Marketing Biz: Porn, Hoodies and Minority Report Ads

Neo from the Matrix

Once again, this week felt like an episode of Melrose Place, with fashion gossip, porn and the unraveling of lies. Thankfully, there was alternative programming available with notable start-ups (Drawbridge and Mixpanel) raising a round of funding and advances by Google and Foursquare in the convergence of social, local, mobile and commerce.

Drawbridge Comes Out of Stealth With $6.5m in Funding and a Solution to the World’s Mobile Ad Problems

Under the leadership of former AdMob lead scientist Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Drawbridge has found a way to match user behavior between devices without the user having to be signed in to any particular account. The company’s algorithms learn by analyzing vast amounts of anonymous cross-device data. That means Drawbridge can predict with a high degree of confidence that, say, the anonymous dude who was just playing Angry Birds on his iPad is the same guy who just booked a flight on his desktop.

I’m both intrigued and creeped out by this type of technology. It would be quite a feat to deliver this type of personalized advertising without the use of personally identifiable information. I’ll be keeping an eye on Drawbridge (for a couple of reasons).

Hot Analytics Start-Up Mixpanel Raises $10.25M Led by Andreessen Horowitz

Mixpanel, argued Levchin, is “a very large opportunity, because ultimately it’s not a traffic-analysis opportunity — it’s a data-mining opportunity. They’re building a product that allows humans to leverage algorithms and visualization to grasp the behavioral complexity of their customers.”

Sometimes I read something and I’m just overwhelmed. This is one of those instances. Levchin is absolutely right. Mixpanel, and a number of others, are on the edge of this new and very valuable trend.

Zuckerberg’s Hoodie a ‘Mark of Immaturity,’ Analyst Says

“Mark and his signature hoodie: He’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much; he’s going to be him,” Pachter said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “I think that’s a mark of immaturity. I think that he has to realize he’s bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he’s got to show them the respect that they deserve because he’s asking them for their money.”

One of the things I love about working in Silicon Valley is that there is no dress code. Ideas and action mean more than a crisp button-down shirt and a pair of chinos. And who needs who more here? It seems like investors are willing to throw money at Facebook. That said, the ‘mark of immaturity’ turn of phrase is a clever (but probably unintentional) riff on Zuckerberg’s name.

Facebook Says, Lower Your Expectations About Mobile

Mobile is clearly a huge challenge for Facebook, and something the company sees as its future. (The company mentions the word “mobile” 171 times in the prospectus.) But it has also acknowledged the difficulties it may face while trying to build a meaningful advertising business on smartphones.

I am more and more impressed by the way Facebook is handling their IPO and managing expectations. Don’t think for a second that Facebook really doubts their ability, it’s just the dog-and-pony show for ‘the street’.

Google+ Brand Page Adoption and Engagement Are on the Rise [Study]

Google+ continues to gain market share and build consumer momentum. Since our month 3 update, two new brands from the Interbrand Top 100 list have activated pages. Overall activity is on the rise: average weekly circler engagement is up 112% and content engagement is up 65%.

The technology pundits are having a fun time crowing about the failure of Google+ and calling it a ghost town. As Danny Sullivan has stated, if you care about search, you should care about Google+.

Exclusive: Publisher sues Tumblr over porn pics

In a complaint filed Friday in Manhattan, Perfect 10 claims Tumblr failed to remove unauthorized photos posted by its users. The company, which sells nude model photographs through a magazine and website, says Tumblr not only turned a blind eye to copyright infringement but that its staff uploaded images themselves to jumpstart the business.

The dirty secret of Tumblr is that it’s filled with porn. Okay, that’s probably not a secret really but if Tumblr staff actively used porn to jumpstart the business? Whoa.

StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp Steps Down, 10 Years Later

Garrett Camp, the co-founder and long-time CEO of Web discovery service StumbleUpon, is moving on. Or up, you could say — Camp will now be chairman of the board, while the company undertakes a public search for a new CEO.

It’s been a long strange journey for StumbleUpon, one of the least understood marketing vehicles. 10 years is ancient in Internet circles and it’s clear that Camp is looking for opportunities to build something rather than stick around for maintenance.

Foursquare Joins the Coupon Craze

The company, which lets users alert their friends to their location by “checking in” via smartphone from coffee shops, bars and other locations, revealed for the first time that it plans to let merchants buy special placement for promotions of personalized local offers in July in a redesigned version of its app. All users will be able to see the specials, but must check into the venue to redeem them.

Could Foursquare be a mobile Groupon? Maybe. As the leading geo-location service, Foursquare has an opportunity to connect social, local, mobile and commerce. As I’ve noted before I think this is a huge space attracting a large number of powerful companies.

Shop and travel smarter with Google Maps 6.7 for Android – now with Google Offers and indoor walking directions

Wherever you are, Google Maps for Android helps you get around and discover new places. Today with the 6.7 release we will help you find offers from nearby businesses in the U.S. — everything from restaurants, to salons, to city tours. Also, we’ve added indoor walking directions in the U.S. and Japan, plus 360-degree interior photos of businesses, to help you intrepidly make your way indoors and out.

Can it be anymore clear what Google is trying to accomplish here? How much longer until Minority Report advertising is a reality?

The Internal Situation at Yahoo! Is Spiraling Out of Control

Again, it’s not the fact that Thompson doesn’t have a CS degree, it’s this fictitious way it made its way into his biography that he reviewed and vetted (and answered podcast questions about) multiple times.

What is there to say? The last five years has been like watching a slow motion car crash. The recent drama is just the cherry on top of this sad saga.

Tim Armstrong: AOL Plans to Invest in TechCrunch and Engadget, Not Sell Them

“We are planning to invest in those properties, not sell” them, Mr. Armstrong said in an interview with Ad Age. He admitted that the company has spoken with outside entities about partnerships that would lead to increased investments in TechCrunch and Engadget, but that right now AOL is leaning toward “investing ourselves.”

Maybe Tim Armstrong has a future in politics because it sure sounds like AOL had TechCrunch and Engadget on the block but just didn’t get an attractive offer. Hence, they’ve ‘decided’ not to sell and are ‘leaning toward’ (aka – door’s still open!) investing ourselves.

Capital One Acquires Mobile Savings Startup BankOns, Team Moving To Capital One Labs

For those unfamiliar, BankOns is something of an anti-Groupon, in that it’s not focused on enticing new users to try a business or service by offering a deeply discounted deal, but is rather rewarding local customers based on their spending history. The company made its debut last spring at the Finovate Conference in San Francisco, where it won “best of show.”

Retention marketing is no where near as sexy as other forms of marketing, yet it’s probably one of the best investments a company can make. Why spend money reacquiring customers when you can simply keep more of the ones you have happier for longer?

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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