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Archive for October, 2008

Online Advertising Spending

October 31, 2008 4 comments

I received a great comment yesterday in response to my article, Google Adsense & the Economic Turmoil, from Rick Breslin of Drive Thru Interactive.  Rick is the President of Drive Thru Interactive, web site design for small business, and the developer of Bizak.

In my article I speculate that the current economic downtown will slash marketing budgets which will trickle down through Google Adwords and Adsense. According to Rick, and an article in eMarketer, marketing budgets will likely be cut but online advertising will still thrive because online marketing is more “measurable and accountable” than print advertising.  

According to Rick Breslin:

While I agree that advertising/marketing budgets will get cut within large corporations, this is actually the best time for small businesses to continue their marketing efforts. Never stop marketing. Ever.

In fact, we’re seeing businesses (both big and small) trimming their advertising spend with traditional media (especially newspapers and magazines), while keeping or increasing their online advertising/marketing spend. Why? Online marketing is entirely measurable (and typically produces quicker ROI), and you don’t have to lock-in to huge advertising contracts with old-school publishers.

Additional email conversations with Rick expressed his belief that “online ad spend is decreasing with display ads and increasing with search (Adwords)” and 

…taking into account that Internet TV companies like Revision3 (who just had layoffs / cancelled shows) are adjusting because they make revenue from ads placed within their videos (early adopter stuff). That money is shifting to tried & true online advertising avenues like search, since they’ve figured it out over the past 5 years or so (PPC, that is).

Of course there is speculation on both sides of the online advertising spending debate but a lot of recent research supports Rick’s stance.  A survey in October 2008 by MarketingProfs found that 60% of 600 US marketers expected to increase their online spending in response to current market conditions. In June, McKinsey & Company surveyed 340 senior marketing executives, of the 91% who currently advertise online 50% of them expect to “maintain or exceed current levels” (eMarketer). The most interesting feedback from the McKinsey survey is that 55% of the senior executives are cutting traditional media expenditures in favor of online advertising.

The eMarketer article makes 7 points on why they remain bullish on online advertising spending. The number 1 point being that online advertising is measurable and accountable. With online analytics an advertiser can track every click and every sale that comes from their advertisement – print advertising can’t provide this type of tracking. Unlike traditional media (newspapers, magazines, TV) the Internet is interactive allowing for instantaneous feedback and engagement from consumers – feedback that can tweak the ad for increased effectiveness. Blogs, Facebook & Twitter can help spread these advertisements like wildfire and at virtually no cost to the advertiser – much more effective (and trackable) than handing a magazine to a friend.

All of these points by Rick and eMarketer increase my  optimism about online advertising spending. I still believe it’s time for a new advertising platform, but at least all of those Web 2.0 sites can still generate some income from Google Adsense until that platform is developed.

Google Adsense & the Economic Turmoil

October 30, 2008 3 comments

The marketing department is always one of the first departments to feel the heat during an economic downturn. With marketing budgets (and employees) likely getting cut, online advertising platforms like Google Adwords will see a decline in revenues. A decrease in Adwords will result in a decrease in Google Adsense earnings for website publishers. In response to this uncertainty Google Adsense just sent out the following email to all publishers.  

Dear Publisher,

We understand that the recent economic turmoil has created a lot of uncertainty in the lives of AdSense publishers. During these difficult times, we’re continuing to invest in innovations that improve publisher monetization and advertiser value in the content network.

We’re focusing on further developing our product offerings and boosting ad performance for publishers. We recently announced advancements in AdSense for search and experiments to make ads more effective. We’re bringing DoubleClick technologies to AdSense publishers, and we’ll continue to launch new products and features. We’re also continuing to improve our offerings for AdWords advertisers, making it easier for them to target the Google content network. Features for advertisers, such as the new display ad builder, are designed to improve ad performance on AdSense publisher sites.

We’ll keep driving technological progress, but our best asset will always be our publisher partners. The strength of AdSense lies in the value of the content you bring to users and the quality of the sites you bring to advertisers. Our success is tied to yours. We look forward to partnering with you for the long term, and remain dedicated to helping you succeed.

Sincerely,

Free Wi-Fi for the iPhone at Starbucks

October 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Today at 12:58 PM I received the following text message from AT&T:

AT&T Free Msg:  Your Apple iPhone now has free AT&T Wi-Fi access at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks. For info visit www.att.com/attwifi

According to the AT&T website the free Wi-Fi is also available at:

Thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot locations nationwide

  • Airports
  • Hotels
  • Universities
  • Convention Centers
  • Sports Centers 
  • Starbucks locations
  • Restaurants
  • Bookstores
  • Supermarkets

This is definitely a nice feature but the new iPhones are so fast that it’s often more of a pain to switch to Wi-Fi than to just keep it at 3G or even EDGE. I would imagine the strategy for AT&T’s free Wi-Fi is to lower the data costs that iPhone users generate.  Allowing iPhone users to freely access AT&T Wi-Fi networks is likely cheaper than the massive data costs that iPhones generate – costs that resulted in a $900 million loss for 3Q2008.

AT&T is reporting a boom in customer acquisition and, it seems, a bust in profits. According to a recent earnings report, the company activated 2.4 million iPhones but lost $900 million in third-quarter earnings as a result of all the data and voice blowing through Apple’s darling. Source:  CrunchGear.

Whatever the reasoning behind the deal it will likely help increase sales & traffic for Starbucks and other retailers. I already spent $4.15 on a Venti Chai Tea Latte to test out the “free” Wi-Fi.  I’m happy to report that it works and the Chai Tea was good.


Categories: iphone Tags: , , ,

Embed Any Medical Symptom – New Health 2.0 App

October 24, 2008 Leave a comment

We’re happy to announce that all of the medical symptoms on infoMedMD are now available to embed on your website.  Just browse any of our medical symptoms, for example Cigar Smoking, and you’ll see below it the code to “Embed this infoMed on your site!

Big Money – Recent Venture Capital Deals

October 22, 2008 1 comment

Over the last week there has been a handful of sizable rounds of VC funding in the tech space. Are startups trying to raise capital before the well goes dry? Or is this evidence that the market might not have a big impact on funding deals for companies with solid business models? 

Recent deals:

US CTO Under the Obama Administration

October 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Business Week & Techcrunch are reporting that if elected Barack Obama will appoint the first ever cabinet level Chief Technology Officer. The immediate task of the US CTO would be to increase broadband access throughout the United States – especially in rural areas. Currently only 23 out of 100 United States citizens currently have broadband internet access – that ranks 15th for industrial nations.  According to the article “Obama sees greater broadband penetration as an enormous economic engine, much like the railroads were a century ago”.

The US CTO will also oversee a $50 billion venture capital fund that will be utilized to invest in technology ventures that will both spur job creation and energy independence. Obama has vowed to make the United States energy independent in 10 years and to do this the CTO will likely focus on new energy technology like that of Tesla Motors. As I previously wrote in the Political Web it’s clear that Barack embraces technology and the CTO will likely be a critical role within the Obama Administration. 

Some of the candidates being considered for the job are Vint Cerf (Google’s chief internet evangelist) Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Ed Felten (computer science professor at Princeton).

 

The Market & Angel Investors

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking to a handful of individuals who are interested in either investing in or acquiring infoMedMD and Bizak, respectively. To no surprise all of the conversations come back to current market conditions and how it will affect investments in technology. My assumption has always been that the markets will have more of a negative impact on angel investors than the more established VC firms. The reason being, angel investors use their own personal wealth to invest in startups – wealth that is more closely tied to the stock market and real estate industry.

For established companies with revenues of $3 Million or more there will still be venture capital available to them. It’s the early stage startups (and business plans) that will likely see the biggest investment impact. Those startups that are in need of over $50,000 to launch their application will likely have a difficult time raising that money. The stock market will remain in a volatile holding pattern for the next 12-24 months and this will make the angels very cautious. Unfortunately, some good ideas will have to wait while the market figures things out. Those entrepreneurs with successful track records will likely fare better.    

The nice thing about internet startups is that they don’t have to cost a lot of money to build and you DON’T have to use developers from overseas. By bootstrapping operations and finding the right developer, you can easily launch an impressive application for under $20,000. Bizak, infoMedMD and a soon to be released third application all cost under $20,000 to launch.  They are also 100% made in the USA – more specifically made in California and Massachusetts.

So, now is the time to hunker down, be frugal and more creative than ever!