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10/8/2004
06:35 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Bang For The Buck: TV, The Internet, Or Oracle

Internet ads have been used to raise money, not persuade voters.

The rest of the country may be riveted by the presidential (and vice presidential) debates, but I'll take the Oracle-PeopleSoft trial(s) for sheer entertainment value. During the first go-round, in July, when Oracle sued the Justice Department to stop it from blocking the takeover, we saw a swaggering Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, on his way to the witness stand, grab a bottle of water off the table where the government's attorneys sat. Last week, during round two, in which Oracle is suing PeopleSoft over its anti-takeover defenses, former PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway, less than a week after being fired, told a Virginia courtroom that his references to Oracle's "predatory" practices and "atrocious behavior" were a deliberate strategy to stir up sentiment against the takeover, according to reports. Also, Conway said his comparisons of Larry Ellison to Ghengis Khan were sincere, and meant as a compliment. Conway ought to know--he was a top Oracle salesman for several years. For a complete rundown of the trial(s), go to our Website Oracle-PeopleSoft Insider: informationweek.oraclepeoplesoftinsider.com.

The presidential campaigns--including the candidates, their parties, and their advocacy groups--have virtually ignored the Internet as an advertising medium compared with their spending on television, according to what the Pew Research Center calls "the first-ever systematic study of online political ads." The campaigns have spent more than $100 on TV ads for every dollar they've spent on the Web, according to Pew: $330 million to $2.66 million between January and August. The Kerry campaign has outspent the Bush campaign on Internet ads by three to one, $1.3 million to $419,000. The Republican party has spent $487,000; the Democratic party $257,000. Advocacy groups have been the stingiest: $104,000 by the liberal MoveOn.org Voter Fund and nothing by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

FrontBridge Technologies, an E-mail security vendor, said last week that spam, as a percentage of the overall E-mail stream, increased from 82% to 85% between August and September. But the days of and the days after the three September hurricanes made landfall in Florida, spam fell off significantly. After Hurricane Frances, spam volumes fell from 89% to less than 82%. Following Ivan, spam dropped from 91% to below 84%. And Hurricane Jeanne caused a six-point falloff in spam. FrontBridge attributes the decline to power outages and other disruptions in the Florida area caused by the hurricanes. "A lot of the biggest spammers are based in and around Boca Raton, Florida," said a spokesman. "When their power went out, they weren't able to spam."

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, eh? Maybe the spammers will move to Kansas just in time for the tornado season. Got a line on any real-estate deals, or an industry tip? Send them to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk PeopleSoft's chances, Internet advertising, or real estate in Florida, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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