It’s Official: Baidu into Video

Yesterday’s rumors have proven true: dominant Chinese search engine Baidu has officially announced their entry into the online video market in China. In fact, they’ve confirmed almost all of the rumors floating around yesterday: Baidu is involved, it’s a partnership, they’ll be soliciting content licensing agreements from professional content producers, it will be free with ad support (like Hulu), and Yu Gong, former China Mobile exec, will head up the site. Only Providence Equity Partners’ participation wasn’t confirmed.

As mentioned yesterday, the Chinese video market is lucrative—worth 162 million yuan ($23.73 million) in Q308, according to Analysys International. It’s little wonder that Baidu is eyeing the market (even though the Chinese search market is valued at 2B yuan [$293M], with Baidu controlling around two thirds of the market). China also faces piracy problems that seems more serious than those in the US, where a site with a similar model has enjoyed unexpected success at Hulu.

Spam Works for Weight Loss

No, it’s not the latest fad diet: Marketing Pilgrim. Marketing news, folks. How many of us have stared at the thousands of spam messages and wondered, “Why on earth do they keep sending this crap out? It can’t possibly be effective . . . can it?”

Unfortunately, incredibly, in some industries, the answer is yes. As MediaPost reports, a small study showed that even recipients without weight issues opened and purchased from spam weight loss emails, as published in the Southern Medical Journal this month.

Though the sample size was only 200 (and probably not representative—students at a single New York commuter college), the findings are startling: 18% of those without weight issues opened the spam emails and 5% actually purchased. Of those who identified themselves as having weight issues, 40% opened the spam and 18% purchased.

Hyperlocal Being Targeted by M&A and VC Crowd

Search marketers are always interested in local marketing and search. It’s where the rubber meets the road for many businesses including the enterprise (i.e. big box stores) whose real representation of their brand is the local store that someone goes into to buy products. If the local experience is bad then the brand is bad in many consumers’ eyes. So getting down to the local level is critical for marketers especially in the age of continuing social media adoption and influence.

Now there is local and there is hyperlocal. Hyperlocal is just as it implies it is getting down to the street level for reporting of local news and events. Noted hyperlocal blogger Matt McGee of says this

Social Media Lawsuits: Another 2010 Trend?

Tweets appear to be a pretty powerful 140 characters in some areas these days. In fact, based on this story there may be a whole new slice of the legal industry that can be created. Imagine the TV ad at 2 am “Has someone tweeted something about you that isn’t true? Have you suffered damage to your life in general because of a Twitter user with a mean streak? The Law Offices of Twit, Tweet and Twote can help you get your good name back one character at a time.” I just got a shiver up my spine just thinking about that as reality but in this new world order you never know.

Baidu Getting into Video?

paidContent reports today that private equity company Providence Equity Partners, one of the backers of Hulu, is rumored to be joining up with Baidu for a Chinese equivalent of the popular professional video content site. While China is the largest Internet population (350M) and a huge market for ad dollars in just about every online arena, it’s little wonder both the Chinese search giant and the American investment firm are interested. While Providence declined comment, other sources told PC the deal was already closed.

Reuters reports that the new video site would launch in the first quarter of this year. Providence will back it with $60M, while Baidu is fronting $10M. A recently-departed China Mobile executive is rumored to be the CEO of the new site.

Google Premieres Nexus (Big Surprise)

Google declined to go for the fake out as they unveiled the expected Nexus One today at their Android event. First spotted after employees received free phones last month, the Nexus has already created a media frenzy as the “real” Google phone—one that will be sold by Google through their web store (though manufactured, like so many other Android headsets, by HTC).

So today is the formal announcement of the phone, along with the full rundown of the technical specs (available below). Search Engine Land, Read Write Web and many others are liveblogging the event, which features Google, Android and HTC engineers presenting not only the phone but an update on the progress and history of the OS. But we’ve been following Android for over two years now, so we’ll just stick to the Nexus news.

Google to Add Mobile ‘Click to Call’ Feature to AdWords

Google is ‘all in’ on mobile. AdMob purchased. Operating systems and devices in place. Announcements out the wazoo on just about everything as of late. Now, there is the ability to have your contact phone number show up on your ads on high end mobile devices and the call costs the same as a click. Earth shattering? Nope but it adds to the Google news wave that seems to keep growing.

Search Engine Land reports on the announcement that went out to AdWords advertisers recently

“your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.”