Marketing News Roundup, December 1

Welcome to December! Can’t you just feel the days slipping through your fingers?

  • According to Louisiana advertising rules to take effect in April, lawyers will no longer be allowed to blog, Twitter or participate in blogs and forums, and it’s going to get a bit more difficult for them to advertise on search engines. Naturally, some lawyers are suing for the right to blog. I don’t which of you lawmakers came up with those rules, but nice move, genius.
  • Despite numerous comeback attempts in March and being put up for sale in April, Lycos Europe is giving up the ghost, subject to next week’s shareholder meeting.

Ask.com’s Answer to Why the Sky is Blue & Other Questions we Ask

Want to know what we as a group think about, worry about, and are curious about? Ask.com gives insight by naming the top searches of the year. 2008 was a year of worries about gas prices and the economy. We sought out deals on vacations, used cars, and cheap apartments.

Ask.com, the 7th largest search engine in the US gets 70 million unique monthly searches, according to comScore Media Metrix (Oct. 2008). Last year we had different things on our minds, and the categories of queries has changed. Still, the #1 search last year for politicians during the primaries is now president elect Barack Obama.

The famous celebrity moms who captured our attention was a pregnant Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, a young and pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears, and a perky politician most of us hadn’t heard of until this year: Sarah Palin.

Baidu’s Business Model Faces Legal Challenges

By Taylor Pratt

China’s largest search engine, Baidu, is facing serious legal challenges over its business model. The first complaint against Baidu was filed by Li Changqing under the new anti-monopoly laws in China. Li claims to have more than 50 companies in line to sue Baidu, but would not file the mass complaint until 100 businesses were willing to do so. Other legal counts include alleged brand infringement, alleged fraud and alleged unfair competition.

The Chinese government has long favored Baidu over foreign rivals, and as a result, Baidu’s search engine market share is up to 70%. Baidu holds a commanding lead in the Chinese search industry over Google, which currently only holds 26% of the market share there (excuse me while I grab my violin…).

Power.com Offers One-Stop Shop for Social Networking

By Joe Hall

Logo From Power.comOk, let me first start off by saying, Power.com is awesome! What is it? Power.com is a one stop shop for social networking and instant messaging. Think about it this way: with Power.com you have the ability to navigate and use Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Orkut, MSN is live. Yahoo Messenger, AIM, and soon Gtalk, all at the same time.

Today Power.com will attempt to reach out to an American audience for the first time, since this Brazilian based startup first caught the attention of funding powerhouses Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Esther Dyson. And I am willing to bet that its going to go over very well.

Consolidating Web 2.0 services is a hot trend at the moment with companies and tools such as pidgin and friendfeed helping manage a barrage of different networks and protocols.

Facebook Connect – Great Feature or Another Privacy Nightmare?

By Carrie Hill

First announced back in May, Facebook Connect rolled out this weekend and now you can take your followers with you.  Specifically – you can now use your Facebook credentials to log into other sites across the web and see your Facebook friends’ activity on those sites.

Amid concerns over privacy – many sites are on tap to add this functionality to their own platforms – soon you will be able to see your Facebook friends on Discovery Channel sites, Digg, Hulu and more.

Instead of keeping information and platforms close to their chests – many Silicon Valley giants are looking to share at least a small amount of information if it makes the web more accessible for its users.  The issue I see with this is privacy – and that’s not a new issue for Facebook.

New Research: Companies Turn to Email to Increase Customer Engagement

The third annual Online Customer Engagement Report–produced by online publisher E-consultancy and digital agency cScape–is now available, and examines the likely impact of a worsening economic environment on customer behavior and psychology.

The report is based on a survey of 1300 respondents and looks at how companies plan to adopt customer engagement campaigns during these tough economic times. I was asked to review the early findings and provide my observations on the data.

Here’s what jumped out at me:

Over the last 12 months, a lack of budget and time (45%) was cited as the biggest barrier to starting a customer engagement campaign. Ironically, as budgets have tightened further—ahead of tougher economic times—those same businesses are increasing their focus in this area, with 41% naming the worsening economy as the catalyst for spending more resources on customer engagement.

Social Media: Failure to Launch

By Peter Young

Social Media is a name on many peoples’ list, and a channel on many advertisers’ marketing plans – however – as many advertisers have recently found – it may not necessarily be the most effective channel in terms of direct response.

Certainly the research would suggest the potential traffic is there. Research suggests that around 60% of Americans use social media sites, with around three quarters of this figure visiting a site at least once a week. That by itself would suggest that there is a significant branding opportunity alone via social media sites, so what are the problems?