There’s a lot of buzz about Magpie, the new Twitter based advertising system that matches up twitter folks and those who follow them with advertisers. Jeremiah O has a good test and expresses reservations that Magpie is “self diminishing” and I think I’m inclined to agree. For most Twitter folks the money will be small and the distraction to users high enough that I think many would drop folks who use this to the extent their other social media efforts – and possibly their credibility – will be damaged.
I’m actually a big fan of the idea of targeted contextual ads, but skeptical that Magpie will be prudent enough to make this a truly “helpful” system for the viewers, whose only advantage is the prospect of a wonderfully targeted ad. Google and most sites, by contrast, allows you to *ignore the advertising area* where my take is that Magpie ads will appear in the twitter stream. They’ll be tagged “Magpie” so you could ignore all but the first line, but part of what makes Twitter enjoyable is that you generally do not have to filter out commercial content – if somebody is always posting commercial promo stuff I just dont’ follow them. Magpie makes that … hard to do.
That said I’d like to see somebody with a huge Twitter footprint try this out and then broadcast all the commentary. Hey Robert! Magpie is offering you big money based on their revenue calculator
I’m skeptical that Scoble would see even a tenth of the 30k+ Magpie lists but I promise not to stop following you _and_ if you donate some to charity I’ll match up to $500 of your first month magpie proceeds to help justify the experiment.
This just in from the Google click advertising confusion department. It appears Google is severely throttling the number of clicks they allow to publishers for the key terms “Barack Obama” and “John McCain”. I don’t understand why they’d do this unless perhaps it relates to election advertising laws? That does not make sense to me because it seems we would have heard about this, so my second thought was that they might have agreements with the campaigns for exclusivity but … I’m not seeing Obama or McCain PPC ads on Google.
I was playing around with the costs to bid and run keyword campaigns for “Barack Obama” and “John McCain”, surprised to see that Google does not appear to be running those terms or terms like “vote”.
Using a cost per click maximum of $100.00 and a daily budget of $250,000.00 I should get a huge count for those terms, yet the Google predictor only shows I’d get about 102-128 clicks per day for Obama and 118-149 for McCain at an average costs just above a dollar per click.
Not that is not 118 *thousand* which might make sense, that is a paltry hundred and change clicks at a cost of about 100 per day. Why wouldn’t Google allow a bigger campaign?
Google is helping to monetize interenet search misspellings, a technique that is estimated to make them 32-50 million per year. It has also brought them a lawsuit from Edelman, the massive advertising consultancy who has no less than Wal-Mart as a client.
The technique involved is called “typosquatting” and is simply web publishers taking advantage of the many internet mispellings and mishits on keyboards to place advertising for terms like “computors” or “Girmany” or “uPhone” (where the user has accidentally hit the u instead of the i)
A study estimated that monetizing these domains via adsense ads (Google’s revenue share ad service) puts an extra 32-50 million to Google’s bottom line.
I don’t find this objectionable but not clear on the details of the Edelman lawsuit. I’m guessing they want Google to direct people to the best sites for those terms and not charge rather than send the user to an intermediate site.
Logging into Facebook I was assaulted presented with an advertisement featuring a picture of an incredibly fit fellow’s chiseled abdomen with the caption “48 YR OLD Overweight?”….
I suppose I should be thankful this was not a picture of a shirtless Mark Zuckerberg, but ..
I’m 48 so I can’t believe this was a coincidence – obviously Facebook is using my personal information to target ads to me – using the information they said they’d keep confidential and I really don’t want shared with any old Tom, Dick, or Hairy bodybuilder advertisers.
As I’ve noted before online privacy is largely an oxymoron, and I’m really not very concerned about the privacy “violation” here. However something about this pisses me off – I think partly because after all the hype – including from people like me – I hate to think this is the best we can do with targeted advertising.
Sure, I’m a *little* overweight but I don’t need the bogus overpriced green diet junk advertised to me here by Mr. Muscleydude. This is the classic type of junk product “seen on TV” presented in an annoying way using information I don’t want given out to advertisers. In my book Facebook has already pushed past the limit of advertising more than is welcome by me, and I get the strong feeling that with revenues in question we’ll see a lot more of these marginally relevant ads in the future.
Mike Arrington, hanging in Davos with the global power elite, has a great title today with “Scoble Sells Out“, a fake jab at his pal Robert Scoble who is finally putting ads on his hugely popular blog (and is also lounging in Davos with the power elite!).
No big deal in my view – Scoble has been good about disclosure and perhaps even more importantly is a basically stand up guy, so I hardly worry that he’s going to start misleading readers in favor of sponsor B.S.
That said, the blogging community would be well advised to develop disclosure standards if people want to maintain credibility and avoid the huge ethical gray areas that come about when socializing, economics, and blogging come together as they have over the past few years.
My view on corruption in politics (and blogging is similar) is that the challenges don’t come from basic dishonesty or payola – there is some of that, but the key problem is more subtle. In systems where economic support flows to those who *already* share the set of opinions with the money folks you don’t need any dishonesty to have a major distortion of the process in favor of those groups that can fund the people who share their ideas. Often people wrongly suggest that votes are “bought”, when this is rare. Rather support flows to the candidates who share the views of the supporters. This system would actually work OK if the contributions were small, but loopholes have allowed certain groups to have hugely disproportionate impact on our system.
This is why the conversational marketing model is bogus. Bringing businesses into the conversation is a good general idea. But if it only involves those businesses who can afford to buy a conversation it’s just a step away from basic advertising, yet disguised as real dialog. That isn’t corruption, but it is distortion.
Google knol is a promising development in online information, where “experts” will write concise, authoritative articles on many topics and the community will rank and comment on those articles. It may be a great way to combine quality content with social networking, though I’m not clear if the quality content producers will be rewarded with more than just the knol-edge that they have brought more good info into the world.
Although I don’t think they’d talk much about this, I think Google has begun to understand the degree to which adsense has hurt the online information landscape – basically by rewarding those who are most clever at flooding the web with low quality content rather than those who have provided high quality content. Likewise with linking, where SEO abuses and excesses and Google decisions have made it increasingly hard to separate the information wheat from the adsense chaff.
Enter knol, which will be a community policed content system. Basically a good idea, and as I’ve noted many times before Google is masterful at doing good things that happen to help them solve some potential revenue problems. As Nick Carr noted yesterday Google’s high ranks for un-monetized Wikipedia content aren’t putting many Christmas presents under the tree for Google, and knol may shift some advertising focus back in house.
Google’s about to launch yet another clever idea. Called knol, it will feature authoritative articles about any topic which will use community rating and input.
It will be interesting to see how this project compares to the excellent community produced content at Wikipedia, and also how Google handles the legitimate as well as scammy SEO tactics that always follow good content. Disallowing links to commercial sites would seem to inhibit an author’s ability to feature things, but allowing them opens up the chance of abuses of the type that made Wikipedia choose to use NOFOLLOW tag on all external Wikipedia links.
The good news – more quality information online – yippee!
YouTube’s starting to experiment with revenue sharing for video producers, though it is not clear yet how the details of the program will shake out. Marshall at ReadWriteWeb suggests this action might “put to rest” the notion that YouTube cannot monetize content, but I think it will actually show how difficult it is to monetize even popular content. Unlike targeted pay per click advertising it’s hard to “hit” a customer with a relevant ad when they are simply surfing aimlessly for clips or watching a funny clip. True, you get some vague targeting information such as a possible few interest areas, but this is nothing like running a per click ad during a search for “Buy a sony digital camera”. The latter is a golden opportunity to strike at the point of purchasing decision, and it’s why PPC, especially at the brilliantly matched Google PPC adwords environment, works so very well.
About a month back, when YouTube started allowing you to embed videos in a web page and use adsense to monetize them I tried a small experiment setting up a new website called “Funniest Online Videos“, fovideos.com. There are adsense ads embedded around the funny clips that Google pulls from their YouTube comedy section.
After sending a few thousand people to the site using some untargeted advertising I think I made something like 35 cents from a handful of clicks. Sure, I could work hard and target better and get some organic (free) traffic to that site, but as they are starting to find in many other venues video clip advertising does not pay well at all. I’m very skeptical of this model for ads, and given the deluge of clips I think advertisers will soon see this type of advertising as a waste of money, even at the low end of the scale.
I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better …
It sure looks sincere to me and I don’t think sincerity even matters all that much in this case. They srewed up, they are fixing things fast, time to move on.
Like many I’ve been cynical of Facebook valuations and some of the ridiculous hyperbole, but this whole fiasco was a great study in now quickly you go from being tauted as “the next big thing” to tauted as being “dead”. Also an example of how major media still does not quite get the web thing – just yesterday we read “Facebook RIP” which foolishly suggested this could be a major event for them.
Google social is a major stumbling block for Facebook, but Beacon is just a tiny bump in the road to more riches. That said I still think 15 billion dollar valuation is absurd. But, I thought Google was overvalued too and I was sure wrong about that…. so far at least.