LinkedIn Pushes Ad Tools


By Ian Sherr

LinkedIn Corp. is beefing up its advertising technologies, offering marketers more ways to target ads to the social network’s users and making it easier for big advertisers to connect to its website.

The business-oriented network, which has more than 90 million members, plans to roll out updates for its marketing tools that let advertisers zero in on people based upon job titles, seniority, age and location, people familiar with the matter said.

LinkedIn, which declined to comment, will be wading into an already competitive market where social-networking rival Facebook Inc. is rapidly gaining ground. Last month, more than a quarter of all online display ads in the U.S. appeared on Facebook, according to comScore Inc. By comparison, LinkedIn represented less than 1%.

The moves come as the Mountain View, Calif., company prepares to file paperwork for an initial public offering. Advertising represents roughly a third of the closely held company’s revenue, with the rest coming from subscription services and recruiting tools.

While the company has recruited a few big advertisers such as American Express Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co., it remains to be seen whether more will follow suit.

“LinkedIn has a large and growing audience,” said David Karnstedt, chief executive of Efficient Frontier, an online marketing firm that helps advertisers place their ads on the Internet.

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(Published Jan. 26, 2011, in The Wall Street Journal.)

3-D TVs Get Cheaper, as Makers Hope to Spur Buyers


By Ian Sherr

Three-dimensional televisions are getting another “D“ — discount.

Just a year ago, many 3-D TVs cost $1,000 more than regular sets. But during the recently ended holiday season, the gap halved and is set to shrink further.

Now, television makers, many of which had hoped 3-D would boost sales, are sandwiching the technology into their premium televisions while accepting a smaller premium for it. Like thinner displays, energy efficiency and high-definition, 3-D is becoming a “me-too“ feature.

“Prices for 3-D TVs will definitely go down this year,“ Skott Ahn, chief technology officer and president of LG Electronics Inc., said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Mr. Ahn said LG would cut the premium it charges for 3-D TVs by 20% this year and build the technology into all of its new models by 2012.

The muted expectations for 3-D television mark a U-turn from last year‘s enthusiastic embrace of the technology. Television makers rushed to bring the third dimension into living rooms after witnessing the success of the movie “Avatar.“ Walt Disney Co.‘s ESPN unit launched sports broadcasts in 3-D. Even Gucci Group N.V. designed stylish eyeglasses for 3-D viewers, hoping to cash in on the expected popularity of the televisions.

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(Published January 6, 2011, at Dow Jones Newswires and on