Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Follow Up on Ma Bell's Lost Focus

Yesterday, I wrote about Ma Bell looking to buy Echostar. As PC World writes:
AT&T plans to buy online advertising company Ingenio for an undisclosed sum, in a move that puts the telephone company in competition with Google and other online advertisement leaders. Ingenio's technology measures the effectiveness of advertisements by tracking phone calls made to businesses based on phone numbers used in ads. The ads can be displayed online, on mobile phone Web sites and in print. The technology provisions the phone numbers and tracks the calls. Advertisers pay based on the volume of phone calls generated by the ads. AT&T will integrate the technology into its Web site.
AOL and MSN use Ingenio technology. Unlike Qwest and VZ, Ma Bell has not spun off its Yellow Pages and Advertising business. I just don't know how many more balls Stephenson thinks he can juggle. "We are a wireless company. Oh, wait, a telco TV company with phones. Oh, and an advertising firm. Um, do we own any backbone? Yeah? Software too? Oh, good. We are an Internet company." Now when you put it like that you can see how they will falter on at least some of these projects. How many will they do well?

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