Wikia Search Bows Out for Now

It’s hard enough to go up against the like of Google when the economy is humming along. Add in the fact wikiasearchthat Google is so far in the lead in search it may just be downright discouraging to potential competitors due to the mountain they need to climb to compete. Giving a nod to the economy, it was announced today that Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame was shutting the effort down for now.

Designed to be a search engine of the people the Wikia Search service was developed with the idea of allowing users to determine the rankings of sites and pages for all other users. As reported at cnet, Wales was prepared to look at this as a long term project but usability for the public was one or two years away from reality. Considering the state of the economy it was decided to put the project to rest but Wales said that he would return to it when the economy got better.

MySpace and Citysearch Join Forces

MySpace is still huge despite not getting the degree of attention that other social media outlets get. myspaceAccording to Compete.com from January ’09 it slipped to second behind Facebook when ranked by number of monthly visits. Despite the huge numbers (810 million visits in Jan. ’09) there is little talk about the business applications beyond the music world and products that skew very young. With as much talk as there is about Twitter, you would think it’s getting just as big as MySpace but in January Twitter is getting just 7% of the monthly visits that MySpace does.

In a similar position is Citysearch. As we have discussed here in the recent past Citysearch is working to updatecitysearch-logo and expand its offerings to a much larger audience. The competition that is coming up in the rear view mirror for these guys are the likes of Yelp!.

YouTube/Disney Deal: Clips & In-Stream Ads

Google seems to be going back and forth over the video advertising business and monetization lately. First they mention Google TV Ads Online, then they pull AdSense video units, despite growth in aggregate online video ad revenue. And now they’re announcing a deal between YouTube and Disney/ABC to show clips and in-stream commercials on the most popular video site on the Internet.

The deal includes several ad-supported YouTube channels with professional content from Disney, including teasers and recaps for popular sitcoms from its child company ABC. Part of the revenue is slated to come from in-stream ads on this content sold by ABC. In addition to YouTube’s InVideo overlay ads and banners, Disney will also test pre-rolls with their content.

ClickZ reports that a pending YouTube redesign will highlight the professional content from Disney and other studios:

Online Ad Spending Grows 10%; Video Ads Strong (Just Not at Google)

In yesterday’s report, we informed you of the dramatic decline the newspaper industry is seeing in advertising revenue. Perhaps the most shocking revelation was that newspapers saw a 1.8% decline in online advertising revenues. You might have downplayed that decline due to the overall decline of online spending. However, new data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in conjunction with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, reveals growth of just over 10% in online ad spending.

Web ad spending hit $23.4 billion in 2008, up 10.6 percent over 2007. Fourth quarter 2008 revenue growth was more conservative at 2.6 percent; total online ad spending for the quarter was $6.1 billion.

While that 10.6% growth is down from the whopping 26% growth seen in 2007, it’s still pretty darn good–and shines a bright spotlight on just how badly the newspaper business is doing with its migration to online formats.

Google Ventures Launches with “We May Steal Your Idea” Caveat

If you’re a start-up that’s making moves despite the recession, Google wants to hear from you. Specifically, Google Ventures–the newly launched venture capital arm of the search giant–wants to hear from you.

Google Ventures has around $100 million to invest and is interested in "early stage investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care"–basically any hot company seeking seed finance.

According to the NYT, Google Ventures has already made two investments:

Silver Spring Networks, a company that makes technology to help manage electric grids, and Pixazza, which links online images with related products that can be purchased. Google declined to say how much it invested in those companies.

A Higher Education in Social Media

By Trisha Lyn Fawver

Forget spending years in grad school toiling away on an advanced marketing degree.  Birmingham City University in the UK is going to begin offering a MA course in Social Media.  All you social media junkies out there, grab your backpacks and passports!

Jon Hickman, the course convener, had this to say about the year-long program:

It’s not for freaks or IT geeks, the tools learnt on this course will be accessible to many people.

During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes.

There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.

Does Social Media Really Have the Pulse of the People?

Advertising Age has an interesting position in the business world these days. The publication is sometimes representative of the old guard. I ad-age-logoremember at PubCon in Las Vegas where that point was made in a video that Rance Crain, AdAge’s editor-in-chief, was shown saying that Blendtec simply needed to take out print ads to accomplish what was done with its “Will It Blend” campaign. Ouch. He didn’t appear to be on top the one of more impressive stories of the social media marketing age.