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A Year in Review – Ad Agencies Acquired

Yesterday marked yet another acquisition of an advertising agency, and perhaps one of the last of 2007. This year has brought so many acquisitions, and big news such as Google getting the federal go-ahead to buy DoubleClick.

AOL announced yesterday that they have completed an acquisition of online advertising company Quigo for $340 million. The deal was announced last month. Quigo is the fourth advertising company AOL has acquired this year. Others include: Third Screen Media (mobile advertising) for $80 million, ADTECH (ad serving platform based in Germany), and TACODA (a behavior targeting ad agency) for which they paid $275 million.

Here is a wrap-up of 2007’s biggest advertising agency acquisitions

February 2007
Google buys AdScape for $23 million – so they can develop in-game advertising.
Omniture buys Touch Clarity for $51.5 million

Microsoft Launches Affiliate Program

Microsoft has launched a new affiliate program for paid search ads (Microsoft adCenter) and their security and PC backup service Windows Live OneCare.

There are two ways Affiliates can earn cash.
1. Each time someone signs up for a free trial of Windows Live OneCare.
2. The Microsoft adCenter program – which I can’t find details about – but you can earn cash each time someone you refer from your site signs up for paid search ads.

They are launching Microsoft adCenter with a $50 ad credit for your visitors (Andy ought to sign up Marketing Pilgrim!).

Microsoft will provide the banners to put on your blog or web site. I can’t find figures on their payouts.

Auto Industry Banks on Internet Advertising

You might notice by now that the Marketing Pilgrims appreciate numbers about online spending. In particular I like the ones that capture the interplay between the on and offline world.

How is this being done? I’m sure there are other examples but Google has put their technology in certain models of cars. They are also planning to put driving directions via Google Maps at the gas pump. And when I did a search to see what people near me are searching for online, I was surprised how many searches are for cars by specific brand name and location. This is an opportunity.

Google Online Marketing Contest Coming Soon

Google needs a Google contest page to track their list of contests both past and present all in one place. They use contests in different ways (to get work for free, to train future employees, and to expose more people to their products).

Since I’m an optimist I try to imagine they do it mainly to encourage innovation and better solutions to the world’s problems both on and offline. Even if that’s not the whole story, it’s very feel good. It infuses a sense of fun and open-mindedness since they are always a bit quirky are aimed a broad age and range of people.

Contests can be a good way to get things done and you don’t have to fly people to company headquarters either. Guy Kawasaki got his book cover designed by running a contest.

Google Gives Publishers More Control of Ads

Soon it will be easier to control what Google ads show on your web site. With the launch of the Ad Review Center, publishers can manually approve or block ads that show on their site. That means you can block ads that you find offensive, ads that are poorly targeted, or ads from your competitors – all in one place.

Google is quick to point out that blocking ads may not always be the best strategy. That’s because ads are in an auction and more ads means more competition and therefore a higher payout. The default setting will be “auto-allow” so ads will run unless you block them. Inside the Ad Review Center you can review all your ads at one time. If you choose you can manually review ads but it will stop them from running on your site for 24 hours.

Search Insider Summit: Search Ad Intelligence from Microsoft

The goods: Microsoft adCenter has a new product rolling out next month. A plugin (“Add-in”) for Excel will give marketers access to automatic tools to generate keywords, expand keyword lists, get actual traffic and demographic data—as in real numbers. If you haven’t seen a demo yet, let me tell you: this looks very cool. Here are my notes from Microsoft’s presentation and demo at the Search Insider Summit today.

Session description: Expanding and optimizing keyword lists doesn’t need to be complex or time consuming. This session will provide a preview adCenter’s latest innovation – the adCenter Add-in for Excel 2007 and how it can be used to rapidly and easily build out or expand keyword lists and plan keyword strategy.


  • Stacey Harris, Agency Marketing Manager, Microsoft

The New Search Engine Battle

It’s not a good day to be Google. First Ask premieres AskEraser, now they’re losing customers (well, at least one) to Microsoft.

Yes, folks, gear up for the newest battle between the search engines: whose agency can steal the most customers from one another? While the Google/DoubleClick merger is still pending FTC approval (eight months after the announcement), it looks like this is the next way for search engines to one up one another.

So who is this customer that left DoubleClick for aQuantive/Microsoft? MediaPost reports:

This month, Microsoft will begin serving all contextual ads to and its 2.6 million unique monthly visitors, while the display ad end of the deal is expected to begin in March 2008.