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Jan 23 2006
The Earnings Guessing Game
SiliconBeat and John Battelle raise the question (citing Yahoo! employee Amr Awadallah�s reasoned speculation) of whether Google will hit or fall short of estimates. I think the company will hit its targets (but it still may loose if it doesn�t exceed them).

Eight days to go; we�ll see.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  13:33 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
ReachLocal Deal with FTD
Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal reports on a large-scale deal between ReachLocal and FTD local florists:

ReachLocal and FTD Florists are working together on a customized local search campaign in which 20,000 FTD merchants will be advertising on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, IYP�s like SuperPages, and According to the agreement, FTD will implement all of its local search advertising through ReachLocal.

Efficient Frontier manages these sorts of large campaigns for Reach. Last week I had a very interesting conversation with EF regarding paid search generally and local in particular, and related trends in automated management of search campaigns for local businesses.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  12:51 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Real Estate Roundup
Gary Price has a link-intensive piece today at Search Engine Watch discussing the proliferating tools in real estate search. It�s quite thorough and worth a read definitely. Real estate is one of the most interesting verticals since it�s map-intensive, involves offline transactions and local businesses and is being driven by accelerated consumer adoption of online applications.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  11:50 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Elusive Millenials
Here�s a very very long article in the NY Times (reg. req�d) from Sunday about the elusive �millenials� (people born between 1980 and 2000). If anyone believes that the consumer behavior model and the media landscape isn�t fragmenting and radically changing should read this article.

This emerging consumer behavior model is the inspiration for the upcoming Drilling Down event.

Here�s another NY Times piece on online �recommendations� (a cousin of what used to be called �social networking� and now is more appropriately and inclusively called �community"):

This is the now well-documented �long tail� (I�m sorry for saying it again), in action:

At NetFlix, the online DVD rental company, for example, roughly two-thirds of the films rented were recommended to subscribers by the site - movies the customers might never have thought to consider otherwise, the company says. As a result, between 70 and 80 percent of NetFlix rentals come from the company�s back catalog of 38,000 films rather than recent releases.

A collaborative filtering mechanism (pioneered on a large scale by Amazon) is one solution to the emerging problem of media fragmentation�what�s interesting to me is what�s interesting to my friends/community/people like me.

The so-called millenials are notoriously oriented toward community and use technology as a way to reach out to and manage their relationships with their friends. And to the extent that marketers can get into the fiber of those communities (which is Yahoo!�s meta strategy) it could pay off well. But whatever the �it� that is being marketed or sold is must be relevant and very highly targeted.

For this audience, irrelevant marketing is ignored or, worse, destroys credibility.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  10:13 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Search Marketers Paying Too Much?
This article made the rounds on Friday (ClickZ). The thrust of this Kevin Newcomb piece is that the paid search auction model is flawed and inefficient for less sophisticated marketers:

�We want to educate advertisers about the fact that in some sense they are being taken advantage of,� Ostrovsky said in a statement. �Under the current mechanism, if they don�t think carefully about their bidding strategies, they can end up paying a lot more to the search engines than they need to."

This critique of general paid search may be especially true for local. Here�s what an A-list search marketing firm said about local keyword prices/buying:

Geographic-qualified keywords have less inventory than generic words and phrases, which drives the bid landscape higher and forces all advertisers to bid more aggressively. This happens a lot with major metropolitan areas like NYC & San Francsico.

There�s less competition on a national level. There are a lot of regional advertisers that bid aggressively using geo-qualified keywords only without any nationwide initiatives. In addition, a lot of these advertisers are not as educated on the space and many times end up creating extremely artificially-inflated markets for these keywords.

So this is pretty consistent with what we�ve been hearing directly from the people on the front lines: people are bidding more for local because it converts better and for some of these �irrational� reasons also.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:58 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Tension Between On-Demand and 'Old' TV
Here�s an interesting discussion in MediaPost (reg. req�d) about the tension between �programmed� (read: scheduled) TV and the emerging model of �on-demand� TV (whether online or off). The theme: consumers still want programmed TV.

Implied in this discussion is the idea that without programmed TV consumers won�t know where to point their TiVOs. There may be an analogy here between browse and search on the Internet. They�re complementary approaches to navigating content online. In this analogy, ��browse� stands for the TV program schedule.

Indeed, without some idea of �what�s on� online video consumers will have to guess and conduct random searches for content by keywords. (For past programming, i.e., �classic TV,� that works fine.)

However a pure search (�on-demand�) model is inefficient for both consumers and advertisers because it completely fragments the audience (despite the success of search marketing). So the future, as the article suggests, is some mix of scheduled content produced by big media companies with high production values and�dare I use the term again�a �long tail� of both low-end professional and user-generated video content that people can search for as their whims or needs dictate.

Of course it�s not quite as simple as all that, but at a conceptual level I think that�s what we�re in store for.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  05:54 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
Google News: More 'Up Close and Personal'
I�ve already written too much about Google in a single 24 hour period. But what the heck . . . Google has further personalized its news site by offering �recommendations� to those who are signed in. Here�s how it works:

By signing in to personalized news and keeping Personalized Search enabled, you allow Google to track and save your news selections. Then, Google News can automatically recommend relevant stories just for you by using smart algorithms that analyze your selections. The algorithms compare your tastes to the aggregate tastes of other groups of similar Google News users. Simply put, we recommend news stories to you that have been read by many other users who�ve also read similar stories as you in the past.

The more you use Google News while you�re signed in to your Google Account, the better your recommendations will become over time. Note that we cannot provide recommended news for you if you do not sign in to your Google Account or if you turn off Personalized Search component of personalized Google News.

There�s also a new �most popular� button (which has long existed on Yahoo! news). Essentially, the new recommendations feature is like the passive RSS and news feeds/tracking that Google has been doing with its Sidebar tool.

This is another incentive for users to �sign in� to Google (create an account).

This and many recent initiatives like it are the fruit of Google�s effort, since early last year, to gather more personal and behavioral data about its users. It will be very interesting to see whether and how the recent privacy flap with the Justice Department has any long-term chilling effect on users� willingness to register or otherwise offer their personal data to search engines.


Here�s a Google announcement about News coming out of beta:

I wanted to let you know that today we are announcing Google News is graduating from beta with a couple of shiny new features. When we introduced Google News in September, 2002 our goal was to enable readers to get a broader perspective and dig deeper into the news�perhaps reading ten articles on a topic instead of one.

To do this, we developed a service that delivered news in an entirely new way by presenting it in �clusters� that displayed related articles in a single group. In only a few years, Google News has grown to 22 regional editions in 10 languages.

In addition to taking Google News out of beta, we are also introducing personalized news headlines. By further integrating Personalized Search into Google News, users can now receive recommended news stories based on their past news searches and articles they�ve read, giving them suggestions for interesting stories to explore that they may not have discovered otherwise.

Users who want to receive personalized news headlines simply sign up for Personalized Search. Then, whenever they�re signed in to their Google Account, they�ll see recommended headlines based on what they�ve read in the past. These results appear along the left hand column but users can also get a full page of recommended stories by clicking on the section. All of this is done automatically using algorithms: for example, we might recommend news stories to you that many other users have read, especially when you and they have read similar stories in the past.

We have also added another new section to the left-hand column that shows the most popular recent stories in the Google News edition you are viewing. Now you can see the top stories being published by editors across the web, other stories popular with readers, and topics that you track or are interested in�all on one page.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  03:20 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 23 2006
DCCI Becoming Telmetrics
Here�s a rebranding case study�call measurement firm DCCI changing its name to telmetrics�that appeared in Ken Clark�s YPTalk blog/newsletter. Call tracking will become more important and more central to integrated online-offline campaigns in the very near future.

Call tracking will likely be the way that Google, for example, will measure the efficacy of its new radio inventory�at least the intended direct response component.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog , Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  02:26 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

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