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Longstanding investor in Looksmart (and a 70 yr old ex-tradesman), who has a passionate interest in the problems of newspapers along with their success in all their monetisation attempts made, on the web. For the "times are indeed, a changin", I feel. [17th of Aug, 2011 - Print media... More
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  • Looksmart - Circumstantial evidence - Microsoft/Newscorp... or, both?
    .
    As a shareholder, I want to know who we are 'doing business' with. I certainly want to know if both Microsoft and Newscorp helped to build AdCenter or, if they were involved, down at Looksmart's (old), 625 Second Street San Francisco home.

    I want to know if there's more than a possibility that this same unique and totally "independent" AdCenter will provide an eventual (and a logical, much needed) neutral "interoperability" between DSP's (demand side platforms, agencies) & Exchanges, and for years to come.

    I can only continue to go on making assumptions.

    ***************

    The above question/s was/were asked in my previous Instablog.

    It should be clear to anyone following exactly WHY I firmly base my (reasonable?) assumption along these lines by now.

    http://seekingalpha.com/user/36191/instablog/search?terms=RAPT

    Much has been explained in previous posts concerning these two Co's (read of such within my above link to stories along these lines) and a closeness that they have with Looksmart and why an "independently" operated inter-connector is not only ideal but would prove almost mandatory going forward.

    But ... Are we listening?

    Perhaps we need to take a little more notice then?
     
    < It is no easy feat to build enough computer power to handle the amount of data needed for these trades, which exceed the volume of all the stock exchanges in the world on a given day.....

    "You need to have systems capable of responding in sub-milliseconds 13 billion times a day," said Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath’s CEO.
     
    Real-Time Bidding For Online Ads
     
    New York start-up MediaMath thinks they may have internet advertising figured out.>

    [MediaMath are one of the "five" trialists selected  in Yahoo's Right Media Exchange in Real Time "Pilot Program"]

    < Founded by Joe Zawadzki, the company is developing a complex ecosystem where ads would be traded like stocks in billions of instantaneous bidding wars for screen time. Advocates of the system say it would specifically target the ads and therefore cut down on waste.
     
    According to Forrester Research, the spending on display ads will more than double (from $8.4 to $17 billion) and that the portion of display ads that will be sold through real time bidding will increase to 75% over the next four year.>
     

    "Microsoft is said to be joining the party."
     
    <http://www.nyconvergence.com/2010/03/realtime-bidding-for-online-ads.html>

    It would not surprise me in the least to soon see an announcement wherby either Microsoft or, Newscorp (or, both) are to take a closer 'interest' in Looksmart and that (going forward) will be 'joining the Looksmart party'. (After the close of the market, on 31st of March, perhaps?) 

    In regards to Jean-Yves Dexmier, poster 'texas16qld' so rightly points out in his post on Yahoo that Looksmart have virtually told the market and made it pretty clear... that ..... 

    Dexmier (dated December,14 - below).....
     
    "is assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective today until a replacement is named." 

    That (in effect) means, the current CEO is simply a 'caretaker' of the position, at best.

    LookSmart Announces Ted West to Resign as President and Chief Executive Officer - 12/14/09

    For mine, the Circumstantial evidence (surrounding Looksmart) clearly points to an involvement from either Microsoft and/or, Newscorp or, both.
     
    Circumstantial evidence - Wikipedia, the free .. - Circumstantial evidence indirectly proves a fact. It is evidence that requires or allows a trier of fact to make a deduction to conclude that a fact exists.
     
    QUESTION? - Could anyone reading and understanding the above dare think about sending someone to the "gallows" if the above ('circumstantial evidence') was presented in his or, her defence? -  When the bottom line should clearly tell you that judgement need always be made on a basis of.."Behond reasonable doubt"?

    LC

    ps; A reminder: ( From the above linked 'LongIsland.newsday.com' article.

    < ....It is no easy feat to build enough computer power to handle the amount of data needed for these trades, which exceed the volume of all the stock exchanges in the world on a given day.....

    "You need to have systems capable of responding in sub-milliseconds 13 billion times a day," said Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath’s CEO.
    .>)

    I would suggest to readers, that (and, as is shown in traffic here on Alexa.com) on or, about 22nd of September, 2009 a "full-on" TEST of AdCenter's capabilities (at the time) was conducted in "tandem" with an Advertise.com owned site (discover-facts.com) and that it may have been a 'trial' that may have been based around separating a Premium and secondary marketplace. (In a 'trial' division, of both ecosystems)

    Trailing 7 days Trailing 1 month Trailing 3 months Trailing 6 months Max


    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/Looksmart.com

    And ....

    < .............I strongly believe that a coroboration between Microsoft (who bought Co's like aQuantive, FAST Search and RAPT, a technology Co) with Newscorp (who had provided some 200 myspace Engineers) then went about 'building' the Looksmart AdCenter to the stage it's at today.

    (And within the very Looksmart building at 625 Second Street San Francisco, where RAPT were located on the 1st floor. With the myspace engineers, who were 'parked' just one floor, above Looksmart.) > 

    GOOGLE - It's all Down Hill from here >

    http://seekingalpha.com/user/36191/instablog/search?terms=Atlas


    Disclosure: Long LOOK and happy to be so.
    Mar 20 7:51 PM | Link | 3 Comments
  • Looksmart's CEO told, that shareholders expect much more than is given
    .
    Brian Horey (from Aurelian Management) made it quite clear in Looksmart's CC yesterday afternoon, that enough is enough. Looksmart had just handed down it's Q4 Report a little earlier and yes, it was (basically), simply more of the same.

    After 25 quarters have gone by since last recording a profit Brian Horey (& not un-like "Oliver" had said to Fagan in the Dicken's classic), told the CEO he wanted 'more' and that in regards to some clarity (going forward), that all shareholders alike expect much, much more.

    He pointed out strongly that it was not good enough (and with only a few weeks of Q1 2010 remaining), and that shareholders feel the Co must 'give' a little more that that typical 'blanket statement' that has been handed out for so long in, "as you know, the Co doesn't give guidance"..

    Earlier, the Co had reported that it had ended the quarter with $27.7 million in cash (an increase of $0.6 million from $27.1 million at Sept. 30, 2009) and, that Net cash provided by operating activities (for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2009), was approximately $1.2 million. (Yet, the Co is currently trading @ $0.93 and has a Market Cap of less than $16 million.)

    The "CC" was a "joke" and best explained by a Yahoo poster, as follows:

    ....[Looksmart's CEO Jean-Yves] Dexmier pulled the plug after refusing to answer Brian's (didn't catch the last name) question. I was in the Que with several questions and I heard the click right after Dexmier said "next question". Did anyone else get cut off?

    In the past few years the Co have been quick to point out a pending "loss" of a publisher "hosted deal" (with IAC's ASK) and have so often painted this with grey overtones but the Co haven't advised of any "new" AdCenter partners in a number of years now.

    Let alone the Co ever (strongly) pointing out to all that this same, award winning platform is the only independent ad serving and management platform that there is about, that's built to the global scale that it is.

    And there does appear to be "many" (?) that are (and or, will be) "using" this very same 'inter-connector" that I believe is being kept quiet by the IAB and certainly it's membership, for a number of reasons but I won't go into that area, in this post.

    As a shareholder, I do want to know who we are 'doing business' with. I certainly want to know if both Microsoft and possibly Newscorp's myspace engineers helped to build AdCenter to scale or, if they were ever involved, when 200 of them were housed down in Looksmart's (old), 625 Second Street San Francisco home?

    [03/03/2011 - The Co has since advised with no 'fan-fare' at all - that Looksmart's award winning AdCenter platform was built [current report] with the assistance of both Microsoft and ASK ]

    I want to know if there's more than a possibility that this same unique and totally "independent" AdCenter will provide an eventual (and, logical, much needed) neutral "interoperability" between DSP's (demand side platforms, agencies) and Exchanges, and for years to come. I can only continue to go on making assumptions.

    As an eg, is it fair enough for me to assume that the LinkShare Network is an AdCenter partner? You tell me? Why would I ask such a silly question, some may say?

    I mean, here is a Co that is building one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Affiliate Networks on this planet and I want to know exactly whose technology platform they will be (or, are) using to get to "join up" all it's members and partners with, no?

    Read on and you will surely see why.

    With the "Search Engine Strategies New York 2010" coming up in a few days time, (it appears), that Looksmart are only attending, as an exhibitor.

    It;'s worth noting that the Co called "LinkShare Corporation" (a Silver Sponsor) have two speakers attending and will be exhibiting, also.

    *********
    Kim Read
    Director, Search & Creative Services, LinkShare Corporation
    *********
    Erin Brown
    Client Development Specialist, LinkShare Corporation
    *********
    Company: LinkShare Corporation

    Website: www.linkshare.com/

    They tell us, that:

    LinkShare Corporation is a leading global provider of technology solutions, services and the distribution network e-retailers need to create, manage and optimize successful affiliate marketing programs.

    LinkShare also offers unique performance-based search marketing services, and robust tools to track the ROI of any kind of online partnership.

    LinkShare empowers clients with the ability to collaborate with any partner online and develop cost-efficient pay-for-performance campaigns.

    LinkShare clients are Fortune 500 and prominent companies doing business online, and include J.C. Penney, "1-800-Flowers.com", American Express, Avon Products and Dell.

    LinkShare
    was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London & Tokyo.

    LinkShare
    is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc.

    www.google.com.au/search?q=Rakuten%2C+In...

    *************************************************

    2005 Linkshare Corporation. 100% shares acquired by Rakuten, Inc.to spearhead overseas push, currently LinkShare Corporation.

    .............Rakuten Auction, Inc.
    founded as a joint venture with NTT Docomo, Inc. Kokunai Shinpan Co., Ltd. consolidated as a subsidiary of Rakuten Inc. to structure current Rakuten KC
    - corp.rakuten.co.jp/en/company/history.html

    corp.rakuten.co.jp/en/ir/

    January 27, 2010 Expansion into E-Commerce Business in China under a JV between Rakuten and Baidu

    September 30, 2009 Rakuten Enters Thailand’s E-Commerce Market Acquires Majority Stake in TARAD.com in a Capital and Business Alliance

    Now, I have no idea of a "current" deal (UHHummm?) between Looksmart and LinkShare (there has been, in the past), but it's worth reading this 'recent' reply made here, on a "Ten alternatives to ClickBank" blog:

    By tambrose445 at 16:42 12 Feb 2010:
     
    Thanks for this article Mark. As always your insights are appreciated..... As an affiliate that uses PPC I have noticed that companies such as LookSmart and Bid4Keywords are a highly effective alternative to Google and Yahoo....... For example, I have seen  some success using LinkShare offers and LookSmart advertising together.

    www.affilorama.com/blog/alternatives-to-...

    Traffic has gone ahead nicely, too!

    www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linksynergy.com#t...

    Alexa traffic

    Search Results for linkshare.com
     
    Site Information for linksynergy.com
    Get Details

    Nice run-up into that Q4 Period just reported, too.

    www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linksynergy.com#t...

    . LookSmart: Recent 10-Q
     
    Traffic Acquisition Costs
    The Company enters into agreements of varying durations with its distribution network partners that display the Company’s listings ads on their sites in return for a percentage of the revenue-per-click that the Company receives when the ads are clicked on those partners’ sites.
    The Company also enters into agreements of varying durations with third party affiliates.

    There are generally three economic structures of the affiliate agreements: guaranteed fixed payments which often carry reciprocal performance guarantees from the affiliate, variable payments based on a percentage of the Company’s revenue or based on a certain metric, such as number of searches or paid clicks, or a combination of the two.

    LinkShare Blog: - (Check Date)

    Mar 16 2010 
     
    Did you know that Advertisers can search for Publishers in the LinkShare Network who have not yet applied to their program?

    The Find New Affiliates tool helps Advertisers grow their Affiliate Marketing program by finding Publishers that are aligned with their offers.

    The tool allows Advertisers to search by:
     
    - Demographic category (Arts, Entertainment, Health, Sports)

    - Active versus inactive status

    - Date the Affiliate joined LinkShare Network

    - Monthly unique visitors

    - Total number of page views

    - Geographic location (city, county, postcode or country)  ???

    - Keyword

    Most importantly the Find New Affiliates tool allows Advertisers to search by keyword which is important because Advertisers often use product and demographic related keywords to find new Publishers. If a Publisher does not have this area filled out effectively then they will not appear in search results!

    As a Publisher, when you joined the LinkShare Network you filled in the basic details about your site. You can expand on this in the Marketing Channel section of the Publisher Dashboard. Make sure to keep this area updated with the latest information about your Website to help ensure that Advertisers can find you!

    Go to My Account –> Marketing Channel

    Select to ‘Edit’ your Marketing Channel

     
    13550_10002373

    Tip: When updating your keywords think about what you focus on and your audience reach.

    For example, if you are a fashion company, you will need to have the keyword fashion in your description and even go as far as to list products that you review or talk about e.g. jeans, skirts, t-shirts etc. Alternatively, if you target high end consumers then ‘high end consumers’ etc. It might take a few minutes but it could really help build your programs up.
    **************************************

    ***That's almost good enough for me to "declare" that the LinkShare Network are using AdCenter.

    When we look at the LinkShare Geographic locations (city, county, postcode or country), being offered, it very much reminds me of that being offered by that of a known Looksmart AdCenter partner in REED's KellySearch.

    ****************

    LookSmart® AdCenter: Help Center
    We have launched partnerships with APEX Pacific, BidRank, ClickTracks, LivePerson, MakeMeTop, Omniture, Trellian and Atlas. ... utm_source - Set this to looksmart-{feed} to track which ...
    adcenter.looksmart.com... ·


    Kellysearch® AdCenter: Help Center
    We have launched partnerships with APEX Pacific, BidRank, ClickTracks, LivePerson, MakeMeTop, Omniture, Trellian and Atlas. How do I edit my ad Title, Description or URL?
    adcenter.reed.looksmar...
    ****************
    Kellysearch® AdCenter: Help Center
    You can change your subscriptions to Kellysearch AdCenter email .... In the AdCenter, Geo-Targeting can be managed by clicking the Locations tab on the ... - https://kellysearch-adcenter.reedbusiness.com/help/faq

    [ 2.4 Geo-Targeting [KellySearch]

    What is Geo-Targeting?

    Geo-Targeting allows your ads to receive traffic from web users in specific geographic areas that you designate.

    What Geo-Targeting options are available?

    Geo-Targeting is performed at the campaign level and is available for regions as large as a country or narrow as a postal code. Specifically, there are four geographic types you can use to target your campaigns:

    • Country
    • State or Region
    • City / Designated Marketing Area
    • Postal Code
    Please note that at present Geo-Targeting options below the country level are only available for the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.]
     
    https://kellysearch-adcenter.reedbusiness.com/help#geo_targeting

    LookSmart® AdCenter: LookSmart® API v4.0
    To set a location using the geo targeting calls of the API you must use the locations as exactly as shown. Country Codes · Region Codes (United States, ...


    This is interesting, too! (Think about it)

    [ I plan to send some direct mail intros into the power, mining and steel industry markets and also use one on one email contacts. The SEO approach would probably help, but I am unfamiliar with specifics for doing this. Another approach I am using is keyword marketing with Google Adwords and Kellysearch.

    http://forums.thomasnet.com/viewtopic.php?p=70676&sid=ccaf7774da385c877ce613294aca1d0c ]

    Yes, just a couple that are shown to have compatibility with Looksmart's AdCenter global advertising network Folks. IMHO, of course.

    The AdCenter Platform - LookSmart > Pay-Per-Click Search Advertising - Geo-Targeting. Your PPC advertising campaigns on the LookSmart network can be focused on the geographic location of your desired customers. ... www.looksmart.com/adcenter-platform

    LookSmart, Ltd. - International Traffic Growth Contributes 14.7 ... - Geo-targeting features have also been added to LookSmart's widely-adopted open API, enabling bid management companies and advertising agencies to connect ...

    Gee ..."
    bid management companies and advertising agencies"? You would swear that they were talking about DSP users, no? (Demand Side Platforms)

    "Through the AdCenter platform, LookSmart's distribution partners are able to monetize their international search queries and advertisers are able to target down to the city-level in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom," said Ted West, former CEO and president of Looksmart, at the time.

    "Our publishers and search advertisers trust LookSmart to offer growth opportunities like internationalization through our proven, independent ad serving platform." 
     
     But of that 'neutral' AdCenter management 'role' assumption, I have made?

    No?

    Perhaps Looksmart may care to reply here and say that it's not the case?

    LC

    LOOK: 3:57pm ET: 0.9599  Up 0.0399 (+4.34%) 

    Disclosure: Long and strong LOOK
    Mar 19 5:51 PM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Yahoo Finance's PONZI-like scheme that is quickly coming to a bubble
    .
    Technology sure is an amazing thing these days. And (sadly)  it's mostly ALL about "money", as usual.

    Greed is good? The record should show, this is not so.

    Yet, it would very much so appear to me that the clear greed associated with a future "gold-mine" in advertising on the web has got the better of many, including the 'powers to be' of my own Co, in Looksmart.

    The Co had reported after market close today. To sum-up my thoughts:

    ##..More of the same (and a down-right contemptible disconnect in the call, with a failure to answer a question by the CEO), is what has been 'dished-up' to shareholders...##

    Yahoo Finance has had a "history" of deleting my posts on it's LOOK board, posts that simply discuss the Co, the sector and the 'possibles and probables', as such. All, only an opinion. We all have them be they right or, wrong. We learn from those that are proven to be wrong or, at least should do so.

    There is hardly a topic that can be posted for consideration these days, it would seem. But this "disease" (?) is becoming contageous. Now (it seems)  AdExchanger.com is not publishing my reasonable comment being made to articles published. Why?

    My reply to a board Yaoo LOOK board "minder" today in part, is as follows:

    **************
    Mikey .... You replied:

    < Has nothing to do with LOOK's current sad state. Unfortunately Lossie you are so caught up on what you think matters..>

    But Mikey?

    WHERE have all the "other" posts on this thread gone to?

    **************

    Re: Now you know why West left

    ##..Having demo'd all of the top DSPs platforms, I suggest you guys focus more on improving you...
    Sentiment: Strong Buy seekingbeta@ymail... Rate it 31 minutes ago


    Re: Now you know why West left

    ##.. And providing a "common" standard operating between the DSP and exchange's (both the buy-s...
    Sentiment: Strong Buy seekingbeta@ymail... Rate it 49 minutes ago


    Re: Now you know why West left

    Yes, it's typical of a "basher" who cannot back up statements being made. The other practice is...
    Sentiment: Strong Buy seekingbeta@ymail... Rate it 17-Mar-10 05:45 pm

    Yes, just a few of them. Where have they gone?

    messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_(A_to_...

    **************
    It would appear that my discussion (and publishing of) a reply comment made to a post on AdExchanger.com, wasn't "fit" for Yahoo's LOOK board to read?

    In a comment, "Hilarious" had written:

    "Adexchanger.com has turned into a bogus soapbox for everyone in the display 2.0/3.0 world. These articles have lost their credibility as is this website.

    I do thank Adexchanger for all of the great content, but these recent articles are a complete joke; a higher editorial standard needs to be set so we can actually trust what we read.

    After talking with many DSPs and hearing all of the vaporware claims and BS that was spouted on the phone, it now seems to have made its way onto this website. Once you spend a dime in this space, you realize what's true and what's not and most of what's written and said during pitch calls is complete BS.

    Seriously, guys, please stop this crap and provide good content. It's zero secret that what you are doing is just shilling for your own company -- that's ok, that's what content PR is about, but at least you could provide some more value along with it.

    Having demo'd all of the top DSPs platforms, I suggest you guys focus more on improving your own product vs. spouting all of this nonsense -- the industry is young, yes, but you guys have A LOT of more work to do for it to become actually usable with ease.

    Adexchanger.com, the ball is in your court to clean up this mess and get your editorial path back on track. We all will benefit from it as will you."

    Reply

    By Hilarious on Mar 17, 2010

    www.adexchanger.com/data-driven-thinking...

    My point?

    I believe that it's never to late to "come clean" and that clearly (or, is it STILL un-clear?), circumstantial evidence surrounding Looksmart's AdCenter points to a "reality",  that is NOT being told to the marketplace.

    And coming from the heart of an 'industry' (with the IAB, being the HQR's) being one that  wants to tell advertisers, publishers and web "users" (that are all being behaviourally targeted), that they should all "TRUST THEM"?

    I agree with "Hilarious" in his/her saying that the industry is young, yes, but you guys have A LOT of more work to do for it to become actually usable with ease. And if I could add one more word..TRUSTWORTHY.

    LC

    Disclosure: Long LOOK and strong LOOK.
    Mar 18 10:08 PM | Link | 2 Comments
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