Verizon-AOL, Facebook Instant Articles, and the Future of Digital Advertising

A longread on AOL-VZ and Facebook’s Instant Articles, which I find extremely interesting:

Moreover, there is a very real culture question: an infrastructure company and an online media company couldn’t have more different approaches to business, based on a history of solving fundamentally different problems. This clash will only compound the difficulty in realizing the vision I just painted — a vision that Facebook and Google have still only partially realized despite having the best software engineers in the world.

Ultimately, I think this deal boils down to VZ’s  attempted end around their privacy issues:

And, of course, there is the potential for consumer backlash: if my skin crawled while describing a dystopian future of perfectly tailored ads based on perfect information about my activities, I trust your reading it inspired a similar sensation.

One thing I do believe is that deterministic trumps predictive models.  The question is really about navigating the privacy issue.

via Verizon-AOL, Facebook Instant Articles, and the Future of Digital Advertising – Stratechery by Ben Thompson.


With AOL, Verizon Takes on Google and Facebook in Digital Advertising

My first thought is that VZ is trying to run an end around its privacy issues surrounding their attempts to monetize their user data:

Verizon subsidiary Verizon Wireless launched a product last year called PrecisionID, which the company said was designed to power “data-driven marketing and addressable advertising.” AOL, meanwhile purchased attribution company Convertro in 2014 to help power its own cross-device efforts.

The Verizon product ran into some privacy concerns from users, and industry observers suggest Verizon could face similar challenges if it attempts to apply its data to AOL’s products.

Verizon “has a ton of data on consumers. The question is how it manages it in a way that doesn’t irritate consumers,” said Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.

via With AOL, Verizon Takes on Google and Facebook in Digital Advertising – CMO Today – WSJ.

Google Online Security Blog: New Research: The Ad Injection Economy

To pursue this research, we custom-built an ad injection “detector” for Google sites. This tool helped us identify tens of millions of instances of ad injection “in the wild” over the course of several months in 2014, the duration of our study.

More detail is below, but the main point is clear: deceptive ad injection is a significant problem on the web today. We found 5.5% of unique IPs—millions of users—accessing Google sites that included some form of injected ads.

via Google Online Security Blog: New Research: The Ad Injection Economy.

The (very) big fight for the small screen

Is it me or is this a really unique longread article that’s really hard to skim?  In summary, it’s the same story about new media companies (this time around, it’s the Buzzfeeds and Vice Medias of the world) trying to convince brands to spend big money on new media (very different from the high quality production of television).

The trick for this trio and their peers will be convincing brands who are accustomed to spending their TV budgets on highly produced shows like American Idol to get comfortable with the freewheeling world of giggling, swashbuckling, amateur Web content. Soon enough, they’ll have to: The way we watch video content is changing rapidly, and it won’t be for much longer that Web video lives solely on laptops and in Roku boxes. The next wave of television sets have the Internet already built in. It won’t be online video versus television—it’ll just be entertainment.

via The (very) big fight for the small screen – Fortune.

Yahoo’s journey through the dotcom bubble

By January 1995, Yahoo was receiving 1m visits per day and its guide for the web now had approx. 10,000 links…

It was receiving >30m hits per month. The next year, Yahoo would be deriving substantially all its revenue from advertising. Its standard advertising rates would range from $20-$60 per thousand impressions (CPM). Today, banner ads achieve rates of $1 to $6 per CPM. Rates are in part a function of supply. In 1995, there wasn’t much online inventory.

via Yahoo’s journey through the dotcom bubble | Paul Bennetts.


Exclusive: Thousands of rogue restaurant websites diverting customers to OrderAhead deliveries

Frequently, the unofficial sites outrank the official restaurant sites in search results, using savvy SEO techniques. In some cases, for example, the sites have been connected to the Google Local listings for the restaurants, ensuring that the OrderAhead sites are featured more prominently in search results.

The unofficial sites are registered under a variety of aliases and domain name proxies — under names like Rosario Garnett, Chris Timm and Alan Small — making it more difficult to trace them back to their actual owners. They leverage multiple hosting providers but are all powered by a common infrastructure, pulling CSS, JavaScript and images from the same Amazon Web Services Cloudfront instance.

via Exclusive: Thousands of rogue restaurant websites diverting customers to OrderAhead deliveries – GeekWire.

Google Rolls Out New Ads as Mobile Searches Top PCs in 10 Countries

Google Tuesday expanded its suite of ads for mobile devices that offer users information toward potential purchases, rather than just links.

The new ads are aimed at people searching for cars, auto dealerships and mortgages. They are designed to work with touches and swipes common on smartphones, rather than mouse clicks on personal computers, said Google executive Jerry Dischler. Google has similar ads for products, hotels, flights and insurance.

Dischler said Google searches on mobile devices now outnumber those on personal computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan. He declined to be more specific about when the crossover happened or to identify the other eight countries.

via Google Rolls Out New Ads as Mobile Searches Top PCs in 10 Countries – Digits – WSJ.