AOL Launches MyAOL for Cell Phones

It seems AOL wasn’t too serious about dropping the “AOL” part from their future products. After some beta testing, AOL is today launching MyAOL (a customizable mobile desktop) and a regular mobile portal for those not into the whole tweaking thing.

The portal includes the type of news, entertainment, and sports content that is available on the desktop version of the portal…it features AOL’s mobile search technology that returns tailored results for mobile users. For example, if a mobile user searches for a music artist, the first results may be ringtones. In addition, AOL’s search crawls an index of sites designed for mobile use, so it will return those sites near the top of the list.

Also launching today, a mobile shopping service–enter a barcode and comparison shop from your phone–and MyMobile–a downloadable app for Windows Mobile users.

Radiohead Rocks the Record Industry

I wrote about British rock band Radiohead’s experiment to get rid of their record label and sell direct their music direct. The results are coming in and so far Radiohead has sold 1.2 million albums in just a week. They let their fans determine what to pay. I guess it’s sort of like Priceline for music. They settled on $8 (I can’t seem to find how exactly they arrived at this number) and that has probably made the band about $10 million already. Also amazing is that the number of albums sold in the first week is higher than first-week sales of its three previous albums combined.

As the New York Times reports, Radiohead is navigating some creative deals – including one that will let an indie label license the album for a period of time. Radiohead would retain ownership.

Blogging for Business Conference–Wendy Piersall Keynote

The Blogging for Business Conference was held 22 October 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

How Blogs Benefit Business, Opening Keynote
Wendy Piersall, eMoms at Home

In a survey of the room, less than half of the room owned a blog. About the same amount were business owners. Nearly everyone there were interested in blogs to promote their business; a few wanted the blog to be their business.

“Guess what. If your brand isn’t there on the front page, there are blogs there taking away your traffic or putting out info you should be putting out; answering the questions that your customers are asking.”

JupiterMedia Predicts Holiday Increase in Online Retail

JupiterResearch predicts that US online retail during the holiday season will grow to over $39 billion this year. This represents an increase of 20% over last year. About 126 million users are expected to buy online, which is a 6% increase over last year.

Internet retailers plan to drive their holiday sales primarily through search marketing, even though they are noticing that costs are rising and ROI is dropping. They also plan to increase free shipping offers and promote percent-off discounts.

None of this is a surprise. Internet retail has grown at 20% for the past two years after the huge explosion of growth early in the decade. As retailers find themselves fighting for their share of the stagnant (not increasing) pool of internet shoppers, they are becoming more desperate. It is no surprise that price wars continue to dominate the landscape.

Is Virtual World Advertising Harmful to Kids?

Execs from social networking sites recently met and talked about marketing to children. The question was raised in a series of articles about who is watching out for children and pointing out that there are no standards in this arena.

Marketing to children isn’t new. However, social networks have a strong pull because they are so engaging and it’s easy to spend a lot of time interacting on a site. It’s more than passive viewing like other forms of entertainment, like watching tv. Online it’s even easier to blur lines between what’s real and what isn’t. That’s true even for adults.

Chinese Government Censoring US Sites?

Last week TechCrunch told how the Chinese Government was redirecting Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft searches to its own search engine Baidu. The post had 145 comments when I last visited. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders noted that YouTube and Google blog search were blocked along with search engines.

Google’s response to an inquiry by Search Engine Land about blocking sites and redirecting them :

“We’ve had numerous reports that Google.cn and other search engines have been blocked in China and traffic redirected to other sites. While this is clearly unfortunate, we’ve seen this happen before and are confident that service will be restored to our users in the very near future.”

Others chimed in with different theories:

Pilgrim’s Picks for October 22

Wow, busy news day today. Lot’s of stuff to share with you, including: