Reading List: Beware of Wall Street Quants

Beware of Quants: This is great news. The same whiz kids who deep-sixed Wall Street with their fancy computer models and “high-frequency trading” are now sniffing around Internet advertising. The advent of exchanges and data platforms has begun to make the digital ad world look like an equities market. The New York Observer’s BetaBeat blog writes on the Google-Admeld deal from this angle, saying the advent of real-time bidding is attracting Wall Street exiles with ideas on how to make money off the system. Here’s the rub: I’m not sure these folks are interesting in improving adveritsing or its effectiveness. When I read “high-frequency trading,” I immediately suspect they’re interested in making money off trading the impressions. Trading a commodity very quickly and taking a small cut off variations in the price isn’t adding value. BetaBeat

Will Users Keep Web Ads?: The NYT takes a deep look at AdKeeper, the new system that promises to revolutionize Internet advertising by letting users keep banners for later. The Times takes a pretty evenhanded look at AdKeeper, noting its success in getting participation while also pointing out the downsides. I weighed in somewhere in between, noting the system could work OK for things like coupons and offers but won’t do much for brands until ad quality increases. It’s a bit old school, but the truth is most Internet advertising isn’t worth keeping. No new icon or fancy targeting technology will change that. NYT

Influencer Snake Oil: There are plenty of doubters when it comes to influencer metrics, a topic I wrote about last month. The recent surge in interest around them has brought out some rebukes. Deep Focus CEO went the diplomatic route, noting on Twitter that influencer measurement firms like Klout don’t replace “homework.” David Chan, an art director in Toronto, was more direct in his assessment.

Handicapping Hulu: Which way will Hulu go? So far, there haven’t been any credible reports on what company is actually interested in buying Hulu. Yahoo was suggested, then that was shot down. Peter Kaflka at All Things D has a handy guide for what we know and what we don’t at this point. The key takeaway is that any deal will have to come with pretty ironclad guarantees the new owner will get the rights to content from Hulu’s media partners. All Things D
Scenes from the Bubble: From PE Hub comes this doozy: “The NaturallyCurly Network, a social network for people with wavy to curly hair, has raised $1.2 from company chair Jimmy Treybig, the founder of Tandem Computers, along with John Paul Mitchell Systems co-founder John Paul DeJoria, and the angel investor network Golden Seeds. The round, billed as a C round in a release, brings the total raised by the Austin-based company to $3.2 million.” A social network for gingers, sure, but people with wavy hair? PE Hub
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