March 17, 2007

Google Confirms Acquistion of Adscape

By Li Evans

Adscapelogo Google has finally confirmed its acquisition of Adscape, the in-game advertising company.  We've been doing some reporting on this since rumors first started to swirl and then when RedHerring.com confirmed the acquisition at around $23 million.

Bernie Stolar, "Dean of Games" has done the confirming via Google's official blog.  It's going to be very interesting to watch Google's foray into this market.  Microsoft, is clearly ahead by leaps and bounds in this market.  Google's going to be lagging behind for a while, as the #2 and #3 are also big heavy weights.  Massive Incorporated (owned by Microsoft), Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide, have a significant hold on this market and rather big publisher lists.

I'm most curious to see how Google is going to integrate this into its advertising offerings.

February 21, 2007

Google Steps Into Video Game Advertising

By Li Evans

Adscapelogo_1 A few weeks ago, I wrote about the speculation around Google possibly acquiring Adscape Media.  While I was over across the pond at London SES, it looks like Google sealed that deal to acquire Adscape Media to the tune of $23 million.

This puts Google's toes in the water, so to speak, in this market, but they certainly still lag way behind Microsoft's Massive Incorporated, IGA Worldwide and Double Fusion.  Adscape Media is still a relatively new company in this market space and really doesn't have the publishers locked up like their competitors do. 

Xbox_1_1 Microsoft has had almost a year head start on Google in the in-game advertising industry, and looking at Massive's stock of publishers and advertisers - Adscape/Google has a lot of catching up to do.  Microsoft also has a big advantage in knowing this industry in a bit more depth than Google, since Microsoft is the creator of popular XBox console.

January 21, 2007

Google Behind Microsoft With Advertising In Video Games

By Li Evans

Adscapelogo Believe it or not, there are a few places where Google is behind or isn't even "playing in the game", yet.  One of those markets is Video Game Advertising, both In-Game and Published Title Releases bought in the store.  In this space, Microsoft's Massive Incorporated is a major player along with Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide.  There is a lot of news being reported this weekend that Google is in talks to buy its way into this advertising and marketing space by acquiring Adscape Media, Inc.

Last year, Microsoft acquired Massive Incorporated for what was speculated at somewhere between $200 and $300 million, although dollar amounts were never disclosed publicly. I wrote about Microsoft stepping into In-Game advertising back in September, when EA Games and Microsoft announced their deal to provide live in-game advertising within EA's games that can be played through the XBox 360 and PC's.

Massiveincorporatedlogo I'm involved with a project outside of my day job that keeps me pretty active in news on the video gaming front (I know David Temple's going to ping me and say "When do you find the time?!").  So, from experience, I am familiar with the fact that Adscape Media, Inc. is a "new kid" on the block when it comes to this particular market.  There are other companies that have a lot better foothold in this particular area, but they probably aren't quite as open to Google's courting since they have a lot more publishing deals signed and established titles than Adscape Media does.

Massiveincorporatedpartners I checked out Adscape Media's site, (if you are a SEO - please stop twitching, the site's done entirely in flash) today to see if they had any new titles signed on or publishers added, but nothing was listed.  Usually these firms are really eager to boast the titles they have locked in like Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide do.  This is important in the world of game development.  Game publishers want to know that these advertising companies are experienced in this realm of advertising and want to be able to converse with other publishers about their experience, especially in the area of "creative control".  They don't want some company who's going to make their titles into a parking lot of ads.

This is also an area where your normal "mom and pop" advertisers are likely not going to be able to play as readily.  The major barriers I see are: understanding how it all works, price/budgets and what exactly is the model?  It certainly isn't PPC, so for Google, if they do "seal the deal" with Adscape Media, Inc. early this week, will it be more like the radio and print ads that they have in beta now?  I think it will likely take a road similar to that, but again, it will take a lot of eduction of the customer that is the advertiser.

Xbox_1 For Microsoft, acquiring Massive, Inc. made sense since they are the maker of the XBox.  However, for Google, this just seems like a much cheaper "YouTube like" purchase.  It is another way to quickly acquire the eyeballs that they are missing out on, and figure out how to monetize the acquisition in a "Google Way". 

Chrisgilbertadscapeceo If you would like to learn a little more about Adscape Media, (who by the way boasts over 100 years experience in the Video Gaming Market) check out Gamasutra's interview with Adscape Media's CEO Chris Gilbert.  He gives his thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of Massive, Inc., what he believes is their competitive advantage, hurdles this particular industry faces and bit more.

December 12, 2006

Sony Could Ask Walmart For Flogging Tips

By Li Evans

Pspsonyflog When will big companies learn not to Flog?  Really, you would think that Sony might have been sleeping under a rock (or maybe a container of PSP's from China) in October and November and didn't hear about the Walmart Flogging Fiasco.  Hattip to AdRants for sending me in "All I want for XMas is a PSP" FLOG/Blog (no link love going there btw) direction.

The company that's assisting Sony in navigating this Social Media world of Internet Marketing (according to AdRants), is a company who obviously doesn't understand Internet Marketing to well.  I went out to their site and it doesn't even work right.  It's all in Flash, when you click on their services nothing comes up, same for their tools and their clients just shows quotes with logos - you have to hit next to see what they say.

Sonyflogregistraion Wow, what makes huge corporate companies choose companies like this to handle their internet marketing strategies?  One look at that company's online presence would have made me run the other way.  They can't even get their website working right, what makes big corporations think that this company will get their Internet Marketing campaigns right?  Heck, that company couldn't even spend the money to register the domain and keep the information private, how smart was that?  (I blocked out the person's actual name here in the picture, you can do a whois lookup and get the name yourself.)

Update:  Logic & Emotion blog also has a piece about this, which also hattips AdFreak.

November 18, 2006

Wooing PS3 Gamers Away - One Gamer At A Time

By Li Evans

Here at Search Marketing Gurus we try to cover and stay in the realm of Internet Marketing covering Search, Blogging, Social Media, Viral Marketing, PR for the Web and Reputation Management on the Web.  Sonyps3 Occasionally I come across a pretty interesting piece or tidbit of information concerning marketing but it comes from another area of technology.  Tonight's piece comes from the world of gaming, in particularly the Sony PS3.

While there's stories of violence from consumers standing in line - everything from a potential buyer being shot twice for not giving up his money, to a few people in line getting shot with BB's - to stories about the performance being compared to supercomputers and then of course Gizmodo doing the whole comparison of Nintendo's Wii to Sony's  PS3, there's a LOT of buzz out there about the PS3.

What I found interesting and wanted to share was an article I came across on PC Gamer.  PC Gamer went down into the trenches of the PS3 lines in San Francisco, it had one task in mind.  Convert a hard cord PS3 Gamer to be a PC Gamer, not just for the release of the PS3, but for life.  This is a pretty interesting concept - PC Gamer teamed with Falcon Northwest to prove that "the PC is, and always shall be, the finest gaming platform available to man."

It's a pretty interesting set of articles.  PC Gamer Magazine invited gamers standing in line (some close to 40 hours) to purchase a Sony PS3 to try out this super gaming computer worth $7,500 and then have a chance to win the gaming system.  The catch though is that the winner has to sign over there "PS3 gaming life", that for the remainder of their life, they'll never own another Sony Game Playing System again.  They can play on one at a friends, or own a Nintendo Wii or a Microsoft XBox, but the point was to bring them over to the PC Gaming world.

Pcgaming_winner Neil from San Francisco was the winner, and as PC Gaming describes "was saved from the dark side."  The article about the winner has a nice set of pictures to go along with it.  Both articles on PC Gaming a great read if you are into Gaming or into different marketing ideas.  This one was rather unusual so I felt compelled to share it with the audience - perhaps you can glean some ideas too, how can you capture and convert customers of your competitor?

October 07, 2006

Subservient Chicken Coming to an XBox Near You!

By Li Evans

Subservientchickenburgerking Remember Subservient Chicken?  Well if you don't, click the link and have a little fun, and also know it was a very successful Viral Marketing Campaign for Burger King.

Well Subservient Chicken, "The King" and his love interest - and some other BK invented personna are all going to be on games for XBox.  Those willing to plunk down an additional $3.99 for the games along with the price of a value meal, will be able to make the chicken navigate with a bumper car of some sort through a theme park.  I'm really not a "gamer" - so someone will have to fill me in.

According to Ad Week:

Burger King is backing up the game launch with a TV, print, in-store and online campaign. The fast-food chain is also sponsoring the MTVU Gamorz Ball campus video game tour that kicks off Oct. 24.

I've always found the Subserviet Chicken a little amusing, although its version of the hokey-pokey leaves a lot to be desired.  I wonder what kind of traffic the subservient chicken's site is going to get once this hits mainstream again?

More at Phuze Blog - including the game picture and game reviews.

searchmob | sniff it

September 02, 2006

Live Ads in Video Games? Count Microsoft In!

By Li Evans

Buckle up folks, another frontier in dynamic and live advertising is about to be upon us. What’s that you say? Another way to advertise via another electronic medium that has a captured, attentive market segment? 

For those advertisers salivating at ways to get their newest products out to that declining TV market segment of male 18-30 year olds, EA Games & Microsoft might have a solution for you. Announced on Thursday, August 31, EA Games in conjunction with Massive Incorporated (a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft) will be able to provide live advertising in the video games for Xbox 360 and PC games it releases – first up is Need for Speed™ Carbon. 

There tends to be a lot of debate on advertising in games.  The main outcry is that players are sometimes forking over near $60 a game to play – why on earth should they be subjected to ads?  That’s a great point – if the games were free, then by all means the advertising wouldn’t be as objectionable.  However there is the point of the games feeling “stale” after a few months with old advertising that is currently in the games, for example, billboard signs on the side of the road in driving games displaying out of date products or brands. 

EA Games' take on it is that this form of advertising will keep the games “fresher” and more realistic to what is happening in today’s world.  The Washington Post quoted EA's vice president of online commerce, Chip Lange as saying,  "Some areas naturally support the advertising. If you drive around an urban environment and there's no advertising, the space feels naked -- and if the advertising is dated, the game feels old." 

So why is this making news here at Search Marketing Gurus? Microsoft’s involvement is the main reason. While Google is looking to radio and TV, Microsoft has picked up on a revenue stream that just might turn in some real revenue for them, if they incorporate it into their host of advertising “search” offerings. 

When TV and Radio are loosing the market share of 18-30 year old males to video games – isn’t it smart to figure out a way to recapture that market? I wouldn’t be surprised to see more deals upcoming in this area because it’s smart marketing. Advertisers need to go where the market is to reach the consumer – Microsoft (through Massive Incorporated), right now, is the only major provider of the market to the advertiser. This is one market segment we'll have to wait and see how long it will take Google and Yahoo! to catch up in.

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