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Microsoft Has a Long Way to Go

It was just a few weeks ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was downplaying Facebook’s originality and value—but now he’s bowing to a ‘higher power.’

He told WebWatch that:

In world search and advertising, Google is the leader, we’re an aspirant. We have a lot of work to do in search and advertising.

Of course, this does come a long time (okay, two weeks) after the New York Times slammed Microsoft only to highlight how far they have to go to catch up to Google in the online advertising arena.

But really, let’s put this in perspective. it’s quite a bit better than what he was saying about Facebook recently, even as rumors flew that they were in M&A talks:

ADSDAQ Launching Self Service Ad Exchange Platform

adsdaq You might have noticed a few changes to Marketing Pilgrim today. Last night, I signed-up for a sneak peak of the new ADSDAQ self serve advertising platform (from ContextWeb) and decided to test it out on the site.

What is ADSDAQ?  It’s basically an exchange that lets advertisers and publishers come together in an open market inventory platform. The new self service ADSDAQ Exchange Selling Desk lets bloggers and publishers:

  • Name their CPM price. When your inventory clears the ADSDAQ exchange, you will be paid the CPM price you set. No revenue share. No blind revenue share. No guessing.
  • Serve ad tags from other exchanges and ad networks. When ADSDAQ cannot clear inventory at your set CPM “AskPrice” it will serve tags from your backup networks and exchanges such as Google Adsense, Advertising.com and RightMedia.

Time to Rethink Mobile Marketing?

CNET’s Elinor Mills reports on a Nielsen//NetRatings and WebVisible study today that indicates that a whopping 92% felt that receiving local business ads on their cell phones would be “irritating.” This doesn’t bode well for mobile marketers, many of whom are hoping to bank on the hyper local third screen.

Other key (non-mobile-related) findings:

  • 56% “only get ads they want or need” from the Internet; television, 53%.
  • 80% researched a product online and bought it at a brick-and-mortar.
  • 74% use search engines to find local businesses in retail and services (versus paper yellow pages, 65%; Internet yellow pages, 50%; newspapers, 44%; white pages, 33%; TV, 29%; and consumer review sites, 18%).

A Study of Trust Online

Nielsen’s recent survey on trust reiterated what we all know – people trust each other more than they trust advertising. Word of mouth advertising is most trusted way to find out about products, especially across much of Asia Pacific. The survey of 26,486 internet users covered 47 markets around the world. Respondents were polled on the trust they have in thirteen different types of advertising – from conventional newspaper and television ads to branded web sites and consumer-generated content.

The internet has shrunk the world but people still rely on people they know and are influenced by their local culture. Trust of different advertising mediums from newspapers to television, magazines and radio varies across nationalities. Who trusts advertising most? Filipinos and Brazilians (67%) were found to be the most trusting of all forms of advertising. Who has the lowest levels of trust? Danes (28%), Italians (32%), Lithuanians (34%) and Germans (35%).

Google Less Reliant on Advertising Partners

As Google’s popularity grows, they rely less on advertising partners than ever. Here’s a case in point. CNNMoney.com reports that the advertising deal between Ask.com and Google is about to expire. Ask.com has Google’s sponsored links on its site but the contract will end at the beginning of next year. At first the company was confident they could renew the contract, but it hasn’t happened yet.

How things change. Google used to pay Ask.com and others to be their partner. Now Ask.com is doing the asking and Ask.com has more to gain than Google does on the deal. Here’s the data: in the second quarter, Google earned $997 million from ads on “partner sites.” Ask.com was responsible for about 10% of that, according to Barry Diller, CEO of IAC. That’s about $100 million. Google’s own sites brought in more than that—with $1.43 billion. Google shares in that revenue, maybe 80 to 85% of it. So the profit margins aren’t that thick—perhaps near 1%.

Using Fashion Blogs to Sell High End Handbags

Andy just wrote about how the majority of people in the US trust blogs for product recommendations. Smart entrepreneurs and businesses are noting that and finding ways to sell their products by getting some blog publicity.

I’m a big fan of the Unusual Business Ideas that Work blog. A recent post showed how blog publicity works well for a fashion designer named Sang A.

Celebrity blogs need fresh content and pictures of stars. Whatever fashions they are captured wearing can quickly become the rage. Sang A was savvy to the fact that bloggers are impacting the fashion industry.

So when Jessica Simpson was spotted in West Hollywood with Sang A’s “jade” purse in blue python, bloggers posted the picture. And her $1576 handbag started selling. That’s a low end model because prices for the bags can go to $15,000.

Yahoo Addresses Quality, Click Fraud

Yahoo paid search is adding some new features for advertisers. In a few weeks they will launch Blocked Domains. Like Google AdWords, you’ll be able to block specific domains that you do not want your ads to appear on. You will be able to block up to 250 domains per account. That includes blocking an entire domain, a subdomain or a directory in a particular domain.

You’ll also be able to block by continent. By default your ads will only show in North America. You can change the default in the administration.

Yahoo is also launching discounts for quality advertisements.
It’s a twist on Google’s quality score. Rather than rewarding advertisers whose ads are clicked on and offer higher quality, you get an automatic discount if your ads generate quality traffic. So those of you who don’t think search engines should have a say in what kind of ad you write, this seems to be the trend. You will be either rewarded or penalized.