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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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  • Microsoft would hopefully "Do no Evil" too! (?)
    (Post has been slightly updated, since it was originally published)
    .
    Microsoft and Yahoo's deal has now been approved. But is all that is happening (and above board) these days - being placed 'on the table' for all to scrutinize, I wonder?

    Market sensitive, do I hear?

    Whilst Google proudly claim that it's endeavors are always, to "Do no Evil"- in regards to transparency & plain old 'honesty' is there a chance (?) of Microsoft actually "shooting itself in the foot" before it goes much further down this very exciting road that lies ahead?

    Has Looksmart simply become a "Patsy" for the Microsoft cause? What are the connections (if any) between Microsoft and Looksmart?

    Is it (or, was it?) purely on a building Occupier/sub tenant basis? - With Microsoft's RAPT acquisition being just any old [1st Fl.?] "tenant" of Looksmart, at Looksmart's headquarters?

    [There's more ('a lot more than meets the eye'), in Microsoft's Rapt - in being 'tenants' of Looksmart, I feel. - http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2005/10/24/story6.html]



    Then there's iWin, yet another star "tenant" of Looksmart- "iWin provides a host of rich & effective marketing solutions for partners. We believe advertising can be a winning proposition for both players and marketers. - - - We are one of the first casual game publishers to provide games for free - - in exchange for delivering targeted, relevant and compelling in-game advertising."- http://www.iwin.com/corp/about/aboutus.html

    How much or, how little should the market be told (or, are entitled to know), is one of my many (next) questions surrounding those involved in advertising on the web?  How much should shareholders be reasonably entitled to know?

    It was from within an own comment to my Instablog post..Looksmart's AdCenter to drive this Inter-Exchange "Bus"? [Read that instapost  story - Linked below], that I had written on Feb 19, 2010.

    seekingalpha.com/instablog/36191-looking...

    ............that any posts advising of or, relating to news of Looksmart's business and of (in this instance - in, that) TURN's new 2.0 platform that enables buyers to now reach scaled audiences with a single click.

    And TURN can get them ....across ALL "R T B" or, real-time bidding inventory sources), in what I believe - - - is a 'break-through revelation' told by the CEO of TURN. When advised by me to shareholders (in posts made over on the Yahoo Finance LOOK board), my posts have suddenly, all been deleted.

    http://blog.turn.com/2010/01/25/turn%e2%80%99s-next-generation-media-buying-and-optimization-platform/

    I asked and had pleaded with the 'bashers':

    Why would they be deleting my posts IF it is only "rubbish", that I am posting? - - Couldn't those who don't agree simply put my alias on ignore?

    Traffic to Looksmart.com (where AdCenter is housed - and, as recorded by Alexa) points to a steady rise in important "comings and goings" from important sites.

    Significant sites (that I believe) are very meaningful in terms of any advertising network, certainly that of Looksmart's who tell the market, this is a core business they are involved in. (But is there more perhaps?)

    Upstream Sites

    Percent of total visits to looksmart.com preceded by a visit to the upstream site.

    Downstream Sites

    Percent of total visits to looksmart.com followed by a visit to the downstream site.


    The huge "spike" (shown below, around 22nd of September), is what I imagine to be, tests associated with queries traffic that would equate to (at the very least) 10 billion (or, more) daily impressions had, during that (my assumed), test period.



    Here's an Alexa long term traffic chart with the last of Looksmart's consumer sites in view. (2008)



    Looksmart has advised the market that in the Q2 period (2009), it's AdCenter advertising marketplace had over one billion queries and over 2 million paid clicks daily, for it's Adcenter to manage ...

    [Note: Paid clicks never did equate to LOOK's stated revenues, though]

    That's surely most interesting, in terms of that "spike" above.

    [Looksmart has since told of 'over 2 billion queries daily - May 2010 - current report), but (in my opinion) that is still no-where near what that historical 'spike' represents (in real terms), of total queries had, that are represented by that spike]

    Cheers!!

    LC

    ps; 19th September, 2011 - "Social advertising start-up appssavvy is the latest to renounce display advertising with the launch of a new ad platform tied to online activities, from sharing content to check-ins to taking polls. Like Facebook, the 3-year-old company is eschewing banners and their anemic click-through rates in favor of ads driven by social actions and promising higher interaction. "

    "Enter appssavvy's new "adtivity" platform. Victor says the new system provides a way for advertisers to generate high conversion rates at scale by running ads targeted to various social actions. "

    "Research released earlier this year by appssavvy also concluded that activity-based advertising was 11 times more effective than standard display ads and doubled the performance of rich media ads. The company says 30 publishers are on board at launch, including 6waves, 50 Cubes, Friend.ly, iWin and GameDuell."

    www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Artic...

    seekingalpha.com/user/36191/instablog/se...

    Disclosure: Long and strong LOOK
    Feb 20 7:24 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Looksmart's AdCenter Engine to drive this Inter-Exchange "Bus"?
    .
    It would be reasonably fair to say that in a fully automated ('one stop shop')  advertiser - publisher marketplace, both buyers and sellers will have a need for all to have a 'uniform' API.

    To then all be enabled for that constant 'criss-crossing' or, the daily, literally billions of (buy - sell) 'inter-connections' had between Exchanges.

    There's a need for a one (single) bus to ride on daily within the one (and, global scaled) marketplace.- As they all have a need to be compatible (with each other) or, any such 'inter-operability' - simply can't take place.

    I had stated in a recent Instablog post, that .....
     
    "Looksmart operate a (global) advertising network that is "neutral" & it is one that provides a private labeled adcenter API for both advertiser and publisher involvements within it's advertising network."

    http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/36191-lookingconfident/54963-looksmart-well-blackrock-and-sidus-are-buying

    And I stressed that Media buyers (I said marketers) .. are (still) having to make tens, twenties even hundreds of Ad buys to complete a campaign (book-fill) spend .......This takes time to do. Why wouldn't they simply do it all with Google? Or, with Yahoo? Or, even with Microsoft or, just do a 'spend' it in equal proportions with all three? (Is what I had asked)
     
    In a fully automated ('one stop shop') global marketplace, both buyers and sellers will have a need for all to have a 'uniform' API to enable that constant 'criss-crossing' or, daily billions of (buy - sell) 'inter-connections' had between Exchanges, within the one (single, scaled) marketplace.

    They all have a need to be compatible with each other or, such 'inter-operability' - simply can't take place.
     
    The best "clue" given to date (on the above), comes to us from the TURN blog that tells us of..

    "Turn’s Next Generation Media Buying and Optimization Platform"
     
    TURN CEO Bill Demas (posted on January 25, 2010), says:
     
    "Our 2.0 platform includes a series of feature upgrades designed to simplify and improve the process of buying custom audiences at scale. Some of the new capabilities include":
     
    Single-click deployment across all real-time bidding (RTB) inventory sources"
     
     
    Hello?

    There's that 'very' (one stop shop) private labeled "inter-connector" (NYSEMKT:API) that will enable buyers to reach scaled audiences with a single click. And ......  across ALL real-time bidding (RTB) inventory sources?
     
    This is TURN's own (private-labeling) of that 'universal' (to all) bus ticket that all leading agencies and advertisers (buyers), will be rushing to get a piece of, right? (For, that 'one stop shop', no?)
     
    And, it's one (yes ......it's TURN's new 2.0 platform), that gets a buyer across all real-time bidding (RTB) inventory sources....
     
    And not just Microsoft's AdECN inventory, ok? TURN says ALL real-time bidding (RTB) inventory sources and (again), according to TURN's blog again and only yesterday ... the news that AdECN is only just starting to scale ...
     
    < AdECN deliversRTB goes live!
     
    Good news in the RTB world from Microsoft! For the past few weeks AdECN has been serving live inventory through their new RTB enabled exchange. The volumes are limited as expected for the initial beta but ramping nicely. >
     
     
    The question still remains, though ...To operate a (global) advertising network that is "neutral" (and an 'ever-on' auction based marketplace, and that's "blind" to all players), won't it then have a need to be one that provides a private labeled (common to all) API, for both advertiser and publisher involvements?
     
    For them all to be on the same 'bus'? And one that will then need a (single powered) or, the one "engine" that will be 'driving' that (same) bus, no?
     
    A bus 'driver' is what I called the "inter-operator",or, being an "inter-connector" or, an engine providing the always-on (live) 'switching' between Exchanges.

    So that (with that 'common' to all API ticket) all global players (advertisers and publishers type), can then get to operate through Exchanges or, get to freely enter or, get off the 'bus' with. [That 'ticket' to ride.]
     
    A further clue? It won't be coming from a Google, a Microsoft, a Yahoo or, even a TURN.

    But in my opinion, it WILL be an independent one that (some form of) ALL those abovementioned major Exchanges, will certainly be getting to use daily and will all be riding on this same bus, too.

    LOOK: Feb 18: $0.99  0.00 (0.00%) 
     
    LC

    Disclosure: A ticker holder on the Looksmart "Bus"
    Feb 19 7:38 AM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Microsoft - Yahoo search - advertising approval great news for Looksmart
    .
    Terrific news for Looksmart today when the market was advised that both the DOJ & EU authority have approved the Microsoft - Yahoo search/advertising agreement and without any restrictions. (Release, below).

    Back in an InstaBlog post (on, July 1st, 2009) I had made what was a bold prediction that this "union" was to be, when I had written that  .....

    .................."we will soon see (a happy announcement of search marketing's "Wedding of the Year"- the Century?), when the MSN and Yahoo drawn-out courtship together will get to be consumated! After these two (finally), do get to "tie the knot". IMHO". - (Deal announced on, July 29th, 2009)

    Reply to Thomas Jower's (own), "How to Fix Microsoft for $5 Billion"

    And on that thread I make no bones about a definate role that Looksmart's own "independent" AdCenter will get to play, as a result of this get-together. It is my strong belief that the advertising aspect of this relationship is as important as the Bing search implications of the deal.

    The "Combo" site of this "search alliance" (& named as such, by Microsoft does make the following brief mention of just where I feel Looksmart get to fit in. IMHO.

    <.More volume, less effort.

    Search ad inventory from Yahoo!, Microsoft, and their respective partners will be combined into a new unified search marketplace, giving advertisers of all sizes access to a combined audience of nearly 577 million searchers worldwide. >

    http://advertising.microsoft.com/search-alliance/home

    I feel now, that we will quickly see a "re-release" by Microsoft of a much improved AdECN Exchange and a possible re-branding of it has even been mentioned, as such. 

    This Exchange I feel will quickly become the global representation for premium publishers with partner Yahoo's RME (the Right Media Exchange), already having made the move to accomodate Premium advertisers. 

    I make no secret of my strong feeling that Looksmart's AdCenter (and the only independent management platform built to scale), has an "interconnector" role to play between both the above Exchanges (and all other Exchanges) in what will quickly become a Global advertising - publisher RTB auction based marketplace.

    RTB (Real Time Bidding) is the key to Looksmart's bright future

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

    Here’s the release:

    Yahoo! and Microsoft to Implement Search Alliance
    Completion of U.S., European Review Clears Way for Agreement to Move Forward

    SUNNYVALE, Calif. & REDMOND, Wash., Feb 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE)—Microsoft and Yahoo!  announced today that they have received clearance for their search agreement, without restrictions, from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission, and will now turn their attention to beginning the process of implementing the deal.

    Implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days and will involve transitioning Yahoo!‘s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally. Once the transition is completed, the companies’ unified search marketplace will deliver improved innovation for consumers, better volume and efficiency for advertisers and better monetization opportunities for web publishers through a platform that contains a larger pool of search queries.

    “This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo! can focus even more on our own innovative search experience,” said Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz. “Yahoo! gets to do what we do best: combine our science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for our users and customers.”

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer concurred with Bartz’s assessment. “Although we are just at the beginning of this process, we have reached an exciting milestone,” Ballmer said. “I believe that together, Microsoft and Yahoo! will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation to our customers as well as to advertisers and publishers.”

    Consumer Search Experience

    Under terms of the agreement, which was announced in late July 2009, Microsoft will provide Yahoo! with the same search result listings available through Bing, and Yahoo! will innovate around those listings by integrating rich Yahoo! content, enhanced listings with conveniently organized information about key topics, and tools to tailor the experience for Yahoo! users.

    Yahoo! will focus on providing a compelling and innovative search experience that allows people to find and explore the things, people and sites that matter most to them. While Microsoft will provide the underlying platform, both companies will continue to create different, compelling and evolving experiences, competing for audience, engagement and clicks.

    Transition Timeline

    Yahoo! and Microsoft will work with advertisers, publishers and developers on a customized plan designed to make the transition as efficient and seamless as possible. Both companies will begin working closely with most partners well in advance of their planned transition to the Microsoft platform and will communicate important information to partners about the transition periodically via phone, email, webinars and a newly created website at http://www.searchalliance.com.

    The companies will begin the transition of algorithmic search and have set a goal of completing that effort in at least the United States by the end of 2010. The companies also hope to make significant progress transitioning U.S. advertisers and publishers prior to the 2010 holiday season, but may wait until 2011 if they determine that the transition will be more effective after the holiday season. All global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.

    Customer Relationships

    Once the transition is in place, Yahoo! and Microsoft will each represent and provide customer support to different advertiser segments. Yahoo!‘s sales team will exclusively represent and support high volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients. Microsoft will represent and support self-service advertisers.

    Regulatory Summary

    Although the transaction previously was cleared by regulators in Australia, Brazil and Canada, the terms of the agreement required clearance by U.S. and European regulators before it could commence. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Yahoo! continue to work with regulators in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to ensure that they have all relevant information necessary to evaluate the transaction before the deal commences in those specific jurisdictions.

    About Microsoft

    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (MSFT 28.71, +0.12, +0.42%)  is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

    Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx


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

    Although it was to be expected, this announced confirmation of a deal Approval is such excellent news for Looksmart and it's shareholders. IMHO.

    LOOK: At 3:51PM ET: $0.99 Up 0.01 (+1.02%)

    LC



    Disclosure: Long LOOK and happy to be so.
    Feb 18 5:35 PM | Link | Comment!
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