Saturday, February 23, 2008

Making A Display

Definitions are difficult things, but it does seem that the future of online advertising hangs on some pretty fine tautology.

Text advertising is a market where Google has a huge market share, but the display advertising market is rather more open, unless the purchase of DART by Google goes ahead. Amazingly, the US competition authorities passed this merger with barely a blink of the eye based on the argument that Gogle only has a tiny market share of display advertising.

Back to the semantics: the problem here for the internet TV industry is that video ads are currently classified as display ads.

To me, this is an all or nothing argument; either everything is an online ad (text, display, MPU, popups, interspertial, animated, video..) or much closer definitions need to be used, especially by regulators. A static banner ad has nothing near the impact - or value - of a 30 sec TV commercial. Inline full screen ads are a totally different experience to a postagestamp embedded video.

With 17 per cent of all advertising being spent online it seems time to introduce proper metrics and to then regulate the industry according to established criteria which should see Google's opaque business practices brought under proper scrutiny since they are, by any definition, a monopoly. No TV broadvcaster, in the US or UK, has been allowed to have such power or market domination. To see the internet TV industry controlled by a price gouging giant seems not only wrong but unfair to everyone in the internet TV industry.

And could all of this hang on the meaning of just one word?

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