Marketing Biz: Twitter IPA, Tumblr Grows Up and SoLoMo Meets Commerce
This week saw the continuing convergence of social, local, mobile and commerce with Facebook and Groupon making strategic acquisitions. In addition, micro-blogging platforms Twitter and Tumblr both moved forward with advertising initiatives. Of course, we still had drama with Larry Page giving Bill Clinton-like testimony and Marissa Mayer taking a page from Eric Schmidt’s playbook.
The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.
Don’t be a troll. A patent troll that is. That seems to be the motto behind Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement. We’ve seen quite a bit of patent strategy unfold over the last few months and Twitter has essentially decided not to play along. It’s an interesting and refreshing move. Unfortunately, sometimes nice guys finish last.
The social analytics company Hotspots.io has been acquired by Twitter, and its team will be joining the revenue engineering department there, according to a splash page on its website.
Twitter continues to furiously build an advertising platform and interestingly now has a ‘revenue engineering department’. This was purely an ‘acqui-hire’ and the Hotspots.io team will be working on building advertising analytics.
Under questioning from Oracle’s lawyer, Page said Android was very important but disputed the notion that it was critical. He then said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s board was told that Android is critical to the company.
Speaking of patent disputes, here’s a great bit of verbal gymnastics from the Oracle lawsuit. I think people will try to read a lot into this statement but it’s really all a bunch of semantics. Android is clearly a very important, vital and/or critical part of Google’s future.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced that its board of directors has nominated Marissa A. Mayer of Google Inc. for election as a new member of the company’s board at Walmart’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on June 1, 2012. If elected, Mayer would become the sixteenth member of the board.
It looks like Google hasn’t learned from the experience of having Eric Schmidt sit on Apple’s board. Or perhaps they have? Will Walmart wake up one day and find Google has launched a competing store?
It doesn’t take a large leap to see the impact this type of information can have on brand management and product development. The conversations on Tumblr are rich in images and discussion about brands and products, from simply sharing a picture about a favorite pair of shoes to reblogging news about favorite brand. And given the highly social nature of the Tumblr community, these discussions move quickly and broadly through the community. You often see posts that are shared tens of thousands of times. For brands, every conversation matters and access to the full firehose ensures they won’t miss a thing.
Tumblr is a fascinating platform with real engagement and community. I’m not sure brands truly grok Tumblr yet, but those that do will certainly want this data. I’d expect a number of social sentiment services to be interested in integrating Tumblr data for clients.
As recently as April 12, Kamp told Ad Age that advertising was “a complete last resort.” In 2010, the CEO famously said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, that the company was “pretty opposed to advertising. It really turns our stomachs.”
Yesterday, however, 25-year-old CEO added that putting ads on Tumblr Radar would get an advertiser 120 million impressions per day and will be available as of May 2.
It feels like there’s some arm-twisting going on behind the scenes here but I think this is a great move. The quicker Tumblr starts to experiment and integrate advertising the more viable the platform becomes. Don’t be Twitter and let too much time go by.
But we never cracked the ‘how to be viral’ puzzle, so gaining traction was proving to be a ‘long haul’ process (we continued to add a handful of new users ever day, but it was not a hockey stick by any means)…and we never came up with a revenue plan that worked prior to reaching critical mass (note to fellow entrepreneurs from captain obvious: ‘long haul growth’ with no immediate revenue plans is an express lane to guaranteed failure).
Knowabout.it is the latest to exit the curation vertical, following Summify (acquired by Twitter) and Trunk.ly (acquired by Delicious). This post is a great read and points to some inherent problems surrounding these types of services.
Facebook has closed another deal, and as with Instagram it’s in mobile again. They have bought TagTile, a mobile-based customer loyalty, management startup, for an undisclosed sum.
This news comes soon after Facebook restarted their offers product. Most are now pretty hip to SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile). But the future is in connecting that with commerce. I see a fairly fierce battle taking place in this area over the next three to five years.
We’re happy to announce that Groupon has acquired Ditto.me!
We started Ditto a year ago to make it really simple and fun to discover new restaurants, movies, and things to do using your phone. Behind it there’s an idea about changing the world.
Ditto.me was about creating community, offering a type of hyper-local application. Groupon is clearly looking to be more than just deals and could be one of those preparing for the convergence of SoLoMo and commerce.
Advertisers have long looked for insight into whether consumers saw an ad on page 145 of a magazine, or switched the channel during a TV commercial break. It’s similar online, so we’re rolling out a technology, which will be submitted for Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation, that can count “viewed” impressions (as defined by the IAB’s proposed standard, this is a display ad that is at least 50% viewable on the screen for at least one second).
This is bigger news than it seems. The old adage is ‘I know I’m wasting half of my marketing dollars, I just don’t know which half.’ This type of measurement could change that and make online advertising far more effective. This would both accelerate the shift in dollars going online and force publishers to alter their page templates.
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(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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