Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Mobile Advertising Now Playing On A Cell Phone Near You

December 5, 2006

 I’ve been working with a unique mobile ad start-up, MoPhap, for the past six months.  During that time, I’ve seen the CEO, Robert Walczak, build his dream team, develop a leading ad serving platform and embrace his role as product evangelist.  The entire team’s hard work is paying off.  The company just announced a partnership with online ad server Accipiter.  You can read excerpts from tsome of the press coverage below. 

 At last week’s Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Forum, Mobile Phone Applications, Inc. (MoPhap), a leading mobile ad server technology provider and publisher network, announced a strategic technology licensing and marketing agreement with Accipiter Solutions, Inc., a digital advertising technology innovator. The partnership integrates MoPhap’s SparkMobile(TM) Network, capable of delivering the widest range of mobile ad units in the industry, with Accipiter’s online ad management solution to deliver an end-to-end mobile ad solution that offers the same level of analytics, accountability and granular targeting required by the most demanding web publishers and advertisers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mophap will leverage Accipiter’s technology to drive adoption of mobile advertising. As next-generation mobile phones and wireless devices offer content providers new channels of distribution, the alliance will offer publishers compelling ways to monetize their content via advertising, while providing advertisers with an intuitive, web-based system to manage their mobile campaigns.

“We view this relationship as a win/win for both companies as well as the entire publishing and advertising industries,” declared Robert Walczak, MoPhap CEO. “This partnership underscores the need to standardize mobile ad delivery by providing advertisers with the metrics and accountability they have come to expect with online ad serving,” added Walczak.

“This alliance will enable us to broaden our mobile ad serving solutions and help contribute to Accipiter’s vision of a unified ad platform,” said Brian Handly, Accipiter CEO.

Mophap’s SparkMobile platform will be integrated directly into Accipiter’s online ad management solution, AdManager. AdManager allows publishers to increase targeting capabilities, speed ad delivery, and monitor inventory projections in real-time, leading to higher CPMs and less unsold inventory. This agreement allows MoPhap to tap the AdManager infrastructure to provide advanced tracking, reporting and metrics analysis on behalf of its publisher network customer base.

About Accipiter

Accipiter has been serving and enriching the digital advertising industry since 1996. As a pioneer and leader in online ad management, Accipiter offers a comprehensive, unified ad platform encompassing ad serving, ad trafficking, behavioral targeting, a bid-for-placement system and a powerful advertising marketplace. AdManager, Accipiter’s core application, delivers over 50 billion ads monthly across all rich media types to over 350 leading publishers in more than 30 countries around the world. Accipiter’s ad marketplace is comprised of approximately 5,000 registered publishers and 14,000 registered advertisers, reaching an estimated 25 million consumers globally. Maximize revenue across new mediums with Accipiter. http://www.accipiter.com

About MoPhap

Based in Manhattan, MoPhap has created the ad industry’s most robust mobile ad server, delivering more ad formats to mobile web-enabled handsets. MoPhap’s publisher network brings new streams of revenue to publishers looking to monetize their content via ad-supported mobile distribution. The company also serves ad agencies with mobile media planning, purchasing, and distribution via its intuitive web-based SparkMobile Network. http://www.mophap.com

Does AOL + Yahoo = Google

October 31, 2006

Perhaps the folks in Fremont are pondering the same question this morning.  Yahoo, who more than any other company personifies the web portal concept and helped define web 1.0, is in turmoil.  Faced with an ever-eroding share of the search ad market, the company finds itself in survival mode.  After being shunned by the boys at YouTube, who favored a deal with Google instead, the company is now setting its sites elsewhere.  But is looking East, towards VA-based AOL the answer?  Most pundits would say  definitely not.

Late on their next-generation ad serving system, and plagued with integration problems from its most recent acquisitions, can Yahoo actually be considering a mamouth purchase of their long-time nemesis AOL?  That’s the buzz around the web – from Fortune to the blogosphere and beyond.

In my experience with Yahoo, never underestimate Terry Semel’s ability to change the playing field.  But would this acquisition actually change anything, except add an abundance of debt, bloated infrastructure and bad content to its stable?  Only time will tell. 

 The irony here folks is that Google stands to gain the most if this acquisition actually goes through.  Remember a little over a year ago, Google purchased a billion-dollar stake in the ailing Time Warner unit, in part, to secure their ad inventory for the next five years.  The result, a 5% equity stake for the Googlers.  Considering that price gave AOL a $20-billion valuation one year ago, let’s see what, if any, the purchase price brings Google today. 

It seems to me that Yahoo is better off spending its money on improving ways to monetize their content, rather than acquiring more content.  But, then again, Yahoo’s recent lift in the market suggests that many take an opposite viewpoint.  And, one thing is for sure, the company can not stay the course and choose to sit by idlly while Google continues to dominate the field.  Stay tuned, it’s going to get interesting.

IBM’s Patent Infringement Case Against Amazon – There Goes The Neighborhood!

October 24, 2006

The blogosphere is a buzz today with news of IBM’s pending litigation against Amazon for patent infringement.  IBM holds more patents than any other corporation.  They also continue to file a dizzying amount of new patents each year. 

Why Big Blue chose now to take action agains the Seattle-based web pioneer isn’t yet clear to us non-Armonkians (people other than those who work at IBM corporate headquarters).  There are many reasons companies will hold patents and not extract a licensing fee.  But the fact the Amazon is not, repeat not, an IBM customer isn’t lost on this kid.  If business makes for stranges bedfellows, then not doing business makes for a hostile litigious environment.

I had luch yesterday with my good friend Eric, who just flew back from a week in Japan with the good people from Thomson.  They were on their cross-country tour to promote the new MP3 5.1 surround format.  How many people know that Thomson is the licensing agent on behalf of Fraunhofer, the German educational entity who holds the MP3 patent? MP3 is the most widely supported compressed audio codec in the world.  Here’s an organization that exists entirely on its dividends from licensing its core technology, an audio codec. 

And then there’s IBM, with the world’s biggest treasure trove of Intellectual Property (IP).  The irony of the situation is that IBM didn’t have much to do with the patent it claims Amazon is infringing upon.  Rather, it inherited this patent when it acquired the IP of the ill-fated Prodigy remains.  In that transaction, Slim Pickens walked away with the network and customers, while IBM, perhaps in hindsite, took home the crown jewels — the many early technology patents awarded to the first mass consumer online network. But if this is a sign O the times from Armonk, then it’s a hard rain gonna fall.  What’s next?  Time Warner trying to cash in on the GIF picture format based on an initial patent by Compuserve, who was acquired by AOL, who was in turn acquired by Time Warner (or was it the other way around, I keep forgetting – although everyday I walk by the Time Warner Towers, I have yet to see AOL’s name anywhere on the building).

Changes – Everyone Needs a MakeOver

October 16, 2006

One of the things I love about working as interactive maven is that occasionally you get to play the role of “change agent.”  I met with an 80 year old man who served as CEO of a 110 year old family business.  That’s really incredible when you think about it.  How many times has this company had to retool, redesign and rethink its business over its lifetime.  And yet, that’s what successful businesses do everyday – reinvent themselves to stay current.

 And so, as I lead the CEO and his son into the light of e-commerce, we are finding entire processes within the organization that need to be modernized.  We call it the “front-end” and “back-end” of change – in this case, both are in need of complete overhauls.    And this is where the fun begins for any change agent.  Delving into the business and understanding their day-to-day operations.  Recommending ways in which technology will simplify, enhance and improve each function across the sale cycle.  Building and deploying web-centric applications, and training management on how to use it. 

 I think David Bowie said it best, “Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes, Oh look out, you rock and rollers, Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes, pretty soon now, you’re gonna get older…”