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Free Wall Street Journal Online Access Coming

Rupert Murdoch plans to make free to increase readership and generate far more in advertising. Right now the site gets 1 million viewers and Murdoch hopes to see it go to 15 million. For now a subscription just to the online edition is $79 for a year.

The site is has already added social media – or at least one element – along with RSS feeds. You can submit stories to Digg via the “Digg This” link at the bottom of each story. And you’ll be able to read the entire article, free and with advertising, when it’s linked from Digg.

Online Ad Revenues, Retail Up

Here’s one story that makes at least one major search engine happy: the IAB announced yesterday that online advertising revenues continue to climb, setting a new record in Q3: $5.2 billion. This number is up 25% over the same period last year.

Online ad revenues have risen all year: in Q1, they were at $4.9B and $5.1 in Q2. Each of these record-setting periods has contributed to increasing the total year-to-date by 26% over this time last year (YTD). This also means we’re on course for the first $20+ billion dollar year.

eMarketer reports that this development is chiseling away at offline media’s budget share: they project that 7.4% of advertising dollars this year will go to online media. They report that television, newspapers and radio have taken the hit the hardest: all those media have lost their share of advertising dollar spent (comparing Jan-Jun 2007 to Jan-Jun 2006).

Martha Stewart Launches Ad Network

Launching your own ad network is the rage right now. I read that this year is the year for launching your own social network and next year is the year for launching your own ad network. I overheard a startup that is making it easier for you to do that (hopefully we’ll get more on this in the next few weeks).

Martha Stewart is the latest to start her own ad network. It capitalizes on lifestyle and cooking sites that fit the Martha Stewart brand.

The network is called “Martha’s Circle,” and is forecast to generate around 20 million ad views a month. Sites belonging to the network include: Hostess with the Mostess, Charles and Hudson, 101 Cookbooks and Style Me Pretty. Advertisers include Ace Hardware, Bank of America, and Macy’s.

Verizon Debuts Web 2.0 Marketing Campaign

“My Home 2.0″ is a web 2.0 type of marketing campaign for Verizon to promote their FiOS service. It’s a combination TV/online reality show, kind of like Extreme Home Makeover but its not upgrading the décor as much as transforming the home and family to be technology savvy.

FiOS is Verizon’s digital fiber optic high speed Internet for homes. It is combined with their phone service and you can also get on-demand television through the same lines. The maximum connection speeds is 50 Mbps or 30 Mbps downstream and 20Mbps or 5 Mbps upstream, depending on where you live.

PC Magazine’s Lance Ulanoff described it this way: “…virtually every web page I visited popped up as if the servers were sitting in my living room.”

Is User Generated Content a Myth?

I enjoyed reading Scott Karp’s thoughts on sites like YouTube, which focus on User Generated Content (UGC), being media for real creative talent to be discovered. What I don’t agree with is the way in which he chooses to subscribe to the idea that an average person’s contribution to the same site is not commercially viable.

Scott does a very nice job on covering the latest talent discovery for Apple and its iTouch product, where a young man from England was discovered by Apple execs after posting a very high quality amateur commercial online. Scott goes on to imply that maybe the commercial was posted on YouTube with the intent for the young man to be discovered or that maybe Apple had generated the idea itself and was attempting to create some marketing buzz via the amazing discovery that they made of this young talent.

Facebook’s Announcement

Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch is liveblogging Facebook’s announcement as we speak I type this. The first fifteen minutes were filled with soundbites from Zuckerberg about the social graph, how cool and popular Facebook is, the history of advertising and how revolutionary this announcement is. Just moments ago, Zuckerberg began on the actual announcement:

2:48: “the next hundred years will be different for advertising, and it starts today. As marketers pushing our information out is no longer enough. We are announcing a new advertising system, not about broadcasting messages, about getting into the conversations between people. 3 pieces: build pages for advertisers, a new kind of ad system to spread the messages virally, and gain insights.”

Quigo to be Acquired by AOL for $300 Million

Quigo, a New York/Israel-based company that specializes in ad targeting, is in the process of being acquired by AOL, according to a report in Haaretz, an Israeli daily newspaper. Time Warner Inc. is purchasing Quigo for $300 million in an attempt to better compete with Google and Yahoo.

Quigo has two main services that they provide their clients, AdSonar and FeedPoint. Adsonar is very similar to Google’s Adsense in that it provides targeted advertisements on various websites, and FeedPoint is their search engine marketing tool.

Last June, Time Inc. signed an exclusive deal with Quigo that provided their 15 web titles with a custom version of the company’s pay-per-click ad service and allowed the online magazines to be sold as a single network.