Here's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.
Coming Committee Hearings
You knew there would be more of this after the new year: Mediaweek's Katy Bachman reports that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is likely to hold hearings on online privacy issues, perhaps as soon as next month. The big topic before the committee will be the Federal Trade Commission's recommended "Do Not Track" button, which would be embedded in browsers (of course, Firefox and Microsoft's IE have already added that function to their respective browser updates). The hearings could also be met with the introduction of bills sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee; and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., chairman of the Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance Subcommittee. Read more.
The Privacy Promise
Display ad sales technology provider Collective is partnering with behavioral targeting privacy tool Evidon (fka "Better Advertising") on a compliance program that publishers and ad networks can use to use to allow consumers to opt-out of tracking. The concept is part of the online ad industry's attempts to keep as much of the self-policing mechanisms in place as possible. The tool notifies users that tracking software is embedded in the site and they can turn it off if they so choose. The hope is that this will be enough to call off the various government watchdogs and mollify privacy advocates. At launch, Evidon's and Collective's joint compliance system covers 28 premium publishers and advertising networks powered by Collective's AMP media management platform. Read the release here. Evidon has a brief, blog post on the news here.
Display's Style Update
There's no question that display's comeback within the wider advertising recovery last year signified a new appreciation for the medium as a branding vehicle on the part of agencies and marketers. Writing in Venturebeat, Widgetbox CEO Will Price points to three developments that have made display extra cool these days: the real-time web (live conversions allow for ads that were once "snapshots" to become drivers of a continuing conversation with targeted consumers); dynamic ads (units can be adjusted depending on the input from those conversations); new measurement standards (engagement, not click-throughs are where the value is rightly placed now). Read more.
For nearly 40 years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been listening to consumer complaints and largely keeping the info to itself. But the commission will open its doors wide online in March, when it puts safety complaints on the web at SaferProducts.gov, reports Ad Age's Jack Neff. The database will be searchable by brand or manufacturer. Jill Deal, a lawyer with the Venable firm in Washington, calls it "Yelp with the imprimatur of government authority." Read more. More signal? Perhaps, a new ad targeting feed!? We'll see.
Social = CRM
One of the things agencies and marketers need to get used to is the integration of customer relationship management in their advertising plans. That's especially important for campaigns that aim for a viral touch of social media and mobile, says Tessa Wegert on ClickZ. For example, it's hard to argue with the success of Wieden+Kennedy's Old Spice ads, which got 110 million total brand web views and a clear sales boost. But Wegert can't help but wonder "how much more effort would have been involved in integrating a CRM element that served to reward existing Old Spice users?" If Old Spice sales wane in the next few months, she may have her answer. Read more.
We've already reported on Google's stellar Q4 results, as well as the surprising changes at the top that has founder Larry Page stepping in for CEO Eric Schmidt, who will remain on as chairman. But if you want some more details about what was said on the earnings call, Seeking Alpha's transcript has it all, including the news that AdSense revenue was up 22 percent year-over-year to $2.5 billion, "again, with continuous strength in our Google Display Network," said Google CFO Patrick Pichette. His colleague, Jonathan Rosenberg, SVP of Product Management, added that last year, "it's really clear that some new winners started to emerge, like display. We now have over 2 million publisher partners. The number of transactions on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange tripled, and publishers who sell their ad space via the Exchange are nearly tripling their revenue when the Exchange wins the auction." Read more.
One of the reasons Google keeps reporting the phenomenal growth it does each quarter is because it ceaselessly tries to find new ways of finding insights into how consumers interact with the web and advertising. A blog post by Dan Friedman, of the Inside AdWords crew, talks about a new addition to AdWords' reporting. Google now offers the ability to measure interactions that take place before a click-through for video ads, display ads built with the Display Ad Builder, product extensions and location extensions. Read more.
Joost has to be nearing its ninth life by this point. The company began as an Internet TV startup way before Google TV was even a concept, got swallowed up by Adconion Media Group and is now being spun off as a video advertising provider, PC World's Mikael Ricknäs reports. Considering the fact that online video is now pulling in some real money -- eMarketer estimated that U.S. online video ad spend would rise 48.1 percent in 2010, to $1.5 billion – the timing for this latest incarnation couldn't be better for Joost. In less than 12 months, the company claims its revenues have quadrupled to nearly $30 million worldwide. It expects triple digit growth into 2011. Read more.
Simplifying The Curve
There has to be an easier way of figuring out how to divide an advertising budget, mused Media Kitchen's Darren Herman in a presentation at the First Round Capital CEO Summit in San Francisco last week. In a world of ad exchanges and real-time bidding someone needs to create models that show spending allocations with yield curves in a quick and simple way. Yes, it can be done now, but the current processes are way too manual and too laborious. Read more on his blog or go straight to the presentation on Scribd.
‘Severely Out Of Whack'
As the companies that make up AlwaysOn's OnMedia 100 prepare to converge on New York next week for two days of presentations, conference founder Tony Perkins is betting that this new crop of startups can help change Madison Avenue's thinking when it comes to ad spending. Calling the disconnect between time spent online by consumers and ad expenditures by major marketers, Perkins calls the situation "severely out of whack," offering this example: "in the U.S., the average person spends 28 percent of his or her time consuming media over the Internet, yet Madison Avenue still only spends 13 percent of its ad dollars on Internet advertising." We'll see what some of the solutions to this problem is next week. Read more.
Google, Groupon, Big Data
Google may have been rebuffed in its attempt to acquire social shopper Groupon, but the company's motto is "if you can't join ‘em, beat ‘em." And as the WSJ's Amir Efrati reports, that's just what the search giant is planning on doing with Google Offers. The move is part of Google's larger goal of capturing the largely untapped local online advertising marketplace. Although known for its algorithm-centric ad programs, Google has been using a human touch with its approach to small business, by actually having sales reps make phone calls to get spas, hotels and restaurants. The big data treasure trove of "local" awaits. Read more.
Having not officially posted to his blog in over 4 months, MediaMath enterprise sales maven Mark Mannino triumphantly returns to his blog in order to reveal results of a cross-channel AdWords and Facebook campaign - but not from his MediaMath World. Mannino writes, "I also act as informal digital CMO of Carroll's Florist in Staten Island (I get paid in beer). My cousin, Chad, owns and operates this 60 year old family business." Read about the media plan. We look forward to his findings.
Product Guru Returns
Having not officially posted to his blog in over a year, Nielsen Product maven Ari Paparo triumphantly returns to his blog and says, "For those of you who follow me, the natural reaction to this post is "oh my God, he would actually post more if he could?" Yes. Yes I would if I could." There's more.
View The Offering!
RetailRoadShow has some interesting videos and presentations for three media IPOs that have attracted a lot of attention lately. You can view the president of Velti, which acquired mobile ad exchange, Mobclix, talking up his company's value, as well as content aggregator Demand Media, and Nielsen. Click here for the main page, here for Nielsen, here for Velti and here for Demand Media.