Dead Wood: New York Times Offers Web Advertisers Free Slots in the Paper

14 November, 2008

Mashable wrote about the New York Times providing free space in the paper edition to people advertising in the online job section.

Very interesting and yes, there’s some discussion around the why and how for this but this isn’t anything knew (heard the same story last year at a German Computer Weekly type of magazine.)  what is new to AdViking is that a big brand is making this move.

This is for sure a theme to watch develop.  Digital Advertisers Get Free Paper Ads & Paper Only Advertisers Pay a Premium?

Are Google in the Mafia Protection Racket?

16 July, 2008


During lunch at the regular spot and while musing over some things, including the Google launch of Lively, AdViking started up on the old favourite of why is it that American Publishers aren’t able to see that doing a deal with Google wasn’t good for their business, yet Publishers in Europe get this loud and clear.

It reminded AdViking of recent horror stories told in hushed overtones by Publishers about the impact of getting on the wrong side of Google.  That is when they have broken away from an AdSense deal with Google, they soon find themselves re-ranked downwards in the Index and this obviously impacting their traffic.

This fear is probably why the 2nd Search Box hasn’t got much airplay and when you think about it, this is nothing more than a protection racket.  Give us your inventory (and oh, statistical data) and we’ll give you a good ranking.  You don’t play ball and you’re out.  And oh, if we see from that traffic that there’s an opportunity we’re going to launch (e.g.: Health, Lively..etc.) but don’t worry about that, because honestly believe us when we say Don’t Be Evil.

Seems like AdViking might need to become AdDetective and spend some time getting to the bottom of this or perhaps it’s time for the US Government to have a good look at the practices of Google to determine the whole Evil question once and for all.

Google Snubs Canada & Bin the Yellow Pages Book

2 July, 2008

Following on from Canada Day celebrations, AdViking came across the news this morning that Google snubbed their Great White North neighbours and didn’t have a specific logo to note that it was Canada Day. AdViking might suggest that this is a bit of hubris and could be just the thing for the Publishers to rally the Canadians around to stop using Google.

Google Snubs Canada

As part of the celebrations, AdViking noted that the throwaway comment about Yellow Pages books being recently distributed in the A Fuller View post about Local Internet Driving Tons of Traffic.  And can ?happily? report that plenty of the books are lying around unopened just waiting to put in the bin (recycling hopefully).


Thanks to D, the post-script on this one is that below is the 4th July 2008 holiday image Google went with…more bowfingers to the Canucks from the mighty Google?

July 4th Logo at Google

Is Microsoft Becoming More Aware of Publisher Conflict?

13 June, 2008

AdViking has noted that Microsoft has recently announced the closing down of Live Expo, it’s Classifieds play and believes this is a good sign.

Live Expo Closing Down Message

AdViking knows of nothing from it’s insider position but would like to suggest that the Live Expo deadpooling could be some proof that the aQuantive folks are shifting the dial towards Microsoft being more open to Publisher’s complaints around conflict within the channel.

That is, obviously aQuantive was heavily Publisher-centric and so from over the years of hearing about battles with MSN, Hotmail, etc. AdViking would like to suggest that this issue is getting airplay inside of Microsoft.

Reason for thinking this is that a Classifieds site is going to compete against the Publishers own offerings and they have enough of a battle with Cragislist, Oodle, eBay, etc..and so by dumping Live Expo, Microsoft is giving Publishers another reason to sit down at the table to  talk about the Advertising stack and the value it can bring to the Publisher eco-system.

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 – Early (morning) Thoughts from ICMA

16 May, 2008

Some of AdViking’s first thoughts from the ICMA General Meeting in Brussels.

The Publishers as a whole get that Print is in decline, Online is growing and they need to ramp up their online strategies. Though, AdViking is sure they would love to have the growth in Print that India enjoys!

Only a few, seem to understand that a good Monetisation strategy is fundamental to their success and now’s the time to do it. A lot less questions than the B2B folks about why don’t I just partner with Google and that’s my online strategy.

It’s a mixed bag on those Publishers who also get that Search is critical. Which is strange if you think that for Classifieds, how can they be anything but Search (even if they have put together a taxonomy driven approach – that’s still Search).

The future is about vertical, niche sites that share an underlying common platform (e.g.: Search).

In general, everyone is a bit brow beaten by the success of Schibsted and are looking for someone else to proof out what the Norwegians are saying.

It’s not a huge jump anymore for the Publishers to think about joining forces with non-competitive Publishers in their markets to band together for some sort of network play.

Phrase capture: Monetisation is fundamental. Mapping is Key. Some believe they are in the position to mimic Directories and become SEMs to their advertisers. MOBILE is key – especially for untethered countries (e.g.: India) – though no-one gave truly compelling reasons to accept the channel.

Tag capture: Synergies for assets. Utilise high performing. Explore under performing.

All in all, a much more upbeat and dynamic event compared to the B2B one. Go get them Classifieds.

Vertical Zoom – Traditional Publishers Announce B2B Ad Network

13 May, 2008

Zoom on Verticals

AdViking is having a month of zooming down on various verticals* and naturally a side effect has been the tracking of relevant items. Which is why AdViking just came across the news that another ad network has been launched.

BBN (Business-to-Business Network) is going to be run by WPP’s 24/7 Real Media on behalf of traditional B2B publishers: Cygnus Business Media, Nielsen Business Media, Reed Business Information and McGraw-Hill. Only numbers being touted is the network will have a reach of 10 million unique visitors a month.

Why it’s interesting:

  • It’s now safe to say that the indy ad network is the new black has jumped the shark but AdViking still believes there is more to come, e.g.: The major US leading verticals (i.e.:, and should band together to create something very powerful.
  • Like, quadrantONE, the ad network created by newspaper co’s: Gannett Co., Hearst Corp., the New York Times Co. and Tribune Co, this is cool because we’re finally seeing traditional publishers start making some serious moves to protect their futures.

What doesn’t seem to be so great:

It appears that the network will only be for display advertising, which doesn’t really lend itself to a typical B2B advertiser. It is stated though that the hope with the network is to grow B2B spend, not just move it around. This might be possible but as the network will really be about bulking out the inventory to provide appealing packages to Agencies, the real opportunity is going for a 3rd party to be to come along and optimise the distressed inventory.

*Vertical Zoom

AdViking gets to have the unique opportunity of being able to focus on different verticals through participation in various events:

  • B2B – Speaking on Vertical Search at Magazine 2008
  • Classifieds – Facilitation of a workshop on Monetising Search at the ICMA General Meeting in Brussels
  • Local – Participation in the Local Search Summit in Oslo