Ousted CEO Reappears; Checking In With Do-Not-Track

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Gurbaksh Calling

Re/code’s Kara Swisher reports on an effort by former RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal to buy the company that fired him. The offer from his “marketing operating system” company, Gravity4, reportedly values RadiumOne at less than 1x revenue for 2014. Management said in its rebuttal, “RadiumOne will continue with its current plans to build an enduring and substantial company under the steady hand of existing leadership.” Chahal, who remains the company’s largest shareholder in the wake of domestic violence allegations that unseated him last year, may be counting on jittery investors. He warns the board needs to accept that ad tech is in its “consolidation phase.” Sell now! More.

Deflating Do-Not-Track

Is Do-Not-Track dead yet? In an op-ed for The New York Times, Fred Campbell checks in on the four-year-old effort to create a browser-based opt-out mechanism for ad tracking. Campbell focuses on a proposal by Internet heavyweights like Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo to exempt their first-party cookies from complying. “Large companies that operate both first- and third-party businesses would be able to use data they gather through their first-party relationships to compete in the third-party ad market.” And he says the job shouldn’t be left to the Federal Trade Commission. “The correct balance between privacy and competition is a decision better left to Congress than to a feckless regulator.” Read it. But, it may be the world has left Do-Not-Track and its desktop-centric assumptions behind.

Challenging YouTube

In the world of web video, YouTube is king. But Facebook is looking strong in the wake of major 2014 investments, including an alliance with the NFL and the acquisition of LiveRail.. “Facebook is already a place where you consume content, and now they are dialing up video,” Fullscreen President Ezra Cooperstein told the WSJ. “This is a year where YouTube is still the dominant platform for emerging talent. It’s going to be challenged [in 2015], and Facebook has to crack [ads]. It could be pretty dangerous for YouTube if Facebook does crack that.” But Facebook’s long-term ad strategy will have to evolve for it to compete with Google’s platform, said Vik Kathuria, global chief media officer at Razorfish.

Viewability 2015

Adweek tapped brand and agency execs for perspective on the ad viewability trend. “What the last couple of months of ongoing conversation has done for us, in terms of our ad buys, is make us smarter buyers of publishers,” said Kevin Scholl, digital marketing director at Red Roof Inn. “We've taken a step back and looked at where we are serving our [ads]. If we were buying in spaces with lame guarantees, we had to question continue buying there—or evolve how we were buying.” Jared Belsky, president of 360i, adds, "Our goal going into 2015 should continue to be to push the limits and focus on high-quality, verifiable and measurable media for clients in order to eliminate risk and make strides toward that industry mission." Read on.

The Gift Of Pinterest

Pinterest’s paid media product, Promoted Pins, is ready for the big time. After eight months of testing, the offering will roll out to all ad partners. Beta results with brand advertisers such as Banana Republic and Target were positive, delivering a 30% bump in earned media. Read the blog post. But Pinterest has its work cut out when it comes to addressability, according to Kinetic Social CEO Don Mathis. “Deeper targeting will make Pinterest a big player and potentially catapult the platform onto the same stage as Twitter and Facebook,” writes Mathis for Ad Age.

Content Ops

In a list of predictions for digital advertising in 2015, Skimlink CEO Alicia Navarro says programmatic targeting of content is coming. “In 2015, we’ll see a critical mass of publishers begin to leverage behavioral data to programmatically target content to optimize experiences for users on publishers’ sites,” writes Navarro for VentureBeat.

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