Yahoo Announces Launch of Updated Advertising Platform

Yahoo has announced the launch of its new ad platform APT according to an article by the New York Times. APT, previously named Apex and AMP, is designed to simplify ad purchasing, by making it possible for advertisers to make purchases across a wide range of sites with one purchase. The platform also uses geographic, demographic and interest-based targeting to help advertisers to reach specific audiences. The platform is currently being tested on the San Jose Mercury News and The San Francisco Chronicle websites and the platform will expand to rest of Yahoo’s partners in its Newspaper Consortium later this year. The platform will open to advertisers, agencies and advertising networks in 2009.

eMarketer Projects Slower Growth in U.S. Online Advertising in 2009

eMarketer projects the growth in U.S. online advertising will slow in 2009 according to a article by Adweek. Spending in 2008 is projected to be 24.9 billion dollars, an increase of 17.5 percent, and spending in 2009 is projected to be 28.5 billion dollars, an increase of 14.4 percent. Spending is projected to again grow 17.5 percent in 2010, reaching 33.5 billion dollars. The projected growth is expected to exceed 20 percent, for the first time since 2007, in 2011 with spending projected to be 40.5 billion dollars.

WordPress Developer Automattic Acquires Enhanced Commenting Tool

The developer of WordPress, Automattic, has acquired enhanced comment tool IntenseDebate according a article by CNET News. IntenseDebate replaces a blogs standard comment system with a system that allows for email replies, reputation, ranking, and centralized control across several sites. The tool will likely be integrated into self-hosted and hosted WordPress blogs in the near future. The co-founder of IntenseDebate, Jon Fox, told CNET News that the tool would continue to support other blogging platforms including Blogger and MovableType.

AOL’s Platform-A Launching Ad Exchange in 2009

AOL’s Platform-A announced that they would be launching BidPlace, a self-service ad exchange, in the first half of 2009. The exchange will support cost per thousand (CPM), cost per click (CPC) and cost per action (CPA) bidding for advertising on AOL, on select partner sites and on Platform-A’s third-party network. These sites reach 90% of the online audience according to an August 2008 comScore Media Metrix report. According to Platform A the exchange will provide an automated interface that “will let advertisers create and manage their campaigns, define budgets, pricing, targeting and the frequency of their ad placements” and that “advertisers will receive detailed reporting on campaign and creative performance.”

August U.S. Search Share Results

Nielsen Online today released it rankings of U.S. search share for August. Overall search decreased 7.7 percent year over year to 7.2 billion searches. Google had year over year growth of 3.1 percent and received 60 percent of searches. Yahoo! had a year over year decline of 16.5 percent and received 18.1 percent of searches. Microsoft had a year over year decline of 23.8 percent and received 10.7 percent of searches.

Microsoft Signs First Partner for U.S. Expansion of Mobile Ad Network

Microsoft has signed it first U.S. partner for it’s mobile ad network ScreenTonic according to an article by Adweek. The deal with CNBC expands on a deal reached in December to sell as on ScreenTonic, which Microsoft purchased in May 2007, has so far been focused on the European market. Brian Arbogast, corporate vice president of mobile services at Microsoft, told Adweek that “the company is working to build an extensive mobile network that mirrors its approach online, where the firm has concentrated on sewing up deals with big-name publishers such as CNBC, Facebook and Digg.” The U.S. ad network will show standard banner ads at first, with more advance options including video possible in the future.

AdWords Removes Restriction on “Abortion and Religion-Related Content”

Google has removed a restriction on “abortion and religion-related content” in AdWords as part of an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit according to an ABC News article. The British Christian group The Christian Institute filed the suit after Google refused to run that reads:

UK Abortion law
Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute

The Christian Institutes suit claim that Google violated the U.K. Equality Act 2006 by refusing to run the ad. In a statement to ABC News, Google said that “over the last few months we have been reviewing our abortion ads policy” and that “following the review we have decided to amend our policy, creating a level playing field and enabling religious associations to place ads on abortion in a factual way.” The removal of restrictions is applicable worldwide.

Group to Define Standards for Social-Media Advertising

A new group, the Social Media Advertising Council, has been formed to define standards for social-media advertising according to an article by CNET News. So far the group consist mainly of representatives from ad agencies including leadership from Universal McCann, MediaVest, Edelman, Deep Focus, and Digitas. The group does not include any representation from the two largest social networks Facebook and MySpace, but the group’s Chairman is Tom Gerace, the CEO of social network Gather. Gerace told CNET News that the group has “brand advertisers, for the first time–to invite them to be part of the consortium.” The group plans to define standard methods of measurement and buying units for what they “engagement advertising.”

Google Challenges Report of Increased Costs from Google-Yahoo Partnership

In a post on the Google Public Policy Blog, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian challenged the findings of a report by SearchIgnite that Google-Yahoo search advertising partnership would cost advertisers more. Varian say that the report is flawed because only looks at the cost of clicks and not the performance of those clicks. He says that “we believe that advertisers will be getting significantly better performance at prices that reflect that improved performance” He goes on to say that neither Yahoo! or Google will be able to see the current auction prices, so Yahoo! no the have the ability to choose the ads with the higher price. He also said that because Yahoo! receives all the revenue for their own ads and only part of the revenue from Google ads, Yahoo! has a strong economic interest to serve their own ads. Finally, he claims that advertisers receive a higher return on investment for clicks on Google ads because they are “highly relevant to user queries” and that “we anticipate that our agreement with Yahoo! will bring more relevant ads to Yahoo! users” which would increase the return on investment.

European Union Reviewing Google-Yahoo Partnership

The European Union opened a review into the Google-Yahoo search advertising partnership in July, according to Los Angeles Times article. The planned partnership is only in the United States and Canada, but Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the European Union’s competition commission, told the Times that “since the two companies do business in Europe, the cooperation could violate European Commission rules on anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing and sharing of sensitive business information.” Todd also said that the review “would focus on the possible effects of the deal on European Commission rules relating to restrictive business practices.” Last week the U.S. Justice Department hired lawyer Sanford Litvack in preparation for a possible challenge to the partnership.