Thursday, February 28, 2008

IAB to meet re Measurement today

According to The Oz media section the IAB is meeting today and the main item on the agenda is trying to get the wheels in motion on a single audience measurement system.

Right now there's 2 Neilsen tools (Netview - Panel, Market Intelligence - Site Side) as well as Hitwise (ISP based).

Last November, the IAB announced that it favoured a panel based methodology as a single standard of measurement, raising the ire, allegedly, of media agencies.

However, I would hazard a guess that publishers would have been more cheesed off as they often claim panel based measurement (ie Netview) underestimates their actual numbers ... and it does if you compare domestic Market Intelligence numbers to Netview numbers across some key sites.

According to the article "Industry sources estimated the $370 million general internet advertising sector risked losing tens of millions of dollars from its failure to resolve the issue."

I am not sure it's this dire ... but it appears that measurement is an issue.

Thing is, I don't really think it is. I can only speak from first hand experience, but very rarely has a client of mine expressed much concern about measurement inconsistency ... mainly because we use a consolidated reporting tool and back it up with qualitative research in many cases (ie Dynamic Logic).

Yes, problems can appear if you rely on publisher side measurement, but 9.9999 times out of 10 this isn't required. Measurement does solve the pissing contests (ie unique users) for publishers but I think as time goes on people have stopped caring about sheer numbers aside some select placement.

Digital is more a quality equation than a numbers game for most - what is the point of reaching 1m people if you don't actually know what result it had on response or brand? What is the IAB doing to address this?

It sort of feels sometimes that the IAB takes so long to actually move that when they do the issue is irrelevant. Is this the case with the measurement debate?

Personally I feel there are more pressing issues they need to sort out - in particular creative consistency across major networks (ie not just the big 5) and also creative flexibility so we can start seeing the sort of executions we see from o/s.

Keen to hear your thoughts.


Friday, February 22, 2008

MindShare wins AdNews Agency Network of The Year

Glasses were clinking and champagne corks were popping last night as MindShare took out Agency Network of The Year at the AdNews Awards.

There's nothing as yet on the Adnews site (they must be either recovering or still celebrating up in Sydney) but it's a great result for the agency as the competition was tough.

Congrats Chris, Yanni, Tracey and the entire Sydney and Melbourne teams!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Steve Vamos talks online advertising predictions

An interview with Australian VP of MSN, Steve Vamos, provides a good read in The Australian Media section.

Vamos - who headed up ninemsn from 98 to 03, and Microsoft AU until last year - talks about where he seems the online ad 'boom' heading.

Interesting take outs

- Vamos touches on slowing display revenue growth but sees current growth % rates continuing for 2-3 years.
- Vamos feels online advertising is essentially technology based.
- MSN's Facebook investment seems really all about expanding MS's inventory.

Full article -,25197,23248234-17061,00.html

Monday, February 18, 2008

IAB/PWC: Online Ad Growth currently at 19.5%

The IAB and PWC have released their Online Advertising Expenditure Report for the 12 months ending 31/12/07 and the results are interesting. If you compare Q4 2007 with Q4 2006, we're seeing growth of 19.5%

Usually these reports are greeted by all involved with requisite high fivery and back slapping ... but I would hazard a guess that when the last lot of data arrived the champagne would have stayed on ice.

Overall the industry is still experiencing solid growth - it's up 34.5% year on year. Display accounts for 28%, Classifieds 26% and Search 46%.

However these stats need to be analysed further. A common mistake many make is assuming ALL areas of online media are experiencing this 34.5% growth ... they're not.

Search is driving the growth, up 56% YOY (ie 06 to 07). Display was only up 21% from 06 to 07 ... this would be a concern to many, especially when you consider the industry had 56% growth from 05-06.

It is easy to assume 21% growth was not anticipated by most players, especially when numerous publishers I came across were forecasting 50% growth in their display business. I would hate to be a sales director at the moment looking at actual versus forecast.

Display, when you compare only Q4 06 to 04 07 is up 14% - compared to 29% for search. This shows minimal growth in what is generally the biggest quarter of the year. 14% growth would be celebrated by most media, but for online it's well below what is expected.

Adding more woe to the larger publishers is the fact more display dollars are going to what they refer to as 'the tail' ... ie anyone who isn't in the big 5. Some estimate this is 50% or more of total display spend ... which differs from a few years ago where the big 5 accounted for 75%+ of all display revenues.

Don't get me wrong, digital is still growing at fantastic rates ... but I think these results are a welcome reality check for many involved. For online to grow it is simply not enough to sit back and enjoy a category wide surge in spend ... the real winners moving forward, who see their own revenues increase higher than the overall industry, will be the ones who innovate and push forward what the definition of 'digital' media is ... from integration to video to content, search, mobile, digital outdoor, performance, analytics and beyond. This is something the industry as a whole needs to do - from publishers to media agencies to creative agencies and really starts at how digital is positioned within these environments. Those who have integrated digital, who have the right staff and the right learnings and the right experience are in the box seat.

For search the news is probably rosier than their display friends - now many are learning of the branding benefits and Google are seeing some great results in terms of expanding their product offering and the immediate advertiser benefits. One would predict that search can maintain current market growth domestically for the next 2 years. The issue for Yahoo! and MSN is that Google dominates this area.

I'm interested to get anyone elses opinion on the new IAB data ..

Rudd wants to stop internet piracy

The new Federal Government is looking at introducing legislation that effectively gives those who download material illegally through the Internet a '3 strikes and your out' policy

SMH covers it in depth here -

"Under the three-strikes policy, a warning would be first issued to offenders who illegally share files using peer-to-peer technology to access music, TV shows and movies free of charge. The second strike would lead to the offender's internet access being suspended; the third would cancel the offender's internet access."

It is estimated that 2.8m Australian's download music illegally each year.

The real question is how feasible is this?

For one, it requires total ISP co-operation ... which would be difficult.

Secondly, it requires ISPs to spend time/resource on identifying the illegal activity and then taking action.

Thirdly, how do you know what torrent/p2p activity is illegal and which isn't. Some people actually use this technology to transmit files/data they have the legal right to transfer.

Lastly - what is to say that there won't be another system of transferring files that pops up ... the core issue here is that there is a stack of people who don't actually feel they should pay for music/entertainment, and this is the area that needs to be addressed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Is Performance making a comeback?

It appeared in 07 many of the larger publishers were moving away from performance deals - ie pay per click/action.

From 04-06 these sorts of arrangements were popular amongst agencies and clients - especially in traditional DM/response categories such as finance.

However last year the main publishers seemed to move away from them - focusing more on higher yield CPM placements and looking to monetise their networks in a smarter fashion.

It appears in 08 there is a big emphasis on performance again. News Digital have released a self-optimising performance product, as have Platform Nine. Drive PM are in aggressively in market, as are AdConion, with packages available across networks and rumour has it Fairfax has a product in development as well. On top of this you have the smaller guys - 3Di, DGM, Max, Response Directive etc all pushing cpc/cpa activity.

You have to wonder why the tables have turned so quickly - why publishers who last year were all about talking up the high value of their users and the primative nature of performance have now changed their tune. Could it have anything to do with the overall market for display growing at a rate lower than many anticipated/forecast and performance being looked to as the revenue saviour? Whatever it is, I think the big player performance push will work against them in the medium to long term as it will decrease the worth of their networks. Nothing does a better job of ruining your $80CPM premium area than some irrelavant, untargeted finance clutter.

Interestingly enough - the only network not looking to push performance heavily appears to be ninemsn - who were pioneers in the area.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Michael Cera is the Man!

This guy is my favourite comedian right now. He is amazing in Juno, hilarious in Superbad and steals the show as George Michael Bleuth in Arrested Development

For more Cera goodness check out his web series -


Friday, February 15, 2008

Feb: Social Networks plateau

Interesting stats on the state of Social Networking sites.

For the second straight month both Facebook and Myspace have not seen growth in user numbers. For January, Myspace had 2.93m users (down 2.5% on December) and Facebook had 2.51m (up 0.7%). The category as a whole (which includes Bebo, Blogger etc) was flat at just under 6.5m.

In January, Bebo lost just under 7% of its audience, with 700,000 unique users (down from 750,000). It is interesting to note that in the past 12 months Bebo has seen modest growth at best, adding 198,000 users

In terms of engagement between Facebook and myspace the two are reasonably on par. Myspace users spend 1 hour 29 mins on the site and visit on average 8.84 times; Facebook users spend 1 hour 12 minutes on the site and visit on average 7.48.

Whilst these social networks are all the rage, it's important to actually look at the data behind them. And the data tells a pretty clear story.

Usage is flat. Myspace has essentially remained stagnant in UBs for 7 months despite adding a heap of new channels. Facebook has gone from extreme growth to none in a very short amount of time. Bebo hasn't made a splash despite local operations and an alliance with Yahoo!

Engagement is stagnant. Users are not spending increasing time on these properties ... I think the people behind them need to try a little harder to keep these users engaged and on board ...

This phenomenon is also happening in the US ... see here ( that shows that myspace's issues here may just be the start (in the US it is experiencing a decline in engagement).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Deloitte Media Predictions Report 08

Covered here in very little depth at The Oz -,25197,23190342-26077,00.html

Topline summary:

- online industry may face increased regulatory scrutiny this year due to targeting sophistication
- report found a growing antipathy to online ads
- TV needs to do more online to grow their core product - TV

The summary doesn't really actually go into any ways online supposedly 'frustrates marketers' but it's easy to assume this is based around non standard measurement.

Thing is, lack of measurement is no issue for digital. It can be measured in the same way as normal media and offers greater depth ... so this is a weird angle. And lets not forget qualitative control/exposed studies can also go beyond traditional media metrics into awareness, recall, intention and other key metrics for brands. My personal feeling is the only issue with online that frustrates marketers is either a lack of understand or TOO MUCH data being generated from campaigns.

8 trends in online advertising for 2008: Real Estate

Nothing new here but positive to see a publisher take a stance on something for once.

Dear IAB Australia ...

Will 2008s winning IAB Award submissions for 2008 be audited?

If not, why not? If so, who by?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Revenue heat on social networking and video sites

One trend we're seeing in 08 is closer scrutiny on social networking and video sites to start generating the revenue expected of them when their parents outlayed big dollars to acquire them.

Business Week featured this article this week -

WSJ covered a similar issue here -

Mediapost covered it as well in their Thursday eDM - 'The Past Repeats Itself: Social Media Needs advertising'.

Obviously this isn't a new issue - social networks and video sites have struggled since day 1 to monetise the hype and eyeballs surrounding them ... and in many ways it's been a case of build it and they will come ... or more to the point, spend the money and we'll work out a way to make it profitable sometime in the future.

The Business Week article raises a few key areas (mainly around social networking but also applicable to video sites too)

- Slowing growth on social networks
- Declining response to advertising - lower CTRs
- Google are struggling to generate the revenue required out of their myspace search distro deal - Google's Brin: "I don't think we have the killer, best way to advertise and monetize social networks yet."

If these issues are hitting the States - you have to wonder why the reverberations will hit locally ... AU is probably at best 3 years behind the states and Fox already have reasonable staff levels locally selling the dream of myspace.

For me, the main issues around these properties are

- targeting sophistication. Yes, a lot is talked up around the ways you can target on these sites but very little follow through is shown. It may be novel that I can target 21 year old males who live 15km from the city and enjoy The presents and drive an 83 honda civic but how can I use this to satisfy a business objective.

- low response. We're talking very low ... but the story isn't all bad. However it could get worse if the networks response to lower revenue is more ads per page

- the networks have done a poor job of connecting advertisers and users ... they talk up the idea of UGC and 2 way brand dialogue but it is not being faciliated. No one knows these networks more than the networks themselves, right?

- Social Networks are like accessories - Facebook and MySpace are no different from the nightclub/bar that is the coolest thing in the world in 07 but completely passe in 08. Messenger and Mail are utilities - they don't profess to be cool ... they simply help you do something. Facebook has done a better job of being neutral - Myspace has intentionally aligned itself with culture/fashion/music/movie brands/bands etc and tried to leverage this as 'cool'. Which approach will work?

- For video in particular - what is the advertising model? It doesn't seem to be pre-rolls anymore ... and overlays are being talked up but there's little evidence that shows these will not be as intrusive and annoying. It's been almost 5 years since video was hailed as the next big thing ... you have to wonder if it can be the next big revenue thing.

- With YouTube, I wonder whether if, in isolation, it can handle advertising beyond cheap med rec's? Amazing site, great useability, huge numbers ... but would overlays, brand channels, targeting etc be accepted?

Anyway, I'm all for the pressure that's being placed on these sites through the media and stakeholders. More pressure means more actions, which ideally means better ad products and better client solutions.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why do TV Networks rarely use online media to advertise their shows

So it's the start of a new ratings year and the networks are ramming whatever new shows they have down our throats.

We're getting the in-break promo's of course, but we're also getting hit with ATL activity across radio, large format outdoor, bus stops, newspapers and magazines ...

So what is missing?

Well (and this is a sample group of 1) - 95% of 08's MUST SEE TV is not being advertised online.

And I did a search on AdRelevance and all I could find was Network 10 advertising their programs on their own website. I also noticed Yahoo!7 utilising Google for some of their programs through my own digging around.

Does anyone else find it weird that some "media groups" trump up online as a must-buy medium ... but when it comes to their own media buys they completely overlook it as a viable option. Yes, I am aware many have their own portals ... but I still don't see much ATL display presence for these new show launches. I also think it calls into question the claims many of the groups make that online is an important medium for reaching the consumer and engaging with them. Do they really think this or are they more concerned with the revenue? Do as I say not as I do ...

There's no doubt online IS important ... no question ... but why won't most of the TV guys utilise it beyond an organic presence? Yes 7 are using search but their display presence is weak and 10 and 9 don't have any presence at all - neither does Foxtel (aside trying to drive subscribers through performance deals)

Anyone else have an opinion?

inthemix number 1 in music - or are they?

According to Neilsen they are - from AdNews ...

" takes #1 for music

SYDNEY: Independent music community website has taken the top position as Australia’s highest ranking music website, according to Nielsen Online. With 18.8% share of the online music category, reached 240,000 monthly unique browsers in January - the only publisher in the top five to record positive growth. Managing director Neil Ackland commented: “Most of the bigger publishers have the challenge of trying to be everything to everyone, where as we’ve just remained 100% focused on being the best within our niche.” is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sound Alliance, Australia’s largest independent online publisher."

Lets look a little closer shall we. Are they really Number 1 or is this smart spin doctoring ...

Well ... according to Neilsen Market Intellgence (side side measurement) inthemix are indeed the number 1 PURE music play ... ninemsn and Fairfax Music properties are included in their overall Entertainment figure ... so it's hard to really know who is the leader here. The interesting thing is publishers have to PAY to be on Neilsen Market Intelligence data ... which means, you guessed it, many sites are not included.

But according to Neilse Netview - the panel based online measurement arm of Neilsen, inthemix aren't even in the top 10 - falling behind AOL, Bigpond Music, MCM, Yahoo!, sanity, Lyrics A-Z, MTV International, Warner Music, Sony Music, Lyrics Freak and ARIA Charts ...

How can this be I hear some of you ask ... well Netview takes into account ALL sites and Market Intelligence is purely the sites that pay to be included in the measurement.

This isn't taking anything away from inthemix - it's a great site and I have been using it for the past 8 years, it's just their claim (which is ultimately to get some PR and noise out there) isn't exactly as cut and dry as it's claimed.

I am also confused as to why AdNews publishes stats without doing their own research ...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

White Pages cops a boot

Interesting Fairfax blog/comments piece

"Does White Pages Search Suck" -

Appears more than just the search functionality sucks - there's 5 pages of comments sticking the boot into the troubled listings site.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How vulnerable is Sensis right now ...

Given Sensis Mediasmart is now known as simply 'Mediasmart' you have to wonder what Telstra's plans are for the business and how it fits into it's overall digital plans.

If you look at the traffic to the core Sensis businesses, the story isn't great. Not only are most of these environments not considered particularly 'essential' line items on schedules, they are flatlining badly traffic wise.

The core Sensis online businesses have been Yellow, White, Whereis and Sensis Search.

Every single one of these businesses is down on traffic year on year.

There is a lot said about people abandoning their print White and Yellow Pages and moving online - presumably to the digital Yellow and White pages.

From this data it shows that this probably isn't the case. The broad assumption may be true - but Sensis is by no means holding this audience as they migrate online.

So where are they going? Well ... Google is the safe bet.

Note the blue line on the graph - that shows the growth of Google Maps year on year ... 500%. Whereis - which had a first mover advantage is LOSING share. The main concern for Sensis would be that not only does Google have better mapping technology and takeup - they can apply strong business listings to said maps (Google threw True Local a lifeline and the match is a pretty solid one) and start to trump Yellow. And no doubt eventually they will setup something that rivals White (which Maps already does if you look at the Business listings element of White).

08 poses a few key challenges for Sensis ...

1. Do they maintain a search engine that cannot compete against Google let alone a MSHOO joint play ... or do they walk away from SEM or look to offer Yahoo or MSN a search distro deal across their network and rev. share?

2. How can they adapt Yellow to become more appealing to users? How do they adapt the way advertisers pay to be in Yellow given Google has changed the way many SMEs want to pay for leads

3. Can Whereis hold itself against Google Maps. What can it do better than its competitors - it's not enough to simply match them.

4. What does Sensis actually mean to consumers? Do you retire the brand or simply push it to the background?

5. Do they walk away from search and maps and focus on mobile - an they have a pretty sophisticated offering to give the market now the walled garden approach has been abandoned.

EDIT: All data for this post was sourced from Neilsen Netview, December 2007.

Monday, February 4, 2008

MSHOO - What would it mean in AU?

After a pretty uneventful 20/20 game in Melbourne, I headed home and was surprised to see the news that Microsoft had instigated an unsolicited USD44bn takeover bid for Yahoo!

Over the weekend discussion was all over Fox Business News, Bloomberg and CNBC about potential implications and the reasoning behind the deal. Lots of reasons seemed to be flung around ... the deal was a necessity due to the growing search dominance of Google, the consolidation of MSNs communication properties with Yahoo's would create an almost monopoly which would stop Google from making traction with gmail, gtalk etc, and the most logical was that the two both required this sort of scale to compete ...

Today there has been some talk of what it means locally ... with both msn and Yahoo! in JVs with local 'traditional' media companies. Lets put that aside for the time being and look at what each product can really offer the other in a local context.

For my money that is what this deal is really about - and the jury is still out on what Yahoo! can really offer MSN. In the US MSN is reported to have not turned a profit in 2 years, whilst Yahoo! is staring down the barrel of becoming increasingly irrelevant every month as Google trumps them in search and smaller competitors chip away at their numbers with better specialised options.

In AU the situation is somewhat different. Ninemsn is still the dominant player in the display market and even though it has lost some share recently, it is still the market leader and is a top player in most key verticals. Yahoo!7 remains at under 5m users over 2 years since the site launched, and in some of the areas it has said it will challenge it has struggled (especially mail, messenger, search and homepage) despite having the leading TV network in Australia behind them.

What needs to be looked at is the incremental audience MSN will achieve by acquiring Yahoo! in a local sense. What can Yahoo offer (locally) to give them the scale they supposedly need. Again, this is looking at it in a local sense ONLY.

Source: Neilsen Netview, January 08

Total users
ninemsn - 8.19m
Yahoo!7 - 4.98m
81% of Yahoo7's audience is on ninemsn, whilst only 49% of ninemsn's audience uses Yahoo!7
Ninemsn's audience is more engaged, with users returning 15 times per month compared to 9 for Yahoo. Ninemsn users spend 2 hrs 21 minutes on the site, Yahoo!7 1 hour and 2 minutes. The topline UB benefit for ninemsn from a merger would be small.
The last 12 months: ninemsn has added 189,000 total users, Yahoo! has lost 109,000

Windows Live Mail - 3.56m
Yahoo! Mail - 1.43m
Windows Live has 36% of Yahoo! Mail users ... so a mix of the two could be a pretty powerful beast. Together the two would have more than 4.4m users. In terms of engagement the two are on par.
The last 12 months: Ninemsn has lost 612,000 users, Yahoo! has gained 22,000 users.
Strongest player: Windows Live Mail would absorb Yahoo!7 Mail.

ninemsn Messenger - 4.47m
Yahoo!7 Messenger - 549,000
63% of Yahoo Messenger users also use ninemsn messenger - msn is clearly winning this one. In terms of engagement it's about level, but Yahoo! have never been able to even make a dent in the dominance of MSN Messenger over the past 4 years. A merger would only offer MSN an additional 198,000 users - just over a 4% increase.
The last 12 months: Ninemsn has lost 142,000 users, Yahoo! 102,000 users.
Strongest player: Only a fool would kill the ninemsn messenger brand here - would absorb Yahoo!7 Messenger users.

Ninemsn Channel Nine News - 1.85m
Yahoo!7 News -946,000
Ninemsn have almost double the audience of Yahoo, with 31% of Yahoo news users also using ninemsn News. A combined entity would generate 2.5m users. However the key is ninemsn is better at keeping their News readers engaged ... ninemsn news users spend over 17m a month on the site, whereas Yahoo! News users spend just over 7 minutes; ninemsn news users view 25 pages compared to Yahoo!'s 9.
The last 12 months: Ninemsn has added 356,000 users, Yahoo!7 has lost 40,000
Strongest player: Ninemsn. Numbers and engagement are on its side.

Ninemsn - 3.71m
Yahoo!7 - 1.83m
Homepage ad placement is still a popular choice for AU agencies ... so there is good money in having a high traffic homepage. Combined the 2 add up to 4.86m users ... strong numbers.
The last 12 months: Ninemsn have added 619,000 users, Yahoo has lost 35,000 users.
Strongest player: Ninemsn. Their homepage is the most in demand page in the country due to the reach achieved.

Wide World Of Sports - 465,000
Yahoo!7 Sports - 183,000
Almost zero overlap here ... less than 5%. Most interesting is over 48% of Yahoo! traffic is to the .com domain - not the local domain. Not a whole lot here for ninemsn to take.
The last 12 months: Ninemsn has added 270,000 users, Yahoo! has lost 41,000 users
Strongest player: Ninemsn WWOS. Neither Yahoo! nor 7 locally has a strong umbrella sports brand.

Last but by no means least, most of the talk so far has centered around search and the proposed MSN/Y deal really allowing both to give it a crack ... in AU Google is absolutely dominant and MSN and Yahoo! struggle ... MSN is actually the number 2 player and has been making strong ground.
Ninemsn Search - 2.84m
Yahoo!7 search -1.35m
Google Search -9.07m

86% of ninemsn's search audience use Google ... with 83% of Yahoo!s audience also using Google.
Ninemsn search users only return on average 2.6 times a month, Yahoo 4.1 .., whilst Google users return 12.2 times a month. A combined Yahoo/MSN search audience would equate to 3.6m people ... hardly the scale both require to take down Google.

Search delivers the most gloomy news for Yahoo! - and the news that no doubt is causing a lot of headaches ... they have lost 296,000 users over the past 12 months ... roughly 22% of their audience. In the exact same period MSN has picked up 707,000 users - an increase year on year of 33%.

In the past 12 months Google has added 708,000 users.

If this deal is about search, locally one could argue it will make no difference at all. Even if the two can combine to take a strong share in display revenues, the real growth locally is in search - which has largely been untapped by big money marketers. It is difficult to see where MSHOO would make up ground on Google - revenue ground.

Take a further step back from this and have a look at the figures in isolation and it doesn't tell a good story for Yahoo! locally at all ... they are struggling to hold audience, let alone build on it ... and in the key areas it performs well outside of AU (namely search, messenger and homepage) it is losing users, whilst gaining approx. 5% in the Mail category. Ninemsn is holding its own - which is no mean feat after 5 years of dominance - but must start looking for new ways to increase audience - mobile especially would be a focus one would imagine ... pushing their strong properties onto the mobile device.

Right now it's just hypothesising ... who knows if the deal would even go ahead. There is even talk News might give Yahoo! a takeover crack ... (that would give the combined entity 7.3m users locally) ... or that Yahoo! will look to partner with Google. Whatever happens, it is clear that 08 is going to be a year full of shake-ups, especially locally.

EDIT: Duncan Riley at TechCrunch gives his opinion here -

Friday, February 1, 2008

AOL re-enters Australia

Out of nowhere AOL has surfaced in AU.

And the first thing you notice about the site is that it is an absolute unashamed rip off of the Yahoo!7 homepage.

I remember AOL's other 2 failed attempts in this market and assume the 2008 V3 won't be much different. There only strong property is and that doesn't need a local mirror.

View the eerie homepage similarities.

Which AU classifed providers are eyeing Facebook to become a partner?

Given the announcement of myspace hooking up with fellow Newscorp family member careerone in an alliance arrangement, you have to wonder whether the leading classifieds providers are in talks with Facebook to use the social networking monster as another way to increase distribution.

Seek developed a Facebook application very early - it wouldn't be surprising to see them using that to test the waters. Seek are notoriously quick to move when it comes to securing key distro deals and Facebook would suit them to a tee given myspace is tied up within the News category.

The Real Estate and Auto categories would also be lining up to become part of the Facebook framework - and would be willing to part with big dollars to do so. I personally am unaware of Facebook doing similar deals in other territories, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen here.

Watch this space!