Articles of the Day


Is Google Searching For An Ad Agency? — The success of Google has always been that much more impressive because of the search giant’s refusal to advertise in any significant way. Its spectacular growth has always been a result of word of mouth. But that may be changing, as sources say Google has been taking meetings with ad agency executives in recent months, perhaps with an eye on launching a full-scale ad campaign. The push is not without its detractors though, and powerful ones at that. Allegedly, some Google employees were prepared to buy time during an NBC Olympics broadcast to promote a Google product, but the effort was quashed by none other than founders Sergy Brin and Larry Page, who felt a splashy television ad wouldn’t fit with Google’s image.

Ballmer On Loose In Paris: ‘Search Still In Infancy’, New R&D Drive — More on that search R&D centre Microsoft in June told advertisers it would build in Europe… CEO Steve Ballmer fronted the launch in Paris this morning for a “Search Technology Centre” (STC), which will actually be split between three centres of excellence in Paris, London and Munich and will be Microsoft’s second in the world, the other in Beijing. MS is pulling Jordi Ribas, GM of its Connected TV group, to head the centre. Though Google seems to be making a tidy buck from search already, Ballmer (via release) said: ”We believe search is still in its infancy. Developers at the Search Technology Centre will play a key role in helping us redefine search as they create new search products and services for consumers and advertisers. We need to draw on the world’s smartest, most creative minds. Increasingly, we are finding the talent we need here in Europe.”

Mail.ru Owner Wants Czechs’ Google Beater Seznam, $850 Million Price Tag — Russian tech investor Digital Sky Technologies (DST), which took a controlling stake in its native Mail.ru portal in July, is amongst the leading contenders to buy the top Czech search site Seznam, according to a local report. The Financni Novini paper also said Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus, which owns the competing Centrum.cz and Atlas, were interested in bidding but may not be able to make an $850 million asking price due to the credit crunch. Seznam has a 62 percent share against Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) 29 percent, claiming 4.4 million monthly uniques and forecasting $90 million 2008 income, Yakov notes: “Should the deal go ahead, it will be the largest internet acquisition in eastern Europe.”

ThomsonReuters Maintains Outlook Despite Economic Deterioration — The last time we checked in on Reuters, right after the Lehman failure, CEO Tom Glocer maintained his optimism, but admitted that a sustained global depression would not be good for anyone. Since then, there hasn’t been much to make the economic picture look prettier. But Glocer is sticking to his guns: He told analysts in London that despite it all, the company would not lower its forecast. And if there are any problems, he says, they won’t be long term. For 2008, revenue is expected to grow, organically, by 6 to 8 percent.

YouTube Video Ads Goes Post-Roll; Ad Overlays Are Not Enough — While YouTube and its parent Google (NSDQ: GOOG) have been promoting ad overlays as the best format for supporting online video, the video site has been slowly employing post-roll the past few weeks, NewTeeVee has confirmed. YouTube began considering using post-rolls to augment its pre-roll and overlay ads this summer. But the decision to go ahead with the format represents something of a reversal for the site. In July, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company had evidence that embedded video ads were much more effective than both pre- and post-roll. Users probably won’t feel too put out by the introduction of post-roll, which can obviously be avoided since the video a user chose has already concluded. But it does suggest that YouTube is still struggling with its ad strategy. And as NewTeeVee pointed out, post-roll only runs on a sliver of the roughly 4 percent YouTube videos uploaded by official partners taking part in the site’s revenue-share deal.

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