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Jan 16 2006
A Few Quick Hits
Here�s an AP story exploring the privacy implications of high-resolution online mapping. Nothing particularly new here except that the issue is getting flagged. We may be in an era of new privacy initiatives (we�ll see). The consumer zeitgeist may be moving in that direction (helped along by the NSA shenanigans).

This story in MediaPost (reg. req�d) cites a shopping study by a firm called Questus about consumer abandonment of sites (1 in 3) once they hit registration pages. (To some degree this goes to privacy concerns, but it also argues by implication that newspapers should abandon registration. And it suggests some potential obstacles for behavioral targeting.)

DA alternatives (Jingle Networks, 1800Free411Metro) are profiled in this article . We�ll have a panel on FreeDA at Drilling Down on Local: �Free DA: A Flawed Model or Mo-Lo Made Simple?�
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:32 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 14 2006
MSN AdCenter's Ambitions
Microsoft Corp. announced Friday that it will step up its adCenter online ad platform to handle all the paid search results that appear on MSN search.

Currently about 25 percent of sponsored links come from adCenter, and the rest are outsourced to Yahoo! (Overture). The contract with Yahoo! expires in June though.

So its in-house ad placement is hoped to bring in higher paid search revenues and provide some competition for Google and Yahoo!.

It also represents a step toward developing a platform for placing ads across multiple platforms, as search is beginning to seep across various devices and platforms (i.e. Yahoo! Go). The development work for this platform will mostly take place at Microsoft�s newly launched adLab, a marriage between its Redmond-based adCenter team and its Chinese research lab. adLab will work on ways to better target user demographics, behavior and device use.

It�s a clear move to catch up to Google and Yahoo!, behind which it currently trails in paid search market share. As ad inventory will increase with more search happening across different platforms and devices, it�s a good time for Microsoft to make such a move.

It will have some catching up to do, however, as Yahoo! has already signed partnerships with Motorola and Nokia to bundle Yahoo! Go in new phones, and Google is beginning to make some moves of its own in the portable device market. These partnerships will cement Google and Yahoo! into the interfaces of these devices. Look for Microsoft to do the same, as this is where much of the new growth in search market share will come from.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  14:32 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 13 2006
NeoMedia Linking Wireless and Real Worlds
I had a briefing with Rick Szatkowski of a company called NeoMedia, which has a range of product offerings. What we talked about, however, was a pretty compelling mobile ad infrastructure called �PaperClick," which links the wireless and physical worlds together.

There are lots of marketers experimenting with SMS short codes, but this technology is broader, more flexible and has more interesting applications. While SMS campaigns have interoperability limitations across U.S. carriers, PaperClick uses the mobile Web, eliminating cross-carrier barriers.

Through keywords or bar code entry via a camera phone, the company�s technology enables consumers with wireless devices to access targeted promotions, offers and coupons from anywhere�a cereal box, a TV commercial, a poster a billboard, a magazine, etc.

Users are encouraged to set up an online profile that enables marketers to run different promotions for different market segments and profiles. So a message on a billboard or a cereal box might yield one promotion for you and a separate one for me based on our differing profiles.

It also extends the life of otherwise �static� traditional media; the promotions can change �on the back end� even as the billboard creative remains the same over a period of weeks or even months.

There are more narrow versions of this happening in Japan now. And this type of promotion-based wireless advertising model starts to look more and more viable and less and less like something that�s �cool� but still far off.

We�ll cover this company and its offerings more in future writing.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  16:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006
Do Blue Balloons Signal Death for Yellow Pages?
Blogger David Galbraith is being credited as the first to discover that Google is beginning to offer blue �Adballoons� on maps, which for now appears limited to hotels in New York City. One of Galbraith�s basic conclusions is that this application will help tip print Yellow Pages over the edge into oblivion (my words, you can read his).

I think it is fair to say that map-based advertising is potentially a pretty big deal and a direct threat to Yellow Pages publishers. The list of threats is getting pretty long at this point, and yet the industry is still standing, wounded but not yet destroyed.

While map-based advertising is a higher-level threat, I stop short of buying the argument that this will be the bullet that finally fells the beast. If I can switch metaphors, perhaps this is cut No. 216 of the 1,000 required to cause death. I doubt whether the 1,000th cut will ever be administered, at least within the time frame many appear to be suggesting.

One fact worth noting is that, so far, the only participants in the adballoons product are national hotel chains. When it comes time to include local businesses (think restaurants, health clubs, dentist offices, cleaners and the like), who will bring these relationships to Google? The local sales channel may not be the impenetrable armor that some suggest, but it remains an unrivaled advantage.

Nonetheless, this is a development that directory publishers have had time to anticipate and should take seriously.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  16:05 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006
IPTV Article of the Day
The Washington Post�s Leslie Walker penned an interesting post-CES piece today about IPTV.

From the article:

No single company put everything together into a magical product at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but you didn�t need much imagination to connect the booths and see the Internet TV networks of the 21st century struggling to be born. The unmistakable theme was how video is moving over the Internet onto home televisions and mobile devices in ways that will finally allow consumers to talk back to their TVs, much as they have been interacting with Web sites for the past decade.

This is a point we have continually raised about the benefits IPTV will bring to consumer targeting and advertising. The interaction or pulling in of on-demand content will not only serve users in innovative ways, but will also give networks, service providers and advertisers invaluable, detailed information about what viewers want and exactly where they are. The inherent advantages of IP technologies over cable and satellite will allow this tracking�as they have done on the Web�as Walker pointed out (and as we have in the past).

This point she makes is also intriguing:

Basically, IPTV allows multiple layers of video, pictures and text to be mixed with video feeds in ways viewers can control with their remotes. It�s the old interactive TV vision�point your remote at an actress on screen and up comes her name, prior credits and perhaps a �buy me� button for her blue sequined dress.

The big question is: How will all the moving parts come together, such as content creation and aggregation, hardware integration, service providers, monetization strategies, and advertising sales channels (or perhaps self provisioning).

An interesting read and a primer for many IPTV issues we�ll raise at the upcoming Drilling Down on Local conference.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  15:18 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006
Ads on the Map
John Battelle points to an Andy Beal post pointing a Pamela Parker ClickZ story about Google putting sponsored links on the map itself. (Click one of the blue �pushpins.")

We knew this day would come (and have been talking about it at the past several conferences). Yahoo! has been doing a version of this for some time with its sponsor �icons."

Consumers will want some version of this and so it doesn�t risk destroying the user experience if it�s handled thoughtfully. Indeed, we would expect to see more of this as maps become more and more central to the local search experience.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  14:19 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006
LiveDeal Announces Program for Nationals
Free local classified provider LiveDeal announced a new program, AdTarget, that permits national brands and large advertisers to target its local users across the U.S. and Canada.

This represents a new revenue stream for LiveDeal, which has been creatively diversifying as a technology platform and developing an affiliate network, in addition to being a consumer destination site.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  14:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 12 2006 Traffic Continues Growing
Here�s a release that reflects continued traffic growth at Interchange Corp.�s destination. The company said that for the month of December 2005, reached 6.9 million unique visitors and over 33 million page views, up from 5 million unique visitors and 21 million page views in November 2005. has been adding content partnerships as well as new features to try and get ahead of the torrid pace of product development in the local search market.


Update: is adding content into results. Here�s the release.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  13:58 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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