Tag Archives: Gannett

Gannett Broadcasting Goes Hyperlocal via DataSphere


DataSphere, which creates hyperlocal blogs and sells advertising packages to small businesses on behalf of local broadcasters, will now do the same for Gannett Broadcasting,

The deal initially covers ten of Gannett Broadcasting’s 19 markets, including Atlanta, Washington D.C., Tampa, Buffalo, Sacramento, Grand Rapids, Little Rock, Portland, ME and Macon, GA. Gannett is keeping the DataSphere arrangement separate from Ripple6, its social media marketing unit, which was recently merged with PointRoll, Gannett’s rich media services company.

Seattle-based DataSphere, which received $10.8 million in funding and is partially owned by Fisher Communications, now has deals with at least five media companies and powers more than 300 local news sites. Among its media partners are Fisher, Raycom Media, Local TV and Hubbard Broadcasting. More than 1,000 SMBs are served by the Fisher sites in Seattle, Portland and Boise. The service had also been tested out on a limited basis by Cowles.

Gannett’s Planet Discover Launches FinditNow


Gannett has always seemed to be a likely directory player. In fact, the world’s largest newspaper publisher owns a small group of print directories. It also provides a white-labelled online directory product to its media properties.

But as directories, search and user generated content have become more commingled, Gannett has gone a step further with the launch of FindItNow.com, a new directory product from its Planet Discover division.

Finditnow.com is national, but has been localized for specific markets. It is currently live in three markets: Rochester, Nashville and Burlington,VT. Only local information and content is featured. Key categories include Auto, Dining & Entertainment, Health & Medicine, Pets & Animals and Shopping.

The site is integrated with Facebook Connect, and users can add reviews, photos and business details if they register. In Rochester, 883 people have registered to contribute information; in Nashville, 828 people have registered; and in Burlington, 218 people have registered.

The site, in fact, is a lot like other search-driven directories, such as MerchantCircle, ShopCity, SMBLive’s Cloud Profile, and others. As with other sites, local businesses have the option of free or paid tiers. The paid tiers are set at $49 or $99 per month. Depending on which tier they choose, businesses can have preferred search result placement, company logo and dominant photo, extended business description, additional photos and unlimited coupons.

Monster Buys HotJobs From Yahoo


Monster Worldwide has bought HotJobs from Yahoo for $225 million. It will also be in charge of Yahoo’s recruitment content in North America for the next three years, bringing in perhaps another $100 million for the life of the deal from home page traffic, etc. As part of the deal, which closes in 3Q 2010, Monster also gets exclusive rights to negotiate similar arrangements with Yahoo’s overseas properties.

HotJobs has been on the market since Carol Bartz took over as CEO of Yahoo early last year (or even before). It hasn’t been clear if anyone would buy it for more than a fire-sale price. The deal’s price of $225 million does represent a significant discount from the $439 million that Yahoo paid in 2002, but it is more than some handicappers had been predicting.

The deal likely propels Monster well past Gannett’s CareerBuilder as the online recruitment leaders (by revenue). Lately, CareerBuilder’s lagging profits have become a drain on Gannett’s profits. Likewise, Monster today reported during an earnings call that 4Q revs were down 27 percent, and that it suffered a net loss of $2.1 million on 4Q revenues of $213 million.

For Yahoo, the deal is the latest in a series of selloffs. Notably, it sold its search business to Microsoft last year, and de-emphasized other areas such as shopping and small business. It has also been rumored to put some of its other verticals in play as well.

HotJobs, of course, had been the original glue that brought Yahoo and the newspapers together. But the consortium has lately been focused more on using Yahoo’s APT behavioral targeting advertising platform. Some members of the consortium already use Monster.

Recruitment remains a huge category. But in recent years, it has been challenged by the recession. It has also become a major battlezone driven by technologies, such as semantic search-and-match job listings, mapping and communities of interest. Indeed, a growing part of the market has moved to niche specialties, such as trade associations etc. At the same time, ancillary verticals such as vocational education, relocation and job fairs have proved to be less important than once thought.

Adobe and Omniture: The Local Perspective


It doesn’t make much sense on the surface and is something of a head scratcher. But Adobe has agreed to acquire Omniture for $1.8 billion. The acquisition is described as an effort to jumpstart Adobe’s website development and service efforts by linking it with Omniture’s analytics. Adobe’s Creative Suite includes Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash.

From a local media perspective, the deal matters because Omniture is used by a wide range of newspaper companies, including Gannett, Belo, Freedom, Media News Group, The Houston Chronicle, CanWest and Ottaway Newspapers (It also works with Cox Communications for cable). These local companies, and many others, have typically relied on Omniture to understand user navigation and click thru patterns for ads and articles. By most accounts, Omniture has been very helpful to its local media customers, especially newspapers that have used Omniture’s reports to optimize their wide-flung editorial. But the analytics space, of course, is increasingly competitive.

Is there natural flow-thru from Omniture to Adobe’s website development tools? Adobe is hoping that the two will find programming (and marketing) synergies, helping to position it alongside Microsoft and Google in the vanguard of tool providers.

It also hopes to expand Omniture’s exposure beyond its current base of 5,000 customers. The $600 million analytics industry is still immature. One projection, by JP Morgan, is that the industry will soon be worth $2.3 billion per year.

But Adobe is paying heavily for the uncertain synergies – a 24 percent premium to Omniture’s stock price. Taking on Omniture also means taking on its losses. At this point, the company is far from profitable.

We don’t know that local media companies will be more inclined to use Adobe products as a result of Adobe owning Omniture – and vice versa. Looking down the road, we’ll find out whether there is real synergy, or whether this deal goes down in history with other high concept deals such as Compaq/Zip2, and eBay/Skype.

AOL Acquires Armstrong’s Patch, Plus Going.com


John Brod, Patch.com

AOL reaffirmed its strong interest in local today, announcing that it is purchasing Patch.com, a 25 person hyperlocal service invested in by new CEO Tim Armstrong when he was still at Google; and Going.com, an events-driven social network and self-serve ticketing platform aimed at 20- somethings.

Patch.com is currently in five suburban New Jersey towns, with three Connecticut town and an additional New Jersey town launching soon. It expects to be in a dozen communities by the end of the year. The site launched in December 2007.

Going.com is in 30 markets, and launched in September 2006. It is based in Boston.

“Local remains one of the most disaggregated experiences on the Web today — there’s a lot of information out there but simply no way for consumers to find it quickly and easily,” said Armstrong, in a press release. “It’s a space that’s prime for innovation and an area where AOL has a significant audience and a valuable mapping service in MapQuest. Going forward, local will be a core area of focus and investment for AOL. The acquisitions of Patch and Going will help us build out our local network further.”

Patch.com President John Brod, a former IAC executive, said that while the company “enjoyed the levels of success we’ve had over the last four months, AOL will really let us jumpstart the business. We can expand even more aggressively than we have been.

“From our side of the equation, one of the attractions was identifying local assets on the AOL side” to partner with, possibly including MapQuest and Platform A. Brod adds that AOL may also benefit from Patch.com’s unique assets, especially a self-serve ad platform, which is supplemented by ad reps who handle clusters of sites at once. “We’re evangelizing a do-it-yourself solution,” he says.

Brod also says there has been no direct tie between Patch and Going.com, although he is enthusiastic about its efforts.

SeaVast’s Pulse 360 Offers Alternative to Keyword Search


Google’s done pretty well with text ads based on keyword search. But do content page keywords really unleash the potential for Weather.com beyond “cumulous clouds,” or for MSNBC.com beyond “election results?”

In fact, media sites such as Weather.com and USAToday.com are likely to attract a certain type of person that may be ready to do something (i.e., get on a plane). Performance-based text ads for such sites might get better matching based on demographic or psychographic characteristics vs. keywords. And they’ll generate a higher CPM at the same time.

That’s the thinking behind Pulse 360, a text ad provider from SeeVast that sells and places text ads for a number of premium publishers, including CBS TV stations, Gannett Digital, Comcast, World Now, the AP, Newsweek.com and MSNBC. The 50 person company, with headquarters in New York City and an additional office in Buffalo, is historically known for the Kanoodle search engine, but Pulse 360 is its primary activity today.

“We’re not the answer for a Bruce Springsteen song lyric site,” notes CEO Jaan Janes. But when it comes to hitching a ride on a news, finance or sports story, he suggests that Pulse 360 is among the industry’s leaders, and cuts broader and deeper than similarly positioned ad networks. “Google search is lead fulfillment, but we are about lead generation and consumer discovery on content pages. We are marketing to the audience.”

Janes adds that Pulse 360 does especially well with broadband providers because of the favorable media characteristics and audiences that they bring to the table. “We love broadband portals like Comcast.net,” he says.

While the economy is tight right now, the company has actually had a record year, and is turning a healthy profit. “Performance-based marketing is never going to slow down,” says Janes. Local advertisers, however, are not a prime target.

“We have great local distribution,” says Janes. “But how do I inspire ad spending from local businesses? To bid a buck to sell an $8 pizza makes no sense.” Janes does envision business, however, from higher priced local merchants such as window replacement or driveway repair.

Up next, Pulse 360 is launching a Cost Per Action network to complement its text-based services. A number of large advertisers now routinely insist on CPA. Its availability will help round out Pulse’s offerings. “We have a built-in ad base to start with,” says Janes. “We should have done this four years ago.”

AutoTrader Reaches Out Vertically Via Adify


Cox’s AutoTrader.com, which reaches 15 million unique visitors per month, bills itself as “the Google of auto search.” For the most part, the visitors come from the URL, plus various affiliate relationships.

But now it is reaching out to potential car buyers in general via “AutoTrader.com Access,” a customized vertical network developed with Adify, which is also owned by Cox. The vertical network matches the sites on the basis of demographic, behavioral and geographic characteristics, and includes 40 local properties owned by Cox Media Group and Cox Communications, plus AskPatty.com, NADAGuides.com, AutoMart.com, TopGear.com, Care2.com and Greencar.com.

“By creating this network, AutoTrader.com can efficiently deliver our own highly engaged audience and, through the network, the highly targeted audiences that our advertisers also want to reach,” notes a press release, quoting Anne Steinhauer, VP of National Accounts. For instance, Autotrader can target eco-conscious shoppers on specific environmentalist sites.

The move by AutoTrader to leverage inhouse Cox properties, such as Adify, reflects a major change in corporate strategy. The company has historically pitted its properties against each other or made them compete for vendor deals on the open market, believing they’d develop more competitive offerings. But it is now working to maximize their usage and reach, a la Gannett and the properties owned by Gannett Interactive, which have also developed a network.

Kudzu, Cox’s directory-oriented effort, has been used in a similar fashion. It is now powering the local directories for all of Cox TV’s 15 websites; the Cox High Speed Internet Service; The Atlanta Journal Constitution; and The Dayton Daily News. It is also implementing directories for Cox Radio’s 81 websites.