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Yahoo Acquires Right Media April 30, 2007

Posted by Bill in Auction-based media, exchanges, Google, Online Advertising, online marketing, Right Media, Yahoo Search Marketing.
2 comments

Fun days here at Right Media… I have been incredibly impressed with Yahoo!s strategic vision and commitment to the exchange model through the process. I think this will be a great marriage. More importantly, it makes the competition with GoogleClick that much more exciting!

Official Press Release: Yahoo! Announces Agreement to Acquire Right Media, Largest Emerging Online Advertising Exchange

New York Times: Yahoo to Buy Ad Company in Bid to Compete With Google

Some excerpts from the above New York Times article, by MIGUEL HELFT:

– “The acquisition, to us, is a key step toward executing our long-term vision to build the leading advertising and publisher ecosystem both on and off the Yahoo network,” Terry S. Semel, Yahoo’s chief executive, said in an interview. The deal is to be announced today and is expected to close in three months.

– Right Media, a four-year-old company, runs an exchange in which advertisers and publishers buy and sell online ad placements in real time through an auction system. DoubleClick, which specializes in serving ads on Web sites, announced recently that it would develop a similar type of exchange. Online publishers are increasingly turning to exchanges like these to sell ad space on their sites.

– “What we look forward to do as an owner is put more inventory into that pot to help create a more vibrant exchange and create better pricing for everyone,” Mr. Semel said.

– Yahoo said that after the acquisition it would increase its participation in the exchange as both a buyer and seller of ads. The company said it planned eventually to sell all the nonpremium ad space on Yahoo through the exchange, a move executives said would enhance revenue.

– Google and Yahoo each dominate one segment of the online advertising market. Google is best at selling text ads that appear alongside search results and on other Web sites. Yahoo, which has lagged Google in search, is a leader in selling graphical ads, mostly on its own sites.

– By buying Right Media, analysts have said, Yahoo would accelerate its own efforts to sell and broker ads on other sites. Those efforts began taking shape recently, after Yahoo reached agreements to sell ads on eBay and on some 264 newspaper Web sites.

(Note: For the math impaired, $680 million for the remaining 80% that Yahoo! didn’t yet own is equal to an $850 million in total valuation…)

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Google Max Bid For DoubleClick… or Insurance Policy? April 28, 2007

Posted by Bill in Ad Serving, Auction-based media, Google, Microsoft, MSN Search, Online Advertising, online marketing.
11 comments

It has been rumored that Microsoft bid right around the rumored $2 billion for DoubleClick. So the question remains, “Why did Google pay $3.1 billion?”. I have some thoughts; some serious, some just for giggles:

1. With AdWords, “max bid” represents the most an advertiser is willing to pay for a click for a particular keyword or group of keywords. The ACTUAL price the marketer pays is one penny more than the next highest bidder (on an effective CPM basis, which takes into account CTR/ quality score). Meaning, a marketer can bid $50 a click, but may only end up paying $0.50 for the click if that’s what it takes to win the auction. My theory is that Google thought the $3.1 billion was its MAX BID, and insiders say the Google executives were astonished when they didn’t win the auction for $2,000,000.01!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. This one is serious… PATENTS! While DoubleClick may claim to be the “central nervous system” to online advertising in their new marketing campaign, they really were the pioneers of online advertising the 90’s, and have really, really, really valuable patents that Google just couldn’t afford Microsoft to get their hands on. After all, they need to protect their 149 BILLION MARKET CAP… an extra billion to ensure it is seemingly a decent insurance policy. Thanks to an awesome write-up at SEO by the Sea below are a list of the patents DoubleClick has.

3. Last, the ability for Google to publicly beat Microsoft yet again was worth a little premium. Dr. Eric Schmidt spent decades at Novell and Sun getting beat up by Microsoft… Time for some pay-back from the Google CEO, who now also sits on the Apple board of directors.

WIPO Patents Assigned to Doubleclick

1. Method and System for Sharing Anonymous User Information
(WO 2002/035314)

Published May 2, 2002
Doubleclick, Inc.

A method and system for sharing online user information in an anonymous manner. The system associates an identifier (100) with anonymized information of the user, and sends the anonymized user information to a receiving party (130). In one embodiment, the system receives a temporary id with personally identifiable information from a Web site, uses the personally identifiable information as a key to obtain the anonymized information from a data source, and sends the temporary id with the anonymized information to the receiving party. the receiving party uses the temporary id, previously received by the Web site, as a key to obtain the anonymized information of the user. In another embodiment, the system receives a temporary id from a Web sit…

2. Automated Online Sweepstakes System and Method
(WO 2001/059656)

Published August 16, 2001
Doubleclick, Inc.

An automated process of conducting an online sweepstakes and marketing to sweepstakes entrants. The software system enables a non-technical individual (e.g., sweepstakes manager, marketer, etc.) to create a sweepstakes entry form that is integrated with back-end data processing systems (figure 2, item 210). The entry form and entry form processing system are kept consistent with sweepstakes rules chosen by the non-technical individual and automatically generated by the system. The system enforces compliance with applicable laws with integrated tools to pick winners, to determine eligibility and to collect winner affidavits. A back-end database is integrated directly with a sweepstakes entry form. Online tools permit a marketer to view entra…

3. Network for Distribution of Re-targeted Advertising
(WO 2000/008802)

Published February 17, 2000
Doubleclick, Inc.

A computer system for automatic replacement of advertisements includes an advertising server for selecting an advertisement based on criteria related to the individual viewer. In particular, advertisements are selected for a given user, based on the past behavior of that specific given user. Advertiser web sites on the network are configured to anonymously report back user activity such as visit dates, purchases, specific product pages visited and the like. Alternative reporting embodiments include email, file transfer protocol and spotlight tags. User activity lists are processed to select candidates for re-targeting. Candidates for re-targeted advertisements are identified based on their own individual past activity, and stored in a list …

4. Method and Apparatus for Automatic Placement of Advertising
(WO 1998/058334)

Published December 23, 1998
Doubleclick, Inc.

A computer system for automatic replacement of direct advertisements in scarce media includes an advertising server for selecting a direct advertisement based on certain criteria. Transaction results of the direct advertisement placement are reported back to the advertising server, and an associated accounting system. In one embodiment, the direct advertiser’s server reports transactions back to the advertising server by email. In a second embodiment, a direct proxy server brokers the user’s session (or interaction) with the direct advertiser’s server, including transaction processing and the direct proxy server reports the results of transactions back to the advertising server and its associated accounting system. A direct proxy provides a…

5. System and method for analyzing website activity
Invented by Jonathan Marc Heller, James Christopher Kim, Dwight Allen Merriman, Andrew Joel Erlichson, Benjamin Chien-wen Lee
Assigned to Doubleclick, Inc.
United States Patent 7,085,682
Granted August 1, 2006
Filed: September 18, 2002

Abstract

A method and system for analyzing website activity. According to an example embodiment, the system receives event-level data representing visitor session activity on a client website; attributes characteristic information of the event-level data associated with each visitor’s session to at least one of a plurality of visitor segments, stores results of the attributed information aggregated according to visitor segment prior to a client-requested analysis of the event-level data, and provides online reports based on the resultant data in response to a client-requested analysis of the event-level data.

6. Method and apparatus for automatic placement of advertising
Invented by Dwight A. Merriman and Kevin O’Connor
Assigned to Doubleclick, Inc.
United States Patent 7,039,599
Granted May 2, 2006
Filed: June 15, 1998

Abstract

A computer system for automatic replacement of direct advertisements in scarce media includes an advertising server for selecting a direct advertisement based on certain criteria. Transaction results of the direct advertisement placement are reported back to the advertising server, and an associated accounting system. In one embodiment, the direct advertiser’s server reports transactions back to the advertising server by email. In a second embodiment, a direct proxy server brokers the user’s session (or interaction) with the direct advertiser’s server, including transaction processing and the direct proxy server reports the results of transactions back to the advertising server and its associated accounting system. A direct proxy provides an independent audit of transactions at a remote direct advertiser’s web site. The feedback of the results of direct advertisement transactions provides an efficient utilization of direct advertising space by way of an automated computer system with a predictive model for selection and distribution of direct advertising.

7. Method of delivery, targeting, and measuring advertising over networks
Invented by Dwight Allen Merriman and Kevin Joseph O’Connor
US Patent Application 20050038702
Published February 17, 2005
Filed: September 10, 2004

(There are 5 versions of this patent application on file at the USPTO)

Abstract

Methods and apparatuses for targeting the delivery of advertisements over a network such as the Internet are disclosed. Statistics are compiled on individual users and networks and the use of the advertisements is tracked to permit targeting of the advertisements of individual users. In response to requests from affiliated sites, an advertising server transmits to people accessing the page of a site an appropriate one of the advertisement based upon profiling of users and networks.

8. Network for distribution of re-targeted advertising
Invented by Dwight A. Merriman and Kevin J. O’Connor
US Patent Application 20020082923
Published June 27, 2002
Filed: February 26, 2002

Abstract

A computer system for automatic replacement of advertisements includes an advertising server for selecting an advertisement based on criteria related to the individual viewer. In particular, advertisements are selected for a given user, based on the past behavior of that specific given user. Advertiser web sites on the network are configured to anonymously report back user activity such as visit dates, purchases, specific product pages visited and the like. Alternative reporting embodiments include email, file transfer protocol and spotlight tags. User activity lists are processed to select candidates for re-targeting. Candidates for re-targeted advertisements are identified based on their own individual past activity, and stored in a list of candidate user ID’s. When a candidate on the re-targeted list is identified at any network affiliate web site, a re-targeted advertisement is delivered to the candidate user.

Are Ad Exchanges Solely for Spot-Market/ Remnant Inventory? April 6, 2007

Posted by Bill in Auction-based media, exchanges, Google, Microsoft, Online Advertising, Online Auction Tips, traditional advertising.
1 comment so far

The eBay Media Marketplace (“EMM”) has received much hype the past bunch of months. According to a MediaPost article, this past Thursday that hype came to a screeching halt when the Cable television Advertising Bureau–which holds the keys to launching the broadcast auction system–said the EMM was a permanent no-go. The trade group’s opposition was based on two points:
1. The eBay functionality was flawed, and
2. The system wasn’t in step with the new age of media buying, where the focus is on complex multi-touch point deals, not peddling and purchasing spots.

CAB head Sean Cunningham said his members reviewed a pilot of the system for some weeks. They found that its infrastructure fell short in making the intricacies of end-to-end buying and selling better. Cunningham said it was “evidence of someone developing a system in eBay that, despite the best counsel of top buyers in the business, was just not getting the scope of this business in terms of both current and future practice.”

So this raises a few questions…
1. With all the hype over DoubleClick’s entry into the “Ad Nasdaq” world, will anybody be able to move this marketplace concept up market?
2. Was broadcast simply not ready for their ecosystem to be turned upside down and embrace auction-based media?
3. Is premium inventory, regardless of channel, simply too personal and relationships and media buying too complex to make the evolutionary switch away from upfronts and personal negotiations?
4. Is an auction platform built simply for spot-market, remnant, or turn-key/ non-creative ad inventory?

For the eBay Media Marketplace to make it, I believe the market first needs to figure out a solution for a Premium Online Ad Exchange. For that to happen, it has to be driven by a Media company with a huge online presence, powered by a technology which embraces auctions but respects the old-school inventory forecasting and expectations on campaign delivery. All eyes have to be on Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! before they go onto eBay…

MicroClick, DoubleSoft… Microsoft/ DoubleClick Merger? March 29, 2007

Posted by Bill in Ad Serving, Auction-based media, exchanges, Microsoft, online marketing, Search Marketing.
4 comments

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that DoubleClick is for sale, Microsoft is the most likely buyer, and the two companies are already in talks.  The rumored hypothetical purchase price is $2 billion, which I feel is the “ask” not the “bid”.  People who cover the industry, but don’t work IN the industry, are speculating that the acquisition would make Microsoft much more credible in the minds of advertisers than it has been to date, would give a boost to AdCenter by association, and this marriage would somehow shift dollars away from Google.  The ‘insiders’ of the industry agree this hypothetical positioning will be great to speak of to analysts and press.  However, it is simply not true.  Microsoft is already credible to online advertisers and agencies through their MSN portal and properties.  However, Google owns the search market and will continue to own a vast majority of query share and a DoubleClick/ Microsoft merger will not change that at all.  The reason this makes sense is for Microsoft to be defensible to Google becoming the marketplace for online advertising as it has for search marketing. 

Yahoo! owns a piece of Right Media. AOL owns Advertising.com. Google has been cutting syndication deals for contextual marketing for years, and has recently focused on graphical ads and CPA pricing.  A Microsoft/ DoubleClick merger would make this a much more interesting battle, one that I would have to give the edge to those who already own content and are in this game… my force rankings at this point for the online marketing marketplace (OMM) would be:

1.  Yahoo– top portal on the Web, minority ownership of the best exchange technology in RMX
2.  AOL– best performing online ad inventory in the industry coupled with know-how of Advertising.com
3.  Microsoft with DoubleClick– MSFT still needs to fully embrace the ad-supported model and have an inventory syndication strategy.  If they do, they move to #2 on the Wise List with the DoubleClick assets
4.  Google– graphical ads are very different from text links; fear of Google becoming too powerful will keep them grounded here

The sleepers I would watch out for would include Quigo, Fox Interactive Media, and to a lesser extent, eBay.  It is a shame that IAC Advertising Solutions is not on this list… they once had the assets to make this happen.

 More to come on this…

The Eagle Has Landed… on a Mission… March 12, 2007

Posted by Bill in Auction-based media, exchanges, Online Auction Tips, online marketing, Search Marketing.
2 comments
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Ex Did-It Chief Bill Wise Lands At Remix Media Ad Network

FORMER DID-IT CEO BILL WISE, who left the search engine marketing firm last month citing a disagreement about the direction of the company, starts today as president of Remix Media, a division of auction-based ad network Right Media, OnlineMediaDaily has learned.

Right Media made headlines in October when Yahoo bought a 20% stake in the firm for $45 million. In December, the company created the new brand Remix Media for its ad network, which allows advertisers to bid on display ad impressions from specific sites.

Wise will oversee the growth of Remix, having experience with both auction-based media from his role at Did-It, as well as ad network management from his experience as general manager of DoubleClick Media.

“It’s really kind of bridging the ad network business and the concept of an exchange with search marketing and everything else,” he said.

Currently, Remix represents mostly lower-cost inventory, but part of Wise’s job will entail attracting both big-spending advertisers and more premium inventory, he said.

“They’re now serving two billion impressions a day. They’ve gotten large very quickly. Right now, they’re representing a lot of remnant space,” he said. “But clearly, the strategy is how to go upstream, and that’s going to be a large part of my role.”

Wise said the company aims to help marketers manage entire campaigns on an auction-based level.

“More and more marketers and agencies need to embrace the concept of auction-based media, and Right Media has the online advertising piece figured out,” he said. “Remix Media, and we’re really establishing that as another brand, can really help marketers manage their inventory holistically.”