Category Archives: ad sales

Geography is the new black…

Two articles that caught my attention:

Bloomberg’s rally cry for the benefits of Silicon Valley and the power of the networking effect. His article describes how environments and creative talent draw in capital and new ideas. A quick read!

An article on the global ad business and how geography is influencing the buy and sell side.

Go global!global

Link

New Yahoo CEO

New Yahoo CEO

Innovative and thought provoking! A renewed focus on Product (vs bringing in a media/ad specialist). Yahoo had two great options to chose from for the leadership role….very interesting to watch this unfold.

Web traffic hitting all time highs? Maybe in some categories!

Mediabistro mentioned in a recent article that “Washingtonpost.com broke its monthly record of Nielsen unique users, posting nearly 13 million unique users in September. This is a 43% increase from Sept 2007, and 15% over the previous record of 11.2 million unique users in August.”  I think October is going to surpass even those types of numbers for web sites covering the news and finance space.

CNET's graph for the Finance vertical

CNET

Yahoo Finance is also experiencing some fantastic leaps, according to Nielsen’s metrics (and a recent CNET article). So whether you agree with Nielsen’s metrics (or methodology for that matter), directionally, its interesting to see large increases in on-line usage during this most volatile of periods. As always, when traffic spikes in the Finance vertical, often its due to economic calamities, which in turn cause advertisers to pull back spending.

According to another CNET article, “…we continue to believe that paid search-ad budgets will remain intact, based on our previously published analysis on the historical experience of direct-mail budgets during recessions. We also believe that display advertising could experience negative growth (we are projecting mid-single-digit growth in 2009), which would weigh heavily on Yahoo,” the analysts said.

October may register one of the biggest month’s ever for traffic in these verticals?!  I would like to see usage of online vs TV over the past 6 months and attempt to determine if users are going online more or less (vs turning on their TV) to follow the banking crisis?

Advertising and Twitter

We are getting closer to the atomic level of advertising and micro-blogging.

TechCrunch reported on a company called Twittad.com that allows for advertising on a person’s Twitter page. As the article so accurately points out, most folks dont visit individual pages of Twitter’ers. Instead, they read the feed on their own page. At least that is my behavior.Twittad will presumably push an ad into the feed in some form or fashion to make this work?

TwittAd application for micro-blogging monetization

TwittAd application for micro-blogging monetization

Thus, we are getting closer, but not sure this is the elegant solution. The article didnt address third party feed aggregation, such as Facebook. I have 27 people following my Twitter feed, but 448 people on Facebook that theoretically see my Twitter updates (ie my Twitter mentions show up in my Facebook feed as I connected the two).

If you extend this “audience” to my LinkedIn, my blog, etc…the micro audience will seemingly overlap, despite getting marginally larger. How do deal with this will be figured out in short order I believe.

Business Development Happy Hour – Financial news vertical

I hosted a BD gathering last week at the Coffee Shop down in Union Square.

Good turnout with business development professionals including Chris Hunter from Yahoo Finance, Mike Dehm and Stephen Smith from Reuters, Nolly Evans from CNBC, Carolyn Levy from AOL Money, Virge Cavalli from Bankrate, Josh Cohen from Google News, Sandy Brown from TheStreet and Marissa O’Hare from Forbes, to name a few of the attendees.

The CNNMoney BD team was in attendance, including Melissa Davis and Michelle Savage.

It was Mojito night in the back room where we swilled, spilled and chatted about online publishing, the soft Q’1 with respect to online sales, advertising networks, traffic from Google and Yahoo search, and other challenges facing this stalwart team.

Next BD gathering – TBD.  Shooting for a June timetable and may invite a few GM’s to pepper the conversation with product development and ad ops.

Folio Publishing Summit in Miami, Florida

I recently attended the Folio Publishing Summit conference down at the Doral Marriott in Miami, Florida. Chris Peacock, the Editor in Chief for CNNMoney, was also in attendance and representing our efforts down in Floriday. An interesting conference with many a B2B publishers looking to take their wares online. Conversations were geared around major themes: Finance and Operations, Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Senior Management and Editorial.

I spoke on two panels, primarily related to Sales Management. The first panel was titled “Sales-management skills for a new media era. ” I was a guest speaker with Eric Shanfelt, EVP of eMedia for Aspire Media. Jack Bamberger, SVP of Corporate Sales for Meredith Corporation was also on the panel. We discussed a variety of topics around building out the sales channel, multi-platform sales, characteristics of online sales professionals, how to train print teams moving to sell online, the role of product development in the sales lifecycle, etc. Eric and Jack were fantastic to have on the panel and added deep insight for the audience’s very specific questions.

The second panel was titled “Follow the Money” which dealt primarily with cash flow, AR, balance sheet issue, a topical discussion of software management for inventory and ad ops. Again, Eric and Jack provided their perspective on how to manage B2B and B2C specific challenges with online sales, impression counts, pricing, inventory projections, etc.

While I was “stuck” in Miami for the weekend due to the inclimate weather on the northeastern seaboard for a friday afternoon return flight, it was a great trip and an exciting panel to partake and share.

Tivo for the web?

Interesting article in today’s NYT article “Link by Link” by Noam Cohen.

Article profiles a web advertising filter by the name of “Adblock Plus“.  Built for the Firefox browser, this plug in app has 2.5 million users around the world and is in its infant stages of uptake.  While similar apps have come and gone, this “extreme menace to the online advertising business model” caught my eye as it makes all commerical communication disappear, including Google’s ad words.

While I make my living by finding ways to surface products and services on the web (which in turn may be monetized via ad serving), this obviously caught my attention!    I figured it was a matter of time until someone built an ad-free experience (similar to Tivo).  In the finance vertical, we have all at one time or another looked at the economics of an ad free offering (supported either by a subscription model, or other) as we continually strive to deliver a unique experience to the user.

I believe the average consumer appreciates that quality content has embedded ads to support the costs associatd to produce and thus is undermined by this type of app.  Will sites start serving ads from their own servers to get around this type of app (as the article implies)?  Maybe articles will have embedded products in the text in some form or fashion … (oh, how the editors of sites around the world are scratching their face in horror).

For now, this is just another evolution of the business, and if this takes hold, some one will figure out how to build a revenue stream to support those very large costs with building and deploying quality content.  This may have other dependencies, such as the reliance on Firefox as a browser of choice? If IE7 were to prevent this type of app (as MSFT is not immune to the outcry advertisers might employ if this were to become widespread), would this drive up the value users place on alternative browser experiences?

Speaking of..and tangential at best, what if Facebook, Myspace or other powerful social site were to launch their own browser?  What about Yahoo? Change the dynamics of an IE7 world by providing some type of value add if users of such social sites were to download a new browser?  Attack MSFT’s monopoly?