When does a technology company begin to look like an ad agency?

As Google released its AdPlanner at the ARF Conference today, ComScore steps up to the plate to defend its panel-based projections for website demographics.

Nothing new here. One can argue ad nausea the merits of either rating games and no one will win the battle. It’s a battle that deflects attention from the intent of the eight-hundred pound gorilla to step up its media game. Indeed, it’s not a battle for Google that sees its entry into the agency landscape as an all out, if not precipitously quiet, war.

If not for the vociferous suspicions of WPP Group CEO, Martin Sorrell, Google may well just win the war to “disintermediate” agencies in the ad game. Google’s “iterative” process to provoke change at the agency and client level comes as no surprise when they posture themselves as the agent of positive and efficient ROI.

While Google maintains its desire not to be in the agency business, nor displace and eventually replace media reps, what it desires and what will occur are two very different things.

Has Google been reaching out to the agencies? No, not really. Calls to Google (yes I had to reach out to them) were politely returned and meetings held. I concluded that they were ill-equipped to sell through at the agency level, lacking integration with client objectives and overall marketing goals.

Frankly, they don’t quite “get it” . . . . yet.

As for Sorrell . . . .”the greater the doubt, the greater the enlightenment”.


Yesterday’s drop of 12% for Sirius stock and a 17% drop for XM’s stock follows a long standing FCC approval process that has yet to be resolved. The drop was sparked by the Goldman Sachs Group, downgrading both companies’ price targets to $1.75 for Sirius and $6.50 for XM. Further exacerbating the damage, Goldman Sachs suggested a poor outlook for satellite radio pointing to a competitive landscape.

That the merger approval will occur is highly likely and is reflected in the current stock price of both concerns. Nonetheless, final approval will almost certainly give both stocks a much needed lift.

As for the “competition” that Goldman Sachs believes will weigh heavily on the fortunes of the merged entity (viewed as the “new” 3G iPhone technologies and the increase in MP3 players) . . . . bunk!

While the younger demographics embrace and fuel the growth of audio and streaming video players, don’t bet the farm that XM-Sirius will not converge to expand its reach into this lucrative, first adapter market. It has already captured a significant share of the automotive market . . . .a more mature market that the younger group will eventually move into and a market that seamlessly incorporates its product and program offerings into the automobile at the manufacturing level. MP3 “add-ons” are still add-ons and the future receivers of the satellite companies will incorporate record and play-back technologies into their products (much like today’s DVD (TIVO) recorders).

Goldman Sachs and its analysts need to bet on long-term visions and stop reacting to misplaced short-term observations before attempting to play ping pong with “sirius” investor market positions.

They also likely did not consider the impact that Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius and a force to be reckoned with, will have on the future of these companies.


A very big small company puts Google in second place.

The Google of Russia is Yandex, and it is preparing for an IPO on Nasdaq in the fall with the hopes of raising $1.5 billion to $2 billion, as reported by Reuters. That would give the company a $5 billion valuation (115.5 Billion rubles).

Yandex was founded 15 years ago, and the last funding was only $5.3 million back in 2000, according to Quintra’s CEO Yakov Sadchikov (Quintura is a smaller search engine also based in Russia). If that is all the company raised, it will be a huge payday for investors ru-Net Holdings, Baring Vostok Capital Partners, and Tiger Technologies.

Yandex has a bigger search market share in Russia than Google. It's the biggest site in Russia overall.
In Europe it's the No. 3 search engine, outpacingYahoo and Microsoft . Globally, it's in the top ten.

Its revenues, though, are not that large, considering its ranking. In 2007 it reported only $167 million in revenues (3,857,700,000 rubles), which was a 130 percent increase from 2006. Founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich still run the company.


“Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line until your call is no longer important to you.”

Outsourcing and Offshoring has been the focus of much controversy going back about fifteen years. While offshoring has obviously cost Americans many jobs, it also cut costs for manufacturers and service companies. But at what cost?

The primary interface between consumers and outsourcing occurs in the customer service (CRM) arena. The frustrations consumers feel when attempting to reach many customer service reps, for a variety of product or service needs, has been exacerbated by both outsourcing and automated response call centers.

We’ve all felt the need to toss our phones out the window when we find ourselves in a never ending phone loop for several minutes only to hear that dreaded “click” at the other end that forces us to start the process again … and again and again.

We’ve all felt the need to toss our phones out the window when we find ourselves in a never ending phone loop for several minutes only to hear that dreaded “click” at the other end that forces us to start the process again … and again and again.

Get the picture? Relief and revenge may be a few clicks away.

An ingenious site I was recently introduced to will provide shortcuts to move you out of the automated phone nightmare loop to a human on the other end. The GetHuman team, a group of consumer activists and speech technology wizards have set standards for customer service and declare “Humans First” as one of their core principles.

I encourage you to visit the site before you decide to make your call to a customer service group. It will save you time and aggravation.

Now that’s CRM !!