Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, October 07, 2021

While Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and AOL are still vying to make themselves the homepage of choice, they’re finding that the real money is in following users’ eyeballs to other sites via network-delivered advertising:

So instead of relying solely on being portals for consumers, the major companies are creating one-stop shops for advertisers, who are increasingly wanting to buy ads centrally and place them where the eyeballs are. The networks take care of feeding the ads to smaller sites…

Ad networks set the stage for the future and help the large Internet companies ensure they will have enough inventory to sell in the years ahead.

Ford Motor Co. can, for instance, come to Google and buy ads that run not only there but also at The New York Times’ Web site and thousands of others within Google’s AdSense network. Ford wouldn’t have to deal with all those sites individually; third-party sites wouldn’t have to expand their sales team.

Meanwhile, Google gets a cut of ad revenues — without spending a dime developing those specialty sites.

This is hardly a secret technique in Internet business practices. Google’s multibillion-dollar valuation rests upon its role as the Web’s premiere advertising syndicate — in fact, without that, it wouldn’t have any revenue streams to speak of, despite all the traffic coming into its search sites.

The emulation of this syndicate strategy by the other traditional portals amounts to the adoption of horizontal integration as a growth template. Ad-serving will be the delivery vehicle for staying front-and-center with Web surfers, multiplying the number of opportunities (via impressions) to convert ads into payable clicks. To an extent, the portal strategy — which had its heyday toward the end of the dot-com boom — may be supplanted in favor of this new model, which would represent a major shift in how online media companies do business.

Here’s a rundown in the most-recent acquisition roadmap that’s accompanied all this horizontal integrating:

In agreeing to acquire DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion, Google is looking for better ways to deliver multimedia display ads to supplement the small, text-based ads the company already does well.

The still-pending acquisition also extends Google’s reach beyond AdSense to all the outside sites for which DoubleClick now distributes advertising.

Likewise, in buying Tacoda Inc., AOL not only gets Tacoda’s technology for targeting ads, but also extends its reach to NBC Universal, Scripps Networks and the Times (sites can join multiple ad networks). AOL also has a network through its 2004 acquisition of Advertising.com and separately bought companies this year serving international markets and wireless devices.

Yahoo, meanwhile, paid about $650 million for the 80 percent of Right Media Inc. it did not already own and agreed to buy BlueLithium Inc. for $300 million. Microsoft bought aQuantive Inc. for $6 billion.

All this amounts to the acquisition of the pipes that will deliver the advertising inventory. It’s already materially affected how these online properties function, with the most telling recent example being Time Warner’s decision to move AOL’s headquarters from Virginia to New York City, aka the heart of the advertising industry.

Bottom line: The monetization of the Web is pretty well complete.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/07/2021 10:22:45 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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aka gus
I’ve seen and partaken of Grown Up Soda, aka GuS a few times. It’s a native New York brew, so it’s all over the place; and, true to its purpose, it does provide a less-sugary alternative to the Cokes and Pepsis of the world.

But it just occurred to me: The name GuS. “Gus” happens to be the Anglicized version of my name, Costa. (Think of the northern European “Gustav/Gustaf” or Iberian “Gustavo”, which are all adaptations of the original Greek “Constantine”.) I’ve never gone by Gus, and aside from a couple of acquaintances of my parents who think they’re doing me a favor by translating my name, no one calls me that. Still, it’s something of a coincidence.

Further, consider the above photo. It’s one that I snapped more than a year ago, and which served as a reminder of the long-gone Costa Sodas from my childhood.

I’d like to think that GuS is the inheritor of that old New York-based beverage company — Costa Sodas, all grown up. I guess that’s not the case; I’d be surprised if the GuS folks had ever even heard of the defunct regional brand. But I’ll run with the fictional lineage, even if it’s significant only to me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/07/2021 09:01:31 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin'
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Last week, I was showing an out-of-town friend around the streets of uptown Manhattan when we stopped at a sidewalk handbag table. (Not my idea; I typically take a long look at the sidewalk vendor wares while walking by, but have yet to actually linger over a purchase.)

The only other customers were two older women, also checking out the faux purses. They were driving a moderately hard bargain with the guy; they finally talked him down to three bags for $100, and let my friend in on that deal so that he could get a bag for his wife.

What I found a little odd: Whenever one of the women handled one of the handbags and asked questions about it, they’d refer to it as “this Prada knockoff”, “this Gucci knockoff”, etc. They would give a little extra stress on the “knockoff” part, thus not-so-subtly making a point of that fact.

I don’t think there was any question that this cardtable-full of handbags were fakes. The guy selling them certainly didn’t make any claims to the contrary, and in fact, you’d have to be the biggest of rubes to actually believe these were authentic items being sold at rock-bottom prices. It’s an accepted fact that you’re simply looking for a passable-looking imitation in this situation.

So why did these women insist on emphasizing the “knockoff” part? I’m wondering if it wasn’t an under-the-radar negotiation tactic, both with the handbag guy and with themselves. Repeating the descriptor to the seller might help in softening him up on price. Repeating it to themselves might also have helped remind them of what they were getting, and not to get too carried away.

Of course, the third possibility occurred to me: They were trying to show off that they weren’t fooled for a second that they were haggling over designer originals, and wouldn’t even concede that with a casual shorthand like “this Prada bag”. Psychological strategies at work, even on sidewalk sales.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/07/2021 08:27:34 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin'
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