Microsoft Buys Ciao

29 August, 2008
a $486m logo?

Ciao: a $486m logo?

So – our friends over at Microsoft have gone a splurged nearly half a billion on Ciao. Well, OK, not just Ciao – they bought the site’s owners, marketing research firm Greenfield Online apparant just so they could grab Ciao. Wow.

Dear old Brand Republic compare Ciao to shopping comparison engines like Kelkoo, Froogle (oops, I mean the ridiculously re-named ‘Google Product Search’), Shopping.com and PriceGrabber.

But they do Ciao a disservice: the magic lies in combining price comparison with product reviews from (gasp) real people, adding (for AdViking at least) some real value other than just hogging the search results on Google. Is that, AdViking wonders, where Microsoft see the value?

There are some other players around in this industry (ReviewCentre springs to mind) who must be raising an eyebrow or two. Good luck to them!


Alter ego

29 August, 2008

As you may have already gathered, AdViking is plagued by multiple personality disorder, and one of those many facets is now up and blogging over on BrandRepublic as of last night. To paraphrase an 80’s band, the  Blogosphere Will Eat Itself…

pop will eat itself

There, as here, AdViking notes something of an upsurge of comments/questions/pontifications about the significance of Web 3.0 though… as well as picking up on comments found below refering to the Facebook trials.

Annoying as the term will doubtless become it presents a useful wireframe to hang speculation about what comes next.

For me? It’s the next step on the path to personal relevance: more relevant search results/dynamic content/social networking based on intelligent interpretation of what the ‘right’ answer is to the question I’ve asked.

A good portion of that relevance should come from location information… where can can begin to really unlock the value of the web’s growing ubiquity and portability.


Facebook Trials ‘Engagement Ads’

22 August, 2008

After the disaster that was Beacon, Facebook  have announced they are continuing to pioneer the pathway to understanding how to monetise social media with testing of ‘Engagement Ads’.

Basically, it’s a new ad format that allows users to comment, become a fan and give gifts.

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, has a thoughtful look at  what ‘Engagement Advertising’ Means to Brands.

AdViking likes this because even though it will probably fail at least they are trying to innovate and take advantage of being the #1 social network in the world.

Though AdViking has to say this is all great and exciting the real news of late from Facebook and what’s going to deliver a heap of money to the coffers is that the alcoholic beverage industry can now advertise on Facebook!  This will be one sure way to increase the problem of the lack of beer money in digital.

Beer


Facebook World’s Largest Social Network

22 August, 2008

Following on from the news that Facebook is growing unbounded in the UK, comScore has released data that shows this being a global phenomenon and Facebook is #1 of the social networks.

What’s also interesting is that this growth as been fuelled by Europe and the rest of the world with North America growing at a fairly flat 38% y/y.

This is particularly interesting to AdViking as you can then correlate this to advertising spend of country and can see that a lot of innovation in social ad models will be coming from Europe.


White Spaces – a new battle ground

18 August, 2008

Google launched a new website this week to help lobby the US FCC on the future of ‘white space’ spectrum. Up here on AdViking mountain we support this campiagn and await the outcome… Related: more about this topic over on the WSJ – that’s worth a read.


Facebook Continues UK Growth

14 August, 2008

AdViking was probably a bit hasty earlier this year in suggesting that people were burnt on social networks in the UK.  Hitwise has released some stats over the last month that show this just the opposite, well at least for Facebook UK.

Facebook Enters Top 3

Hitwise says that Facebook is now the third most visited site in the UK, with 2.75% of all UK visits in July going to Facebook.  In the graph below they are comparing Facebook to Live Mail (Hotmail) and eBay UK – though from the caveats given, if Hitwise bundled in a couple of other eBay properties they would be higher. 

What AdViking thinks is interesting here is that Facebook is a major traffic destination, which brings a couple of questions to mind:

  1. Due to the social nature of Facebook and the easy ability to recommend links what is the downstream effect of Facebook growing?
  2. And is this hitting Search Engines at all?  (If yes to 2. then the Live Search / Facebook deal could be quite a coup).

Facebook #1 of the Social Networks

Then just looking at the UK Social Networks, Hitwise has it that Facebook is  now heavily leading the league table with a 45.29% market share.

The most striking point is that this growth has come at the expense of Bebo (which was historically  strong in the UK and part of the appeal to AOL) and mostly MySpace, which shed 50% of it’s market share.

Couple of other interesting points:

  • Club Penguin is #6 – pretty impressive for a virtual world aimed at 8-12 year olds
  • Nasza Klasa @ #8 is a Polish network, which highlights the digital nature (and probable education level) of the plumbers, painters and cleaners, etc. who have come from Poland to the UK

So, as AdViking said earlier, it was probably a little too early to start sounding the death knell for Facebook this year but the burning question then has to be:  How will they successfully monetise all this traffic?


Google is a Media Conglomerate

12 August, 2008

For a couple of years now, AdViking has been beating the drum about Google being a Media Company and is now thoroughly bored of the little counter-points of debate put forward at meeting tables, conference calls and dinner parties.  The debate is over, Google is not a technology company and as the IHT says:  Google’s foray into content raises some eyebrows!

The article goes into consideration of the effect of the recently launched Knol.  Which is a Google ‘expert’ self-publishing site, along the lines of Wikipedia, with the primary exception is that authors by-line their entries, can display Google advertising on them and maintain their copyright.

Knol is new and so not going to impact Publishers yet but all ready consider it is brand new the content is ranking suspiciously high and AdViking doesn’t care what Google says, everyone knows that they jack results in their favour.

Also, what’s stopping someone from jacking copyrighted material from somewhere else onto Knoll (e.g.:  the buttermilk pancakes recipe on Knoll could simply be a CTRL-C, CTRL-V from say Martha Stewart).  If we take YouTube’s issues with copyright one can assume Knol will be similarly plagued.

The question to really ask though is why is the newly launched site, the real smell the coffee moment that ends the debate about Google being a media vs. technology company?

Well, Knol highlights that Google all ready have some of the largest largest media sites on the web with YouTube and Blogger.  AdViking put together the graph below on Alexa and as you can see Google.com, Blogger.com and YouTube.com have about a 60% reach.

google.com - Traffic Details from Alex

So, as Harvard Business School Professor, David Yoffie says:

If I am a content provider and I depend upon Google as a mechanism to drive traffic to me, should I fear that they may compete with me in the future?  The answer is absolutely, positively yes.