AOL’s Platform-A Introduces Affiliate Marketing for Widgets

AOL’s Platform-A has linked up two of recent acquisition to introduce affiliate marketing into widget ads, which AOL claims is a “first-of-its-kind solution” according to their press release. The new service combines services of widget creation and analytics technology company Goowy and affiliate marketing network buy.at, both acquired by AOL in February. The service provides publishers with a gallery of advertiser-generated widgets to place on their site, which users can grab and distribute. The publisher earns revenue from the sales drive by the widget. The first announced advertiser is Ticketmaster.com; with a widget that can be tailored promote specific Ticketmaster events.

Yahoo Expands Users Ability to Turn Off Targeted Ads

Yahoo will allow users to turn off targeted ads on it site beginning at the end of August, according to a post on the New York Times Bits Blog. Yahoo already allows users to turn off targeting for ads it serves other company’s websites. So far the option appears to have not been widely used, with only 75,000 users having visited the opt-out page according to Yahoo. Yahoo said that it could not estimate how many of those users had opted-out.

Google Announces Sale of SEM Portion of Performics

The New York Times Bits Blog reports that Google has reached a deal with advertising company Publicis to sell the search engine marketing portion of Performics, which Google acquired as part of it’s purchase of DoubleClick. The business presented a clear conflict of interest as Performics attempts to increase client’s visibility in Google’s search engine. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Google Launches New Search Behavior Data Tool

Google today announced the launch of Google Insights for Search, a tool that breaks search behavior data down by time, region, and category. The tool builds on Google Trends, providing all the information provided by that tool except for data on language. The tool adds a visual display of regional data using a heat map. The tool allows searching within categories and subcategories. If you were looking for search behavior related to apples, you would select the Food & Drink category to exclude related to the computer company. The tool also provides data as to what are the top and rising search terms related to the term searched for. The different search options can be combined to provide specific data. For example data on searches for prius in 2008 in the US state of California, shows which cities have the most search but also what related terms people have also been searching on.

Categorization Technology Added to Yahoo’s Right Media Exchange

Yahoo has partnered with LucidMedia to add categorization technology to Yahoo’s Right Media Exchange according to an article by CNET News. Using LucidMedia’s Clicksense contextual advertising engine to categorize publisher’s advertising inventory into more than 60 vertical categories, such as automotive, finance, and sports. In as statement, Right Media’s general manager Bill Wise claimed that the “technology will significantly help increase the prospective yield of a publisher’s available inventory and improve an advertiser’s ability to contextually target ads to relevant content and categories through the Right Media Exchange.”

FCC Rules Comcast Traffic Throttling is Unlawful

In a 3-2 ruling, the Federal Communication Commission has ruled that Comcast’s throttling of certain protocols on customers connections is unlawful according to an article by CNET News. This is the first time the FCC has ruled that a U.S. ISP has violated net-neutrality rules. The Republican Chairman and the two Democrats on the Commission voted in favor of the ruling, with the other two Republicans members dissenting. Comcast will not be fined, but will be required to “disclose the details of its discriminatory network management practices to the Commission”, “submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these discriminatory management practices by the end of the year”, and “disclose to customers and the Commission the network management practices that will replace current practices” according to a summary of the FCC’s order.

Google Processes One Trillion Unique URLs

A posting on the Official Google Blog reports that Google’s systems processing links had found one trillion unique URLs and that the number of individual web pages is growing by several billion a day. They do not index all of those URLs as many of them are similar to each other. Google also says that they gather: “updated page information and re-processing the entire web-link graph several times per day”.

Click Fraud Increases Slightly Over Year Ago Period

Click Forensics reported that the overall industry average click fraud rate was 16.2 percent in the second quarter of 2008, up from 15.8 percent in the second quarter of 2007. The rate was 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2008. The rate of click fraud for PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks was significantly higher than the overall, representing 27.6 percent of clicks during the second quarter of 2008. Botnets made up over 25 of the click fraud during the quarter. Click Forensics gathers the data from a network of more than 4,000 online advertisers and agencies.

FTC Director Of Consumer Protection Supports Self Regulation of Online Advertising

In an interview with the New York Times Bits Blog, the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s bureau of consumer protection Lydia Parnes said that she support self regulation of online advertising. Parnes is concerned that any legislation would be based “taking a snapshot of the way the market works at a specific time,” and would be quickly outdated by pace of change in online advertising. She also questioned how much consumers understand the connection between tracking and relevant advertising, saying: “If you ask people whether they want to be trace when they are online they generally say they do not. But if you ask them whether they want a free Internet they say yes. And if you ask them if they want relevant advertising, they say yes.” She also said that she felt that the FTC could be very persuasive in getting companies to follow general principles that the FTC proposes without requiring legislation.

June U.S. Search Share Results

Nielsen Online released it rankings of U.S. search share for June on Friday. Overall search grew 6.3 percent year over year to 7.9 billion searches. Google had year over year growth of 19 percent and received 59 percent of searches. Yahoo! had a year over year decline of 12.4 percent and received 16.6 percent of searches. Microsoft had a year over year growth of 12.5 percent and received 14.1 percent of searches.