Social Sites Help eCommerce (and Your Annual Reality Check)

The results are in: Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) = success! The numbers are actually up from last year, despite the state the economy is still in. And according to Hitwise, social sites helped to drive sales. (Yeah, FOR REAL.)

Top 5 FB Retail Websites small

Their data shows that not only was US traffic up to social sites over the holiday weekend, but downstream traffic to online retailers was also up—especially to Amazon (Cyber Monday winner), Wal-Mart (Black Friday winner), Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us. Wal-Mart also saw the highest increase in downstream traffic from Twitter (among the Retail 500 that Hitwise tracks).

Twitter Founder Turns Square (with Mobile Payments)

square_logo_dec09Is it hip to be square again? Maybe according to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. His new startup, called Square, is a mobile payments (credit card processing) system that appeals to small businesses. But is he targeting the right customers?

I think we’ve all heard rumors of a credit card reader for the iPhone—and this is it. A small, white plastic cube plugs into the audio jack of an iPhone or laptop (with software planned for Blackberry and Android). It scans the card, geotags the transaction and emails a receipt to the buyer. And just to be clear, Square is an app for merchants, not a way for individuals to electronically zap their bucks into the nearest Starbucks to pay for their latte.

Google REALLY Wants You to Speed Up Your Web Site

When Google’s Matt Cutts makes this statement on Twitter:

“This is important. Google provides webmaster tool to see how fast your site is…”

You can pretty much take to the bank that Google is getting ready to add site load speed to its complex search algorithm.

In fact, Cutts points us to this Google announcement:

On Site Performance, you’ll find how fast your pages load, how they’ve fared over time, how your site’s load time compares to that of other sites, examples of specific pages and their actual page load times, and Page Speed suggestions that can help reduce user-perceived latency. Our goal is to bring you specific and actionable speed information backed by data, so stay tuned for more of this in the future.

Ahhhhh To Be Young and Mobile

It appears that it is finally safe to say that if mobile hasn’t completely arrived it is certainly in the room and recognized for its potential. Should we declare 2010 as the ‘Year of Mobile’? Sure, why not. There will be others and honestly it means nothing to hype it. Let’s look at what’s actually going on at street level.

Over at the ZDNet’s  Between the Lines blog, Larry Dignan tells us about a survey from the Bernstein Research’s Jeffrey Lindsay did some research among 360 smartphone users that follows up some initial research he did in the mobile advertising space. Here is some of the information that you may find interesting

  • 67 percent of respondents said that smartphones increased their Internet usage for personal use and 45 percent said work related usage rose.

Yahoo Partners with Facebook, Plans to Focus on Selling Big Pens?

At the rate Yahoo is dumping its own technology and partnering with others, the only thing left that will be “Yahoo built” will be these bloody big pens:

A little over a year since Yahoo announced the expansion of Yahoo Profiles, the search engine, portal, social network, we-don’t-know-what-we-are company is apparently ready to ditch its own social network aspirations and jump into bed with Facebook:

It will enable them to connect with Facebook friends on Yahoo!, view a feed of their friends’ related activity on Yahoo!, and share content—such as photos from Flickr or comments on news stories—with all of their friends on Facebook. The content that consumers share with Facebook friends will then create a loop that drives visitors back to Yahoo!.

Google Offers Newspapers the First 5 Clicks Free to Keep AdSense Scrapers Alive

For this post, I need two volunteers!

Let’s take this announcement from Google:

…we’ve decided to allow publishers to limit the number of accesses under the First Click Free policy to five free accesses per user each day. This change applies to both Google News publishers as well as websites indexed in Google’s Web Search. We hope that this encourages even more publishers to open up more content to users around the world!

And yes, you sir. The Financial Times report on how much news scraping exists on the web:

The study of 101,000 articles published by 157 newspapers found that more than 75,000 sites reused 112,000 almost exact copies without authorisation, and a further 520,000 articles in part…The study found Google accounted for 53 per cent of the advertising being run alongside unlicensed stories

The Cyber Monday Data Is Here!

Cyber MondayAll of the talk of how things were on ‘Black Friday’ is now followed by the yearly quest for the Cyber Monday data. We in the online world love to see just how much the shift to online commerce continues to overtake the traditional way that goods and services are sold. Whether these numbers are inflated or given too much credit is always a concern but this year’s trends, at least from a few sources, points to the continued rise of online growing while brick and mortar struggles.

To what degree this year’s trending points to a larger economic trend is a huge TBD (to be determined). Honestly, more people may have experimented with online purchasing to save time and money including gas and food that is part of the in-store shopping experience of a venture out on Black Friday. That’s just my thought and there is NO scientific backing on that one.