Heading to Microsoft; Pilgrims’ Seattle Meet-up

I’m heading out to Microsoft on Wednesday to provide an internal presentation on the topic of online reputation management. While it’s a brief trip–I return Friday morning–I will have Wednesday evening free to meet-up with any Seattle MP readers.

I’m staying in Bellevue and should be at the hotel by 7pm. If anyone wants to grab dinner/drinks Wednesday evening, send me an email andy.beal@gmail.com. Hopefully we can get a group together–somewhere in the area. :-)

I hope to meet-up with some Pilgrims face-to-face!

Pilgrim’s Picks for April 29 – Early Edition

If you noticed the timestamp on today’s Picks you’re probably thinking: "7:50am – Andy’s never awake that early!"

I apologize for this rift in the space-time continuum. I’m sure my waking up early resulted in an earthquake in China–or maybe just caused a butterfly to keel-over. In any event, I’ll try not to let it happen again. :-)

On to today’s Picks:

Yelp Offers Local Businesses New Tools and Advice for Managing Reviews

One of the biggest gripes small businesses have about local review sites is that not all of them provide an opportunity to respond to a customer complaint. Popular review site Yelp is hoping to address that issue with the launch of a new set of tools to help business owners manage their Yelp profile.

Along with new features, such as…

  • Allowing business owners to claim their Yelp profile
  • Update their Yelp profile and add images
  • Send messages to customers
  • Receive email alerts of new reviews
  • Add free Yelp badges to business web sites

…Yelp also offers some practical advice to business owners looking to manage their reviews.

  • DON’T review your own business anonymously or get your friends to do the same.

Cox Enterprises Sees Future in Self-Service Ad Network, Acquires Adify

Is the future of advertising networks in the hands of those that decide to build their own? Cox Enterprises must think so as it has shelled out a rumored $300+ million for Adify, a self-service ad network that enables publishers to build their own ad network.

According to paidContent, Adify had been on the scout for investment funding but instead found a buy-out deal even more tempting.

Cox, long an advocate of targeted advertising, the company can well afford an acquisition like this—particularly if it can find a way to blend the niche ad net power with its digital cable products while it continues to make money from third party

Google Board Member Ann Mather to Face SEC Violation Proceedings

It appears that one of Google’s board members is in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the National Post, Ann Mather has been notified by the SEC that it plans to recommend civil action against her for her role in the Pixar stock option backdating scandal.

Google said the SEC told Ms. Mather it would recommend alleging securities law violations related to certain stock option transactions at Ms. Mather’s former employer, Pixar Animation Studios. Google said the case does not involve her services as a Google board member.

Mather might be the third executive to get thrown under the bus caught up in a Steve Jobs-related SEC violation, but she’s not Google’s first exec to run into SEC trouble. Last year, the company’s Chief Legal Counsel settled a $700,000 complaint with the SEC for his previous role as CFO for SmartForce.

Court Orders Negative Match on Trademarked Keyword

It appears that US courts are getting more and more savvy about Internet marketing (or US attorneys are getting more and more savvy about their “expert” witnesses in these cases!). Last week, the 11th circuit court ruled that meta keywords aren’t effective for SEO (so trademark infringement in them didn’t really matter anyway), and the US District Court in the middle district of Florida ruled that a trademark infringing AdWords advertiser would have to use negative keyword matches in future searches.

As Eric Goldman reports, in Orion Bancorp Inc. v. Orion Residential Finance LLC, Orion Bancorp (the trademark holder) sued Orion Residential Finance (the accused infringer) for using the trademarked term “Orion” in AdWords ads. Orion Bancorp not only won their case, but also got the judge to issue an injunction against Orion Residential Finance to apply to future search engine advertising campaigns, barring them

Google: FTC Would Sign Off on Yahoo Deal

As Andy mentioned in today’s Pilgrim’s Picks, Reuters reports that Google’s confident about the proposed ad deal with Yahoo receiving the OK from the FTC.

If you don’t remember, almost three weeks ago, Yahoo announced that they would conduct a two week test of Google’s AdSense for Search program. A scant eight days later, Yahoo was reportedly very happy with the deal—and talking about making the arrangement permanent.

Reports surfaced late last week that the US Department of Justice was investigating the deal, which could possibly be a prelude to an FTC investigation.

An anonymous source, presumably someone inside or close to Google, told Reuters:

Google believes such a partnership would not be anti-competitive because it would be an arrangement in which Yahoo would use Google’s more profitable search advertising platform to make more money for itself.