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Author: John Gaffney


Have participated in the digital world from boom to bust and back again as sports marketing director of Yahoo!, senior editor at Revolution US, contributing editor at Business 2.0 and editor-in-chief of Mediapost. Also have considerable experience in developing customer strategy as executive editor for 1to1 Media and senior analyst for Retail Touchpoints.  

And the performance data argument rages on

arguingThe recently wrapped AAAA conference in New Orleans was notable for something that didn't happen. It didn't produce an agreement on who owns performance data from online campaigns, and it is going to turn in to a brawl.

The AAAA had formed a task force with the IAB to study the issue. They were slated to deliver its recommendations at the event. At issue is the role of measurement agencies, content owners, and search engines. No one doubts that the advertiser and the agency own performance data. But there is a school of thought that says they shouldn't own it exclusively. After all, if a campaign runs as pay-per-click, shouldn't the website own the data?

The issue will come down to individual relationships. It is not a sweeping rule that will be handed down and followed blindly. If P&G tells Yahoo, for example, that under no circumstances will it tolerate any usage of what it considers proprietary data, it's hard to argue that. If a startup company wants to share its data in return for a better CPM, that deal will happen. The result here, will be gray, not black and white.


Shoppers RSVP to invite-only ecommerce

rue la la Turns out WalMart and Amazon aren't the only retailers finding shelter from the economic storm. A small group of invitation-only retail sites are establishing growth with high-end product and shrewd marketing.

The three attracting the most attention are Gilt.com, ideeli.com, and RueLaLa.com. Gilt has a high powered executive team including DoubleClick founder Kevin Ryan and former Martha Stewart Omnimedia CEO Susan Lyne. The three share a basic business model. You get an invitation from a member, you join, you get a preview of a designer boutique event, then you buy. First come, first served. Stores magazine reports that Gilt has added membership each month since its November 2007 launch. RueLaLa claims membership in the "hundreds of thousands." Ideeli also has "hundreds of thousands of members" and doubled its business during the fourth quarter of 2008 over 2007, according to fashion industry trade JC Report.


Following Skittles is a state of mind

ryan bBy now it's a fair assumption to say that the new Skittles social media drenched website has owned the week in internet marketing. According to the March 5 Google Trends index it spiked more than 100 percent in news reference volume this week, and more than 50 percent in actual searches.

Now that the buzz is fading just a little, we asked Mars PR Manager and spokesperson Ryan Bowling to put the launch in perspective.

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New research ties email to customer loyalty

emailMaybe consumers really do want to read about toothpaste, paper towels, and soda.  A new study from ROI Research and Epsilon claims that 62 percent of customers that receive permission- based emails are influenced by those emails, and 75 percent have read company or brand content as a direct result.

The survey was conducted in mid-October and measured 1,517 people. Not exactly a statistically projectable dynamo, (and it is, after all, sponsored) but even if half the numbers are on the money they are significant. They support the continued effectiveness of permission-based email, and they support the concept that content will attract consumer attention, which will increase engagement and then purchase intent.


Brand loyalty doesn't come cheap

The economy may be pushing prices lower, but when it comes to brand loyalty consumers still aspire to lofty expectations. That's the conclusion of the latest BrandKeys customer loyalty survey and it could portend a strategy change in internet marketing for brands that are trying to hold the high ground.

Brand value, according to BrandKeys CEO Robert Passikoff, means a lot more than brand pricing. The just-released index says that consumer expectations regarding brand value went up 20% this year versus last.


FCC nominee holds key to net neutrality

Julius GenachowskiHe's bright, well-connected, has a lot of money to spend and the political capital do it. Meet the new nominee for FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.  While his confirmation is virtually a lock, his stance on "net neutrality" has content providers on edge.

Genachowski comes from a solid Internet background. He worked in several different positions at IAC, co-founded technology investment firm Rock Creek Ventures and was part of the team at LaunchBox Digital.


Five things Carol Bartz should do at Yahoo!

New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had her first public appearance at the Morgan StCarol Bartzanley conference yesterday. She took the opportunity to continue her message to Wall Street that the sliding search company is considering a whole menu of options for the future. The operative quote: "Everything is up for evaluation."

The problems with Yahoo begin and end with that attitude. Here are five things Bartz could put in motion tomorrow that will get the company back on track:


Obama picks the devil we know for FTC

FTCReading the blogosphere today it would be reasonable to think that Barack Obama has nominated Satan to lead the Federal Trade Commission. His name is actually Jon Leibowitz and all the talk about a "day of reckoning" for the online ad business will not be at the top of his agenda.

Leibowitz is a known anti-piracy advocate (good) and an aggressive proponent of regulating online advertising (maybe not so good). He made a speech on Feb. 12 while he was deeply into his job as one of the FTC commissioners and investigating behavioral targeting. In that speech he used the phrase "day of reckoning" about online ad regulation and although it certainly has a promise of biblical wrath, he will not smite this business.


Visa teams with Flickr for global community

visa goIt's shaping up to be a big week for social media. Now Visa is making some social media news, this time on a more conventional platform than other recent entries, like Skittles.  The credit card is launching its first global advertising campaign, complete with a microsite, rich media banner ads with live video feeds from international locations, and a multicultural twist on Flickr.

The "More People Go With Visa" campaign's microsite will feature a "Gosaic," which is Visa-speak for a collection of images submitted by people through Flickr along with recommendations from them about experiences that can be enabled through a Visa card. The "Gosaic" will feature more than 200 merchant offers delivered to users depending on their interests, location, and time of day. The whole thing launches with ads on Fox's "American Idol" tomorrow night, March 4.

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New York Times goes to the 'hood

 New York Times LogoIf The New York Times fails, it won’t be for lack of effort. The cash-strapped Gray Lady launched an aggressive new  content-driven effort today, aimed at more engaged readers and hopefully, new advertisers.

It’s called “The Local.” Before you say, "Right, newspapers are local," understand this is actually hyperlocal. It's an attempt by The Times to re-position itself from the center of the globe to the center of town. 

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