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Feb 7 2006
A9's Udi Manber Reportedly Going to Google
A9's CEO (and last year's Drilling Down keynoter), Udi Manber, who famously told me "local search is not a solved problem," is apparently leaving for Google, according to John Battelle.

This is obviously a blow to A9 and raises a big question about its future in my mind. It's got lots of innovative features but almost no consumer traction.


Here's Battelle's updated post about it.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  17:46 | permalink | comments [2] | trackbacks [2]

Feb 7 2006
Online Influencing Offline
A new forecast adds further fuel to the local shopping fire (sorry). According to this article, Jupiter says:

The amount of money consumers spend online is expected to increase 75 percent by 2010, with the Internet influencing nearly half of all U.S. retail sales ... U.S. consumers are expected to spend $144 billion in 2010 from $81 billion last year ... Spending this year is expected to reach $95 billion.

comScore's full 2005 e-commerce number was $82.7 billion. Yet total U.S. retail spending was more than $3.5 trillion in 2004.

Thus e-commerce is about 2.5% of total U.S. retail spending. But we agree with the thrust of the Jupiter prediction that the Internet will influence an increasingly large number of total transactions (the overwhelming majority of which will be local/offline in physical stores).
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  15:36 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 7 2006
Video Game Ad Placement Takes a Step Forward II
Advertising in video games has been on our long-term radar screen. It will take a while before it has relevance to local, but it's an interesting area where a lot of development is happening, and where an ad revenue stream could offset faltering revenue growth in the video game industry.

The latest news from the field is that in-game ad placement firm IGA has raised $12 million in Series A funding. The company places ads in computer and video games using its own ad network. A great deal will be told from the successes and failures of such early entrants in this space, in terms of market dynamics and sustainable business models. We'll continue to watch them closely for any signs of local ad models.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Mike Boland at  12:56 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 7 2006
Barriers to Mobile Adoption
Here's a long eWeek piece raising the question, "When o when will users take to the mobile Web in earnest?" Indeed, until they do there can be no effective mass mobile marketing.

My belief is that the user experiences that drive real adoption will determine what ad models ultimately work in a mobile context.

According to Forrester's data (cited in the article): 65,000 U.S. households, some 15 percent of mobile services subscribers accessed the Internet from their devices in 2005, compared to only 6 percent in 2004.

At that rate we're years away from any meaningful adoption. But there are lots of mobile marketing initiatives going on now. That's why we've set up the panel "Mobile Ads That Work Today" at Drilling Down '06:

Mobile Ads That Work Today
We keep hearing about wireless/mobile advertising and its potential. But The Kelsey Group argues that potential can�t be realized until there�s substantially more usage to create real value for those marketers. It�s a version of the chicken-and-egg problem of local search two years ago. MSN�s Erik Jorgensen said at ILM:05 that the majority of local search may be conducted on wireless devices in the future. In the meantime, how are carriers, device makers and ad networks dealing with the many challenges of the current wireless environment? Are there ad models that will actually work today or next year, and what sort of user experience will make them viable?


Here's third-party data compiled by eMarketer on mobile usage in Japan and Asia. Of interest is that 76 percent of Japanese wireless users access the Web over their mobile phones. However, there may be cultural and historical factors here that prevent direct extrapolation to the European and, especially, U.S. markets.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:07 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 7 2006
'Social Search' and 'Review Fraud'
As user reviews and other forms of user-generated content become a bigger phenomenon online so does the prospect of what might be called "review fraud." Word of Mouth guru Pete Blackshaw of the newly formed Nielsen BuzzMetrics points me to an article in The N.Y. Times (reg. req'd) on review fraud in the travel industry and specifically with hotel reviews.

Recently Judy's Book introduced what it calls "TrustScore" to address this potential problem.

Having some system in place (that isn't too Byzantine) to ensure the integrity of reviews is going to be important as more marketers try and "game the system."

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  07:34 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 7 2006
GMail Integrates 'Talk'
Google is integrating its Google Talk/IM functionality into GMail. It doesn't replace Google Talk (because there's no VoIP yet). But it does:

  • Potentially differentiate GMail
  • Offer the first (that I know of) browser access to IM/chat
  • Potentially expose more GMail users to Google Talk functionality and thus, longer term, potentially boost the Google Talk user base.

Chat "transcripts" are archived like mail and will be scanned like mail and contextually relevant ads will be served against them. More GMail usage = more page views, more ads and more clicks.

The presence awareness feature is a nice aspect of all this, as is the browser-based IM functionality. Here are the official FAQs.

According to Nielsen traffic data cited by MediaPost (reg. req'd):

Google's e-mail service is the fourth most popular on the Web, but lags far behind the three market leaders � Yahoo, AOL, and MSN Hotmail ... Gmail last month had 6.7 million users, compared to Yahoo Mail's 50.7 million, AOL's 34.3 million, and MSN's 31.3 million. AOL's instant messenger was the most popular IM service, wtih 52.8 million users � followed by MSN Messenger, with 27.2 million, and Yahoo Messenger, with 21.8 million.

Now that it's live in my GMail account and I've had a bit of a chance to use it, I can say that the integration is very convenient and seems to work well. (Although it takes a little getting used to.)

Here's a full write-up from The N.Y. Times today (reg. req'd) and more from Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch.


Google's running its own version of the "switch" campaign for e-mail.

Update: I was corrected by a reader that Yahoo! has had browser-based chat for some time, though not yet integrated into e-mail.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Greg Sterling at  00:33 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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