Google Goes After Groupon, Changes Their Algorithm (Again), & More

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This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Google Wants Groupon, But Does Groupon Want Google?

Some people at Google are balking at the company’s reported $6 billion bid for the rapidly expanding Groupon, a Chicago-based company that offers subscribers discount coupons to local businesses. However, compared to the money Google spent buying YouTube ($1.65 billion) and DoubleClick ($3.1 billion), the acquisition of Groupon could be seen as a bargain akin to some of those offered by the site. YouTube and DoubleClick were drawing in around $11 million and $310 million per year, respectively, when Google came knocking with an offer. In contrast, Groupon’s estimated yearly revenue is close to $1 billion, which could be a viable reason why the online startup is biding their time with Google’s offer. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out, and if Groupon is actually able to raise Google’s asking price or bring in more expensive competition. Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Google Changes Algorithm To Figure In Positive And Negative Customer Reviews

Thanks largely to a New York Times expose on crazed online sunglasses retailer Vitali Borker and his “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” philosophy, Google has tweaked its page rank algorithm to factor in positive and negative reviews of online retailers. Borker rode hoards of negative reviews and link publicity on popular consumer watchdog sites such as Rip-Off Report and Get Satisfaction to the top of Google’s SERPs, often ranking above the actual brand’s web site. He did this by constantly harassing and threatening customers that were not satisfied with his products, thus producing online criticism that had a reverse effect on his web hits and profit margins. This guy is a genius, psycho, or both, but the NYT story is definitely worth reading. Source: Tech Crunch

European Agencies Wave Good-bye To AdWords Reps, And Say Hello To Online Support

Google will kick off 2011 by severing the relationships between AdWords representatives and European agencies. Should those companies have questions, comments, or problems, they are now directed to the “Contact Us” button in AdWords or a call center. By doing this in Europe (and to a lesser extent in the United States), Google saves money, but is also claiming they are committed to making the online support resources efficient and of high quality. This move does have the potential to backfire depending on the reactions from Yahoo and Bing, and if those agencies turned off by this development decide they are worth more time and money than Google. Source: Search Engine Watch

Google AdWords Introduces Click Type Report

Click Type is the newest feature in Google AdWords, and it separates different click statistics into a tabled format. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but convenient nonetheless, and the screen shot below provides a great visual:

ClickType

Source: Search Engine Land

Leaderboard Ads Are Unveiled In Google Image Searches

Google AdWords has rolled out their Leaderboard Ads in a banner format at the top of Google Image search results, to the tune of low click-through rates. However, this is still a beta, so things could change quickly.

Leaderboard Ads Source: JoannaLord.com

YouTube Announces TrueView Ads

The new TrueView Video Ads on YouTube, and introduced in the Google AdWords blog, allow users to choose which ads they want to watch and when they prefer to watch them in conjunction with their chosen video. The TrueView Ads also offer a cost-per-view format, which according to Google, “(offers) a cost-per-view video ad model is good for everyone: consumers choose ads that are more relevant to them; you more precisely find the audiences you want; and content creators continue to fund great content with an ad experience that is less intrusive.” Source: Google AdWords

‘Yahoo Clues’ Us In

The beta for the new Yahoo Clues allows users to explore and compare trending data and searches on Yahoo. It is especially interesting because the data is broken up by demographics, income of the searcher, and peak search times. Try it out for yourself at clues.yahoo.com. Source: Practical E-Commerce

Compare Amazon’s Prices To Retail On Your iPhone

Amazon has launched a new iPhone app that allows users to compare prices on Amazon.com or other e-commerce sites to those in retail stores. The app is called Price Check, and just asks that you scan an item’s bar code, take a photo, or say the name of the item in question. The app then lists the results in standard lowest to highest cost format. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects retailers, especially with the record boom of Cyber Monday and increasing popularity of online shopping. Source: Mobile Commerce Daily

Microsoft TV Could Be On The Horizon

Microsoft is reportedly engaging in early discussions of joining the world of television by offering a monthly subscription to Xbox users that would allow them to watch programs from various networks such as ABC, FOX, CNN, and NBC. Microsoft could also potentially offer programming packages or an interactive experience that would allow users to chat with friends over the Xbox while watching a show. Source: Yahoo Finance

Milwaukee FBI Agent Nabs ‘Spam King’

A Milwaukee FBI agent has busted a 23-year-old Russian man dubbed the “King of Spam,” because of his hand in roughly 30% of the Spam email industry. Authorities have been tracking Oleg Nikolaenko since 2007, and finally moved in after he entered the country on his way to a car show in Las Vegas. Nikolaenko is set to make his first appearance in a Milwaukee court today. Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Cyber Monday Finally Reaches Full Potential With $1 Billion Spent

While Cyber Monday has been a very busy day for online retailers since its inception five years ago, it has failed to live up to the colossal hype surrounding it. Not only has it not been the busiest online shopping day, it has also failed to be the busiest Monday. That all changed this year with online retailers reporting that sales for Cyber Monday broke the billion dollar mark. Reports suggest that the sales increase could be the result of more people going back to work on Friday and the ability to access the Internet from work computers. While it is not mentioned in the short write up, it would be interesting to see how purchases made from mobile devices impacted the record breaking day for online shopping. Source: CNN

Google’s Entrance Into Social Networking With GoogleMe Has Been Delayed

Expected to roll out by the end of this year or early 2011, Google’s planned social media platform, GoogleMe, has been pushed back to an unspecified date. Mashable reports that there is nothing current to update the progress and that the delay is due to an “internal disagreement about the design, purpose and execution of the project.” Source: Search Engine Land

iPad Prices Cut For Black Friday

On Black Friday, there were amazing amounts of tech gadgets that had their prices slashed. The biggest, however, was Apple’s iPad, which sold for $41 less than the regular price. This 5-8% price cut, depending on which model you’re talking about, is big news for a company that rarely puts their higher end products on sale. It is also an interesting move considering that the iPad is one of the most sought after gadgets this holiday season. The sale was only good on the Friday after Thanksgiving and was available in Apple’s retail locations only. Source: CNN

Brad Geddes Offers Certified Knowledge For AdWords

There are some great things happening over at Certified Knowledge concerning AdWords. Read these two product descriptions and follow the link to find out how Brad Geddes is attempting to make things easier for you: Create an AdWords Reporting Calendar Our new reporting calendar section has step-by-step tutorials showing you how to create templates for every AdWords report you need. New Lesson: Remarketing Tutorials & Live Walk-thru Remarketing with AdWords allows you to shown an advertisement to a potential customer that was previously on your website. These ads display on pages of websites that are part of the Google Display Network. Source: Certified Knowledge

George W. Bush On Facebook

Former President George W. Bush has been on the promotional trail for his memoir, “Decision Points,” for the past several months. Last Monday, he stopped over at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto to participate in one of their Live Events, where users are allowed to ask questions. The 43rd President of the United States was interviewed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and was the first president to participate in such an event. Sources: CNN, Mashable

Notable Commentary

Worth More Than A Skim

Groupon: Why Google Wants To Buy Us

Read this interesting take from Groupon’s managing director in the UK, Chris Muhr, about why he believes that Google is making them offers. Analysis By: Richard Tyler, The Telegraph

Being Bad For Your Customers Is Bad For Business

Read about how Google changed their policies to thwart a businessman that ranked very well in searches due to getting an incredible amount of links from negative customer reviews. The power of Google never fails to surprise me. Analysis By: Amit Singhal, The Official Google Blog

Who Spies On Your Browsing History?

If you believe that there isn’t someone watching what you do on the internet, think again. Check out this short but informative article about your browsing history and who’s looking at it. Analysis By: Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

Five Helpful Tips To Make Your Video Viral

Based on the recent smashing success of the Old Spice’s ad campaign, Searchengineland.com offers five tips to help make your video a viral success. Analysis By: Eric Papczun, Search Engine Land

SEOmoz Experiments With Different Tools For Gauging Competitors Traffic

Take a look at this interesting study of tools that are used to study your competitor’s traffic. Here you get a breakdown of the strengths, weaknesses, accuracy, the best time to utilize each of them, and the price. Analysis By: Sam Crocker, SEOmoz

Ten Question Litmus Test For Professional SEOs

Ever wonder if others are on the same level when it comes to current climate of SEO? Or maybe you’re in need of a new SEO professional and want to make sure they are the best candidate for the job. In this article, SEOMoz offers an eleven question litmus test to guarantee that the people you are working with are the best of the best. Analysis By: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

What Role Should The Government Play In Our Searching Lives?

Check out this interesting study on the most popular searches for government websites and take a look at what people needed the most information on. You might be surprised. Analysis By: Eli Goodman, Search Engine Watch

Why Cyber Monday Is A Myth

I’m sure that a lot of people think that Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Well, if you fall into that category, check out this article to see if you’re right. And if you don’t fall into that category, read it to see if you’re wrong. Analysis By: John D. Sutter, CNN Tech

Holiday Shopping Goes Mobile

Here’s a list of how mobile phones can make your holiday shopping experience better. Check out mobile applications that can scan barcodes to find you cheaper prices, how to get a deal at a store by simply “checking-in,” and more. Analysis By: John D. Sutter, CNN Tech

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