Roundup: Online display ads are weak, controversial Knol, and more

Online display ads not so much better than print ads — In one of the hardest-hitting pieces yet this year on the online advertising industry, AdAge’s Abbey Klaassen dissects the perils of the display (banner) advertising business. In a nutshell, online banner ads that appear next to online content aren’t much more effective than, well, print ads that appear next to print content. In order for that to change, Group M Interaction chief executive Rob Norman tells her, these ads will need to be better targeted to match a user’s intent, ad metrics need to better inform ad buyers about what they’re getting, and ad messages need to resonate with users.

Is Google getting into the content business via Knol? — That’s the question that Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis takes on in this searing post. Mahalo, like Associated Content, Squidoo and others, create pages of content on particular topics, and aims to get those pages displayed high up in Google search results. Google’s Knol, meanwhile, has been appearing high up in Google search results since the new project launched last week. For an example, I first went to look for stories being featured on the Knol homepage, picked one, and searched for it — and voila, buttermilk pancakes (see the fifth result for more).

Dixero raises funding for audio transcription service — The Swiss-based company lets you convert RSS files into audio tracks — audio tracks read by a selection of male and female computer voices. This could be useful for the hard-of-sight, or those who want to listen to news while they commute or work out. Provided that the robot voices don’t grate on your ears. Dixero has raised €1.5 million from un-named investors.

Goldman: MySpace may be worth up to $3.1 billion — Premier investment banking firm Goldman Sachs recently took its shot at valuing social network MySpace. The bank’s number-crunched conclusion is that the News Corp property is worth $3.1 billion. Silicon Alley Insider has more.

BlueCollarOrDie, dead on the web
— Do people who like jokes about rednecks enjoy short-form online comedy clips? Maybe not. BlueCollarOrDie, a site under comedy site FunnyOrDie’s umbrella, has been closed due to lack of demand among its target demographic — males aged 35 years and up.

Big media gets in on future-guessing action
Predictify, a service that lets users make predictions, has partnered with the Washington Post, following deals with blogs ranging from the New York Times’ Freakonomics to ReadWriteWeb.

Kampyle launches online feedback service
— The Israeli company lets sites create and customize comment feedback forms and place them alongside other features, like site registration or purchase forms, to collect responses. Today, Kampyle is integrating its service into Google Analytics, so users can see both numerical measurements such as number of visitors to a page, as well as comments about that page.

Oodle to power MySpace classified ads
Oodle runs classified ads on sites across the web, and now it’s also starting to run ads on MySpace, one of the larger sites on the web.


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