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The Latest Signals, For All You RSS Junkies

By - May 17, 2010

As I do every three Signals or so, here are the links for you RSS readers out there. And for all you readers trying to decipher what I’m on about, there are hints all over these roundups. Not that you’re paying attention that closely, but still, the threads are there.

Tuesday Signal: Consider This

Monday Signal: The Open Book

Friday Signal: Thank God It’s Not Monday

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No no no! It's not about geeky sh*t. It's about the future of commerce!!!!

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We trigger happy blogging geeks often get in our own way. Witness this Mashable article about an important patent granted to Apple. First, thank you Mashable, for pointing out this patent.

But you miss the point!

First, the patent:

Apple has essentially patented the ability to sync actions between two or more devices. This could be something as simple as adding a to-do to my calendar on my Mac and having it automatically sent to my phone. Or I could create a list on my phone and, based on the parameters, have that list shared with my fiancé on his device.

Now the point. This is NOT about sharing contacts with a pal, or lists with your fiance, no matter how swell he might be.

This is about the Gap Scenario. Pure and simple. Think about it….

Help Me Interview Omar Hamoui, CEO AdMob

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The CM Summit is three weeks away, and already I’ve asked for your input on four major voices in digital media and marketing: Arianna Huffington, Tony Hsieh, Tim Armstrong, and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

Next on the hit list is Omar Hamoui, CEO of AdMob, the mobile marketing company Google recently acquired for $750 million. That acquisition hasn’t gone as smoothly as Google would like – it’s still under FTC review, though a decision is expected any day now. Apple Inc. also bid for AdMob, but lost, and purchased competitor Quattro Wireless instead. Apple has since integrated Quattro and launched iAds, but Google has had to sit on the sidelines and wait.

What Omar can and can’t discuss will be somewhat impacted by the FTC rulings, but regardless, he can speak to the broader market, and certainly comment on Apple’s recent moves. To that end, questions I’ll be asking include:

- What do you make of Apple’s iAds? Anything really new there? How does AdMob respond?

- Do you think Apple will create a closed network?

- What formats can you imagine coming to mobile devices beyond what we’ve seen so far?

- You just re- launched AdWhirl – what’s the play there? What other ad products are in the works?

- What’s happening with location based services and mobile marketing? How long until this is at scale? Will you be able to use Apple based data, or will that be closed to third party networks?

- What do you make of HP’s entry into the market?

- You move your desk every six weeks or so. Why?

There’s far more to talk about, but I want your input. What do you think I should ask Omar?

Help Me Interview Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman, The New York Times Co.

By - May 14, 2010

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The CM Summit is now just three weeks away, I hope you can join us. We’ve got more than 450 folks signed up, and we’ll hit our limit pretty soon, so register now…

With that in mind, fourth on our hit list of CM Summit interviews is Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman, The New York Times Co.

Arthur has led the Times for the past 13 years, and during his tenure the company has constantly innovated in digital publishing. The Times made news recently by announcing it would take a “metered” approach to pay as you go on the Times website. It was also a launch partner for Apple’s iPad. Below are some of the questions I have for Arthur, I welcome your input!

(And please, help me with questions for Tim Armstrong, Arianna Huffington and Tony Hsieh! Thanks!).

- How is progress on the “metered” approach to the Times? How did you come to this decision, and where does the project stand?

- The Times and its other properties are what the industry calls “premium” publishing brands, and you make most of your marketing revenue from “premium” brand advertising. What do you make of the whole remnant/DSP/exchange model?

- Talk to me about the differentiation of a branded environment online. What makes the investment worth it for you, for your marketing partners?

- What do you make of iAds? Are they competitive to your own sales force? Will you be using them on the NYT?

- The NYT was showcased in the roll out of the iPad. Is this device going to live up to its hype? What about the rest of the “pads” out there – RIM, Android/Google, HP, etc?

- Has the Times come up with any new forms of advertising products that you can discuss?

- What lessons have you learned going digital along the way (one that comes to mind is the precursor to the metered solution, called Times Select ?)

- How is About.com doing, and how does it fit into the overall digital strategy?

So what would you like to know from Arthur Sulzberger? Leave a comment, or tweet it on #cmsummit. Thanks.

Google's New Mission? "To Organize the World's information (Unless It Starts With "i") ….."

By - May 13, 2010

googmission.pngI had a good call today with Dennis Woodside, who runs North American Sales for Google, and Susan Wojcicki, who runs products. Both are long timers at Google, Susan is pretty much a llfer – she joined in 1999.

Both are joining me on stage at the CM Summit next month, a first for Google to have ad products and sales represented in one onstage interview. We had a great catchup and prep for the conversation, which I think will be enlightening.

After we hung up, I contemplated my earlier posts about Google’s brand, and realized I had forgotten to talk to them about one question that’s lingered in my mind for some time. In essence, it’s this: “What is Google’s brand to you? To your customers?” Then I imagined their response – something along the lines of “our mission hasn’t changed – we’re still focused on organizing the world’s information, and making it universally accessible.”

True – that mission certainly covers most of what Google does today (though it’s a mouthful for the average consumer to grok). But then something struck me – and its name was Apple.

Allow me to explain. Earlier in the day I was in the offices of Adobe, meeting with various folks and talking business. Apple was very much on everyone’s minds given Adobe had just launched its “We (Heart) Apple” and “We (Heart) Open” campaign (see my post here).

All this was stewing in my head as I contemplated Google’s mission on the drive home. And it struck me – Google was born back in the late 1990s, when it seemed inevitable that everything – all the world’s knowledge – was going to be on the web, eventually. It was just presumed that the web would swallow the world – and for ten years, it largely did.

But in the past year, that world has fractured, and increasingly, a new planet has emerged, one that is best represented by Apple. It’s the Planet of the Apps, and while it’s rich in experience, data, and information, it’s largely sealed off from Google’s (or anyone else’s) search spiders.

This is another way of pointing out what folks have called the SplinterNet or the Fractured Web, but somehow, I found it rather poignant to think that Google’s ambitious mission is, in a very real sense, threatened by Apple’s approach to the world. No longer can we assume that “The Web is the World” – because increasingly, it’s not.

This is due, in part, to Google’s own ambition – had it stayed a pencil – just search – Apple probably would not see the company as a threat. I wondered to myself, as I drove home from San Jose, whether Apple would let a third party search engine, one that was not competing for mobile, location, commerce, media access, etc – crawl its App World and bring it out into the light?

I’m starting a dialog with folks from Apple on Friday. I’ll ask. I’m guessing the answer is no, but it’s worth a shot. One can dream, after all. I’ve been doing just that for 25 years in this industry, and I’m not going to stop now.

IAB: Record First Quarter for Internet Advertising

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From the IAB release on first quarter 2010:

Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. hit $5.9 billion for the first quarter of 2010, representing a 7.5 percent increase over the same period in 2009, according to the numbers released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This marks the highest first-quarter revenue level ever for the industry.

You already knew this if you read my Predictions for 2010, #9.

Adobe: We Love Ya, Apple – But We Don't Love What Ya Do.

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This campaign – focused on “Choice” – just went live across the country in major print newspapers. Intersting that Adobe chose print for the impact – Adobe recently launched CS5 entirely on digital platforms so you can’t faul tthe company for zigging and zagging. There’s an online component as well.

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Help Me Interview Tim Armstrong at CM Summit

By - May 11, 2010

AOL-Tim-Armstrong_medium.jpgThird on our hit list of CM Summit interviews is Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL.  

Tim has now held that title for just about a year. Lately he’s taken to rallying the AOL troops with this decidedly controversial slogan: “Beat the Internet!”

If you want to find out what that’s all about, how Tim’s first year on the job has gone, and more, please come to the conference. And if you want me to ask your question on stage, please leave it in comments here!

(And please, help me with questions for Arianna Huffington and Tony Hsieh! Thanks!).

Three Recent Signals

By - May 10, 2010

Readers have asked for links to the FM Signal here, and I’ve missed a few. So that you might stay in touch (in particular, all you 175K or so RSS readers), herewith are them links:

Tuesday Signal: A Walk in the Park You have to see the last item. Facebook is on its heels. Maybe it needs a HeelTastic(TM). See Friday….

Monday Signal: Sue Me! As Kara said, let’s try to keep it civil as we sue the sh*t out of each other, and if not that, then kill each other in the markets.

Friday Signal: HeelTastic! What happens when you drink a bottle of good red and write? Read on!