Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oops Patrol: Fairfax Digital ad placement

I am sure Honda and Mazda would be rapt with this placement.

Thanks to my source(s) for this.

With oops's like this happening, I don't think 'heritage media' has too much to worry about in the short term if their digital cousins can't avoid competing vehicles running next to each other.

Yahoo!7 streamline their processes and bring new agility and efficiency to how they work as an organisation

Read: They fired people yesterday.

How many? No one is really sure. I know of 5 definites across production and engineering ... reports are up to 20 were asked to leave, including one very senior staffer.,28124,24572546-7582,00.html

Edit: Just 6 days earlier Y7 told The Oz they had no immediate plans to make local redundancies -,24897,24540225-5013040,00.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ad Networks on the way out ...

In the US anyway ...

Other ad networks "are in severe trouble and could be closing their doors in the back half of this year or the beginning of '09. People are bracing for the worst," says Ross Sandler, an Internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

When I was at adtech in April I was shocked at the amount of ad networks in the US - it was out of control. Funny thing was, none of them really had a point of difference. They sold eyeballs simply because they were there to be sold.

VC liked ad networks as there was a promise of low initial setup and large immediate returns. Problem is - there's really no long term asset in an ad network as you don't really own any IP - you sell banners on sites you don't own, through technology you don't own via agencies you don't own. Effectively you're an agent and not much more.

Yes, there are some great ad networks ... but not many. You could count on one hand the good networks in AU. Most have offerings that are primative at best - failing to capitalise on the gap for strong vertical buys and the need for exclusivity. Not to mention transperency ... but that's another matter.

In AU there's a lot of these operators - not as many as the US - but more than we need. How long until this space thins out?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oops Patrol:

Was on today checking out the redesign (not bad - like the logo and the personalisation) but noticed they were running ads for two directly competing products right next to each other.

Hrm - wonder what the media agencies of Onedirect (emitch) and Suncorp (Starcom I believe) would think. Surely trafficking should stop this from happening?

Are third party Facebook apps the great digital scam?

The last 6 months I've heard the sentence 'hey lets build a facebook app' from clueless agency people more times than I care to remember.

When you ask why - there's generally not an answer.

Well, okay ... there IS an answer. It provides revenue to the agency that build it.

Are they a scam? In 99% of cases I think they are. Just like some iPhone apps (I wouldn't want to be the person who thought the Toyota dealer locator app for iPhone was a smasher of a concept ...)

Check this out -

I was served up an add to take their cheese toast challenge today on facebook - problem is I live in Victoria, a place where (thankfully) Sizzler doesn't have any locations.

How does this provide anything useful to the user? And what are they doing wasting their media dollars targeting people who can't visit their restaurants?

IAB launches brand effectiveness study
They call it "unheralded" ... not sure whether it deserves that sort of praise. Isn't it what most of us have been doing for the last 3 years - ad effectiveness studies and measurement of incremental movement of consideration, intent, advocacy etc as a result of online activity?

Strikes me as odd that the IAB is behind the industry in terms of this sort of measurement. Shouldn't the IAB be focusing on how digital channels can work with other media channels and true cross media measurement - not just digital in isolation? This is the largest issue facing digital.

Not to mention it's only across the 5 major publishers ... not the hundreds/thousands of other sites most of the market is using. It also doesn't include search.

“There is no doubt that online advertising is effective for performance advertising campaigns and we believe the project results will clearly show that online advertising also has a strong role to play for marketers focused on brand development.”

I don't think this has ever been questioned guys ...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's 1996 again for Andrew Bolt


Surely someone in the News Digital Media world could tell him no one has used that as a metric for at least 10 years

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ray Martin's comments from Andrew Olle lecture

Ray Martin delivers this bomb - and boy is it true.

The below is from the Andrew Olle lecture which Martin took. Definitely worth reading the whole thing (link below)

Television is no longer a window on the world – it’s now a mirror.

Incidentally, Max Uetchtritz, who now runs Nine MSN News, cites Australian surveys which reveal more than half of our viewers also regularly watch TV with a computer on their lap.

The big difference is WE don’t give them anything to do which CONNECTS them to our news programs.

By way of contrast, the American networks are NOT waiting for the audience to come to them. They’re going after the audience – feverishly.

In fact, the boss of CBS said recently: ‘CBS is no longer a television company. No longer a radio company. It’s not an on-line company. It’s an AUDIENCE company.’

An ‘audience’ company.

The best newspapers are counter-punching much more effectively.

The New York Times, for example , has become ‘ ubiquitous’- on the web and the mobile. As well as its newspaper network.

You log onto NYT dot com and… let’s say… press ‘Humour.’

That gives you all the television nightly talk show jokes about the Presidential election. Or ‘Saturday Night Live’ skits. And Emmy-award winning political comedy like The John Stewart Show and the Colbert Report. Heaps more.

They’ve got nothing to do with newspapers. But , everything to do with audiences. The internet now brings the New York Times 300 million dollars a year, 10 percent of the company’s revenue. It’s growing at an astonishing rate.

We all know that Australians are confirmed ‘junkies’- when it comes to ‘new tech toys’. But our ‘internet cravings’ are simply not being satisfied.

Young Australians love – and live with – MUSIC.

It’s an integral part of their daily lives.

On their i-pods, their mobiles, their mp3’s and in the car.

So, where’s the music on prime time television? There isn’t any.

Not even music videos ‘to stream’.

Where are the innovative I.T shows for young Australians? Same answer.

How’s that for breeding a new generation of TV viewers? So far there’s been little attempt to ‘connect’ with them. That has to change.

Within a few years everything will be mobile.

The Australian TV networks’ integration still muddles along – without vision or publicity,
without equipment or serious financial backing. On the proverbial ‘smell of an oily rag. ’

Despite such deficiencies Nine MSN now streams ELEVEN million videos a month.

Finance Guru Ross Greenwood’s live coverage of the RBA’s recent ‘ONE PERCENT RATE CUT’ got almost as many hits on the website, as it had Channel 9 viewers.

We need vision. We need innovation. And we certainly need investment. What we’re getting instead is ‘benign neglect.’

Benign neglect …on-line and on-television.,28124,24513977-7582,00.html

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is Twitter another broadcast channel?

Is it broadcast media or is it social media?

I've been on the channel for over 18 months and I'm not sure ... most people I follow are more about broadcasting their message to others rather than entering into a dialogue. Sure, sometimes people I know and I will exchange banter ... but most of the larger names I follow are moreso pushing out a message to their followers - which strikes me as the '1 to many' push communication many frown upon.

I am not so close minded I don't think Twitter can be both social and broadcast - it's just maybe it's a lot more about broadcast and lot less about social.

Yes, the channel has potential ... but right now it's being hyped well beyond its current worth. And are the Social media flock any more influential than people not using these channels but socially active in a non digital (and less measurable but potentially as effective) sense. Measurability is great but lets not misconstue the ability to measure as 'more effective than channels we can't quantify as immediately'.

And can marketers actually use Twitter? Lets look at that point in the context of Australia. I don't know. It's tempting to want to utilise every single social channel available in a desperate effort to be looked at as progressive, but surely we have to look at resource versus reward.

Side note: I use Twitter but don't really look at it as anything more than a journal for my inane thoughts.

Eric Beecher at The Domain this Thursday

Looking forward to this interview between Brad Howarth and Private Media head Eric Beecher this Thursday.

The interview is based around the following premise.

Survivor 2.0: In 2008 a group of media companies found themselves stranded on the world's largest island, washed ashore after the sinking of the global financial markets. With a population of only 21 million to feed on, slow-moving traditional media companies struggled to reinvent themselves in time to fight off the challenge of new media upstarts. Who will survive...?

Rest assured Beecher will pull no punches, and I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

Register here - - but get in quick as it's this Thursday

Some observations on what is happening in the US digital media world right now ...

It's impossible not to feel the overriding tone of impending doom that is all over the US tech media blogs/journals right now.

From SAI to TechCrunch, Valleywag to Paid Content, the tone has changed from unrestrained optimism to a grim reality. TC and Paid Content used to be dominated with stories on startups receiving huge valuations and big funding, Valleywag reported the new wave of dot com excess ... not anymore.

What are the main areas we are seeing being covered and how could these relate to the local industry

- Layoffs

Remember Well ... I do. If you worked at a dot com around 2000/2001 and things were looking shaky you could rely on fuckedcompany to show you there was another start up somewhere else in the world that was more fucked than yours. All of the media are reporting layoffs - with ebay, Glam, Heavy, Seesmic, Gawker, Wikia, SearchMe, AdBrite, Hi 5 all laying off staff, and Yahoo being reported to be announcing laying off anywhere between 1-3,000 employees within the new few weeks.

TC covers it here -

Yes, some of these companies were bloated to begin with ... and some probably had no real way to generate revenue ... but many are successful and do monetise well. Regardless, you can be sure that we've only seen the beginning of the layoffs.

No real public announcements of layoffs in AU - will they happen? Hopefully not but you'd have to assume if US companies like ebay and Yahoo! are cutting costs there would have to be some flow on effect here.

- Ad Slowdown

Blodget came out this morning with this bomb -

For a year, we've listened to analysts passionately explain how online ad spending will power through any broader economic and advertising weakness. Eyeballs are moving online, this story went (goes), ad dollars will follow. Online advertising is accountable. Online advertising is the future. Blah, blah, blah.

It's time we woke up and faced reality. Online display-ad spending will fall in 2009, probably sharply. It will probably fall again in 2010.

Is he right? Maybe ... display ad spending in AU could flatline over the next 18-24 months. Why? Q4 will be soft, as will Q1 and Q2 of 2009 ... Q3 2008 was very strong with the Olympics and a pretty robust economic outlook, as a result Q3 2009 will struggle to show much growth.

The US was already seeing a general slowdown in YOY growth (surely a by-product of the market maturing) and now the general consensus is this will get worse.

The three biggest display categories in AU are finance, motor vehicles and technology products - three categories that will feel some pressure from tougher times. These 3 categories combined accounted for 51% of display spend in Australia for Q2 2008 ($59m)

The bigger issue is online - across the board - needs to do a better job at showing its value than reverting to the tired accountability argument. The reality is most marketers struggle with online metrics and need measurement that is tied closer to actual marketing objectives and not impressions and clicks. Agencies and publishers need to work closer together to resolve this. This is a global problem however it is probably worse in AU than in Europe and the US - and has been a problem even during prosperous economic times.

However, the current situation presents huge opportunities to both publishers and agencies if they can go beyond what they see as their core purpose (publishers = selling display ads, agencies = buying display ads) and expand their offering to the market and offer more value and insight. And this is the exciting thing.

It's not all doom and gloom, it's more about avoiding complacency.

- Consolidation

Google CFO Patrick Pichette made an interesting quote in this article -

"One of his priorities, Pichette said, "is pushing to make sure all the resources are used efficiently, that you feed the winners, starve the losers."

Gawker also published this -

Here's what you can expect in the coming year, internet lovers: lots of young internet companies going broke. The ones you love! Including, but not limited to, user-generated video sites, ad networks, fringe social media sites, and companies that make all those sweet apps. Why? Because in our brave new economy, companies are slower to buy bullshit ads of questionable efficacy on every random "Web 2.0" site.

Not sure I really agree with their defintion of "bullshit ads" but the general point is valid. The "me too" online industry will struggle. From publishers to networks to agencies. Web businesses that set up because it seemed like a good idea and there was plenty of capital to go round might find things will get tough.

Lets look at locally? Do we need 10+ ad networks selling the same remnant inventory? Probably not ... Do we need as many third party repping houses? Doubtful. Do we need as many media/creative/strategy agencies who effectively are doing the same thing. No.

Consolidation in this regard isn't a bad thing, as it won't do anything to harm the market. This huge array of choice/supply doesn't do anyone any real favours. A cull should improve the overall level of the industry and rid the market of the more questionable operators.

Another thing to watch is increased attention paid to digital media businesses. Last month AdNews ran a story on 3rd party networks placing premium brands on porn sites without their knowledge. Classy look for the industry hey ... And then yesterday The Oz's Lara Sinclair ran a great article on dubious 20% rebates paid by publishers to certain agencies who believe that is a fair 'pay to play' policy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Times up for the 20% rebate?

Lara Sinclair has written an article in todays Australian that finally documents what has been going on for years - some agencies are demanding 20% commission rebates from publishers.,28124,24520533-7582,00.html

"The warning comes as media agency Initiative has introduced a so-called "preferred partnership" scheme under which some internet publishers and online advertising networks are being asked to pay them a 20 per cent commission to become a favoured supplier.

But even as some media agencies -- including Emitch, the digital arm of the Mitchell Communications Group and Toyota's dedicated media agency the Media Store -- charge more than the standard 10 per cent commission, internet publishers are pushing back. "

The big question remains - are these higher that 10% rebate savings being pushed back to the client and/or being disclosed?

It's also interesting to see the publishers being so vocal about the issue - which was in the past an unspoken inconvenience - especially in regards to emitch and The Media Store. Wonder if they'll cop any blowback from these two.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Google UK to allow gambling advertising from today

Brand Republic is reporting that Google in the UK is allowing gambling related search advertising effective today.

"Google is changing its advertising policy to allow gambling-related advertising to appear against search queries in the UK from 17 October.

Previously, businesses could not advertise any form of online gambling or related websites on Google. The ads will still not be allowed on Google sites outside the UK.

UK companies registered with the Gambling Commission will be able to target text-based ads to users in England, Scotland and Wales. Non-UK advertisers based within the European Economic Area wishing to target Great Britain can do so if they are licensed to advertise gambling in their respective countries."

In AU it does not allow gambling based SEM - but how will long will it uphold this position?

You can be sure if it did it would open up a nice revenue stream ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Malcolm Turnbull on Twitter

Nice work Julian

News Digital Media: The Unemployed spend 40hrs a week on Internet

That's the word according to News Digital Media and their Aspiring Australian's market research.

It tells us that unemployed users of NDM sites spend 6 hours per weekday on the Internet, and 5 hours per weekend day. Total = 40 hours.

Effectively, these people do have a full time job. It's called surfing the net.

So maybe an economic slowdown and higher unemployed rates might be good for digital media consumption ;)

The full report is here -

The research is pretty generic, which is disappointing because it's good to see News Digital take the step and try and work out their audience a little better.

There's no new insight into why people use online (real motivations), their usage across different areas (ie maps, video, search, content, contribution), emerging trends or cross media consumption. This is the only first release of the report, and you can be sure it will evolve moving forward as it's released every 3 months.

It does have one statistic that is interesting - that the average NDM user is spending 27 hours, 49 minutes on the Internet per week.

As a figure this feels high to me and surely must be skewed by the respondants being online at work - which needs to be clarified more. Are they 'online' - ie connected - or are they actively using the Internet?

Personally, I work in digital media and I wouldn't be actively online more than 20 hours a week across home and work.

According to Nielsen, the average Internet user in AU spends 14 hours, 34 minutes online per month - which works out to around 3.3 hours per week online.

Who is right? The difference is pretty significant.

September Nielsen data: Yahoo!7 takes a massive hit, other players hold

Nielsen has just released September Netview data and the numbers would be causing a few sighs over at Yahoo!7

Just over 6 weeks ago Yahoo!7 PR was out in force trumpeting the success of their Olympics initiative - and with good reason - it was pretty successful.

However most insiders were more concerned with what they could do with the audience once the Olympics were over. Could they hold enough of them and bring them into the Yahoo!7 fold (be it through Mail, Messenger, Answers, News, Homepage) to become regular users.

The first warning sign would have been last month when the Nielsen data showed Yahoo!7 didn't actually add any new users in August of 08 (when compared to July) - most would have expected an incremental gain in user numbers as a result of an official Olympics alliance at the very least. It wouldn't be too bold to predict internally Yahoo!7 would have forecasted a 10-20% traffic increase.

However this would have seemed like a minor blow compared to the traffic king hit the site experienced in September, down 9% from 5.35m uniques to 4.87m uniques.

This drop mirrors the drop Yahoo!7 experience just after the 2006 World Cup. Remember, the World Cup site in 06 was a Yahoo! co-brand and the traffic fell into Yahoo's topline. However once the action stopped in Germany, the traffic left and didn't return.

On these current September numbers, Yahoo!7 has less momentum with its audience than it did pre Olympics, which is undoubtedly the worst possible outcome for the site.

You can bet the financial investment required to secure the online rights to the Olympics was a mid term initiative financially - based on using the Olympic brand as a carrot to bring new eyeballs to the site and Yahoo!7 working out a way to transition these people into long term users.

Tough questions will no doubt be asked. How has this happened? Did the company have a real plan to try and keep the Olympics traffic it generated? Why, with the number 1 TV network is this JV not generating much traction with users over 2 years in? What has happened to Rohan Lund's vision of being a leader in news, homepage, mail and search?

These are prickly questions - but it seems now globally the Yahoo! brand is being forced to address them across the board as the share price flounders. How will it address these issues it is facing in AU?

The only question I have is, what is Yahoo7's strategy? It's hard to see a real direction from an outsiders point of view.

At the same time, Yahoo!'s main competitors either held their audience in September or grew marginally.

Ninemsn and Fairfax Digital held topline audience numbers, whilst News Digital Media grew 4% (up 150k users)

YHOO dips below $12 a share

Has anyone else been watching the rapid descent of the Yahoo share price?

Well ... right now it's at $11.75 and its market cap is just north of $16b USD.

Blodget covers it here -

Lets not forget in February MSFT offered Yahoo! $31 per share ... and they declined. Since then the situation has gone from bad to worse.

What's causing the decline? The flogging the company is copping in search combined with large questions around Jerry Yang and Sue Decker and a very public stoush between those 2 and Carl Icahn earlier in the year. The Google AdSense distro deal being stalled wouldn't be helping either, nor would over 100 senior exec defections in the past 18 months.

Key thing to remember is in the US and most areas of Asia - Yahoo is still very strong. Very strong - a leader in many key categories across these large, critical markets. Even with this, many are expecting large layoffs and scaling back of operations. Some have predicted 20% of staff could go.

Have to wonder what might be about to happen in AU - where the company isn't a market leader and of late has seemed to lack longer term direction when compared to its competitors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looksmart's Thought Leadership series

Great initiative -

They have tapped into the likes of John Battelle and Danny Sullivan to make this happen - both highly respected names, particularly in the search world.

Would be great to see this done locally - tapping into respected players in the AU market to try and give the wider market access to quality opinion in the world of digital marketing and media.

This sort of thing adds value to clients and agencies - which is what they are all screaming out for.

Looksmart wants to offer "articles from industry thought leaders on topics aimed at equipping you to make smart choices in online advertising."


So who will be the first player locally to do this? It could be a creative agency, media agency, ad server, publisher, ad network ... the opportunity exists for all of them.

Battelle on media ...

Good post by John Battelle on the Looksmart Thought Leadership blog.

"I believe that in the media world, there are several buckets of what one might call "value creation." There is clearly value in traditional approaches to content creation - editors, producers, and writers corralled into media-making factories like the New York Times or NBC (I call this kind of media "Packaged Goods Media"). There's value in a different kind of media, media created by ongoing conversations between communities of media consumers on blogs, social networks, and sites like Digg (I call that kind of media "Conversational Media.")

Finally, there's value in the aggregation and curation of media, whether it's packaged goods or conversational. Curation (or put more traditionally, editing and filtering) is increasingly valuable in the information economy - there are simply too many potential streams of information for anyone to grok, and we need trusted sources to curate it all for us. Google News is a good example of that curation, as are Digg, NewsVine, Wikipedia and any number of other sites - every vertical seems to have similar service - from music ( to women's interest (

But here's the rub: There's a critical difference between curation based on algorithm (Google News) and curation based on human insight (Digg or Wikipedia) - and that difference can be summed up in one word: Voice. In short, sites that allow people to be part of the curation process have voice, and sites that are driven by algorithm, don't.

No matter how hard we try, we can't come up with an algorithm that creates a truly human voice."

Worth a read. Also applicable to advertising online I think ... but more on that later.

6 reasons why a economic downturn might be good for the AU digital media industry

1. Less cash floating around combined with more conservative spending should mean less new sites pop up that fail to offer anything new to either the audience or the ad market. I don’t think in this climate Fairfax would have invested in something like

2. There will be increased pressure on sales teams to offer real value, insight and service to both agencies and clients; rather than being order takers. Right now, this doesn’t happen, and frankly it doesn’t need to given the growth the digital ad market has had to date ... yet I think in the next 18 months there will need to more focus given to how digital channels can both answer business objectives and work closer with ‘broadcast’ media in the sales pitch.

3. In addition there will be pressure on publishers generally to differentiate themselves to competitors in the market and compete for ad spend based on more than unique users. To date, there is very minimal research that proves that any of the major options offer a superior audience – and those who have developed their own research have generally missed the mark in terms of bringing it back to their own product. Newspapers, radio and TV all have lobby groups that generate research and insight to help the ad market understand their product. Digital has the IAB – which publicly hasn’t done anything to help the medium in more than 2 years. Now is the time the IAB needs to become active as its stakeholders (ie the large publishers) are going to need an industry lobby group to show value in the medium.

4. Enhanced focus on strengths. My personal feel is publishers will need to get rid of ‘nice to have’ elements of their sites. What this will probably mean is job losses, especially in production, but more importantly it should mean each publisher focuses more time and effort on the areas they are really good at, which should make them better. If you look at the big publishers – Fairfax, ninemsn, News, Yahoo – they are all excellent at 3-4 things, good at 4-5 and average at the rest. I think there will be closer attention paid to the average performers – page views, revenue, yield, costs etc – as now isn’t the time to be carrying excess weight.

5. The ‘measurability benefits’ stance of digital will be under greater scrutiny. Digital has and still does trade off a foundation of ‘measurability’. “Digital is more accountable than other media”, “Digital offers better ROI” … I think we need to look at this in a more honest fashion … and also look closer and quantify the relationship between online media and offline media. What will this mean? Less data probably, but better data … and data more aligned to business objectives. So – your campaign for an FMCG reached 4m people and generated 55,000 ppl through to the website … but what did it do to increase the unit sales of the client?

6. Untargeted ad networks will struggle. There is a reasonable business right now in buying cheap inventory off US or European remnant ad pools and selling it back to AU clients at a premium. This has to stop and will stop ... the US/Euro remnant networks will look to establish direct relationships with AU advertisers to generate growth, and advertisers will look to cut costs on these buys by wiping out the middleman. If your ad network doesn't offer either an elusive audience, sophisticated technology, or exclusivity I think your position in this market is under threat.

So Obama is using In Game advertising ...

Gigaom is reporting Obama is using In Game advertising via Massive in the US -

Interesting, but why is anyone surprised. Most progressive marketers have used the medium.

The same thing happens when politicians use search or twitter or youtube to campaign - we seem to be surprised - like they and their campaign team are so out of touch with the modern media world they wouldn't even be across these channels.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Clickable food for thought

So I have a client who wants to do a campaign online.

Trouble is - they don't really seem to feel that having an online 'destination' is that important. All they really want to do is let people know the product is available and give people an image of it in action.

I tend to agree with them. The nature of the product doesn't lend itself to finding out more - it's extremely straight forward.

So when I was asked whether they could run a campaign without the ad being clickable my first response was, 'erm ... I really don't know.'

For this advertiser, they want to look to use the web purely as a medium to build targeted reach for their brand in relevant environments. For them, response doesn't actually have any value for the campaign in question.

The more I thought about it, the more it actually made me smile. Here's a brand that is looking at online more than either response or 'creating a dialogue.'

I know some people will say 'this campaign is all about interruption, the hallmarks of old media blah blah blah' ... and maybe they're right ... but it also offers many benefits - right place, right time, right consumer.

So I asked around the major publishers and networks on whether they'd accept an ad creative that didn't click anywhere.

All of the groups I asked said they would, except one.

Google - in the context of their display media content network (purchased on CPM mind you) flatly refused. I asked for a reason, none was given.

It made me wonder - is Google indirectly making a statement that if you can't click on an ad online it doesn't hold any value for the advertiser or user?

Tech getting the jitters from the economic hammering

Last week I touched on the impact of the US financial issues on tech stocks.

Now there is finally talk on how this will impact the advertising market ... with some sentiment that digital will probably benefit from any economic turmoil as it offers a perception of more accountability than other media.

Some have stated Google will benefit - which is interesting. I'm not so sure it should - Google is about demand fulfillment, not demand creation. In times like this brands need to create more demand - not look at making fulfillment more efficient. I sometimes feel most misunderstand the role of SEM in a marketing mix and the variables that impact what search can do for a company. For almost all categories, search relies on 'ATL' media (for want of a better term) to drive demand for brand and category terms ... by taking money out of brand building activity, it will impact the amount of traffic you can funnel using search. If advertising is a mix of art and science (magic and logic or whatever other analogy ppl use), then I am not sure it makes much sense to lean more towards straight science in leaner times.

Locally it will be interesting to see what happens. The first half of 08 was very flat ... however the environment has rallied in the second half and we should see approx. 20% YOY growth in the online advertising sector.

However, it's not clear yet what will happen in Q1 and Q2 of 2009 - which I think would be making the local players nervous given how soft the same period was in 08 without such powerful economic factors at play. In the US the past few months have seen layoffs at a lot of key players, the same situation is entirely possible here - I wouldn't be surprised to see layoffs in product/editorial areas over the next 2-3 months in AU. Either that or we will see publishers trim the fat off their offerings - ie, get rid of the elements of their portfolio which on their own are not viable. It's not the time to be carrying excess baggage.

So lets check in with 6 key stocks I looked at last week and see how they faired over the past 7 days.

Yahoo! - market cap down 2.18b in past 7 days
Google - market cap down 5.87b in past 7 days
Microsoft - market cap down 1.56b in past 7 days
Research In Motion - market cap down 1.84b in past 7 days
Apple - market cap down 6.86b in past 7 days
Time Warner - market cap down 6.07b in past 7 days

Monday, October 6, 2008

AFL on twitter

The AFL (the worlds greatest game in my opinion) has launched a Twitter feed for trade week.

Will be interesting to see what happens when the trade action heats up.

Cool initiative and good to see the sporting giant using the platform.

A bogus heart attack, Steve Jobs and Citizen Journalism

It was the first weekend I'd had without AFL for 6 months, so luckily something interesting happened over the weekend that I could follow in between trying to save my garden from the weeds

It occured in the developing world of 'citizen journalism', and the star players were Apple Chief Steve Jobs and CNN's 'citizen journalism' initiative, CNNi.

On Friday night I was home enjoying some red wine, watching Goodfellas for the 20th time, when I quickly logged onto Silicon Valley Insider. Henry Blodget the sites editor started with, "Citizen journalism" gets its first real test. A story of major consequence that, thus far, no one else has reported"

It then went onto report that CNN's CNNi had run a story on it's front page that Apple head, Steve Jobs, had suffered a heart attack and had been taken to hospital. This happened around 11pm EST ... so just before trading opened in Wall St. SAI merely reported the story and linked out to CNNi - it claimed it was following up Apple sources to see if the story was legitimate as the rest of the media world didn't seem to be following the story at the time.

But Twitter was ablaze with chatter regarding the alleged heart attack. Apple stock dived - but nowhere near as much as one would expect.

SAI also stated "Meanwhile, very interesting that this report appears on CNN's site. If it proves correct, CNN will look great. If it is wrong, CNN's credibility will likely be hit."

The whole situation is outlined here -

So ... a few hours later it turned out the post on CNNi was bogus. SAI amended the story and CNN took the post down. It apppeared that in this case, the initiative had failed. Apple stock rallied and now the hunt is on to find out who the culprit was.

Blodget is getting absolutely hammered for posting the story as news - I don't think he has anything to answer for. Jobs is the biggest name is tech without a doubt and his health is an often discussed issue almost to the point that when Jobs gets up and launches a new product there is often more discussion about his weight (or lack of) than the products.

It will be interesting to see how CNN approach this - an error this large with a personality as big as Jobs is a real stumble ... and will this impact on other traditional media experiments into letting their readers contribute editorial?

Friday, October 3, 2008

FoxSports consolidate with MCN

MCN will sell from Jan 1, 2009, replacing News Digital Media.

This will be a bit of a hit to News - which would have generated around 5-10% of its display revenue from Foxsports.

But will it be a bigger hit to Foxsports - who would have generated a stack of traffic from being the sports site across the News Digital Media network?

Who knows ... News have inked a deal with ESPN, which isn't really on the same scale that FoxSports currently is, but isn't a bad save.

My thoughts are News should focus on building their own sports offering through their masthead sites - like they have done with Superfooty. This, to me, seems like a better long term strategy than representing someone elses content.

The pressure will now be on MCN to deliver strong, integrated responses, which they haven't nailed to date across their other properties. FoxSports has potential for cross platform deals but the execution must be right.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jason Scott scores primo US gig with MSN

Fantastic news that Jason Scott, ex ninemsn Commercial Director, has been appointed Director of Global Agencies for MSN

From the article: "Mr Scott will take up his new role in November. In it he will oversee a diverse portfolio of Microsoft media products that carry advertising, including the gaming console Xbox, online gaming sites, MSN portals including ninemsn in Australia, Hotmail and such Mp3 players as Zune, which are starting to incorporate commercial messages. Mr Scott will also oversee the Atlas online adserving technology Microsoft acquired in May last year when it paid $US6 billion for the internet ad firm aQuantive."

Great to see some Aussie talent making in roads globally in the digital world. Congrats Jase.

Fantastic Wii execution on YouTube

Very clever!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Top 5 Biggest Digital Marketing Cliches

Thanks to Ad Age - so true

Anyone who reverts to one of these cliches out of context in todays environment, in my opinion, shows a lack of conviction/belief in their own ideas and is looking to do something purely because it's topical or someone else has and has gotten PR.

Thankfully it doesn't happen that often ...