Stalk Your Friends with Google’s Latitude

latitude-urhereSeriously—do you know where your friends are right now? Do you want to know? Because with Google’s new Latitude mobile app, you can access the GPS information in your participating friends’ phones. And lest you think Google is making it hard for you to keep tabs on your friends’ every move, they’re incorporating a boat load of other popular products:

  • Gadget on iGoogle (Latitude gadget for your personalized homepage)
  • Text messaging (SMS) through Latitude
  • IMing with Google Talk and Latitude
  • Emailing with Gmail and Latitude
  • Updating your Gmail/Gtalk status message on the go with Latitude
  • Uploading new profile photos on the go with Latitude (we have profile photos?)

IAC Profits, But Misses Expectations

Q4 2008 was an important time for IAC—it was their first full quarter going it alone, after they spun off four businesses, a change announced in November 2007 that finally took effect in August 2008. And, as for everyone else, Q408 was not an easy time for the now solo company.

On the plus side, as the New York Times reports, IAC did post a profit: $227.4 million, or $1.57 per share for the company which now includes Match.com and Ask.com. In Q407, the then-much-larger company posted a loss of $369.9 million, or $2.53 per share.

However, some of this success comes with a definite price: the $493 million sale of 30% of a Japanese shopping network (with a benefit of $242.5 million from the sale). And the company’s revenue fell 7%, missing analysts’ predictions by almost $18 billion (a “modest miss” according to one analyst).

Google to Time Warner: Free AOL or Free Us

During Time Warner’s earnings call today, CEO Jeff Bewkes told a sad tale of love gone wrong. Yes, Google is “dear johning” AOL. I hear the letter went something like this:

Dear Time Warner: Cut AOL loose or count us out. Love, Google.

Now, this is kind of a big deal, since Google does own a 5% share of the erstwhile giant of ISPs. Google bought that share with $1B back in December 2005, beating out Microsoft in a bidding war that brought AOL’s valuation to the needed $20B—and it looked like a major blow to Microsoft. (Though you can probably guess who might be laughing now.)

The three-year deal “matured” last year, with July 1 as the first day Google could opt out of AOL. Instead of opting out, they wrote down $726M of their investment in AOL in Q4 2008.

Fake Social Media Profiles: The Biggest Online Threat of 2009?

ReadWriteWeb reports that security firm Aladdin released their Annual Threat Report today, one of the biggest online identity theft threats of 2009 will be fake social media profiles. I don’t expect that to surprise any of Marketing Pilgrim’s readers, I do, however, expect it to come as a surprise to most of our clients and the less “Web savvy.”

Evil people are heading out to popular social media sites and setting up fake profiles and abusing those profiles. They are pretending to be someone in order to create valuable connections, and in some cases, to hurt online reputations. Director of Aladdin’s Attack Intelligence Research Center, Ian Amit, says this type of identity theft can be “devastating, both on the personal level by creating difficulties in employment, ruining social and professional connections, damaging reputations; as well as on a financial level, such as stealing customers, corporate data.”

Survey Says: Retailers Need to Go Mobile

In a recent Foresee Results survey of online shoppers, nearly a third said they used their mobile phone as part of a shopping trip. That means that 29% of these shoppers stood in a brick and mortar store, and pulled out their phone before deciding whether to make a purchase—which means that these retailers could be filling a significant gap.

Most of these mobile-enabled shoppers didn’t head straight for the retailer’s website:

  • 72% ask someone about a product (though the survey doesn’t indicate whether this was via telephone, text message or Internet, eg Twitter)
  • 40% send a picture of a product they might purchase
  • 24% use the Internet to compare prices
  • 15% use the Internet to read product reviews

Yahoo Losing, Google Gaining Display Dominance

It was the American Revolutionary John Adams who first said, “The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” In case you missed the memo, Google is winning the search war—if you measure success by looking at who controls most of the search market. Yahoo, their biggest competitor in the US, has steadily lost out to the search giant over the last decade. But there was one area where Yahoo always beat Google—display ads.

While Google controls up to 73% of the search advertising market revenue in the US, Yahoo has only 13%. On the other hand, Yahoo controls a third of the display market (worth $7.1B last year), while Google has barely made a dent in the display market, and most of its revenue comes from search, while Yahoo’s (not exactly stellar) revenues are far more diversified.

Women Over 55 Are Helping Facebook Takeoff

Yep, you read that headline right. According to MediaPost, women over the age of 55 are the fastest-growing user group on Facebook over the last three months. This is significant considering how rapidly Facebook has been growing these last few months (600k users a day!).

The study also reports several other statistics that marketers should take note of:

  • Women make up 56.2% of Facebook users—outnumbering men in almost every age group
  • 25% of U.S. Facebook users are over the age of 35—considering that Facebook started as a college platform, this is very surprising.
  • 45% of U.S. users are over the age of 26—this isn’t as surprising as you take into account that this is now about the average age of early Facebook adopters.