An important next step on our AI journey | Google

Earlier this week, Google introduced Bard, an experimental conversational AI service, within Google Search Results. They’ve opened it up to trusted testers ahead of making it available to the public in the coming weeks. According to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.”

You may be wondering how this might impact publishers. Lindsay Valdez, Director of Audience Strategy at Freestar, shares that this could be a concern for publisher clicks. At this time, Google has not provided enough information to fully determine what the impact will be on publishers. If we look at voice search related to  Alexa/Suri, there was not as much  impact on organic search traffic as people had originally predicted. However, there are still many uncertainties and we will have to wait as data  comes to light. 

Microsoft announces new Bing and Edge browser powered by upgraded ChatGPT AI | The Verge

On February 7, 2023, Microsoft announced it’s new version of its search engine, Bing, which is now powered by an upgraded version of the same AI technology that underpins chatbot ChatGPT. 

“It’s a new day in search,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at an event announcing the products. Nadella continues on to share that “The race starts today, and we’re going to move and move fast. Most importantly, we want to have a lot of fun innovating again in search, because it’s high time.”

PE-Backed Marketing Firm Big Village Files for Bankruptcy | Bloomberg Law

According to this article, “Private equity-backed advertising and marketing agency Big Village filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on [February 8, 2023] along with several affiliates, including Trailer Park Holdings Inc. and EMX Digital Inc.” 

Update: Big Village Group, Inc. Announces Purchasers for Agency, Insights, and its EMX’s Managed Services Platform

Exclusive: French adtech firm Criteo in new bid to sell itself -sources | Reuters

According to this article, “French advertising technology provider Criteo SA (CRTO.O) is making a new attempt to sell itself after discussions with potential acquirers in previous years proved unsuccessful, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Paris-based company, which is listed in New York, kicked off a sale process last week that could attract other companies and private equity firms, one of the sources said.”

Exclusive: Yahoo to lay off more than 20% of staff as it shrinks ad biz | Axios

Axios executives were made aware that Yahoo plans to lay off more than 20% of its total workforce as part of a major restructuring of its ad tech unit. Yahoo has been on a years-long effort to compete directly with Google and Meta for digital advertising dominance. The article shares that “as part of the changes, Yahoo will shut down a part of its advertising business called its SSP, or supply-side platform, which helps digital publishers sell automated ads against their content.”

At Freestar, this is what we know: 

  • We’re being told it’s “business as usual” from our contacts that have commented.
  • We are still seeing normal levels of spend from the direct SSP integration as of today (2/10). We anticipate this to start trending down over the next few weeks as it shifts to other paths.
  • We are actively monitoring Yahoo’s DSP daily spend via our other top SSP’s to watch for changes there. We believe this will be their strategy going forward — i.e. no SSP; just buying into the primary SSP exchanges.
  • Based on how solvent they are on the DSP side, we do not believe there will be any payment issues in the foreseeable future.