Analysts Change Tune on Web Ad Economics

CNET’s Stephen Shankland brought us an interesting article today on the projections of search advertising spend.

Many have speculated that the weakened economic state could be a boon to the Internet sector, as businesses look for more cost effective marketing, and consumers look for better prices on goods.

However some analysts disagree.

Cowen analysts Jim Friedland and Kevin Kopelman stated:

“We are lowering our estimates on Google, Yahoo, Amazon, VistaPrint, eHealth, Blue Nile, and Gmarket to reflect: (1) a weaker macro outlook exacerbated by the bank crisis; (2) the rapid rise in the dollar over the past two months; and (3) the impact of the (0.5 percent) rate cut on interest income. We continue to believe that paid search-ad budgets will remain intact, based on our previously published analysis on the historical experience of direct-mail budgets during recessions. However, we think the growth of paid-search budgets–and therefore Google’s revenues–will be lower than expected, as smaller overall ad budgets will limit the ability of advertisers to meaningfully increase search spend. We also believe that display advertising could experience negative growth (we are projecting mid-single-digit growth in 2009), which would weigh heavily on Yahoo.”

The Consumer and Social Media

A new report from Universal McCann, one of the world’s largest media service firms, looks at how Internet based commentary is an increasingly powerful force.

Blogs, Twitter, FriendFeed, Fecebook, and other forms of social media are not only shaping thoughts, they are also shapping where dollars are spent through reviews and product descriptions.

According to the report the growth in social media and consumer opinion online has leveled the playing field in sectors where expertise has traditionally been key to purchase decisions such as finance, the advice of total strangers is being increasingly trusted.

The report, When Did We Start Trusting Strangers? , is based on a survey of 17,000 Internet users in 29 countries and examines the growth of consumer recommendation and the tools that drive it across the globe.

Google on the Boob Tube

Google and NBC Universal announced a partnership yesterday that would help form a strategic multi-year advertising, research and technology partnership.

The announcement was made on Monday by Mike Pilot, President, NBC Universal Sales and Marketing and Tim Armstrong, Google’s President of Advertising and Commerce, North America.

The two said their respective companies will work together to create more effective advertising metrics, attract non-traditional advertisers to NBC Universal, and incorporate Google’s ever popular “self-service buying opportunities through the Google TV Ads advertising platform.”

Google’s TV Ads platform will be offered on  Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth, and Chiller.

Protect Your Reputation Via FriendFeed

I am a FriendFeed fan boy.

That is saying a lot, because I am usually pretty critical of everything.

The platform is easy to use, and makes the first real concentrated effort towards making a single platform for all social media.

One of the main uses I see for FriendFeed is as a reputation monitoring and management tool.

Here are five ways to utilize the service for rep management and monitoring:

1) Establishing a Network – I am a huge proponent of reputation of management through preemptive means. By creating lasting relationships with market publishers and thought leaders you can more easily build your brand, and protect it. FriendFeed gives you a tool to effectively communicate your social media efforts en total with these contacts. It also allows you directly communicate through the feed itself using its “share something” feature, which is a form of micro-blogging.

Microsoft Asking for Sign-Ups for adCenter Desktop Beta

The official Microsoft adCenter blog announced the beta testing of a desktop utility for their paid search platform.

For paid search managers, this software will function much like Google’s Adwords desktop application.

Basically you will be able to manage your adCenter campaigns from the convenience of your desktop without the use of a browser. The positives of software like this are numerous. The most obvious is that it allows you to make wholesale edits and revisions without worrying about the real time implications on your account. Such software also makes the initial process of paid search account setup much easier.

According to the blog teh adCenter application allows:

  • Quickly navigate through multiple accounts
  • Copy and paste keywords, negative keywords, match types and bid amounts from the adCenter Add-in for Excel into the Desktop application

Google Adds Approximate Search Counts to Keyword Tool

This must have been a tough one for the search giant to figure out.

People read numbers better than they do colors.

Google has started to add Approximate word counts on their Adwords keyword tool, along side of their vague colored bar graphs, which used to be the only data they gave.

The reason behind these moves by the big G, or small g or whatever they are being called this week, is likely their realization that the future of paid search is in the small business. SMBs love freebies, and anything that can help them minimize how far they have to spread their marketing dollar.

Vivisimo Helps Citizens Search

Vivisimo, an enterprise search company based in Pennsylvania, announced Thursday that it has expanded its search affiliate program, which offers a free search engine for all government Web sites.

This search platform indexes more than 50 million government documents.

The platform covers news, images, frequently asked questions, maps, and weather forecasts. Searchers can also find government contact information, applications, and notices regarding jobs and benefits. Managers of web sites related to the government can add new features to their sites and even ambiguous search terms will extract useful information, Vivisimo said.

“Using Vivisimo’s superior search technology, and the expanded search affiliate program, anybody can easily access the vast amounts of information collected and generated by the U.S. government,” Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO and co-founder of Vivisimo, said in an announcement. “Vivisimo’s intuitive user-interface turns complexity into simplicity — and will help millions of people to get quick, authoritative answers to their questions.”