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Death to Russian Scammers

Here’s one way to eliminate spam – corporal punishment. We all hate spam, especially the ones that advertise Viagra, and pills for penis enlargement (and as I write this I’m thinking of the related ads I might trigger just by writing this). You can rest easy knowing that the man responsible for around 30% of those ads won’t be spamming you anymore. He’s dead. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. Now it appears the story is a scam.

The story made the home page of Digg, and quickly got picked up by bloggers. The story goes that a man named Alexey Tolstokozhev (which in Russian means ‘Thick Skin’) was shot in his luxury house near Moscow. Shot by Russian hit men.

Ad:Tech: Snap.com Launches Snap Shots Ad Network

image Snap.com will today announce the launch of its Snap Shots Ad Network. You may recall that Snap offers the link mouse-over pop-ups–briefly tested by us last year–designed to show you the location of a link before you actually click on it.

With its launch of its Snap Shot ads, you’ll be able to buy ads that will use content from the page a user is on, plus content from the link a user mouses over, to present contextually relevant ads.

Advertisers will be able to tap into the 2 million sites that currently use Snap Shots. Ads are available in just 3 formats–simple banners, text, rich media–and will be served using DoubleClick’s Dart platform.

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Ad:Tech: BuzzLogic Launches Conversation Ad Targeting

image It seems that BuzzLogic has found another use for all of the conversation mining and sentiment analysis it conducts in the blogosphere. The company will today announce the launch of its Conversation Targeting™ ad system. The new service will enable advertisers to identify influential blogs and other social media conversations occurring around specific products, brands, and discussions. Once identified, advertisers can buy ad space "into the online conversations shaping consumer perception and buying behavior."

To leverage the BuzzLogic Ad Targeting feature, advertisers create BuzzLogic conversation queries (similar to key word searches) to discover the opinion leaders who are driving online conversations on virtually any topic, as well as the community of sites listening to or participating in a particular discussion. Once influential sites are identified, advertisers develop text or display ads directly from the BuzzLogic dashboard, then customize a list of influencers for site-level campaign targeting.

Ad:Tech Announcements: MySpace Ad Network

There are a lot of announcements expected at today’s start of Ad:Tech, so let’s kick off with MySpace.

The company is not content to live off the ad revenue it gets from its partnership with Google so is launching "SelfServe by MySpace"–an advertising network for display (banner) ads.

TechCrunch has the details…

The new tool will enable users to select from a number of ad targeting factors such as geographic, demographic, and various user interest categories. The service will be ready for use by early 2008. The minimum advertisement purchase size is $10; pricing will be based on a click to the advertiser’s profile and will be auction based once it gets going (to start things off, MySpace will charge a fixed CPC based on the category).

Should the FTC Tighten up Regulation of Online Advertising?

The FTC says they will begin to monitor online advertising and privacy more closely to protect consumers. This was from commissioner Jon Leibowitz at a forum on behavioral targeting. As more companies track customers, the agency will establish standards and privacy.

The concerns centered on advertising shown to children and the ways advertisers try to get people to give up information about themselves online. Personal information about everyone is used in a variety of ways, and it’s not just when you are surfing the internet. Google’s Gmail serves up ads based on what you write in an email. For example, you write that you’re feeling down and you start seeing ads on how to combat depression. MySpace enables advertisers to place ads based on what you write about yourself on your profile.

Do Not Track Registry; Good Idea or Ill-conceived?

As Andy already reported, organizations from consumer, privacy, and technology groups recently proposed the development of a “do not track” list in hopes of providing consumers the ability to prevent advertising networks from being able to track which websites consumers are visiting. The proposed “do not track” list was based on the idea of and is being compared to the “do not call” list that the FTC implemented in 2003 with significant success.

Conceptually the idea seems acceptable but the truth is it also seems extremely unrealistic. The following information is quoted directly from the proposal:

”Companies providing web, video, and other forms of browser applications should provide functionality (i.e., a browser feature, plug-in, or extension) that allows users to import or otherwise use the “do not track” list of domain names, keep the list up-to-date, and block domains on the list from tracking their internet activity.”

Real Estate Blog Network Infused with $1.5 Million

We’ve all heard the bad news in the housing market that only seems to get worse. Here’s a small bright spot for a real estate blog network. Curbed.com obtained some capital to expand their market. They currently focus on New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles has healthy advertising contracts with national advertisers. Now with $1.5 million in financing they’ll expand into new cities and add staff members. According to Lockhart Steele, Curbed.com’s publisher, traffic is growing 10 percent a month.

The investors include Nick Denton, who used to be Steele’s boss, Zach Nelson, chief executive of NetSuite, a maker of business software, and Gawker Media.