Mom, there are people in my broccoli!

From the magical blog known as, run by the ever-eclectic Andy Baio, comes a tale that seems beyond belief: Summer Allen-Gibson, who runs a foodie blog with her partner Alicia Carrier, spotted what looked to be tiny heads hidden in a picture of broccoli on the outside of a package of frozen vegetables. She wasn’t hallucinating — as the photos she posted on the blog show, there are in fact tiny little smiling people mixed in with the broccoli spears, coloured the exact same shade of green so they are difficult (but not impossible) to see. According to some of the comments, graphic artists apparently do this with headshots of friends and family as a gag. I wonder how often this kind of thing happens and no one notices.

Is online advertising heading for a cliff?

As the markets see-saw between concern and outright panic over the fate of the U.S. financial bailout, the credit shock that’s rippling through not just North America but most of the Western hemisphere, and the potential for a severe economic downturn, anyone with a Web-based business that depends on advertising has to be asking: Is this the beginning of the end? If the U.S., Canada and to some extent even Europe are in the depths of a recession (or possibly even worse), what does that mean for online ad spending? The answer could mean life or death for some startups.

This debate has been going on for almost a year now. Google’s stock price came under fire around the end of last year and the beginning of this year because of concern that the search giant might see a downturn in ad spending that would hit the bottom line. Has it? A little, but not a huge amount (although some say that could change). In fact, there are those who argue that search-related ad spending is likely to be the most durable even in a shaky economy — in part because businesses can get more bang from buying AdWords than a newspaper ad or TV spot.

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Publishers: Don’t use crappy ad links

As a reader, and as someone who cares about online media in all kinds of other ways, I would like to second the opinions that David Churbuck expresses in a post on his blog about “The blight known as Vibrant Media.” In a nutshell: those double-underlined links that generate pop-up ads or affiliate links to a variety of craptacular sites, which companies like IntelliText specialize in, are an abomination. They make your site look like ass, and what’s worse, they try to trick readers. As David says:

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Yes, Ludacris will sing about your jeans

Eliot Van Buskirk over at Wired magazine’s Listening Post blog has the hilarious tale of an advertising email gone astray: the missive in question came from one Adam Kluger of The Kluger Agency (or, according to Mr. Kluger, from an over-eager minion of his), and it offered a company called Double Happiness Jeans the opportunity to have their product name appear in the lyrics of a popular song, sung by “one of the world’s most famous recording artists.” Two problems with that: Double Happiness Jeans is an art project involving the virtual world Second Life, and — last but not least — it is also part of something called The Anti-Advertising Agency, run by Jeff Crouse and Steve Lambert.

Not the most auspicious person to contact for something that even relatively pro-advertising music fans might see as an abomination, but Mr. Kluger sees as “the opportunity of a lifetime.” Rather than dismiss his email, however, Crouse responds enthusiastically:

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Bubble 2.0: Glam turns down $1.3B

Matt Marshall over at VentureBeat is reporting that Glam Media — an advertising/content network focused on sites that appeal primarily to women — has turned down a $1.3-billion acquisition offer from an unnamed party. Like Caroline McCarthy at Webware, I assume that this offer likely came from an “old media” company such as CBS or possibly a large advertising player (Ash has some theories too). But seriously, $1.3-billion? And Duncan Riley at Inquisitr says this isn’t even that great an offer when you consider that Glam has gotten four rounds of financing totaling about $115-million.

There’s no question that the Glam Media story is an appealing one: the company says that it has more than 65 million unique visitors across its network — although as Mike Arrington has pointed out in the past, that figure is an aggregation of all the visitors who come to any of Glam’s partner sites. He also noted in that post that Glam owns a bunch of pure SEO plays such as and so on. In a previous VentureBeat story, one critic called Glam “Boo 2.0,” referring to the Bubble 1.0 shopping site — and Matt Marshall noted that half of Glam’s total pageviews came from a single site (

Still, the network has grown at a fairly impressive rate, and counts some prominent sites like E Online as partners — and has just launched a fairly sophisticated video content/advertising system as well. According to PaidContent, the company gets a whopping $50 CPM on some of its video ads. But to turn down a $1.3-billion takeover offer? As Erick Schonfeld notes at TechCrunch, that’s almost 9 times estimated revenues and 33 times estimated profit. Either Glam’s financial backers have gotten greedy, or someone has been drinking an awful lot of Web 2.0 Kool-Aid.