In Brief: Google, YouTube, Marchex, FTC Regs

Here are some things going on this morning/today that I don’t have time to give more attention to:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigns from the Apple board because he has too many conflicts of interest given that the companies compete across a number of areas now. Here’s Apple’s official statement; it’s clean:

“Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.”

YouTube to feature local news. From the NY Times:

YouTube, which already boasts of being “the biggest news platform in the world,” has created a News Near You feature that senses a user’s location and serves up a list of relevant videos. In time, it could essentially engineer a local newscast on the fly. It is already distributing hometown video from dozens of sources, and it wants to add thousands more.

YouTube says it is helping TV stations and its other partners by creating a new — but so far not fiscally significant — source of revenue.

YouTube and the Internet more generally are a substitute for cable TV long term.  TVs or TV boxes in a growing number of homes will access the Internet. And with YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, why would I want to subscribe to pay TV — with some notable exceptions of course. Pain is coming to cable TV and more pain is coming to broadcast. Quality (not lowest-common-denominator-cheap-to-produce-schlock) is the answer. But when cost is an issue quality typically loses. TV is generally a wasteland anyway. So be it.

Marchex asks: Can Locally-Focused Display Ads Make The Phone Ring? The argument in the piece is that display should be part of the local marketing mix but that local advertisers will want to be billed on a performance basis (clicks or calls, preferably). What do you think about display and local:

  • Will it work for local advertisers? (most have not used, according to survey data I have)
  • Can it only be sold on a clicks or calls basis?
  • Must it be outsourced and created by the partner/sales agent or will self-service (e.g., AdReady) be viable at all?

As the FTC looks more closely at online advertising and data mining, stronger regulation (disclosure and opt-in/out requirements) are coming. Mark my words. Or to use the Internet cliche, “watch this space.”


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