Cashing Out: Week of June 10th – 16th 2012 in Online Marketing News

Facebook launching real-time bidding for targeted ads

Facebook confirmed its latest monetization plan this week – a real-time ad exchange where marketers will be able draw on Facebook’s data, as well as that of third parties, Ad Age reported June 13.

The Facebook Exchange, as the platform has been dubbed, promises more relevant, direct advertising than Facebook’s older ad format, the Sponsored Story; marking visitors to third party sites with a cookie, the system opens up bidding on Facebook users’ browsing history, and accordingly serves them targeted ads.

If a user recently searched for flights to Montreal, that information could be very valuable to an airline, and as TechCrunch notes, “advertisers might pay big premiums for highly-accurate targeting,” adding “users will be able to opt out of Facebook Exchange via third-party demand-side platforms, but they can’t opt out of the program completely from within the social network.”

The Facebook exchange, says Econsultancy, is a sign that “Facebook is finally waking up to the fact that it’s really little more than a display ad company […] If there was any doubt that Facebook is going to be putting the peddle to the metal on its monetization efforts now that it’s a publicly-traded company, those doubts are apparently going to be eliminated very quickly.”

Tech leaders fight it out for top level domains

If we needed any indication of just how valuable a commodity generic top level domains (gTLD) are going to be, we need look no further than the competition that’s now heating up between some of the world’s leading tech companies over the most coveted ones.

gTLDs offer an alternative to .com, like .org or .edu, and companies may apply for their desired gTLD through the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

But, while applications for some gTLDs will be granted without much trouble (there would likely be little issue with McDonald’s applying for a .mcdonalds gTLD) others are going to be a bit trickier. As Ad Age reported June 13, Google and Amazon are both among the 13 applicants for the .app gTLD, and both have also applied for .music and .shop.

The value of some gTLDs in particular is without question, and the advantage of owning them is obvious. But, as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) noted, self-protection may end up motivating fierce competition as much as anything else.

“Some corporations have criticized Icann’s system, raising concerns that companies will need to buy many more defensive addresses or even full domain names to protect their trademarks,” wrote the WSJ.

The article also quoted Charlie Abrahams, VP for MarkMonitor, who illustrated how companies will have to go beyond securing gTLDs that include their own trademarks if they want full protection: “.sucks may be seen as little more than corporate blackmail. Is it in the interests of the internet?,” Abrahams told the WSJ.

YouTube considers launching paid subscriptions

After pouring $100 million into new premium video channels this year, and after its first steps toward original content, YouTube is now considering launching a paid subscription service, Mashable reported June 15.

The idea is to turn YouTube into “a venue for cable networks with small audiences that want to offer their content on an a la carte basis,” charging for subscriptions to redistributed cable content.

And though Google’s Senior VP of YouTube and Video Salar Kamangar told Reuters that Google doesn’t “have anything to announce right now,” he also said “It is something that’s really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren’t on YouTube today, so we’re taking very seriously and we’re thinking about it very carefully.”

Bing partners with Yelp for local search

Econsultancy reported June 14 on a new agreement between Microsoft search engine Bing and review site Yelp.

The deal isn’t an acquisition by Microsoft. Rather, it’s a partnership in which Yelp will start featuring content on Bing Local Search pages, something dubbed the “Powered by Yelp experience.”

That content includes snippets of reviews, photos, and “business attributes,” among other things, and  “will be featured prominently on relevant Bing Local pages, presenting information to help consumers do more with businesses near them,” reads the press release.

The deal with Yelp follows a similar agreement between Bing and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, in which content and information from the encyclopedia will be included in some cases for richer search results. “It’s likely that we’ll see more deals of this nature,” writes Econsultancy.

RadiumOne mines URL shortener data for ad targeting

Real-time ad outfit RadiumOne has touched upon a new way to collect data for targeted ads.

As MediaPost reported June 13, the company has introduced a URL shortener, not unlike’s, but which uses an analytics platform to draw data used in targeting display ads.

The tool,, is designed to help users share links, but also pulls data from social networks , which it “serves up in a dashboard as consumers share information about a specific product, which expresses interest,” writes MediaPost.

Paraphrasing RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal, MediaPost explained “Other utilities like will shorten a URL […] unlike RadiumOne,’s data doesn’t plug into a dashboard to collect and monetize the data through advertising inventory. The utility turns links into a return on investment.”

Zynga stock drops 11.8 percent

Zynga may be having its hardest time yet, since going public last December.

Mashable reported June 16 that the social game developer with deep ties to Facebook saw its stock fall by 11.8 percent June 12, to under $5 a share.

Mashable cites a Cowen & Co. report that blames this drop on the fact that gamers are increasingly moving away from Facebook, and instead are playing via smartphone apps. The report claims the Facebook game market is now at a “negative inflation point.”

This week in marketing studies and reports

Facebook’s growth in U.S. Cools

According to a report from comScore, reported on by Mashable June 11, Facebook’s U.S. growth is slowing down. This past April, the social network’s audience in the U.S. grew 5 percent, while the figures for April 2011 and April 2010 were much more impressive, at 24 percent and 89 percent, respectively.

The report does note that users are spending more time on Facebook, but that growth is cooling as well. This April, time spent by U.S. users on the site increased 16 percent, but, in April 2011 the increase in time spent was 23 percent, and the precious year it was 57 percent.

Internet ad revenue hits new record in Q1

In the first quarter of 2012, revenue from internet advertising hit a record high of $8.4 billion, Mashable reported June 12.

That figure comes from a report from the IAB and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which shows that, in Q1, it grew by roughly 15 percent, or $1.1 billion, since the same quarter in 2011. “That’s strong growth,” says Mashable, “but less than the 24 percent jump in revenue between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011.

When asked to opt-in to cookies, 43 percent say no

According to data from QuBit, reported on by Econsultancy, when asked to opt-in to cookies, 43 percent of internet users refuse. However, says 99.9 percent give consent if they are simply notified that a site uses cookies.

Bing and Yahoo gain, Google looses US search market share

Based on two sets of figures, released separately by Experian Hitwise and Compete, TechCrunch reported that, while Bing and Yahoo are gaining in search market share, Google’s search market share down.

In terms of year-over-year percentage change, Google’s search share is down 5 percent, while Bing’s is up 5 percent, and Yahoo’s increased 3 percent.


About Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a Montreal writer and editor who recently joined Her experience comes largely from her work at print publications like La Scena Musicale, where she alternated between positions as content manager, copy editor and journalist.
She believes in the importance of strong writing, be it in journalism or in other media, like blogging or even social networking. Her prerogative: though language will and ought to evolve, a good writer need never sacrifice the communicative power of text that is written with thought and care, whatever the venue.
Find Emily on Twitter @EditorWilkinson

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