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The New Media Revolution Won't Be Televised! But It Will Be Centrally Served.



Like the old days of democracy and communism, I'm finding the cold war forming between Yahoo! (YHOO) and Google (GOOG) real interesting. I came from an ad agency and marketing holding company like WPP Group (WPPGY) and our focus was finding the best channel to connect with our client's customers.

A little less than five years ago I had breakfast with a former internet analyst from Merrill Lynch....his name escapes me. Hank, Henry, Hmmmmm. Anyhow, he asked who I thought would survive the dot come boom and I went into a short pitch for Yahoo!. Why? Because if you marry content, with community and commerce, you have something extremely powerful. Yahoo! has that today and they will continue to have it in the years ahead. (By the way, so does Minyanville.) The next morning I received an email news letter announcing Merrill had upgraded Yahoo! to a buy and one industry insider said, quoting our breakfast conversation...You get the point. We all know where the market went from there.

Two years ago I sat on a panel at the Online Publisher's Association meeting in Florida. One of our topics, surprise, Search Marketing! I thought then and I think now it's over-inflated. Google's ad revenues are solely predicate on search, Yahoo's are not. That said, there is a lot left in the search tank. The question is how much is a lot. In the past year Google has introduced new content with G-Mail and new commerce with Froogle. These are strategic moves that parrot what Yahoo! did years ago because they know the run on search is only a matter of time. Google will become a more formidable foe to Yahoo! as long as they evolve past search. They're certainly riding a big wave and have the cash to execute. Yahoo! is going to be strong and steady. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a strong believer in Yahoo!.

However, what we're seeing here is the precursor of a much larger media trend, personalized advertising and communications.

I've been talking up this trend for more than seven years. I met with a company more than five years ago called Visible World. They were featured in this week's journal and they're just starting to hit stride with what's being touted as a new ad model. Truth be told, what they do is no different than what DoubleClick (DCLK) did seven years ago. The difference is DoubleClick missed the boat. In 1998 I asked Kevin O'Connor, then CEO of DoubleClick, had he thought of applying the ad serving model to television. He said it would never fly. Again, we know where DoubleClick is today.

Visible World centrally serves television ads that are customized even down to the zip code. Consumers entered the era of mass customization with the advent of the internet. We are just at the beginning of this revolution and it will continue to grow over the years ahead.

Everyone needs a competitor and we're going to watch one of the greatest media battles of all time between Google and Yahoo as they fight for supremacy in the media world. As CBS and NBC duked it out in the early days of television, this revolution is no different. It's just a different time with different players and certainly different technologies.
And this revolution will not be televised. It will be centrally served with a personalization engine, cookies, and RFID tags synced to sales tracking systems that will append a database of consumption data creating customized ads on the fly that are served back to the user in real time. Wheeeeewwwww...

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