What We Talk About When We Talk About Programmatic

•August 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

What We Talk About When We Talk About Programmatic.

This piece from Jed Nahum on AdExchanger, is an excellent summation of the truth, mystery, reality, myth & legend, that are all a part of the quickly-emerging world of automated Digital Media buying, planning and selling.

And as he also states near the end of this work, the world IS big and it will incorporate all of the areas he outlines, even as the ‘legacy’ methods also remain in the mix.

The Ad Tech Shakeout is Coming | Digiday

•July 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The Ad Tech Shakeout is Coming | Digiday.

You really have to wonder when you read an article like this, from Digiday. One talking about how, of the many firms that now make up the Digital Media Ecosphere…very many of the more recent arrivals onto the scene, are…not…profitable. Busted, broke, living off of VC dollars, hoping to either be bought, magically figure out the model that will make them money, or just go public.

What this also puts loudly onto display, is the irony that most of these same firms…in their endless hype about how they will ‘alter the economics of the Web forever’ with the new efficiencies that only their firm offers…seem to revel in such stuff even as they themselves lose money every day, week, year. Really now? Where are YOUR efficiencies? And if your “solution” is so great for the Ad world, how come you can’t make any money with it?

Even more, the cackling reaches cacophonous levels most often from the “experts” at these firms, surrounding the RTB environment. Their farce only grows as they prattle on endlessly about how there is ‘a great need for automation’ in digital advertising, shaking out all human intervention [and costs with it, presumably], even as NONE of these people are with or making any of their own firms profitable.

That is funny/sad, or sad/funny. Depends on whether you are a VC or not, I guess. And yes, all of this nascent technology is in early stages, so revenues will find a place soon. Until then, maybe a more humble realism about their skillsets [and financial viability] might help such people next time. But I guess that would be ironic too, wouldn’t it?

[On a separate note, I interviewed back in the day with some of the firms named in this piece. So my final thought surrounds how truly arrogant some of these players were in the hiring process at the time...all while running firms not making a dime. Snicker. Are they impressing anyone beside themselves, then or now?]

Searching for Standards: Klout & the IAB…

•June 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There is a theme to this post: If you are going to be, or purport to be, some kind of standard-bearer in any industry or professional pursuit, you had damn well better be good.

And set a valid standard while you are at it, meaning that it fits the confines of the subject, is applicable to all, and defines an actual “standard” that the majority of people will validly recognize as being just that.

In the case of these two entities, I reject that occurring at this moment, at least as defined within the discussions below. A clear-eyed assessment of each follows.

I’ve railed extensively in other places about the non-relevance, and/or validity, of the so-called Klout “score.” It is one they try hard to push as a “standard”, but yet is so intrinsically flawed, it amazes me anyone pays it any attention.

As one example, I admin at least 5 Twitter accounts actively; some for myself in varying lifestyle segments, some for professional pursuits, and some for other companies/brands I do work for. That alone would put me at probably a 250+, or some other crazy number score…if they tracked it. But they can’t. So with my fairly large footprint…a key tenet of Social Media principles as some of us know…I am not even on their radar at Klout, rendering them utterly useless.

I do similar things with multiple accounts/pages in Facebook, and with other social media vehicles. The fact that Klout cannot comprehend of such users working in this way, let alone being able to track them as part of their Klout score “standard”…is laughable. Yet tragically, it has gained ground among many out there…including in career evaluations, no less!…who might want to look closer, and ponder on what they are getting here from Klout. Or not.

And so it may also be, even if in a different sense, with the new Digital Media Sales Certification exam process, from the IAB/Internet Advertising Bureau.

In the case of the IAB, note that we are here really only talking about this new exam from them: the DMSC for short, or Digital Media Sales Certification. Being even more precise, we refer to the exam itself, and the process involved in taking it, not the point for having the exam. This said, we know it’s a young new event, and so will evolve.

Note that I also don’t see anything wrong with having a standards-based exam [I willingly paid for, and took it myself], or have issues with the other great work done overall by IAB. We also have the DMSC logo placed on this site.

With that, let me say here at the outset, that I’ve taken [and passed] the CA Insurance License, Notary Public, and NY State Real Estate License exams, and the Foundation Level certification for Sommeliers in the wine world. All very tough exams, all with very low ‘pass’ rates, all on a first take. And I passed this DMSC exam on first try, too, so I am very clear on these issues when I delve into the following critique.

Now, it’s one thing to make an exam difficult. Tricky even. Nothing wrong there. But when an exam is trying to become a new standard, thereby holding an inordinate amount of sway [and/or say] in your pending career moves, it had BETTER be spot on in its approach. This one is not, for now.

I naggingly learned this exam would be problematic right from the start, with the ‘Practice Exam’ they offer [since it is likely I signed a form that in part prevents disclosure of exam particulars, some of what follows will be vague or partially changed to uphold that.]

Without too much detail, let’s just say that one of the very first ‘test’ questions [not an actual] asked is about a type of “model” [as in economic-type model]…that was nothing of the sort. The item in question was a program, software package, utility, or database function. NOT A MODEL, in any sense of the word. Already this is not off to a good start, and we are still weeks from taking it, being still in prep/review mode here.

And yet, based on this error, you were [of course] still supposed to answer the question, which then really amounted to nothing more than guesswork.

“Nothing more than guesswork.” Hmmm, yes. That term signifies also, much of what is wrong with the rest of the exam. Why? Because it wasn’t, from what I can see, assembled by persons solidly familiar with the process [more on that in closing.] What uh, happened?

In almost every single one of the ‘situational’ questions asked, I found at least 3 of the 4 answers from which you had to choose only ONE of…that could be the right answer. So in that sense, it doesn’t matter what answer THEY wanted…I’ve lived these, and know what the answers are. Or could be. Even when questions of order or sequence were involved, again…I could think of a dozen situations where all the answers have been used by me [and millions of dollars sold in the process, I might add.] And, since no further context was offered on most, you were left with? “Nothing more than guesswork.”

Anybody could pass, or not, based on that, sorry. Unlike my Real Estate or insurance exams, this is not an suitable exam structuring. Or an adequate one.

And…it continues. The process by which you take this exam, is nearly hilarious. You take it at some strange Pearson/VUE Test Center, at which you need two forms of ID, and then they take your photograph. Ready to go? Hardly. Read on…

Then they make you sign a bunch of forms, put your keys/phone/brain into a locker, and go to the room. Except you don’t go IN the room yet…until they scan your fingerprints. And you’re still not done, because then come your palm prints. BOTH palm prints. I am not making this up.

For an exam on Digital Media Sales, let’s just say this process was far, far outside what is realistic. It was so far past what would be commensurate compared to other fields [nothing like this occurred for the other exams noted above], that this alone made the entire process nothing short of strange.

Did someone not tell them that IAB has nothing to do with NSA, CIA, or FBI? [Snicker - maybe that should be an exam question?!?]

In retrospect of taking DMSC, the exam bears at best, some mild resemblance to the real world of people selling Digital Media. The exam is not as well done as I would have expected, in all the ways outlined above.

And at least some of the committee members [not from IAB itself, but outside committee members] need to be ‘optimized’ themselves in response to the level of thinking here; i.e. away certainly from such prestigious, visible positions on such a board for which they clearly are not qualified. That, along with the focus of the questioning, to ensure a better test in the future. The standard this exam is aiming for, demands it.

Jason Calacanis: Why I told YouTube to go away and keep their money | PandoDaily

•June 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

For those newly skimming through the MoM[S] articles on Revenue Sources for WebContent Creators, this video roundtable featuring Jason Calacanis gets at the heart of any new strategy for your work in 2013 and beyond.

Very excellent points made, arguments put forth by all. Building your own path with the ‘List of 20′ sources is at the very center of this!

Jason Calacanis: Why I told YouTube to go away and keep their money | PandoDaily.

The *20th* Revenue Source for WebContent Creators…

•May 27, 2013 • 3 Comments

Nearly 2 years ago, we started writing what has turned out to be one of the first looks at revenue potential & possibilities for Digital Content published anywhere, entitled ‘The 19 Revenue Sources for WebContent Creators‘.

What was then a 5-part series looked at both the new, Digital avenues that were emerging, as well as how more standard, “Hollywood” paths were being adapted/updated for the world of the Web.

See those articles here.

Moving forward to May 2013…after several attempts at poking holes by some in my ’19′ number during sessions I’ve led around LA…it turns out we have a 20th source, after all.

And it is ironically, one that we have had in our decks while speaking at these many events this entire time, but never really thought of it quite in this context…until now. More, it kind of brings you back to a starting point, and why you are creating Digital Content to begin with.

The item comes to us in a 2012 article at Film School Rejects – “6 Filmmaking Tips from Pixar“, and is an excellent read.

The 20th Revenue Source, as quoted from Pete Docter of Pixar, is this: “Never Start With Marketing in Mind. That’s not what makes a good movie. If you start with that…well, you know where that goes. You have to think about good storytelling and characters first.”

Another way to say this: Don’t make Creative decisions based on the Business Plan, or the Business Plan won’t matter. [Yes, there is a line here, yes, everyone has budgets, and yes, there will always be exceptions to this. But at the core, the project must be based on THE PROJECT, and not on THE MARKETING.]

A perfect example, that is also very current: All those companies out there ordering their agency to, ‘make me a video that goes viral‘. Right…

Some reading my prior work on this subject may see this as a different animal here, than the original 19 written about. It may be. And it may be more intrinsic, or “implied” than the others. But not really.

Every great person selling, knows they need a great product, to really cap their efforts. And so while the original ‘List of 19′ are more actual tools in a way…you very likely WILL NOT have revenue, or to worry about any of the ‘List of 19′…if you don’t make a great project first.

So, in the end, while ‘Never Start With Marketing in Mind’ is our 20th Revenue Source, it is actually the door through which all the others follow.

NOTE: This is our 137th post for MoM[S], and it arrives on our 4th Anniversary of writing MindOnMedia[Sales] on the great WordPress platform. Congrats to Ken Nicholas on this achievement and THANK YOU to our readers!

A New Standard: IAB Digital Media Sales Certification

•May 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

You might think…as would MoM[S] himself…that an exam for Digital Media Sales professionals is one that someone writing a blog entitled, “MindOnMedia[Sales]“, would pass on the first try. And in fact, had BETTER pass in a first sitting.

That has indeed occurred in this case, as MoM[S] recently passed the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification Exam [DMSC], in late April. IAB DMSC Logo

While we are personally gratified at this development, it comes with a certain set of observations on the IAB process here [not all of them flattering] that will be discussed in a future post.

Until then, we are pleased to be part of the IAB/DMSC recipient group!

Sales Talent – Is Excellence or A Digital Exodus En Route?

•April 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment


With all of the talk swirling in the Media world about the ‘Death of the Salesperson’, and how armies of machines are soon to take over the entire Media Sales/Buy cycle [ironically, right as the estimates come out that over $600M/yr is now being wasted on phantom/fraudulent ad buying via RTB, because they removed the humans from the process], it seemed a good time to capture a snapshot from another industry, to maybe help frame the debate.

This industry is one that has already gone through a similar process with automation, yet, as you can see from this Beverly Hills address, it still has pricey buildings full of people. Those people are Financial analysts, Traders…and Brokers. Brokers, as in ‘Salespeople.’ This, despite all of the Online, “No-Fee” account options for your IRA, 401k, and stock-buying impulses.

Among the array of big Wall Street finance firms, the one pictured here, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney, is easily as loathed, as any of the others. And yet…they remain a going concern. And they also remain, BIG. Again, this despite having no-fee Online brokerages, ETF funds, No-Load Mutual Funds, etc., these firms still have armies of people working for them.

Why? Why, when you can buy stocks now for $7 via a shop like Scottrade, would anyone use firms like this? Because there is a market willing to pay for their services, and value provided.

So, with firms like this still in business, it becomes VERY hard for me to believe, that Media Sales is about to become fully automated for good, leaving the Sales person out of the equation. Is my reasoning simple?


Those people hawking stocks, annuities, bonds, and IRA’s, can NOT guarantee you one added dime, unless they basically sell you a single bond, or a Savings account. They cannot. And yet, their fees are exhorbitant despite this. Even with your & my ability to ‘automate’ them out of the process!

Not so with Media. Media campaigns, even if not fully “guaranteed” in some aspects, will always provide some value if executed with reputable vendors. Even if you get “no results”, does not mean that weren’t also building awareness, Brand recognition, and other intangibles. [Think I'm wrong? Look at the $78B/year in TV ad buying, based on exactly this!]

With stocks of course…you can lose your shirt. And more, if you bet on the more exotic products like futures contracts, etc.

So…which is it? Are we doomed to extinction in the Media Sales world, or inspired to excellence, and adapting once again? Or are we exiting the scene for something better? We all wish we knew that answer, but if the firm pictured here still has Stockbrokers [or ok, "Financial Planners", if you must], then surely there are many places yet for us to sell in 2014 and beyond!

Will there be shifting in Media? When isn’t there? That’s nothing new. Just make sure, you can sell what IS new, when it arrives.


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