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Mar 21 2006
Net Neutrality and AT&T
AT&T Chairman Ed Whitacre seems to be intent upon pursuing access fees for high-bandwidth sites/networks. This article discussing his keynote at the TelecomNEXT show in Las Vegas quotes him as dismissing the torrent of criticism that has come his way on the issue.

Net Neutrality will be one of the themes we explore on the broadband panel next week. My personal view is that any attempt to impose such fees will boomerang, if it's not blocked as a condition of the merger or via other regulatory initiatives (e.g., U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's bill).
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  19:33 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Mar 21 2006
Social Networks and the Elusive Marketer
Here's a Hollywood Reporter piece about the challenges of social networks (a lot of rehash but a good general overview). The new bit is the mention of GoingOn (we did a quick post in July), which is a social networking "aggregator," in the same way that Meebo tries to give you one log-in for multiple IM memberships. And here's a piece in today's MediaPost (reg. req'd) that shows large marketers have been scared away from MySpace by the bad PR:

Of six panelists [on a panel at the "Revolutin in Television" conference in N.Y.] representing major advertisers and ad agencies, not a single one advertised with MySpace or other social networking sites. Reasons for avoiding MySpace include concern about its potential for criminal use, especially given recent well-publicized reports about sexual predators searching for victims on the site, as well as fears that user-generated content�including pictures and text with sexual overtones�will be offensive.

"I wouldn't be caught dead in that kind of environment," said David Cohen, executive vice president for Universal McCann Interactive, with a client roster including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Lowe's Home Improvement, Wendy's International, and Sony Electronics. "You only have to look around for five or 10 minutes to find something offensive."

Dawn Hudson, president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America, echoed this sentiment, saying she was "interested" in sites like MySpace that feature user-generated content, but "we're being cautious because there's a blurring between advertising and content, and the content does rub off on your brand."
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:10 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 21 2006
Seat to Pass on TPI
Word from Italy is that Seat Pagine Gialle, Italy's leading directory organization, is not interested in buying Telefonica's 60 percent stake in Telef�nica Publicidad e Informaci�n, Spain's top YP publisher. TPI is on the market to raise cash for Telef�nica to pursue other acquisitions in the mobile space.

Seat was one of the companies rumored to be interested, but the publisher issued a statement that it was not pursuing the deal. Seat was once a very acquisitive organization but has focused much more on its home market in recent years. Seat does own Thomson Directories in the U.K. and the European DA operator Telegate.

Others said to be pursuing the deal include Britain's Yell Group, France's PagesJaunes and a host of private equity groups.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:01 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Mar 21 2006
Microsoft and Vexcel
According to this piece from CNET, Microsoft is seeking to buy Vexcel. This deal appears to be about a range of things all of which point to enhanced mapping (including 3-D mapping), which is where Erik Jorgenson said (at last fall's ILM:05) Microsoft was headed.

There's a ton of horsepower in this company and, if the deal is approved, it appears Microsoft will be getting a lot more than simply some mapping graphics capabilities.

Google recently purchased a company called @Last Software, which has a 3-D modeling tool/application SketchUp.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  10:43 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Mar 21 2006
An Amusing Take on Yellow Pages
Neil Steinberg, a columnist at one of my local newspapers, has a peculiar obsession with Yellow Pages. You might find his take amusing. It begins down the column a bit, after his brief take on the Iraq war (which I will resist commenting on).
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

Mar 21 2006
Google Finance Launches
Google Finance, an impressive collection of tools, news and resources, was supposed to launch at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday. However, it's 12:27 and the site isn't yet up. Because I only got a sneak peek and wasn't able to "play" with it, it's not entirely clear to me how it lines up against other competitive sites (all the other portals have well-established finance sites). But from what I saw, it did appear to have some impressive and very useful features and I'm sure it will be a popular vertical within Google. (One can do portfolio tracking, for example.) And given Google's enormous traffic, the site should get immediate traction.

The idea is that users will search for a ticker symbol or other finance-related query on and be given a link to Google Finance, as well as other financial sites (just like mapping today). Then users will enter Google Finance, which is a very rich, structured environment put together from a combination of crawling and feeds from content partners. There appeared to be an enormous amount of content, from what I saw. And one thing that was particularly interesting is how Google links news to the fluctuation of share prices (actually plotting them on a graph). That's a great feature that has to be seen to be appreciated. The site will be a valuable resource for individual investors and analysts.

It's also interesting as part of the "verticalization of Google," as the company builds out specific user experiences around particular content areas to create more value for users and, ultimately, advertisers.

As is typically the case with Google beta products, there are no immediate monetization plans. But expect that it will be another source of valuable ad inventory for Google. Even though the company has said no graphical/display ads will run on Google domain sites, this would be a perfect area for rich media and graphical ads (like on Yahoo! Finance). And advertisers, I'm sure, would welcome that option too. We'll see.

According to comScore, Yahoo! Finance is the No. 1 global finance site with 31.4 million uniques. MSN's Money is second with 21.9 million, and AOL's finance site has 14.3 million global uniques. It will be interesting to see if Google's brand and traffic will enable it to grab usage from the existing leaders. As a latecomer, Google has a mixed track (traffic/usage) record in other areas, such as mail and shopping. But it has had great success with Maps and Local, for example.

More later when the site actually goes live. I believe the URL will be


Update: I just found a working URL. Here's the page for GOOG. I'm reminded that it also includes blog content, which is valuable. Manipulate the chart's horizontal scroll bar and see how the news changes � very interesting stuff. The site also remembers your most recent (company) searches. And it has discussions/community as well. These kinds of features make it "sticky" (to use the outdated expression).

Here's a plethora of news on the launch, with lots of detail from Danny Sullivan at SEW. And Battelle adds some interesting color and factual tidbits. Om Malik doesn't like it at all.

Tomorrow you'll be able to go to Google Finance and see how all the coverage boosted the company's share price. Neat, eh?
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  00:12 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [2]

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