Where the Rubber Meets the Road: B2B Companies Struggle to Find Their Fit with Blogging

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about how to measure the value of blogging, including in B2B organizations. Forrester Research recently released a study entitled “How to Derive Value from B2B Blogging,” and it contained many valuable insights into the state of B2B blogging and its adoption today.

Some key findings from the report include:

  • While adoption of corporate blogging has been growing over the past few years, the number of new blogs established in 2007 took a nose dive.
  • Corporate bloggers can’t seem to keep the conversation going. The challenge for many B2B marketers seems to be that writing for a blog is often more conversational, while many B2B marketers have been trained to write with a strictly business or technical focus.

SEM Scholarship Contest Update

The 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship Contest has now finished and we’re working on compiling the results to determine our five finalists.

Unlike previous years, we’ve decided to keep the five finalists–and traffic numbers– a secret during judging (we will reveal once the winner is announced), so that our panel of expert judges can deliberate without fear of influence.

Lastly, as the Fourth of July holiday is fast approaching, we’re delaying announcing the winner until July 11th.  I know this will likely cause hair-loss for some of you, but this delay will ensure our judges have plenty of time to make their decision.

So, to recap: our top five finalists will be sent to the judges this week. Each will vote on their favorite and the finalist with the most votes will be announced on July 11th–along with full traffic numbers for all entries.

Linky Goodness, June 30

The last linky goodness of the month. But don’t worry—we’ll be back next month with more goodness for your linky enjoyment!

  • Search Insider takes a look at yummy data. I heart data.
  • Speaking of data, Matt Cutts posts on the Official Google Blog about Using data to fight webspam. Danny Sullivan points out in the comments on SERoundtable that the reason this article came out now was probably because Google’s facing criticism from the EU for storing data, and they want to justify data storage by showing that it improves their results.
  • In case you missed it, the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog posts about the update to the SEO guidelines, which previously focused on SEO scammers—but now acknowledges that there are lots of legit SEOs out there that can get real results.

Google to Provide Content via AdSense

Unless you consider “Watch Episodes of Your Favorite TV Shows Now. Fast & Easy!” to be ‘content,’ Google AdSense is making a bold move, according to today’s New York Times. In a deal with Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, Google AdSense will be distributing McFarlane’s latest project, the Internet-only animated series, “Seth MacFarlane”s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy”:

Google will syndicate the program using its AdSense advertising system to thousands of Web sites that are predetermined to be gathering spots for Mr. MacFarlane’s target audience, typically young men. Instead of placing a static ad on a Web page, Google will place a “Cavalcade” video clip.

The up-to-two–minute clips will also incorporate advertising, through preroll ads, a sponsor for the clip or an accompanying banner ad. McFarlane will receive a portion of the advertising proceeds.

Facebook’s Latest Valuation: Less than $5B

If you’ve forgotten, just nine months ago, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240 million. Doing the math from that, the total value of Facebook last October was $15B.

But apparently this possibly-soon-to-be-recession-(though-technically-still-not,-people!) has really hurt the “social utility.” Rumors are circulating on Silicon Alley Insider and TechCrunch that Facebook’s current value is less than $5B—and as low as $3 or $4 billion.

SAI cites rumors appearing in their comments for weeks that Facebook’s value is plummeting—and, more importantly, a source who was offered a 0.25% stake for $12.5M just two months ago. Once again turning to our trusty, rusty algebra, that gives a more recent total value of $5B.

Google Testing New iGoogle, No OpenSocial Support (Yet)

If you haven’t tried iGoogle, Google’s personalized homepage, you’re not alone. But Google’s looking to spiff up their customizable homepages and testing has already begun, as Google Operating System reports—and it looks like they’re trying to make our foretelling of iGoogle as social network come true.

The old iGoogle featured tabbed navigation across the top of the page; the new iGoogle moves it to a left-hand sidebar. The new iGoogle will also feature a feed of friends’ actions—reminiscent of Facebook’s Mini-Feed—including “stories shared by your contacts in Google Reader, recent photos uploaded to Picasa Web Albums, Google Talk status messages, shared iGoogle themes and gadgets.”

Sounding a little social-y? Oh yeah. It gets better, according to GOS:

Rumor Mill: Microsoft Expecting $100M Powerset Acquisition to Save the Day?

Just six weeks after its coming out parade, natural language search engine Powerset is the subject of two rumors about its acquisition by Microsoft.

VentureBeat kicks things off, by telling us the deal has been done, and the purchase price $100 million.

Microsoft, the software giant flush with billions of dollars in its warchest, has agreed to buy Silicon Valley semantic search engine Powerset, we’ve learned.

The purchase price is rumored to be slightly more than $100 million. An announcement is expected next month.

As if annoyed that VentureBeat might have gotten the scoop, TechCrunch reports the deal is not actually final.

Our sources have been saying this deal is highly likely since May, but hasn’t actually been signed yet and could still be disrupted by the ongoing Microsoft-Yahoo negotiations.