Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jon Myers Interviews Ross Caveille of ContextWeb

Recently, I was invited to interview Ross Caveille by the SEO PR Team. Ross has been instated
into the role of Country Manager for ContextWeb Inc’s renowned product ADSDAQ(TM) Ad Exchange
and has been challenged with selling UK inventory to advertisers, with the aim to assist in
their attempt to reach exchange’s UK audience.

So who are ContextWeb?

ContextWeb Inc. is a leading contextual advertising company. Enjoying major success, one of their
most celebrated products is the ADSDAQ™. Welcoming over 93 million monthly unique visitors in the
US, the ADSDAQ Exchange represents over 50% of the domestic online population.

A few days later, I finally settled down to produce a few concise but hopefully revealing questions for Ross to gives us his views on…

Country Manager sounds like an interesting challenge, what are your initial objectives?

Personally the role represents a very interesting challenge and one that I am very excited to be involved with. We opened the UK office on the 17th of March this year with the aim to bring to the UK market the unique product that ADSDAQ by ContextWeb has to offer. Exposure and UK industry awareness of the ADSDAQ product and ContextWeb brand is the initial objective as up until we launched over here advertisers were not aware of the opportunities we could provide. In the US, we have around 5,000 publisher and 400 advertiser partners and have an established name within the online advertising marketplace, the aim now is to replicate this success over here in the UK (We’re already up to over 25% UK uniques according to ComScore in March 2008 - a good start.). In addition to establishing ourselves within the market the UK team will also be expanding and we plan to make additional hires in June this year.

Relating to these, do you see any major hurdles ahead and if so, how do you plan to jump them?

The UK marketplace is very competitive with regard to the number of vendors and options available to advertisers and agencies. Consolidation is happening within the marketplace, but as quickly as this happens new companies are born and so it is imperative that we differentiate ourselves and make sure our service levels are consistently high to match the standard of our product. This situation is mirrored with publishers in the way that there is growing demand for inventory both from advertisers and third party vendors. Fortunately, ADSDAQ offers opportunities to both advertisers and publishers alike on an equal scale as we operate an open exchange meaning publishers are able to name their price and advertisers are able to choose the brand-safe content and context in which they appear. There are a lot of opportunities for talented people within the market. We need to make sure we attract the right people in order to grow as a business and as this does represent a challenge we are prepared to take time in doing this if necessary.

ADSDAQ Exchange is well renowned over the water but how do you plan to build the status of and educate the UK audience about the system in the UK? Are you planning to or have you already established any partnerships?

The positive aspect of being established in the US is that our product is tried and tested and so we can be confident of delivering successful campaigns for clients within the UK. As eluded to above one of the main barriers is the lack of knowledge and understanding of the ADSDAQ Exchange so maximising exposure is a high priority. For example, UK advertisers are just beginning to learn about the brand safety offered by the ADSDAQ Exchange which is a result of the Exchange’s patent-pending, page-level contextual technology.

To date we have managed to secure press articles in NMA magazine as well as online with Reuters, Wall Street Journal and a number of additional publications. My role within the company is to make sure ADSDAQ is taken to market and as many agencies and advertisers as possible are allowed the opportunity to take advantage of the contextual targeting tool we have to offer. Since launching on March 17th we have run successful campaigns for clients through Havas, WPP and Profero and are now about to launch campaigns with a number of other leading UK agencies. The contextual tool that we offer can be adapted to a wide range of clients and as such we have already delivered campaigns using standard and rich media formats to UK, European and Global customers across film, music, finance, travel, business, theatre verticals. The next step now is to grow the number of advertisers and agencies in which we are in contact with and the number of campaigns we are running which is why we will be growing the UK team with new additions joining in June.

In turn, how do you think ADSDAQ will infiltrate itself to sit beside technology already available in the UK?

The great thing about the ADSDAQ Exchange is the technology we use and the way we work is that we are able to compliment many existing technologies or at least work in conjunction with them. Many publishers use the ADSDAQ exchange along with a network or Google Adsense, for example, as we only serve an advert to a page if that page contains specific content relevant to one of our advertisers campaigns. Similarly, we are able to work with all third party ad-serving technologies so there are no barriers for advertisers. With regard to competitor technologies our contextual targeting tool is able to not only understand keywords and content but also the context in which they are in so we can guarantee a relevant and brand safe environment every time. This is of key significance to contextual tools that are keyword based only as adverts often appear out of context.

This is a great piece of software to have, especially completely free, do you have any plans to introduce a subscription fee?

In short, no. The ADSDAQ Exchange is an open exchange and so allows both publishers and advertisers to fulfil their objectives and the more partners we can attract the more liquid the exchange becomes giving both parties more options and routes to success.

And what makes the system different? Could you tell us your three defining USPs?

There are three key USPs to what we offer the market. Our contextual technology serves adverts based on the context of the entire webpage, not just a handful of keywords, and so we are able to serve adverts within a brand safe relevant environment every time. As well as ensuring brand safety for all our advertisers this also allows us to extend reach and acquire additional unique users without compromising targeting. For example, a laptop supplier will want to run adverts within a computer website which is relevant but there will also be relevant pages of content available within non-endemic websites e.g. technology section of a news site. As every advert we serve is at the page-level we are able to pick out only the page that is relevant to the advertiser effectively eradicating waste while facilitating extended targeted reach. A recent study by OTX Research found that serving adverts to relevant content within a non-endemic website increase brand recognition by a further 19% over showing the advert in an endemic site. In addition, each advert we serve is in display format, including rich media, which doesn’t restrict advertisers to using just textlinks and means we can effectively transfer a search campaign online in a more impactful format. The third USP is the way we work with publishers, many behavioural or contextual tools require publishers to add tags or code to each page of their website this is not the case with ADSDAQ. By using just one Java script tag we are able to access every page of a publishers website meaning we can access more pages gaining additional reach for advertisers and work with the publishers that do not facilitate third party tags being added to their web pages.

Thanks for taking the time Ross to give me and SEO PR your views and best of luck in the new role going forward.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Searching for an outcome: Google Vs the Trademark owner

As a lot of us are probably aware now Google’s trademark policy launched 5th May this year, these changes are already having a significant impact on the search aspect of some campaigns and subsequently, it has come to light that there may be questions relating to the legality of this change in policy.

Following this uncertainty, some large scale advertisers have stepped forward and expressed their willingness to challenge the overwhelming power that is one of the world’s largest sellers of advertising space: Google.

The Background

For almost 9 years, marketers and agencies have benefited from Google’s policy on Trademark terms. Enforcing a policy which stipulated no other advertiser could bid against a registered trademark, Google offered a welcome defence against the competitor and left advertisers safe in the knowledge that their brand and trademarks were well protected…

However, accounting for 80% of the UK’s market share, this change in policy sees Google open up keyword bidding on all keyword terms, including trademarks. Effectively, more than one advertiser can now bid on and appear in sponsored links after a user has typed in a search query using a trademarked term. Ultimately, trademarks are no longer protected against competitors and affiliates. speak up…

It has been reported by Channel 4 News that the chief executive of, Ian McCaig, has stated that Google's proposals will “cost them millions”, could breach trademark law and that they are prepared to sue if Google do go ahead with this change.

Lastminute argue: "Google's policy change is a big problem and we object to it. We are investigating with vigour the legal position and if that investigation concludes positively then we will absolutely pursue a legal case, no question." (Channel 4 News)

Fundamentally, a high proportion of some of the UK’s biggest brands use Google to facilitate a major proportion of their Search advertising spend. do not stand alone in this view. Tesco “have consulted their legal team”, while some companies, including Auto Trader have stated they would “consider joining with other brands in a group legal challenge to Google.”

Google defends its decision…

Unsurprisingly, Google stand by their decision to change the policy and state this amendment will improve the user experience by offering competing choices, allowing consumers to make more informed decisions.

Google also have the advantage of experience, as it is not the first time the search engine giant has enforced this controversial change in policy.

In 2004, Google introduced the same change in policy to the US and Canadian markets. Some sectors, including; travel, finance and retail, saw large movements in market costing as competitor bidding initially became a battle field. However, after a few months, the market found its natural position and the cost acquisition consolidated down after rivals began to understand how much revenue and sales could be driven from competitor brand terms.

The MediaVest View

Only days into a policy which is unlike anything the UK market has experienced during its search marketing history, the conclusion of this debate and possible legal battle, is unclear.

In their Legal Guidance Notes, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) point out that the law is very uncertain and untested in this arena. Their view is that, bidding on keywords of competitors may be an infringement of trademark.

“Clearly Google has taken the advice that it is not and for obvious financial and costs reasons, and due to its dominant position in the search market, Google is prepared to take the risk. Until an advertiser in the UK is prepared to bring a legal test case we shall not be sure of the way the courts will interpret trade mark law in this new media scenario.”

It will be interesting to see how this one unfolds in the coming weeks. Now that big brands such as, Autotrader and Tesco have voiced their initial opinion to the media.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Steve Balmer Loves Apples?

Well by the date of my last blog as you can see it has been a while since I posted as I have been really busy. But I could not let this one go past that one of my staff James emailed to me this morning.

I think the title of the Blog and the picture below will say it all!

You can just imagine Steve B's face as he turns up to his fully branded Microsoft conference to discover that for the next 30 minutes he has to use a Silver and Black Fruit based laptop from his good friend Mr Steve Jobs.

And on top of this know that all the PR pictures taken like the one above will have that lovely logo in it.....classic!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dublin Search Marketing is Stronger than Ever!

Well it has been a while since I have wrote a blog but I have just got back from speaking at the Search Marketing World Conference again this year in Dublin and I have to say it was a great success so well done Martin and Aisling of Interactive Return and I look forward to the next one.

The conference this year was bigger than last year so no 'Church of Search' as per my blog on last years event but the venue was really good. It is great to see the interest in the event with around 270 attendees I believe and a hunger to learn about Search and the Media Industry. The conference had some good pre event coverage and I got the chance to be part of a piece in the Irish Independent...even if they spelt my Name and Company wrong!

Martin again managed to assemble a great speaker line up and it was good for me to catch up with the usual conference speaker crew/friends like Mel Carson, Li Evans, Chris Sherman, Teddie Cowell, Sara Anderson, Brian Clifton, Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Bill Hunt, Rob Kerry, Andrew Girdwood, Mike Grehan (geordies!!) and Dave Naylor. But also to get to know better some of Irelands good search marketers at the event such as Dave Davis, Rob Pryce, Chad Gilmer, Jonathan Forrest.

The event went well and if anything was very fast paced with so much content for 1 day. I was lucky enough to be doing 3 panels and the first of the day was Social Search Marketing which we had alot of good content in and were able to ask interactive voting polls of the audience. (The guy on the left is not asleep he was writing some notes!)

One of the results of the pole questions that I asked still sticks in my head, it was the fact that around 60% of the audience only went into their social media account once a week. This was very difficult for someone like me who spends everyday with social media!

After this panel it flowed straight into the next one with no break so I was seen physically running to another room from the stage to moderate the Advance Search Engine Friendly Design Panel with Mikkel, Brian Marin and Teddie. The session content was really good and even let it run for a bit longer as the guys were getting alot of questions asked.

Last but not least for me was the Integrating Search into the Media Plan panel which for me was alot of fun because it is not often I talk about the concept of the integration of TV and Search but more and more now we have to consider the effects and I certainly am for my clients. We can see a direct correlation between TV advertising and how this drive people to online. Some stats I used explained the concept of 67% of offline media advertising will generate traffic to online.

More and more people now surf the Internet while watching TV (I am doing while I am writing this blog!!) the last stat is 57% do. And with the ability now to run hourly reports on your Google campaigns you can see the direct comparison between TV and Search as well as the potential lag factors by industry.

This makes for very powerful marketing data and the ability to refine and drive your campaigns harder with conversion in mind at the right times. It is important after this that you then understand as all good search marketers should how the traffic interacts with your website and the route to conversion including time lag in order to maximise ROI.

All in all the event was a great success and all I heard on the day was positive feedback for the content and organisation of the event.

Will there be one in 2009?? I think there will and I will definitely look to be there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Brits are coming to New York!

It was nice to be asked the other day by the guys down at SEO PR and SES to write a pre event blog about the up and coming SES New York Conference. So thinking about what I could write it on, I felt it was only right to pick my Top 5 sessions next week that involve my fellow UK and European speakers.

This year sees a selection of some top UK speakers flying in to give you some great insight it how search is done the European way. So if you want to pop in to some sessions to hear speakers with different accents here are my top tips of the sessions you need to attend next week in New York.

Top Session 1

It would be only right to start at the beginning and on Day 1 session set one we see a couple of the UK’s top SEO’s in Mike Grehan and Dave Naylor at 9.30am on the:

Organic Listings Forum
Pose questions to our panel of experts about free "organic" listing issues, plus participate in this session that allows the audience to share tips, tools and techniques. There's no set agenda, so this is an ideal session to discuss any major recent changes with organic listings.

Top Session 2

Sticking with Day 1 we see probably the most UK and European orientated session of the conference at 2pm called:

Search Around the World - Part 2: The UK & Europe
Eastern and Western companies are rushing to get a piece of the action internationally, but does anyone really understand the marketplace. In this session, attendees will learn how to separate hype from actionable activity. Leading experts with "feet on the street" in UK and the rest of Europe discuss the marketplace and the impact it's having on the world.

Every panelist including the moderator is from UK or Europe, looks like a good line up with Moderator Marie Dumesnil, Andrew Girdwood, Thomas Bindl, Sebastien Langlois, Joost de Valk, Massimo Burgio

Top Session 3

Well on to Day 2 now and at 1.30 we have for me what should be one of the best panels of the conference on one of the ‘hot’ topics of the minute. From the UK Mike Grehan and Lyndsay Menzies are involved:

Orion Panel: Universal Search
Search result multiplicity is not a new phenomenon, but recent advancements will guarantee the world of search and marketing will be changing forever. Before you attend this week's optimization and best practices sessions, hear from industry gurus about how search, marketing and information seeking is changing the industry that follows the search. Our ongoing series on universal search will include research data available only at SES.

Top Session 4

For this slot I am going with a session involving another UK speaker who lives in Washington DC now but is still English through and through Simon Heseltine who is speaking on Day 3 at 5.30pm on:

Social Search: The Next Step
Social media networking is changing the way people integrate the Web into their lives. Still, this seems one small step for searchers, but a giant change for search media. What do media such as Eurekster, Wikia, Google, Yahoo, ZoomInfo, Jookster, have in store? As Google and Yahoo move into this space will they retain share? What will the evolution of social media mean to marketing as customer behavior becomes nearly impossible to manipulate?

Top Session 5

Well for the last one I am going to pick a panel on Day 2 at 5.45 that I am moderating. The Local Search Marketing Tactics panel is always a good panel in the US and I have two great speakers with some brilliant content shaping up. As well as this we are going to shake up the format a bit to make it very interactive.

Local Search Marketing Tactics
This session looks at ways search marketers are tapping into an audience using local search engines, online yellow pages and other local search methods.

All in all there of some of the best UK and European speakers in New York next week for the conference, which is shaping up to be a great event. See you there next week and feel free to stop any of us for a chat we always appreciate it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

London SES 2008

As a lot of you are probably aware there was a little show last week in London called SES, over the 3 days over 2000 people attended and I was very busy speaking on 5 sessions. Overall the event was a great success with a lot of positive vibes around the attendees that I spoke to before and after sessions. The content was great across the board with strong speakers and my fellow Geordie Mike Grehan at the helm as Chair of the London SES event.

There has been a lot of good session coverage over the last few days and it has been nice to receive some for the sessions I took part in. On Day 1 I had one of my usual SES sessions on Click Fraud, it was my 4th year doing this panel and it has amazed me how much Auditing has evolved. It was good to be on the panel with Shuman G from Google again and Mal Watlington wrote a great coverage of the session here

On Day 2 I had two sessions one as a speaker and one as moderator. First up was "Landing Page Testing and Tuning" which turned out to be a great session with good attendance and great Q+A. There was some blog coverage here to give you an idea of the session content. I also came across a really nice arty picture of the panel in action posted by Greg Jaboe on Search Engine Watch see if you can spot me!

In the afternoon I moderated the "Searcher Behaviour Research Update" this was reference prior to the SES event as one of the "7 Reasons to attend London SES" and the attendance did not disappoint the room was full. Thanks to the panelists Erica, Rob, John and Piers for some great insight and content.

On Day 3 again I had one speaking and one moderating, first up was "
Search Advertising Clinic" this was a Q+A where for 60 minutes we invite the audience to give us problems with there campaigns to review online and give advice. I always like these types of session and it was great to do the panel with Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance

For my final one of the conference I moderated the 'Local Search Marketing' panel with Simon and Patricia Hursh. This again was a great content session, Simon has posted a good blog about the content of the session here

It was nice to be able to site down and down some video interviews with Dr Ralph Wilson for his internet viewers back in the US. Ralph has a website I have read and received his email news letter for about 8 years now so nice to contribute. And also the SES official coverage with Greg Jaboe on the Day 2 round up in my last post

It was a great but busy 3 days all in all and I am looking forward to getting the customary SES session scores back from the attendee surveys.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SES London 2008

I have been down at Search Engine Strategies London 2008 this week speaking and moderating on some panels, and I was going to write a quick blog to some up the days so far but thanks to Greg down at SEO PR there are some great daily wrap up videos available.

Day 1

Day 2

There are some great tips and insight into what has been a great SES London 2008.

Day 3 to follow.....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Google Street View.....New Beta Test Option?

I was shown at work today a great YouTube video of how you could take Google Street View a step to far. Interesting to see people are already thinking about the connotations of privacy and how far it could actually go. Will Google ever get to the point (trying not to spoil the vid!) portrayed in this YouTube spoof? Only time will tell....Enjoy!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Microsoft bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo!!!

Well last Friday started like any other Friday, until I read my RSS feeds at about 11.45am and you hear rumours of Microsoft bidding to buy Yahoo. At first you can of think 'Yeah Right!' but the reality is that the bid has been tabled at $44.6 Billion. (How much!!)

The question then has to be asked as to will the deal actually happen? It looks like Yahoo will entertain it but I can imagine it will take some time to go through. But I bet the Yahoo share holders are hoping it does when it values the shares at just over 62% more than what they currently are. It is getting a lot of mixed opinions on the business side with the Fox business teams saying it is a really bad deal for Microsoft share holders and they are paying to much.

Business aside I have to bring this back to one area, if they combined how will this affect their search market share?? In the US Google will still be 56% and the combined Yahoo and Microsoft will only be 31.5%. This is in the US which is the market where they are at the closest as well. Imagine the UK it will be Google 79% and Yahoo-Microsoft combined still only around 14%. As a joint force can they grow the share or will they focus to areas of Technology or Mobile Search?

The only other area to consider is the name....will it be YaSoft? or Microhoo? Time will tell and I am sure there will be a lot more news and discussion about the deal next week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

SpaceTime 3D Search

I have always been one for trying a new beta but this is one that is worth a go. SpaceTime has launched with everything from 3D Search, 3D Ebay, 3D Image Search and 3D Tabbed Browsing. The strap line for the new concept is:

"I think I've found a product that makes the Google interface look like it was designed by Apple."

Which I can see where they are coming from as it is very like Apples new Phone and IPod navigation. Will it be another piece of clever technology that doesn't catch on? Only time will tell but I would say download it and have a go, it is well worth it, the screen grab above does not do it justice and if anything it consolidates all the results together.

You can view all it has to offer at