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Will inventory shortage threaten online ad boom?

The online advertising market seems to be on an inexorable path of steep growth.

No less an advertising authority than Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the advertising behemoth WPP, was yesterday reported as saying that he expects online advertising to double in a few years. 

"About 15% of our business is internet, and this will be 30% in 10 years," he told the New York Sun.


Marketers must embrace shift of power to the consumer

There were three engaging presentations about the Future of Online Marketing at the Commission Junction University event for advertisers and publishers in London this week. 

The message coming through loud and clear was that marketers need to wake up quickly to the shifting balance of power on the internet.

There is no escaping the fact that consumers will increasingly hold sway in the fast-changing digital environment.

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Will the geeks really rule the world?

Paul Graham, one of the founders of web incubator Y Combinator, says we’re not in a bubble, and he’s right. There’s way too much talk about this mythical bubble. It ain’t a bubble, folks.

However, I think Paul is wide of the mark on a number of his assertions made when interviewed by Ian Delaney, who is currently writing a book on Web 2.0. Paul says he has spotted “a social trend that will last”, namely: “the startup world will increasingly be ruled by technical people rather than business people”.

God forbid!

I’m amazed that a savvy investor would think that way. Paul is a hacker himself of course, and a successful entrepreneur to boot, so I could be wildly out on this one. It just seems… wrong… on… so… many… levels…


PPC hyperinflation reported on Google Adwords

Wow, Google’s Quality Score is really starting to bite hard on some PPC budgets. I’ve just taken a call from Auctioning4U, a UK-based firm that helps people sell goods on eBay, and they are reporting that average click costs have risen by almost 2,000% in just one week.

Trevor Ginn, Head of Consulting at Auctioning4U, told me that one keyphrase has jumped in price from 12p to £2.75 in the last week.

In another example, the price went up from his default of 30p (which paid for an average Adwords position of 1.3) to £5.50. “Feel my pain,” he says, not without reason.

Naturally, Trevor is wounded and reeling, and puzzled as to what he’s done wrong. He’s not really done anything wrong. It is simply a case of Google shifting the goalposts.

Yup, this PPC hyperinflation is linked to Google’s newly-enhanced focus on ad quality. It could be a case of too much, too soon.


Free Web 2.0 software doesn’t mean better…

TechCrunch posts a heads up on ActiveCollab, a new open source alternative to popular online project management tool Basecamp, by Web 2.0 poster children 37Signals, and talks about the possible threat to current monopoly and current business model if the software is of high quality.


Dell leads the way with blogging

Recently Dell launched a blog where their “intention is to address issues that are important to use and our customers”, and at present I feel that can only be a good thing, so long as Dell are committed to listening and acting on what they’ve already stated.

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Rand's lovely new Page Strength Tool

Rand Fishkin’s SEOmoz.org is a great website for anybody interested in SEO as it contains search marketing news, research and analysis. It also hosts a number of tools that can help marketers, including a new ‘Page Strength’ tool.


Five hot new visual metrics make analytics for humans

E-consultancy analyst Linus Gregoriadis last week solicited suggestions on a sexier name for "web analytics". But five new Web 2.0 services currently brewing in beta are threatening to take the whole online marketing measuring practice into a more sexy paradigm entirely.

All these new products ask is that you place some Javascript in your header - but they promise to serve up juicy thermal imaging, in-page indicators or movable feasts that produce easy-to-use visual metrics for left-brain webmasters.

So what are these new tools? Let's take a look...

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Myspace overtakes Yahoo and Google

MySpace.com has overtaken the likes of Yahoo and Google to become the most visited site in the US, according to a new survey.

Measurement firm Hitwise said MySpace.com had the most visits by US surfers in the week to July 8, thanks to a 132% rise in traffic in the previous year.

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Hamleys to launch new website

London toy seller Hamleys is planning to relaunch its website later this year, as part of a new strategy to focus more on the internet.


BT denies Bebo approach, Web 2.0 shark not yet jumped

TechCrunch reports that Bebo has spurned the advances of UK telecoms behemoth BT, which is rumoured to have offered more than £300m ($552m) for the social networking site.

However, a senior BT executive told E-consultancy that this is nonsense.

Our BT source said: “We can state categorically that BT has not had any discussions with, or made any approach to, Bebo. We're not sure where this rumour came from.”

UPDATE: Bebo's Xochi Birch also emailed me to say: "BT has not approached us and we currently have no contact with anyone at BT." She also has no clue about where the rumour came from.

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Snakes, Planes and Viral Marketing

The online buzz surrounding the Snakes on a Plane movie is a fine example of how internet publicity can go ballistic without a penny needing to be spent on traditional advertising.