Thanks to our sponsor Google, we got the full first day of last week’s CM Summit, featuring Fred Wilson fresh from the Tumblr deal, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, and about 20 speakers in between for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
The world is atwitter about Tumblr’s big exit to Yahoo!, and from what I can tell it seems this one is going to really happen (ATD is covering it well). There are plenty of smart and appropriate takes on why this move makes sense (see GigaOm) but I think a lot of it boils down to the trends driving Yahoo’s massive display business.
If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that a new form of native advertising is spreading throughout the Internet. It started with Google and AdWords, it spread to Twitter and its Promoted Tweets, and Facebook quickly followed with Sponsored Stories. At FMP, we have sponsored posts and our Native Conversationalist suite, which we are scaling now across the “rest of the web” – the smaller but super influential independent sites that we believe are major suppliers of “the oxygen of the Internet” – the content that drives true engagement. Other companies are adopting similar strategies – Buzzfeed is building a content marketing network, and Sharethrough has moved past its “wrap a YouTube ad in a player and call it native” phase and into more truly native units as well.
The reason native works is because the advertising is treated as a unit of content on the platform where it lives. That may seem obvious, but it’s an important observation. When a brands’s content competes on equal footing alongside a publisher’s content, everyone wins. Those search ads – they win if they are contextually relevant and add value to the consumer’s search results. Those promoted tweets only get promoted if people respond to them – a signal of relevance and value. The same is true for all truly “native” ad products. If the native ad content is good, it will get engagement. The industry is evolving toward rewarding advertising that doesn’t interrupt and is relevant and value additive. That’s a good thing.
Left out of this evolution, until now, has been Yahoo!. When you break it down, Yahoo! is a Very Large Display Advertising business, with a hefty side of search and a bit of this and that on top. And that display advertising business is going through a wrenching shift, as buyers move to more efficient programmatic channels (for a visualization, see my last post). CPMs (cost per thousand, the unit of value for display advertising) are rapidly declining for “standard display” units – the boxes and rectangles that built Yahoo! and much of the rest of the web.
It will take a couple of years for those ads to A/evolve into new forms that are standardized and B/be driven by data and real-time programmatic rules in ways that brands can really trust (it’s already working for direct response, but that’s not the end game). Display will always be around, but as I said, it’s in a significant evolutionary phase, and the short to mid term reality is this: CPMs are dropping, and Yahoo! has a massive display business.
At the same time, we’re all shifting our attention to mobile devices, and we’ve adopted the “stream” as our preferred method of content discovery and consumption. That stream doesn’t work so well with standard display. But it’s great for native units.
Yahoo! is already shifting its home page and other content sections to a stream like interface. Tumblr offers only native ad units (founder David Karp lifted his strategy pretty much wholesale from Twitter’s “the ad is the tweet” philosophy). And Tumblr was built from the ground up as an activity stream.
I’ll write another time about how I believe that display and native will eventually merge – via the programmatic exchange. For now, Yahoo’s move gives it an asset that its branded display sales force can sell as sexy: native, content-driven advertising at scale. A good move.
I’m very proud to announce “Behind the Banner“, a visualization I’ve been producing with Jer Thorp and his team from The Office for Creative Research, underwritten by Adobe as part of the upcoming CM Summit next week. You can read more about it in this release, but the real story of this project starts with my own quest to understand the world of programmatic trading of advertising inventory – a world that at times feels rather like a hot mess, and at other times, like the future of not only all media, but all data-driven experiences we’ll have as a society, period.
I’m a fan of Terry Kawaja and his Lumascapes – Terry was an advisory to us as we iterated this project. But I’ve always been a bit mystified by those diagrams – you have to be pretty well steeped in the world of adtech to grok how all those companies work together. My goal with Behind the Banner was to demystify the 200 or so milliseconds driving each ad impression – to break down the steps, identify the players, make it a living thing. I think this first crack goes a long way toward doing that – like every producer, I’m not entirely satisfied with it, but damn, it’s the best thing I’ve seen out there so far.
I am deeply grateful to all the folks who helped us make this happen, in particular Jared Cook at Adobe, and a legion of leaders in the industry who reviewed early versions, including Walter Knapp, Bill Demas, Ned Brody, Brian O’Kelley, Ann Lewnes, and dozens more who helped me research and imagine what this might end up looking like.
So take a look and tell me what you think. It’s far too complex to embed here, so we have it running over on the CM Summit site. If nothing else, it should get folks talking, and I hope you’ll help us make it better by leaving a comment here, or sending me mail with your thoughts.
Oh, and while you are at the site, check out the conference lineup. We are almost sold out of tickets, and it’s going to be one heckuva conversation, so please join us!
OpenCo NY is just ten or so days away – the opening plenary (for Backstage pass holders and VIPs) is Weds evening, May 22, and the full day of open sessions inside 130+ innovative NY-based companies is the following day, May 23. Consider this post a “curtain raiser” of sorts, with all the information you might need to grok the event and, I hope, participate if you happen to find yourself in NYC for InternetWeek.
General admission registration is still open, and I plan to keep it open until at least 2000 folks register. As of today, we’re past 1500, and with ten days left and pacing of about 100 a day, I expect that to happen sometime next week. VIP access to our schedule picker, which works just like a music festival app but you pick the companies you want to visit (as opposed to the bands you want to see) is already open. If you want to register, either for the free admission or VIP, go here. I humbly suggest you upgrade to a VIP level (it’s just $100) which makes sure you get immediate access to picking the companies you want to visit – once we open General Admission later next week, most of the companies listed below will fill up quickly.
A VERY special thanks to founding Tour Partner American Express OPEN Forum (you’re amazing!) and to IPG and Yahoo!, who are both major supporters and sponsors as well.
So here are the amazing companies that are opening their doors to the public for this festival, and telling the world their story and their mission. Here they are:
(RED), About.com, Adobe/Behance, AppNexus, appssavvy, Artspace, Artsy, Aviary, BazzarVoice, Betaworks, Birchbox, bitly, Blue Ridge Foundation New York, BlueKai, Bonobos, BrightFarms, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Centre for Social Innovation, ChallengePost, Charity: Water, Chartbeat, Complex Media, Crowdtap, Curbed Network, Dashlane, Deep Focus, Delaney Barbecue, DonorsChoose.org, DoSomething.org, Dress Code, Droga5, Echoing Green, Echolocation, Edelman, Etsy, Evidon, eXelate, Fab.com, Farmigo, Federated Media Publishing, Forbes Media, Foursquare, Free The Children, Friends of the High Line, General Assembly, Gilt, Gojee, Google, Greatist, Hill Country Hospitality, Hot Bread Kitchen, Huge, IDEO, INDMUSIC, IPG Media Lab, isocket, JaegerSloan, Kensington & Sons, Kickstarter, Kiip, KMco, Lerer Ventures, Leske’s Bakery, LiveIntent, LocalResponse, Locket, LUMA Partners, Luminary Labs, Major Food Group, MakerBot, Maker’s Row, Mashable, Meals to Heal, MediaMath, Meetup, Mexicue, MOUSE, National Museum of Mathematics, Next Jump, NowThis News, NSG/SWAT, OneBeat, ooVoo, Outbrain, Pave, Percolate, Plyfe, PolicyMic, PublicStuff, PureWow, Qnary, Quantcast, Quirky, R/GA, RebelMouse, Regus, Rent the Runway, Sailthru, Salesforce.com, SeatGeek, Simulmedia, Skillshare, Snaps!, SocialFlow, Someecards, Stack Exchange, STORY, StyleCaster Media Group, Sumpto, Tablet, Tapad, TechStars, TED, The Guardian, The YARD, Thrillist Media Group, Trigger Media Group, Tutorspree, Undertone,Vaynermedia, Warby Parker, WeWork Labs, Work Market, Yahoo!, Yext, Yieldbot, Yodle, YouNow, Zeel and ZocDoc
Speakers at the plenary (you have to buy a Backstage pass to come to that!) include
June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media
Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
Eric Hippeau, Partner, Lerer Ventures
Bob Pittman, CEO, Clear Channel
Rachel Sterne Hoat, Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York
Matt Seiler, Global CEO, IPG Mediabrands
Robert K. Steel, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Office of the City of New York
Joanne Wilson, Gotham Gal
Next are the amazing advisors who have helped bring this to life in NYC:
|Advertising Age & Internet Week||Allison Arden||VP/Publisher, Advertising Age and Managing Director, Internet Week.|
|Alison Brod Public Relations||Alison Brod||Founder & CEO|
|Angel Investors||Ron Conway||Founder & Managing Partner|
|Bain Capital||Matt Freeman||Partner|
|BAV Consulting||John Gerzema||Executive Chairman|
|Brew Media Relations||Brooke Hammerling||Founder|
|Brien Enterprise LLC||Nick Brien||Founder|
|Business Insider||Henry Blodget||Editor-In-Chief|
|Deep Focus||Ian Schafer||Founder & CEO|
|Foundry Group||Brad Feld||Managing Director|
|General Assembly||Adam Pritzker||Cofounder I Chairman & Chief Creative Officer|
|GetTheJuice||Joe Jaffe||President & Founder|
|Harvard University||Martin Neisenholtz||Fellow|
|Hearst Digital Media & 212||Geoff Schiller||Chief Sales Officer, Hearst Digital Media and President: 212 NYC Board of Directors|
|Huffington Post Media Group||Arianna Huffington||President & Editor in Chief|
|IPG Mediabrands||Matt Seiler||Global CEO|
|Lerer Ventures||Eric Hippeau||Partner|
|Lowenstein Sandler LLP||Ed Zimmerman||Chair, Tech Group|
|LUMA Partners||Terry Kawaja||Founder and CEO|
|Morris + King Company||Andy Morris||Founding Partner & Co-Principle|
|NA||Joanne Wilson||Gotham Gal|
|NBCUniversal||Peter Naylor||EVP Digital Media Advertising|
|NY Times||Michael Zimbalist||Vice President Research & Development Operations|
|RebelMouse||Paul Berry||CEO & Founder|
|Ryse Co||Mark Silva||Founder, CEO|
|Simulmedia||Dave Morgan||CEO & Founder|
|The ReDEF Group||Jason Hirschhorn||CEO and Chief Curator|
|Union Square Ventures||Fred Wilson||Co-Founder|
|Vast Ventures||Doug Chertok||CEO|
|VaynerMedia||Gary Vaynerchuk||CEO & Founder|
I’ve just learned that Kim Kadlec, Chief Media Officer for Johnson & Johnson, has also joined this illustrious group. Thanks to all of you, you’ve made this a raging success!
In case you have any interest, here’s a short clip of me opining on Google Glass and the upcoming OpenCoNYC, which is going to be HOT. More on that soon.
I’ve been a bit slow to update this site lately, as my return to Federated Media, and preparation for the CM Summit and OpenCo NYC, have pretty much eaten up all my time lately. But I did want to repost a few things I have written elsewhere, starting with this article in Ad Age, written two weeks ago.
Titled Publishers, Ad-Tech Firms, Marketers Need to Connect, Build Trust (no, I didn’t write that headline, if I was in charge, it might have been “Hold Hands or Die Apart” – pageviews, ya know?), the article argues that our industry is not yet prepared for what the market is going to demand – solutions that integration adtech and brand marketing. Here’s a sampling:
Something troubling has jumped out at me. There’s an extraordinary asymmetry of information among these three important players in our industry, and a disturbing sense of distrust. Brand marketers don’t believe that ad-tech companies view brands as true partners. Ad-tech companies think brand marketers are paying attention to the wrong things. And publishers, with a few important exceptions, feel taken advantage of by everyone.
Here’s a representative sample of things I’ve heard:
“If I had it to do over again, I am not sure I’d be in publishing. You can’t win over the machines.”
“Brand marketers are wasting their money. If they’d just get smarter about data, they’d realize content doesn’t matter — what matters is leveraging what you know about a customer. They’ll never get it. “
“The Lumascape has devolved into a pay-per-click machine. Tech companies are too full of themselves. I don’t trust them. It’s a “black box.’ “
“Agencies and technology companies are leveraging their data advantage to arbitrage publishers’ inventory — and even their marketing clients’ spend — so as to pad their bottom lines.”
“I won’t put any of my inventories on exchanges — the last time I did, CPMs were so low it was embarrassing.”
This isn’t a pretty picture. But even as I hear statements like these, I also hear story after story about how data-driven marketing practices are working. Publishers like Forbes, Ziff Davis and Weather.com have seen revenue from “programmatic premium” rise to as much as 20% of total top line, up from 5% or so just a year ago. (Programmatic premium is the practice of running premium inventory through programmatic channels in ways that “protect” that inventory, such as building private marketplaces or adding publisher first-party data.)
Smart marketers are leveraging ad tech to drive real brand lift, conversion and sales. And a platoon of top ad-tech companies are preparing to go public in the next 12 months, hardly a sign that they have business models built on shady business practices. (We’d do well to recall that Google went public one year after “click fraud” was considered pervasive in the search marketplace.)
What we have here is a failure of communication and shared values. The brand marketers I speak with acknowledge that they don’t understand how to map their brand-building skills to the offerings of ad-tech companies. The ad-tech companies confide that they don’t understand the motivations of brand marketers (nor do they believe it would be profitable to try).
For more, head to Ad Age.
(image) Back in 2005 I whipped off a post with a title that has recently become relevant again – “Traffic of Good Intent.” That post keyed off a major issue in the burgeoning search industry – click fraud. In the early days of search, click fraud was a huge problem (that link is from 2002!). Pundits (like me) claimed that because everyone was getting paid from fraud, it was “something of a whistling-past-the-graveyard issue for the entire (industry).” Cnet ran a story in 2004 identifying bad actors who created fake content, then ran robots over AdSense links on those pages. It blamed the open nature of the Web as fueling the fraudsters, and it noted that Google could not comment, because it was in its quiet period before an IPO.
But once public, Google did respond, suing bad actors and posting extensive explanations of its anti-fraud practices. Conversely, a major fraud-based class action lawsuit was filed against all of the major search engines. Subsequent research suggested that as much as 30% of commercial clicks were fraudulent - remember, this was after Google had gone public, and after the issue had been well-documented and endlessly discussed in the business and industry press. The major players in search finally banded together to fight the problem – understanding full well that without a united front and open communication, trust would never be established.
Think about that little history lesson – a massive, emerging new industry, one that was upending the entire marketing ecosystem, was operating under a constant cloud of “fraud” which may have been poisoning nearly a third of the revenues in the space. Yet billions in revenue and hundreds of billions in market value was still created. And after several years of lawsuits, negative press, and lord-knows-how-much-fraud, the clickfraud story has pretty much been forgotten.
It should. Because the same movie is once again playing, but this time the problem has migrated to the open ecosystem of programmatic display. As anyone who’s studied the LUMAscape knows, we now have a VC-fueled industry worth billions, with many players primed to go public in the coming year or so. And the original search players – Google in particular, but also Microsoft and Yahoo! – are also major actors in this new industry.
My post from January of this year - It’s Time To Call Out Fraud In The Adtech Ecosystem - summarized the new breed of fraud in our industry, and recently, many publications have intensified their coverage of the topic. In late February, I invited a handful of adtech CEOs to a lunch where we discussed the issue, and everyone at the table – from AppNexus to Google, OpenX to MediaOcean – agreed that it was time to address the problem head on.
And that’s how we got to the news this past week that the IAB is standing up a task force on “Traffic of Good Intent.” I’m proud to be a co-chair of the group (and yes, the name does come from that 2005 post in these pages). This time around, there are many more players, a much larger industry, and a far more complicated ecosystem. But it’s worth remembering that bad actors always take advantage of open systems. It’s up to us to unite and drive them back. We should all be trading in traffic of good intent – real human beings, engaged with real content and services across the Internet. Our customers, partners, investors, and our good company names depend on it.
I look forward to the work.
A year or so ago a friend and colleague approached me with a crazy idea – what if we tried to re-invent the tech conference, expanding it to become a celebration of all innovative companies that are inspired by the values of the open Internet? And further, what if it wasn’t a conference at all, in the normal sense, but more of a festival, a combination of an artist’s open studio, a music festival, and a business event?
That’s what became OpenCo, an “inside out” conference where instead of sitting in a stuffy hotel ballroom, you go our into the modern working city, to see founders talk about their companies in their native environment.
Last Fall in San Francisco, we tested the idea with a pilot, and more than 2000 folks registered to go visit companies like Twitter, airbnb, Google, The Melt, and scores more (85 in all).
Today, we’re announcing that thanks in large part to our Tour Sponsor American Express OPEN Forum, the OpenCo platform is coming to four cities this year – starting this coming May 22-24 in New York.
But to get there we need your support too. I don’t directly ask for help from all of you, but this time I am. I believe in OpenCo as a movement – the kinds of businesses we curate into the festival are literally changing the world, and this festival lets them open their doors to the public and share their knowledge with the community. We keep at least a third of the tickets for to the public, but we also sell tickets at various levels for those who want to ensure they get access to the companies they really want to see. We’ve raised an IndieGoGo campaign to cover our hard costs. That’s all I want to do – see this idea spread.
So please go to the campaign and support OpenCo at any level you can.
Companies in New York that will be opening their doors include Warby Parker, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Lerer Ventures, General Assembly, Rebelmouse, RapGenius, and many, many more. If you have a New York business, you can apply to be an OpenCo here.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING US!
OpenCo Innovation Festival Expands To New York City, London, Detroit and San Francisco for 2013
Indiegogo Funding Campaign, Host Company Application Process and Early Attendee Registration Open Today
SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2013 – Today OpenCo, a new kind of conference-as-festival where a city’s most innovative companies open their doors to the general public, announced the expansion of the event series for 2013. On the heels of a very successful inaugural San Francisco event last Fall, OpenCo is expanding to highlight innovation on the East Coast via an event in New York City from May 22-24, 2013 as part of Internet Week New York.
To support the overall OpenCo initiative, an Indiegogo campaign launches today to help cover fixed costs related to event logistics. There are currently four pledge levels, each offering a selection of value-added benefits. Please visit the OpenCo Indiegogo page to pledge your support of innovation in New York and to get first dibs on visiting exciting companies like Buzzfeed, Etsy, Foursquare, Thrillist, Warby Parker and many more!
Additional dates and details for the OpenCo events launching in London, Detroit and San Francisco will also be available shortly via the OpenCo website.
How OpenCo Works for Attendees
- On May 23-24, OpenCoNY participants will be able to attend hourly, citywide “open studio” sessions led by participating host companies (HostCos).
- Just as with bands and stages at a multi-day music festival, attendees go to the OpenCo website to customize an event schedule from “tracks” that are curated according to industry and neighborhood.
- Individuals who make a pledge to support OpenCo via Indiegogo will receive early access to the schedule picker site and will be able to build their personal schedule according to the following tiers:
- $500 Backstage pledges gain access on Monday, April 29th.
- $100 Reserved pledges gain access on Monday, May 6th.
- $25 Fan pledges and the general public gains access on Monday, May 13th.
- The event is free for anyone who wants to attend, so sign up now by visiting openco.us.
- Space is limited and we expect the event to reach capacity very quickly. In fact, more than 2,000 people registered for the San Francisco event during the three-week window.
How OpenCo Works for HostCos
- The HostCo application process officially opens today, but scores of companies have already expressed their support and interest in participating including: AOL, AppNexus, Betaworks, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Estee Lauder Online, Etsy, Fab.com, Foursquare, General Assembly, Kickstarter, Lerer Ventures, Local Response, Pave, PolicyMic, Rap Genius, Rebelmouse, Thrillist, Warby Parker, ZocDoc.
- These participating host companies will share their business vision, outline their founding principles and values, and discuss what it means to be part of NY’s collaborative ecosystem.
- Each HostCo is required to host at least 20 attendees – but the more the better.
- The event is free for HostCos, so feel free to suggest an innovative company as a potential HostCo by visiting openco.us.
Backstage Access Kick off Event with Special Guests
OpenCoNY will launch the evening of May 22 with an invitation-only, VIP event at The Altman Building that will feature intimate discussions with Chad Dickerson, CEO at Etsy, Bob Pittman, CEO at Clear Channel Communications, Matt Seiler, Global CEO at IPG Mediabrands and Eric Hippeau, partner at Lerer Ventures. Interested attendees who submit an Indiegogo pledge for $500 or more will receive coveted back-stage access to this event in addition to other great perks.
Those Who Make OpenCo Possible
OpenCo is made possible by a list of impressive organizations that have pledged their support as partners. Founding partner is American Express OPEN. The OpenCo event series is produced by BattelleMedia.
“Innovation is everywhere and by opening up the doors to these openly collaborative companies, OpenCo gives investors, job seekers and curious neighbors the chance to hear these inspiring stories firsthand,” said John Battelle, OpenCo co-founder and CEO at Federated Media Publishing.
“The best way to experience and learn about the innovation economy isn’t in a stuffy conference room – it is up close and personal and on their turf,” said Brian Monahan, OpenCo co-founder and managing partner at MAGNA GLOBAL, part of IPG Mediabrands. “All participating companies share a commitment to open communication and open collaboration that is the hallmark of modern, innovative businesses. We are thrilled to bring the OpenCo philosophy to New York for Internet Week this year.”
OpenCo is a mix between a business conference and artist’s open studio with the vibe of a music festival. The events offer job seekers, investors, marketers and curious neighbors direct access to the leaders of the most innovative companies across the globe and in their natural habitat.
Visit openco.us for more information.
The agenda for our seventh annual CM Summit is live. And it rocks. You can read all about it here. I am really looking forward to this conversation, mainly due to the quality of the folks who are coming. Oh, and the theme, of course.
I won’t beat around the bush. I want you all to come. I’ve lowered the price, because I heard from many of you last year that the ticket was too high (it sold out anyway). But this year, the conversation is too rich for anyone to cry poor over. Come and join us.
Speakers include Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann, Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt, USV partner Fred Wilson, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, Jacki Kelley, CEO North American of IPG Mediabrands, Amanda Richman, President of Starcom MediaVest Group, AOL Networks CEO Ned Brody, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Perretti, and many, many more.
Register here! Early registration ends in two weeks.