Monthly Archives: April 2007

Ask to launch adsense competitor

AskAs a part of Ask Sponsored Listings (ASL), Ask will launch a new contextual advertising platform in the week of May 21st. This was confirmed by Paul Vallez, Director of Product Management. This looks like a serious attempt to compete with Google Adsense.

I think Ask perfectly understands the weak point of the adsense platform: transparancy. Many adsense publishers (like myself) will agree that Google is providing minimal information. Publishers have no insight in the revenue share, the performance of individual ads and the type of advertisers. Advertisers have to deal with pretty poor statistics regarding contextual advertising. Ask may have a strong selling point by providing better and transparent tools.

The ‘problem’ remains that publishers will not exchange adsense for ASL when that will decrease their revenue. Transparancy or not, it’s the $$ that count. It will be a challenge for Ask to achieve the same coverage and CPC as Google currently has. I certainly hope they will.

We feel fine! Visualizing human feelings

We feel fine is an interesting project which analyses recent blogposts and extracts information about what the world is currently feeling. Fun idea and I think they did a great job on the user interface:

We feel fine

“Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). “

I know about a few similar initiatives, for example moodviews which works with the content of LiveJournal. I expect a lot of tools like these, the blogosphere is full of valuable information that we don’t really use at the moment. There’s a lot of potential, for example in the field of marketing.

If anybody knows other tools like / moodviews, please drop a comment.

Doubleclick acquired by Google

Wow, that’s what I call a major acquisition in advertising world: Google has bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion (in cash). That’s 10x the yearly revenue of DoubleClick! This has just been confirmed on the Google blog.

This is immediatly the biggest acquisition of Google (almost twice as much as they paid for YouTube). What could be the reason? I quote from the Google Blog:

This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.

Personally, I think the acquistion mainly comes from a strategic point of view. Google must have been really frightened that Microsoft would gain a big marketshare by buying DoubleClick (they obviously outbidded MS).

I wonder how this will influence the current adsense / adwords platform. Google will now also have access to DoubleClicks customers, will we see higher or lower CPC’s?

EMI starts moving in the right direction

Steve Jobs (Apple) and Eric Nicoli (EMI) announced today that they will start selling DRM-free music! Now why exactly is that good news?

a) your purchased songs from iTunes will no longer be tied to your iPod. You can transfer them to any other device you like.

b) now that EMI decided to drop DRM, other labels will probably follow in the coming period.

Is there also a downside? Well, unfortunately yes. The DRM-free music will be sold at 30c more than the current offer on iTunes. For these 30 cents, the DRM has been removed and you will receive a higher quality audio (256kbps).

I’m still wondering why it took the music industry that long to understand that the online music sales are lacking behind because most people don’t really appreciate DRM on mediafiles. To be honest, I’m sure that they did know but just didn’t have the guts to give DRM-free music a try. I’m glad that EMI responded to Steve Jobs’ request back in february. It’s a good start which will probably give the online music sales a big boost.

Oh, by the way, what EMI did is definitively a good step but we shouldn’t give them too many credits. As Steve Jobs mentioned today: “we are offering people nothing more than what they get when they buy a cd directly and rip it.”.

That’s it. Nothing more.