Teenagers Benefit from Hanging out Online

I feel vindicated. Even though I’m not a teenager – a recent study has encouraging findings. Most parents of teens who spend time online think they are wasting time. They probably discourage it. But hold on, it might not be so bad.

The study, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, looked at “how digital media is changing how young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.”

If you watch the news you’d think teenagers are victims online – getting bullied or solicited by sex offenders. I get mad when the only thing that’s reported is how dangerous the Internet is. So it’s affirming to see that there are positive effects too.

Online Advertising Still Growing, but Slower

Emarketer predicts that online advertising spending will reach $25.9 billion in 2008, up 23% from $21.1 billion in 2007. But what about online advertising revenue? IAB says online ad revenue was $5.9 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2008 – up 11.4%

It’s tough to compare the two figures without diving into metrics, but it doesn’t look rosy. Or, that the tough economy is hitting online too. What is clear is that revenues are going down and spending has slowed over the year.

Online advertising includes display advertising (banner ads, video ads, etc) and text-based advertising on search engines.

Anecdotal evidence I’ve heard and seen shows that businesses are still increasing their online budgets and moving print spend into more trackable online spend. This is based on what I have seen working at an SEO and PPC company where I work (OrangeSoda) and what I’ve heard from others in the industry.

What Voters Google Before Heading to the Polls

Today is full of buzz about the election. I tried to vote early – too crowded. So my strategy is to wait until 9am to vote by my house. It worked perfectly. There were probably lines earlier, but when I got there, no lines. I walked right up, got my card, and voted.

People are not only going to the polls today – they are searching Google for more information. We want to be updated and to track the election as we go about our day.

Google Hot Trends (www.google.com/trends/hottrends) shows that online people are going to Google before they go to the polls. We want to know where and when we can vote. We are also searching for perks for voting (smart marketing!).

Marketers Plan to Cut Budgets, Increase Online Spend

MarketingProfs conducted a survey to see how the economy is affecting marketing decisions. How are companies responding? They asked 600 marketing professionals about their plans for the future.

When times are lean, businesses often cut their marketing budgets. The grim news is 65% of marketers expect negative effects on marketing overall. And they expect the affects will be long term – with 75% expecting it to last into 2010. Some predict layoffs (25%) and falling salaries (43%). 17% believe they will face both layoffs and a pay cut.

So what are marketers doing? They are moving from traditional advertising to online marketing. That’s what we’ve heard for a while, but now marketers are moving budgets to online even faster than before. According to MarketingProfs the majority are spending more online (though I think it should be even higher).

eBay Execs Start Social Network for Life Stories

Tokoni, is social network started last year by former Skype President Alex Kazim and former eBay execs including Mary Lou Song and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. It’s also backed by eBay. The site has been picking up content, building up to a formal launch this week.

The social network gathers people’s stories. Tokoni is a Tongan word for “help,” and the founders hope that reading other people’s life will help enhance your life. There are 19 categories and you can add a photo or video to your story. You can comment on stories, link to them, and even reward people for their stories.

The site has added new features (from Tokoni):

eBay Adds Two Companies, Eliminates a Thousand Jobs

When auction revenue falls, eBay decides to bank on payment processing and online classifieds. eBay is buying online bill pay service Bill Me Later and two other companies which are based in Denmark.

They’re also spending quite a bit of cash – around $1.3 billion including Danish companies Den Bla Avis and BilBasene. Total spend comes to about $1.3 billion.

Bill Me Later is an online layaway program where you can make payments on a purchase. eBay will then use PayPal to process the payments. As of last month eBay stopped taking money orders or checks for payment in the US – essentially forcing everyone to use PayPal.

Today, Walmart.com announced that they are accepting PayPal as an option to pay for purchases on the site.

A Reluctant Google Looks at Ad Agencies

You don’t see a lot of traditional advertising from Google. Their philosophy is to build great products and develop amazing technology and let it sell (and support) itself. Their marketing strategy has relied mostly on word of mouth – and its worked well. It just may not be enough for a company their size.

That is slowly changing. Google looks to be shopping for an ad agency. They’ve looked at Madison Avenue agencies like Wieden + Kennedy and Taxi New York. They’ve hired an agency for a campaign in Japan called “100 Things You Can Do With Google.” However, unlike many top brands Google ads aren’t running on prime time.