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.

Vertical Zoom – Local Search Summit III in Oslo

6 June, 2008

AdViking has finally recovered (more on that later) enough from the Local Search Summit in Oslo to put finger to keyboard and round off the Vertical Zoom with a quick rundown on AdViking’s key takeaways.

As written previously Local Search Summit (LSS) is an invite-only session between various non-competitive Publishers who are at different stages of deploying a Local Search strategy.

The main points for AdViking were:

  1. Search is a Key Business Enabler
  2. Advertising Growth isn’t Just Search
  3. Paper is Dead.  Long live Digital
  4. Direct Sales Force Publishers have become SEMs

Search is an Enabler

For the LSS publishers, is maturing quickly from a destination strategy into a key infrastructure play  That is by having initially deployed a vertical strategy, people are realising that by having a broad horizontal search infrastructure it can enable Publishers to quickly build and deploy verticals, e.g.:  Search driven hyper-local algorithmic digital newspapers.

Advertising Growth isn’t Just Search

Three main points to consider about this topic.

It might be obvious to most in the industry but one important recent penny drop is that Display is still here and not going away.  There’s lots of examples out there but here’s one example from the IAB/PWC comparing 06 to 07 ad spending in the US.

One example is some current thinking that AdViking it putting into around Contextual and how it is probably going to be more effective for Contextual ads to move from the typical AdSense model of PPC and apply the inventory management algorithms of Display.

Paper is Dead.  Long live Digital

One Publisher shared the fact that driven by demand from China, the cost of stock printing paper has risen to $1000 per tonne and rising.  Until recently, it was typically established  around $600.  Obvious impact of this is that it’s getting more expensive to put anything to paper.

Another interesting point was that there is now an increasingly environmental push that is starting to have an impact.  e.g.:  The Norwegian government has banned the printing of the Yellow Pages book.

Direct Sales Force Publishers have become SEMs

It’s confirmed that Publishers are leveraging their feet on the street  to become SEMs to their advertisers.  From evidence at the LSS (e.g.:  Directories are selling video ads created through partnerships with companies like Spotzer, Spot Runner) AdViking would go as far to say that they are becoming digital media agencies with a mix of selling directly to brands, agencies and the SME advertiser.

As for recovered, that’s a comment on the night time activities.  First of all, due to excellent weather and the time of year – the sun didn’t really set and it was quickly 2am but felt like 11pm.  That matched against the fact that AdViking had organised for everyone to stay at the new design hotel Grims Grenka and the nights for LSS was the ground opening parties on the rooftop bar which to quote one of the attendees, “this is amazing, it’s a supermodel party on the roof”!

Post-Script: LSS member, Irish Times have launched their new search service.  It’s work going to have a look as they have done some great things with pushing Search forward.  A Fuller View has more on A New Local Search Site in Ireland – relaunched

Vertical Zoom – First Impressions are Often Right and Local Search Summit

22 May, 2008

AdViking has now had time to mull over first impressions from the International Classifieds Media Association General Meeting in Brussels last week and has decided that those first thoughts written in the early morning while waiting to board a flight back to the UK were pretty spot on.

Saying that, AdViking does want to also suggest that you have a look at LocalOnliner.  Especially as Peter has some interesting thoughts and was coming to Brussels on the back of Kelsey’s Drilling Down on Local conference, including sharing some of the musings of the Don of Vertical, Rich Barton.

Which reminds AdViking that it’s less than a week until the Local Search Summit in Oslo.  This is an invite-only session between various non-competitive Publishers who are at different stages of deploying a Local Search strategy.  The agenda is packed for two days of knowledge sharing, networking and blue sky thinking and should finish off the Vertical Zoom nicely.

FASTforward 08 – Getting Religion about Search

23 February, 2008

I know I work at FAST but FASTforward is much much bigger than what our company does and when you hear so many keynotes that are talking about the importance of the now of search and how it’s become the key to enterprise success, one can’t help and become enthused and in the end Get Religion about Search.

Below I provide some short summaries on the following topics:

  • Vertical/Local/Ad Networks
  • Keynotes
  • Microsoft acquisition of FAST

For further reading, the FASTforward blog has a consolidated and rich number of posts for more thoughts.

The validation of Vertical/Local/indy AdNetworks:

Elaborating on the stats that IDC provided in early 07 that 70% of searches in the US happen outside of GYM, Sue Feldman provided some stats that vertical sites, including those focused on Local, will have almost 3bill search queries in 2012, while Google will only have 250 million and in fact emerging AdNetworks will have more traffic than Google.

This is very exciting news and one that AdViking has been visioning for approximately 2.5 years.

To further validate this, there was a Local Search session where there were four customers of FAST (and more specifically of AdMomentum) who had exciting opportunities for each of their markets. What was exciting what that the customers were globally spread (Arab region, Chile, Germany and Ireland) and more so there were more customers in the audience doing the same thing in their markets.


There were so many great talks from speakers like:

  • Andrew P. McAfee, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Bjørn Olstad, Chief Technology Officer, FAST
  • Don Tapscott, Chief Executive, New Paradigm, the Business Innovation Company
  • John Hagel, Author, Consultant, & Co-Chair, Deloitte & Touche Silicon Valley Research Lab
  • Safa Rashtchy, Financial Analyst, Entrepreneur, & Past Managing Director, Global Internet Media, Piper Jaffray and Company
  • Susan Feldman, Research Vice President, Content Technologies Group, IDC

From doing a quick straw poll people said that the presentations by Tapscott and Feldman were highlight keynotes.

For me, a personal highlight was a fascinating panel with Olsted, Hagel and Rashtchy. It was so deep that I couldn’t take it in to repeat anything worthwhile at this point. A video should be available soon, so once that is, I’ll be back by more. One that that did stick was in response to the question “What is the last thing you changed you mind about?”; Olsted responded without missing a beat, “Microsoft!”


Microsoft, through Jared Spataro, gave a measured insight into why MSFT is acquiring FAST. He started the presentation with some anecdotes, including that a couple of days after the news of the offer was made, a NASCAR team approached them asking if they could actually have FAST sponsor their team!


The quick summary can be clustered under:

  1. What’s in it for Microsoft?
  2. What’s in it for FAST?
  3. What’s in it for Customers?

What’s in it for Microsoft?

MSFT has figured it out that the user experience of the future is going to be shaped by search. To that end that had begun their own initiatives and taking Search seriously, but on the back of a visit to Redmond by the CTO and CEO of FAST, they realised that by purchasing FAST they would be able to take an aggressive leap forward.

What’s in it for FAST?

FAST has visionary innovations, passionate people and best-in-class technologies that with the power of Microsoft will be able to bring all of that to bear in the world and therefore the technologies and innovations will be available to all.

What’s in it for Customers?

For this cluster, Spataro, elaborated on their strategy for Search and in particular spent time focusing on the Enterprise and how Sharepoint is appearing to be a wild shooting star (approx $1billion in revenues for 08). The key takeaway is that customers will get all that they are use to from FAST but backed by a trusted infrastructure vendor. I’m sure more details will be forthcoming at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2008

Post-Mobile World Congress Wrap Up

14 February, 2008

Unified Access is the Big Opportunity for Advertising

So, the gold rush is starting. That is, there is full realisation that (depending on whose numbers you read) there is about 1 billion people with PCs and 3 billion with mobile phones and as the handsets mature for a richer media experience, then you’re quids in if you’re acting now.

The big issue is lack of standards and multiple entry points to book the ads. I believe it was someone from WPP that talked about having to book ads with 6 different players in the UK to get any decent coverage.

To me, this spells a big opportunity and the race must be on to solve this issue. That is if someone can provide the interface with the appropriate tracking analytics over top of the various mobile advertising distribution points then they are one to a winner.

That is, something like Atlas which agencies are all ready familiar with is extended to provide mobile campaign capabilities then you’re laughing.

Ad Types and Formats

I asked a lot of people for their thoughts on this and the two primary use cases that everyone agreed on was:

1. Hyper Local – I’m here and need it now kind of search. This is where Location becomes of ultimate importance. This is a natural extension for IYPs, so an easy way to get coverage is to not bother building up an advertiser base but instead cut a deal with an IYP. This can also extend to various things like price comparison and Recs.

Formats could be various but I would lean to short texts ads linking to business pages that include some sort easy mapping access.

2. Killing Time – I’m on a bus, waiting for a meeting to start, etc. and want to kill some time. This is naturally the home of bigger brands and the like.

Some formats that I believe would work for this are pre and post video rolls, display and in-game/on-world.

Advertising – Lack of QR Bummer

One of the ad types and formats I’ve been tracking for a few years is those based around QR. I was hoping to find at least a few companies involved in this at the MWC but didn’t have any luck. The positive was that in my discussions most people also believe that QR is going to be big, in particular it’s going to be a great union with Outdoor (outside of Digital the only other growth area). In fact, some Telstra people confirmed they are actively working with this technology through their Mobile division.

If you haven’t been to MWC and you’re part of the advertising industry, you should plan to go next year. It’s invaluable spending some focused time looking at what’s likely to be an incredible growth area over the next couple of years.

One complaint is that the conference is too big and unwieldy now with lots of things that don’t cross over, it would be better to theme the pavilions better so more along the lines of:

  • Front Office
  • Back Office
  • Infrastructure
  • Consumer

So if you do go, it’s probably better to take some time ahead to plan your strategy to get the most out of it, but then again, most of experience is just meeting and talking to many people about what you’re seeing/they are seeing. And of course it being in Barcelona rocks.