IAC Gives Teenagers a Virtual World for their Zwinky

Unless you’re a teen reader of Marketing Pilgrim, or happen to have a teenager in the house, you may not know anything about Zwinky. The IAC owned site allows you to create custom avatars, give them a wardrobe, hair, accessories and then add them to MySpace and interact with others.

Up until today, your Zwinky had a limited existence and didn’t get out much – probably too much homework. Now, thanks to the launch of Zwinktopia, your avatar can grab its iPod, skateboard etc, and head out into the real virtual world.

As TechCrunch explains

Today Zwinky will add a virtual world to the site called Zwinktopia – users can use their avatars to roam around the world, chat with other users and engage in activities to earn Zbucks, the virtual currency of Zwinktopia. Zbucks can be used to buy virtual clothing and other goods.

TargetSpot Offers On-Demand Internet Radio Advertising

While Google’s out trying to conquer terrestrial advertising, a small start-up, TargetSpot, is building a platform that will allow businesses to easily and quickly create advertising to reach the 76 million listeners who prefer their radio of the online variety,according to the NYT.

TargetSpot, which bills itself as a kind of virtual advertising agency, will allow clients to create their own commercials from a menu of options, as well as to define and locate their audience, using demographic data or geographic information like ZIP codes. A pizzeria, for instance, could use the site’s research to focus on men ages 18 to 21 because they spend more money than other groups, then decide to place its ad at 6 p.m., because experience says that’s when the desired audience is hungriest.

Canada Wakes-up to Online Advertising?

Mark Evans is reporting that Canadian advertisers have had the light bulb go on with regards to online advertising. That’s his speculation for why online advertising saw tremendous growth in 2006.

…the market surged last year by 80% to a record $1.01-billion – driven by a 120% spike in classifieds to $272-million, a 79% rise in search to $353-million and a 58% jump in display to $364-million.

Any Canadian readers want to chime in with reasons why the online ad space is rocking all of a sudden?

Yahoo Fully Acquires Right Media

After investing in online advertising company Right Media, in October (and getting 20% of the company in the process), Yahoo has now shelled out $680 million to secure the remaining 80%.

In a move that many suspected and most see as an answer to Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, Yahoo’s acquisition of Right Media will strongly boost the companies online display advertising options.

“The acquisition of Right Media will further Yahoo!’s goal to create the industry’s most open, accessible and vibrant advertising marketplace, which will help democratize the buying and selling of digitally enabled advertising,” said Terry Semel, chairman and CEO of Yahoo!, in a statement. “This acquisition is an important step in our long-term vision to build the industry’s leading advertising and publisher ecosystem. We believe that Yahoo!’s open approach is a clear differentiator from others in the industry and provides significant benefits to advertisers, publishers and Yahoo! itself.”

A Free Nintendo Wii for One Lucky Marketing Pilgrim Fan!

Marketing Pilgrim has enjoyed fantastic success over the past couple of years and it wouldn’t be possible without you, dear reader. We’d particularly like to thank those of you who have referred friends to us, recommended us on your own blog, or told the world where they’ll find the best marketing news.

As a thank you to our biggest fans, we’ll be giving away a free Nintendo Wii video game system to one of the many people that have added us to their Technorati favorites.

Yep, for simply adding us to your favorite blogs list, you’ll be entered into a drawing on May 25th to win a Nintendo Wii.

Google Getting Personal on Video

In light of cases of Google losing personal data, reassurances from Matt Cutts, and even extremely well-targeted Adsense ads (ie they were relevant to the searcher’s interests, but not the website he was viewing at the time) this week, I was really surprised to see this as I logged in to Google Video (yes, I still use Google Video):
personalized recommendations from Google video
That’s pretty personal. I have only searched for terms containing ‘BYU’ (my alma mater) a handful of times (okay, six) according to my Google Web History, and none within the last month.

Despite the fact that it says at the top of the page “Your web history is limited to searches,” Google Web History not only tracks what Google searches you’ve performed while signed in, it also tracks which results you click on—and, apparently, everything else on those pages. I’ve clicked through a total of 28 different sites that mention BYU. (And 135 different searches or sites that mention ‘SEO,’ which doesn’t seem quite high enough.)

Zunch Communications Files for Bankruptcy

SEL reports that Zunch Communications has filed for bankruptcy, owing more than $750,000 in debts, including $200k+ to JupiterMedia.

The company hasn’t been the same since most of its executive staff departed to start a new venture.

SEL outlines almost 10 years of acquisitions in the SEM space, and starts a new chapter of those that bit the dust – starting with Zunch (maybe they should add WebSourced).

Here’s Zunch’s filing (pdf).

If you’re in the Dallas area and have open positions for any displaced Zunch staff, drop me a note and I’ll give you a free listing on our job board.