Marketing Biz: Google Rethinks Wallet Strategy, Pinterest Gets Serious About Revenue & PeerIndex Scores $3M In Funding

Evolution and transitions seem to be the major themes this week. Twitter and Pinterest are both transitioning from scaling to monetization. Adobe continues to improve their digital marketing business while Google Wallet and CityGrid Media look for better ways to grow their products and properties. Meanwhile Yahoo and ICANN continue to devolve in different and sad ways.

Pinterest Hires Facebook’s Former Director of Monetization

During his tenure at Facebook, Kendall created the “sponsored stories” that show which of your friends like the product being advertised. How he will apply his experiences at Facebook to Pinterest remains to be seen.

I can see how Kendall’s experience will apply. While Pinterest has far less personal information, both Facebook and Pinterest map the taste graph. The challenge will remain how to move people down the intent funnel where the real money resides.

Skimlinks launches API suite to power-up the next wave of start-ups

The API program allows companies to harness and customize the power of Skimlinks technology in several different ways. The Link API allows companies to use the core Skimlinks technology (turning links into monetized links) in any site or application. The Link API can be used in conjunction with the Merchant API, which allows companies to search and filter Skimlinks’ list of 18,000+ merchants by category and name to decide which links to push through Skimlinks.

I have a new found respect for Skimlinks. Launching this API fresh off the press received through their Pinterest relationship is a smart marketing move. Streamlining affiliate based monetization for start-ups could reduce display clutter and provide more breathing room for product development.

Adobe Kicks Off Digital Marketing Summit 2012

Adobe’s digital marketing business continues to demonstrate significant momentum. In the company’s most recent earnings announcement, Adobe reported 30 percent year-over-year growth in its digital marketing business. Adobe introduced several new innovations within the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite.

Adobe is making significant progress in their Digital Marketing Suite with new social, predictive marketing and personalization features. While Google Analytics continues to innovate (for free), Adobe has the inside track with enterprise-level clients. In fact, these new features further defend against Google’s enterprise-level analytics offering – Google Analytics Premium.

Application Status and New Timeline for ICANN’s Top Level Domain Roll-Out

Based on these numbers, and the fact that few companies have announced plans to register .BRAND gTLDs, it appears that most companies have decided not to participate in this first round of applications.  Many have expressly stated that the cost and complexity of the application process, the need to form long-term service provider relationships, and the uncertain benefits from registration have led them to delay registration.

254 applications have been received. That still seems like too much for something that is akin to brand blackmail. At $185,000 each, that’s nearly $50,000,000. Perhaps Dr. Evil has found a new lair.

Chief Scientist at Yahoo Joins Microsoft

He was a key figure in the development of several Yahoo technologies, including the Content Optimization and Relevance Engine (CORE), a “personalization algorithm” that determines what types of content best appeal to specific subsets of Web surfers. He also led the team behind Yahoo’s “Web of Objects” initiative, which aims to make Web search results more actionable and relevant to the user’s intent.

Raghu Ramakrishnan leaves Yahoo for Microsoft. Now it’s unclear exactly how he’ll contribute there but based on his experience I can see a number of areas where his expertise could prove useful. The exodus of top talent from Yahoo does not bode well for a turn-around effort.

Promoted Tweets on mobile: more options, starting today

Given that 55% of the more than 100 million users who log in to Twitter every month do so at least once via mobile, this expanded roll out of Promoted Tweets in mobile is a great opportunity for brands to connect with more users, more of the time.

This makes perfect sense given the mobile nature of Twitter. However, I’m wondering if allowing the service to flourish for so long without advertising may make these newest monetization efforts more difficult.

Q&A: PeerIndex CEO Azeem Azhar

The thing that sets us apart is our ability to identify topic-specific influence at scale. We can tell you whether someone is influential on the topics that matter to your brand, whether that be technology, automotive, literature or fly fishing.  

Generic influence scores are all very well, but they’re not much use for targeted marketing. People tend to be influential amongst a specific interest group and it’s not much use targeting someone who’s got a great following on technology for a new novel or perfume.

Fresh off a $3 million Series A round of funding led by Antrak Capital, PeerIndex is trying to establish itself as the more precise measurement of influence. Expect to see a lot more debate around which influence numbers are correct or whether influence can be measured at all. The question I have is whether all of these services suffer from Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Does measuring influence irretrievably change it?

CityGrid Media Announces Jason Finger as New CEO

IAC announced today that SeamlessWeb founder Jason Finger will take over as CEO of its CityGrid Media unit April 12. CityGrid Media includes the CityGrid ad network and CitysearchUrbanspoonInsider Pages and BuzzLabs.

The local space is white hot and for good reason. It will be interesting to see if Jason Finger can bring a fresh perspective and strategy to CityGrid Media. From where I sit, the assets they have are underperforming. There’s a lot of upside if the full value of these properties can be unlocked.

Google rethinks mobile-payment plan amid setbacks

Google intends to spur demand for its Wallet app, which is designed to boost its share of the multibillion-dollar market for mobile advertising by letting it reach shoppers with coupons and promotions. The challenge: Few phones have the right technology installed, and rivals are readying their own systems, including one called Isis that’s backed by carriers.

I’m surprised that Google is struggling here and can only believe that carriers are carrying a fairly big grudge. You can’t blame them really. Google would be wise to cut carriers in on the deal since connecting Google Wallet (payments) to Places (local) and Deals (coupons) could be immensely powerful.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

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About The Author: is Owner of Blind Five Year Old, a San Francisco Internet Marketing firm specializing in search. An experienced marketing executive with a successful track record spanning 20 years, AJ combines a deep understanding of search marketing with a passion for product strategy and iterative product development, fusing design and user experience with quantitative analysis.




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