Another Head Slammer…

17 October, 2008
Zzzz is for...

Zzzz is for...

Following on from my learned friends post regarding the stunning quality of insight achieved by the latest Marketing Sherpa email research, here’s another one for you…

A business called Zeta Interactive have done their detailed analysis of the web using a special tool that is probably really expensive and very, very, difficult to understand without a PHD and have proved that in the States, the number one concern during financial crisis is mortgage payments – read more here.

Outstanding. The most expensive outgoing is the primary concern of households during tough financial times… watch this space for other exclusive insights into the web-world.

However, this great bit of publicity got onto ‘AOL Money’, great to see that AOL have cut back on Human Editorial Controls in this age of financial duress…

Platform-A Wins Turner European Display Inventory

8 July, 2008

Platform A

It appears that AOL’s Platform-A may be on the march forward.  The news is that that they have landed the inventory from the TMI display business which includes the Cartoon Network.

This might not be that major of a win (more of internal sale rather than new business) considering the association between the companies but AdViking has heard that Platform-A are out pitching the integrated story excellently.  So regardless of the truth of the probable patchwork state of the platforms, they are out there making it tough in pitches for Google and Microsoft.

Yahoo! must really hate Microsoft

14 June, 2008

Well, as we all know Yahoo! and Google announced a new deal around paid search yesterday. Lots and lots of coverage and analysis on TechCrunch, here and here, and SAI here. What strikes us at AdViking late on a warm weekend afternoon is that if you dig into the deal [read this one!] it really looks like the CEO and other senior executives at Yahoo must really hate Microsoft. You might even think they look pretty desperate and we are not talking about desperate house wives (that at least would be fun to watch).

Don’t get me wrong, we are fans of Yahoo and I’ve been using the site for more than a decade. But if this deal isn’t letting the fox right into the hen house then there is obviously things we’re not bale to see from up here in the land of the viking. I guess we can look at this as the end of web 1.0 and the day Yahoo as they become essentially an affiliate to Google (much like AOL). We also think there must be a host of legal and regulatory problems that lie ahead for G and Y.

Now the really interesting thing is what will other big publishers and content owners do? And is this day that a new online advertising war started?

We need to go back to the fort for awhile to ponder this but in the meantime we are going to re-read the Blog Maverick’s post on one way possible to beat Google and also think some more about how great brands (both advertiser and publisher) like to work together (we’ll start be re-reading some post such as this one from JB – The Rise of Independent Media Brands Online). Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Microhoo or is it YahAOL?

10 April, 2008

It’s heating up to end game as there’s plenty of moves on the potential purchase of Yahoo! by Microsoft.

To AdViking the way Yahoo is going about it is a reminder of Wargames and at this point Jerry Yang is making sure that no-one will win, especially his shareholders which they can’t be happy about.

The big three moves are:

  1. WSJ reports that Time Warner and Yahoo are close to making a deal for AOL (minus the access business) to join Yahoo
  2. Yahoo have announced they are going to run a two week trial to run AdSense ads
  3. New York Times reports that News Corp. may have flopped over to joining the Microsoft bid

AdViking thinks the last one as being the most interesting. If you have a combined Yahoo, News Corp and Microsoft then you have a truly viable alternative to Google in the digital ad space and this then creates opportunities through out the digital advertising ecosystem. e.g.: for technologies like OpenX; indy ad networks like adconion; or indy publisher networks like Federated Media.

AOL Loses $76 million From Search Results Tweaks

7 April, 2008

Now that we have reached the point that Search is the Portal, we can all be forgiven for thinking that the user experience is no longer critical.

AdViking just read the excellent Dead Man Walking article on FastCompany  on the continuing demise of AOL that proves this is far from the truth and in fact that User Experience is more important than ever.

Or better, let’s rephrase that to knowing what experience user’s want when they use your Search is more important than ever.

In response to a fall in Search traffic at AOL (38.9 million visitors in November 06 vs. 35.2 million in May 07). Ron Grant*, the new COO for AOL, took the executive decision that the fall was due to the facSmithers and AOLt that AOL returned a rich results set (e.g.: multi-media, pictures), that was reported to have a higher than Google effective return on advertising. And so deciding to buck the movement towards a richer search experience (ASK’s 3D search, Google’s Universal Search), Grant ordered the results set to be more look Google’s.

The results of this change could be considered catastrophic. Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield said, “Management was blindsided by how disruptive the change to search was.” In a period of industry growth, AOL’s Search revenue fell from $232 million in Q1 to $156 million in Q2. To put it bluntly, one could say that the changes made to the AOL’s Search Experience could be blamed for the drop of $76 million in one quarter!

It appears that Users liked the Search Experience on AOL and the fact that is was different was the just the point. That is users were in a different mindset when they came to use AOL Search. Meaning, knowing who your users are and how they use your site is critical.

Finally, on the trend around richer Search experiences, enquiro research wrote an enlightening whitepaper, Search Engine Results: 2010. It’s based on interviews and research on the impact of user interaction with these richer results. The interviewees included: Jakob Nielsen, Marrisa Mayer, Greg Sterling and Danny Sullivan.

* Time-Warner company men, Steve Falco and Ron Grant, have been put in place as the CEO and COO of AOL. Employees and now the wider industry appear to have started to refer to Falco and Grant as Mr. Burns and Smithers.

AOL Purchases Bebo

17 March, 2008

On the back of the SXSW Mark Zuckerberg interview and the interesting macro movements around the future of social media advertising, it seems that Time Warner provides further validation to these trends and have acquired, considered by many the #3 player, Bebo for AOL.

AdViking’s early take is that by adding the additional platform and traffic to what they have all ready, AOL has some very interesting pieces in play and with their Platform A advertising stable they have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of what happens next. Especially, if we consider that Zuckerberg considers that the solution to social media advertising isn’t going to be found in the next couple of years but decades.

The coverage has ranged from: