Two interesting things have happened over the past few days — not in any way interconnected, but both related to the topic of monetizing consumer interest in certain types of services.
Google Bought an Affiliate Website
Acquisitions of affiliate websites by larger corporations don’t occur every month (the last large one that I remember of happened over a year ago when Time Warner bought StyleFeeder).
Now Google has recently paid £37.7 million (over $61 million) for BeatThatQuote.com, “the UK’s fastest growing price comparison site” which also acts as an affiliate. The paradox here is that by acquiring them Google is “engaging in major channel conflict” here. Even if we don’t pay attention to the affiliate side of things (or should we?), there are some serious spam-related concerns involved. Read more in SEO Book’s recent post on the subject (thanks, Rehan Zaidi, for tweeting about it).
Skype Opened up for Advertising
Have you heard about this one yet? Two days ago in their blog Skype announced “the launch of advertising in Skype, which will appear in the Home tab in Skype starting this week”. The initial focus of the company’s advertising sales is on 3 geographical markets: United States, UK and Germany; and these are the countries where the ads will appear. Among the first advertisers there are such companies as Groupon, Nokia, Comcast’s Universal Pictures, and Visa. Skype seems to be doing it gently (no pop-ups, flashying blinky banners, or any other intrusions), and users may also opt out of having their demographic data shared with advertisers. More in their Advertising in Skype post here.
As someone has worked closely with Skype (I managed their affiliate marketing program a few years ago), I am actually glad they’re starting to monetize through ads. They offer a lot of great stuff for free (not compromising the quality) or very inexpensively. I have no problem with being served those ads. Do you?