing professionals were surveyed by TNS Media Intelligence on what objectives had the most social media potential, most said brand-building initiatives such as gaining consumer insights, building brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty.

None said increasing intent to purchase.

“If you’re going to build a community, don’t center it around your product, but rather on something deeply relevant to a particular consumer group,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. He also suggested keeping fans of your brand pages happy by giving them a lot of content and letting them share the love with others.

All About Facebook

MARCH 24, 2009

Don’t place ads—build brands.

More and more every day, the social networking giant Facebook is becoming a large part of the overall Internet experience. Company estimates state that over 175 million people have joined since its founding in 2005, and the users themselves contribute millions of pieces of content daily.

The February 2009 Facebook numbers are striking.

Each day during the month, Facebook users averaged over 3 billion minutes on the site. They updated their status 15 million times and became “fans” of a particular company, brand, product or person 3.5 million times daily.

In addition, Compete found that that US residents spent more time on Facebook than any other Website, beating out previous leader Yahoo!. However, Nielsen Online still ranks the site third behind AOL and Yahoo!.

But Facebook’s rapid user growth has not translated into advertising revenues.

The habits of social network users are one obstacle. In 2008, IDC found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads, a dramatic difference from the 80% of other Internet users who did so at least once a year. Further, 23% of nonusers who clicked on an ad then made a purchase; only 11% of social network users who clicked on ads did the same.

If not through advertising, how can marketers leverage Facebook for their campaigns?

When marketing professionals were surveyed by TNS Media Intelligence on what objectives had the most social media potential, most said brand-building initiatives such as gaining consumer insights, building brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty.

None said increasing intent to purchase.

“If you’re going to build a community, don’t center it around your product, but rather on something deeply relevant to a particular consumer group,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. He also suggested keeping fans of your brand pages happy by giving them a lot of content and letting them share the love with others.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet

by Eric Clemons on March 22, 2009

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Eric Clemons, Professor of Operations and Information Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In it, he argues that the Internet shatters all forms of advertising. “The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed,” he writes. The views he expresses are his own, and we present them here to foster debate. (Obviously, we hope there is a place for advertising on the Internet since it pays our bills).

    1. There Must Be Something Other Than Advertising:

The expected drop in internet advertising revenues this year was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted, nor was it caused solely by the general recession and the decline in retail sales. Internet advertising will rapidly lose its value and its impact, for reasons that can easily be understood. Traditional advertising simply cannot be carried over to the internet, replacing full-page ads on the back of The New York Times or 30-second spots on the Super Bowl broadcast with pop-ups, banners, click-throughs on side bars. This might be a subject where considerable disagreement is possible, if indeed, pushed ads were still working in traditional media. Mostly they have failed. One newspaper after another is going out of business across the United States, and the ad revenues of traditional print media, even of highly respected magazines, is declining. The ultimate failure of broadcast media advertising is likewise becoming clear.

Pushing a message at a potential customer when it has not been requested and when the consumer is in the midst of something else on the net, will fail as a major revenue source for most internet sites. This is particularly true when the consumer knows that the sponsor of the ad has paid to have this information, which was verified by no one, thrust at him. The net will find monetization models and these will be different from the advertising models used by mass media, just as the models used by mass media were different from the monetization models of theater and sporting events before them. Indeed, there has to be some way to create websites that do other than provide free access to content, some of it proprietary, some of it licensed, and some of it stolen, and funded by advertising.

The idea that content has a price and net applications should find ways to earn a profit without providing free access to other people’s content gets explosive reactions; when virtual reality pioneer and tech guru Jaron Lanier suggested in a New York Times Op Ed that authors deserved to be paid for their content he actually received death threats. But other models are possible and several suggestions for alternative forms of monetization are offered below.

    2. Advertising will fail:

The internet is the most liberating of all mass media developed to date. It is participatory, like swapping stories around a campfire or attending a renaissance fair. It is not meant solely to push content, in one direction, to a captive audience, the way movies or traditional network television did. It provides the greatest array of entertainment and information, on any subject, with any degree of formality, on demand. And it is the best and the most trusted source of commercial product information on cost, selection, availability, and suitability, using community content, professional reviews and peer reviews.

My basic premise is that the internet is not replacing advertising but shattering it, and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, and all the creative talent of Madison Avenue cannot put it together again. To analyze this statement we need a working definition of advertising, and I proposed the following, which is as general as I could make it:

Advertising is using sponsored commercial messages to build a brand and paying to locate these messages where they will be observed by potential customers performing other activities; these messages describe a product or service, its price or fundamental attributes, where it can be found, its explicit advantages, or the implicit benefits from its use.

It is frequently argued that the advertising industry will provide sufficient innovation to replace the loss of traditional ads on traditional mass media. Again, my basic premise rejects this, suggesting that simple commercial messages, pushed through whatever medium, in order to reach a potential customer who is in the middle of doing something else, will fail. It’s not that we no longer need information to initiate or to complete a transaction; rather, we will no longer need advertising to obtain that information. We will see the information we want, when we want it, from sources that we trust more than paid advertising. We will find out what we need to know, when we want to make a commercial transaction of any kind. The conventional wisdom is that this is exactly what paid search helps us to do, but all too often they are nothing more than a form of misdirection, as I explain further below. Instead, we will use information that we trust, obtained at the time that we want to see it.

Better targeting of ads using individual interests and individual behaviors will ensure that we do not bore or annoy as many people with each ad, but cannot address the trust issue. As for paid search, it is closer to other mechanisms that allow a website to sell access to potential customers. It works effectively as a revenue source for Google, of course. But it surely is not replicable for the average content website.

    3. Advertising will fail for three reasons:

There are three problems with advertising in any form, whether broadcast or online:

  • Consumers do not trust advertising. Dan Ariely has demonstrated that messages attributed to a commercial source have much lower credibility and much lower impact on the perception of product quality than the same message attributed to a rating service. Forrester Research has completed studies that show that advertising and company sponsored blogs are the least-trusted source of information on products and services, while recommendations from friends and online reviews from customers are the highest.
  • Consumers do not want to view advertising. Think of watching network TV news and remember that the commercials on all the major networks are as closely synchronized as possible. Why? If network executives believed we all wanted to see the ads they would be staggered, so that users could channel surf to view the ads; ads are synchronized so that users cannot channel surf to avoid the ads.
  • And mostly consumers do not need advertising. My own research suggests that consumers behave as if they get much of their information about product offerings from the internet, through independent professional rating sites like dpreview.com or community content rating services like Ratebeer.com or TripAdvisor

Yes, both network executives and their ad agencies have noted that we are not watching traditional ads, and they attribute this to the fact that we have moved beyond newspapers, televised network news, and broadcast movies, to video games, iPods, and the internet. Porting ads to a new medium will not solve the three problems noted above. The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed.

    4. Alternative models for monetization are available:

Again, my research suggests that there are three general categories for creating value that can be monetized, including selling real things, selling virtual things, and selling access. Some websites exist solely to sell real things. Many of the best-known perform aggregation of demand, so that there will be enough customers to justify stocking and selling items for which there is only limited demand. Amazon is merely the best-known example. Sites like Amazon and Zappos are especially good for long tail items … where else do you go for a copy of the Green Sea of Heaven, Elizabeth T. Gray’s magnificent translation of the Ghazals of Hafiz, or for a pair of size 20 basketball shoes? Selling real things online has been studied since the advent of interest in eCommerce and will not be discussed further here. Other websites sell virtual things. These activities fall into three categories:

  • Selling content and information, from digital music to news and information. Some of these sites are funded by subscriptions, like Gartner Research; some are by direct micropayments for purchases, like iTunes; and some currently attempt to fund themselves through advertising, like Business Week or The New York Times, while still searching for a more effective business model.
  • Selling experience and participation in a virtual community, including Second Life and World of Warcraft, Facebook and MySpace, Flickr and YouTube, or LinkedIn. Not all of these have found a way to charge for participation.
  • Selling accessories for virtual communities, like completed homes and stores, furnishings, clothing, and pets in Second Life or characters and accessories that would be difficult to earn in World of Warcraft, although this behavior is generally despised by serious World of Warcraft players.

Finally, some websites create and sell access to customers. Again, this can be divided into multiple categories.

  • Misdirection, or sending customers to web locations other than the ones for which they are searching. This is Google’s business model. Monetization of misdirection frequently takes the form of charging companies for keywords and threatening to divert their customers to a competitor if they fail to pay adequately for keywords that the customer is likely to use in searches for the companies’ products; that is, misdirection works best when it is threatened rather than actually imposed, and when companies actually do pay the fees demanded for their keywords. Misdirection most frequently takes the form of diverting customers to companies that they do not wish to find, simply because the customer’s preferred company underbid. Misdirection also includes misinformation, such as telling a customer that a hotel is sold out when, indeed it is still available, if the hotel has chosen not to pay a promotional fee, and then allowing the guest to choose an alternative property. Misdirection is, regrettably, still a popular business model on the net, although for reasons I explored in an earlier TechCrunch post on Google it seems ultimately to be unsustainable. More significantly from the perspective of this post, it is not scalable; it is not possible for every website to earn its revenue from sponsored search and ultimately at least some of them will need to find an alternative revenue model.
  • Evaluation, assessment, and validation. The opposite of sending a customer someplace other than where he wants is providing the customer enough information for him to make an informed choice on his own. Recommendations on TripAdvisor.com allow potential guests to evaluate and validate recommendations provided by Hotels.com; not surprisingly, Hotels.com originally owned TripAdvisor, and benefited greatly from it. Since Hotels.com did not attempt to influence or censor TripAdvisor content the website was (and is) trusted and helped put recommendations from Hotels.com at a level of trust comparable to those from an experienced travel agent. There are at present only a few other examples of website symbiosis like this, where community content on one site adds considerable value for another; consider also the relationship between the Beeryard’s list of new beers and Ratebeer.com, where clicking on the name of a newly arrived beer at the Beeryard will allow you to examine reviews on Ratebeer.com.
  • Social search. Social search is a way of tailoring search based on the user’s network of friends. Rather than searching for any hotel in Chicago, or for any hotel that paid for the keywords “hotel” and “Chicago” I would like to be able to ask for the hotel where my friends stay when they are in Chicago. This invades no one’s privacy, avoids the annoyance of pushing ads at me when I am not searching for something to buy, and provides more relevant results than paid search usually can deliver. There are many problems with this, including the fact that my friends may not be on Facebook or other networks yet and those that are may not post their hotel or automobile or restaurant preferences. Most seriously, while it is clear how Microsoft might benefit from this, using its Facebook connection to undercut Google sponsored search, it is not clear how Microsoft or any other firm could monetize this directly.
  • Contextual mobile ads. At present contextual mobile ads delivered by SMS appear to offer much promise. Imagine a hypothetical all-knowing information-based firm that (i) knows your location because you have registered to have the information from your in-phone GPS shared with your friends and (ii) knows that you like Thai restaurants because it monitors the content of your email and your online restaurant searches and (iii) knows that you are hungry because you just said so in a text message or Twitter post you sent from your phone. What a great time for them to text you an advertisement for a nearby Thai restaurant, sent directly to your phone. But why would you trust this? I remember when Hotels.com used to refer me to the same hotel, albeit at different prices, when I asked for a two-star or three-star hotel close to my office; I was never sure which was more amusing, the 80% price increase for the same hotel when I was willing to splurge on a three-star for my visitor, or the fact that there were comparable hotels 20 blocks closer to my office. I suspect that my hypothetical all-knowing firm will similarly be providing sponsored content; perhaps I will take a couple of additional seconds in order to find the restaurant I really want. This probably does not work as a form of advertising.

Of course no one knows yet, but if I had to guess, based on my meatspace experience, I would offer the following guesses for successfully monetizing the net in the future:

  • Selling Virtual Things: People will pay for superior, timely, original content and for superior online experiences. Presently I willingly pay for the Financial Times, The Economist, and Foreign Affairs, I value the content, and, indeed, I feel I need it; I will continue to pay for them online. Perhaps I would not be willing to pay for archive material, which I expect that I would be able to find elsewhere, but I will cheerfully pay for the newest content online. Similarly, I willingly pay the cover change for my favorite jazz clubs in New York, and expect that I would cheerfully pay to participate in Second Life or World of Warcraft if, indeed, I had any interest in those virtual experiences. I guess, ultimately, if we compete for status through our purchases of accessories, clothes and homes in meatspace we will probably continue to purchase virtual accessories in Second Life, though I can’t say I fully understand this yet.
  • Selling Access. Misdirection will fail totally and completely. I use a Mac, but I have abandoned Safari for Firefox. I have an iPhone and an iPod but I have never used the little white earbuds, preferring instead to purchase a pair of Shure E500 phones that I think sound vastly superior. Similarly, I would be equally happy to purchase a search service that worked for me, rather than accept a free one that works both against me and against the firms I patronize. In contrast, while people will continue to value community content and social search, these will be difficult to monetize. Finally, contextual mobile ads will, likewise be difficult to monetize. With information easily available, I will make my own restaurant choices, irrespective of those pushed at me via SMS, especially when I know that those pushed at me have been pushed for a fee, rather than based on an impartial assessment of my preferences. Yes, I can imagine SMS ads initially succeeding if they provide discounts, but ultimately this leads to little more than a bidding war for traffic and benefits no one other than the firm that provides the text messaging services. I can think of a few commercial SMS services that will benefit everyone, such as letting the most loyal guests of a restaurant know when it is still possible to get a reservation if they act immediately, eliminating the inefficiency of empty tables, but the restaurant will do this itself, using its email or cell phone contact lists. I don’t see this as advertising, or as being monetized by any intermediary. Of course, in an age before texting and email restaurants would have welcomed the all-knowing intermediary as the only mechanism available for communicating quickly with its most loyal customers. Now, restaurants have lists of their most loyal customers and can send out real time messages of interest. If the Blue Note were to text me on some night that I am in New York that it is still possible to get a table for two for Clark Terry, or Tria were to text me on a day when I was in Philadelphia that, surprisingly, there was no wait for an outdoor table right now, I’m sure I would respond to both. Of course there is no intermediary for this interaction, and this is more like direct communication than paid advertising.

The internet is about freedom, and I suspect that a truly free population will not be held captive and forced to watch ads. We always knew that freedom comes at a price; perhaps the price of internet freedom and the failure of ads will be paying a fair price for the content and the experience and the recommendations that we value.