WSJ reports: “Microsoft announced plans to acquire Internet advertising company aQuantive in a deal valued at about $6 billion, or $66.50 a share, a significant premium. Founded in 1997, aQuantive is the parent company of Avenue A/Razorfish, Atlas Media Console and Drive PM.”
My last post talked about other recent moves as well, including WPP group’s acquisition of 24/7 and an analysis of TimeWarner’s investment in Adify.
Clearly, the Online Advertising party is in full swing! >>>
Acquisitions in the online advertising world continues, as WPP Group buys 24/7. WSJ reports: “Ad agency WPP Group agreed to buy online marketing services company 24/7 Real Media for $11.75 a share, or about $649 million. The deal demonstrates the rapidly rising interest in companies that help broker online ads. 24/7 Real Media offers search-marketing services and a network of Web sites for advertisers to place their ads; its 2006 revenue was $200 million.” >>>
Like many in Silicon Valley high tech, I have faced the question of how we take advantage of globalization in technology development. Last year, as part of pulling together my thoughts on this topic, I polled my immediate direct reports, that is the nine people who reported directly to me and whose performance reviews I filled out, but not including the people who reported to them or indirect (dotted line) reports. Remarkably, together they speak or write 13 different languages: English, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Klingon, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, Taiwanese, and Tamil. If one were to go down another level in the organization there are, of course, even more languages. I may not have had a great globalization plan, but I am sure I had a great globalization team! How can anyone doubt that technology is global or that Silicon Valley is still magical?
Strategy, market opportunity identification, positioning … all this good stuff apart, a successful ad network would require Adify to be able to execute in conjunction with the large media companies at many more levels of operational excellence. There, as per my own experience, so far, both Adify and Washington Post are only moderately acceptable. By and large, my customer experience has been terrible. But then, with Google also, most publishers have been having horrendous customer experience, so that also leaves lots of room for improvement and execution excellence.
SM: Part of that perspective that I bring to your table, Russ, is that I just got this Washington Post Adify code inserted. I told them a few months ago I would try it out, but I did not put in the Adify code, so I was not actually pulling ads from Adify for a while.
Now that I have inserted the code, the only ad which Washington Post pushes onto my site which is relevant is Marriott. How much Marriott can my audience consume? That is one problem.
The second problem is >>>
The cleantech rhetoric features in every career move these days. Shai Agassi recently quit the run for the CEO job at SAP to pursue greener pastures. Sass Somekh quit as the President of Novellus to focus on alternative energy. And John Doerr seems to have abandoned his previous pet cause, Education, in favor of cleantech.
Vinod Khosla says, “The best brains in the country are no longer working on the next pharmaceutical drug or the next Silicon Revolution. They want to work on energy.” >>>
A key partnership Selco has recently achieved is with Sewa Bank. This will not only provide access to additional microfinancing, but will also provide access to more customers in a very efficient manner.
SM: Let me ask you a bit more about the Sewa Bank partnership opportunity. What does it offer and how will you leverage that? Sewa Bank started in 1972 as a part of Sewa (Self Employed Women’s Association) which was a Women’s Union. It was looking to give poor women who were mostly street vendors access to credit.
Financial institutions saw no value in poor women who had no assets. That led to the creation of a new bank, which is Sewa bank – the whole purpose was financing poor women. Over the years they have built up a clientele of 300,000 users. Most are street vendors, midwives, and all sorts of poor women who are actually part owners in the bank. They have built up from bottom to top with varied financing mechanics, depending on the type of work a woman does. The loan in not given for the sake of giving loans. They look at clients as partners. They look at what the loan is being used for. >>>
In April 2007, Yahoo! entered in an alliance with McClatchy for online advertising. Yahoo! already has an agreement with a consortium of 12 newspapers and the current deal represents more than 264 newspapers across 44 states. McClatchy has discarded its plans of setting up a similar online ad partnership with Gannett and Tribune and decided to tag along with other newspaper groups like Belo, Scripps, Journal Register and Media General. In this piece, we look at the implications of the deal. >>>
SM: Are you getting the visibility at the right level of executive sponsorship at these large media companies? RF: I can tell you there are a lot of very senior folks at Washington Post that I have personally met. Beyond just them, deciding to build a network is a very important decision for a brand. It can be downright scary because if you decide to build an ad network, you are vouching for the quality of that content when you go to your advertisers. Beth Comstock is the President of NBC digital. These are very high level decisions to be made. A vertical network is a great way to build your business, but it can hurt it too.
SM: When I look at Washington Post I am surprised, because it seems that they are not putting enough weight behind their network. >>>