Monday, February 4, 2008

Last week Microsoft announced an unsolicited mega billion dollar offer to buy Google says it might want to team up with Yahoo in some sort of deal or try to stop the Microsoft deal altogether...CNBC reports that AOL now might be in play because everyone else is in play. There will be deals done in this space and no matter what deals are done it is not good for radio.

The genesis of Yahoo's problems is not traffic but sales. Yahoo has lots of users but has failed to monetize their traffic. Advertising revenue is the engine that has been driving Google and killing Yahoo. At the same time, Google continues to grow, innovate, invest, and dream up new ways to be a part of your world; while Yahoo's much touted new sales platform was troubled from the start and failed.

The biggest on-line players will ultimately get bigger, better, stronger, and more competitive over time. And that doesn't account for what is being cooked up in someones garage right now that will change everything all over again. While we in the radio business continue to hold on to our 1980's music machine and spot model.

Not only are our music positions at risk, but the very lifeblood of every station, our spots, are at risk too. And right now your LOCAL ADVERTISERS can advertise FOR FREE on Google. I know. I did it. And it took less than 5 minutes to set up. They call it the Local Business Center.

So if someone did a search for my company, Harve Alan Media, this is what they got in Google Maps-a likely place a consumer would end up if they were searching for a local furniture store.

From there they could choose 'more info' and get this:

How about coupons? No problem:

Attract new customers by creating a coupon for your business. Creating a coupon is free, and only takes a few minutes. You can create as many coupons as you want. Coupons will appear along with your business listing in Google Maps.

I'm not suggesting we have all been sitting around doing nothing to address the problems, but innovation has been slow to come especially when compared with our competitors in the on-line content and advertising space.

BTW-how long before Google starts charging for those free ads?