Online Advertising

Plugged In, Charging Up

la_skylineThe Los Angeles Business Journal article referenced in my last post came out yesterday and I thought Charles Proctor did a superb job profiling the current state of the technology industry in Los Angeles. The article, entitled “Special Report: Plugged In, Charging Up” goes into great detail comparing employment trends in the technology sector in Los Angeles with that of Silicon Valley, including how our diversified market helped LA recover faster from the dot-com crash and the way aerospace engineers transfered their expertise to industries like computer science and medical devices in the post-Cold War era.

Carrying the technology industry in 2009 is a robust games industry, alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy and digital media and marketing. I’m quoted as saying “This is a major media location and it has a big, big talent pool,” said Tony Winders, a vice president at Westlake Village-based ValueClick Inc., a publicly traded Internet advertising company. “So the tech community settled in here as a hub for the digital advertising business.”

It was fun being asked to contribute to this piece, but even more encouraging to read an article with some quantifiable details about how well our local technology community is faring these days. Hats off to Mr. Proctor for his thoughtful, quantitative analysis, and A BIG THANK YOU to Nicole Jordan for the introduction.


Economic Value of the Ad-Supported Internet

new-iab-logoI’m impressed by how the Interactive Advertising Bureau has stepped up to answer the call for industry self regulation and the creative ways it is demonstrating to Congress and the FTC the importance of online advertising to the U.S. economy. In a a report out today entitled “Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” the IAB suggests online advertising is responsible for employing 3.1 million Americans and generating $300 billion, or 2.1 percent of the U.S. GDP.

Coinciding with the release of the report, this week the IAB is hosting a series of meetings and a press conference in Washington, D.C. dubbed the “IAB Long Tail Alliance Fly-In.” The event is intended to put real faces to the individuals and small businesses that benefit from online advertising and comprise a portion of the revenue and jobs cited in the Economic Value report. Some of those faces are represented in this video called “I Am the Long Tail.”

The report and this week’s activities in D.C. are a testament to Randy Rothenberg’s leadership and have created a strong foundation for demonstrating that our industry takes seriously the call for self-regulation. But the rubber will meet the road when the IAB and other trade groups with whom it has partnered publish more formal recommendations about how to allay consumer and regulator concerns surrounding behavioral targeting and consumer privacy protection.


Rubicon Project

Inman logged into the VCM Pub UI!I just sent a tweet about my lunch today at The Rubicon Project, but was limited to so few characters that it’s worth a bit longer mention of how impressed I was by the culture, the team and the market they are creating  by finding new ways to create efficiencies in the online advertising industry.

I met Nicole Jordan during ad:tech SF and almost instantly expressed concerns over the potentially competitive nature of Rubicon with ad networks based on an announcement they made at the show regarding automating buying with their new Rubicon onDemand service. After the show, she graciously invited me to the office to get a better understanding of the company, where it sits in the online advertising ecosystem and why competing with ad networks is not in their plans.

Coverage of the announcement by Forbes incorrectly stated Rubicon was opening up its inventory to advertisers. While the story has since been corrected, it was too late. An Adotas article exacerbated the issue and touched off a minor PR crisis for Rubicon and my new pal Nicole.

As she explained to me today, the silver lining was their ability to use the spotlight to clarify more succinctly what they are about. A nice recovery to be sure, but no kind of PR strategy.

I was delighted to meet the team and learn more about their value proposition and will look forward to following Rubicon’s progress in the months ahead.


Finding my voice

Though I may be too busy writing down the next big idea or taking a photograph to enjoy certain moments in life, be they special or not, ironically recording them is my way of paying homage to living in the moment. For me, capturing images and words honors the importance of how precious every moment truly is – or for that matter the whole human experience. Beyond nostalgia, somehow writing a note here and there and snapping pictures (at special events or just day-to-day) gives my own existence more meaning. Maybe it’s just part of being a dad and/or the existential issues that come along with entering your forties.
I expect blogging will fulfill some of this need to play historian and serve as a creative outlet for the nonsensical. But my true intent is for my observations and opinions, needs, pains and desires to both stimulate and add value to conversations, be they professional or social, as they inspire those around me and those who read this blog. 
For years I have learnked (my term for lurking/learning) on some great e-mail lists from GoodTimes to OldTimers to METAL, but I’m hoping this environment will become a more comfortable and practical one in which to express myself. Whether or not this experiment proves as fruitful as I think possible, at least I will have gone on record with my views and given some permanence to my thoughts in Cyberspace.
Though I don’t know yet exactly what will fill in these pages, as I find my “voice” I trust it will have real meaningful and add value to my fellow tradesmen, colleagues, friends and family who wish to have a better understanding of where our worlds intersect and what possibilities that could create.  Otherwise why bother? At the very least they will have a better understanding of me, for better or worse, and I will have a [theoretically] created a more permanent home for my thoughts online. 
My primary intent is for this to be a space for the discussion of all things media and marketing online, and I hope it will stimulate interesting new dialogue and help me to assert an editorial voice for “Tony Winders,” where for years I have been authoring articles for others and hocking products and services that were not my own.
Even more, I hope it will serve as a creative space for thoughtful, critical thinking about many issues of our day. There’s plenty to wrtie just within the online advertising space where I’ve developed my expertise, but I also foresee an opportunity to create a context for addressing issues of deeper social and philosophical concern and look forward to seeing where the two shall intersect.
As I write this second post of my first true blog (though The Baja Buzz made good training wheels), I am reminded of my first tweet several months back when I asked if Twitter was more form or function? And while the answer may be subjective, I’m now asking the same of my foray into the blogosphere – to what end? If nothing else, the process is sure to be an exercise in critical thinking, media analysis, writing and social media interaction. We shall see. If you are reading this at all and got this far, thank you! I hope you’ll follow my posts and send feedback as I set out on this endeavor.