FCC Lumps Google with Mobile Carriers in Termination Fee Inquiry

The Federal Communications Commission recently began an inquiry into exorbitant early termination fees in mobile phone carriers’ contracts. The investigation began when Verizon raised its early termination fee to $350 (from $175) for smartphones. Now the FCC is making the inquiry formal and full-blown—they’re asking the four major mobile carriers and Google about their early termination policies.

Yeah, that’s right. Google. I know they’re selling a mobile phone now, but Google isn’t a service provider. Well, we can all rest assured—a little—the FCC’s letter to Google acknowledges that T-Mobile is the service provider. However, T-Mobile received a letter of its own. So why single out Google of all the hardware providers? (Just wait.)

Win Copies of Tamar Weinberg’s “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web”

If you know Tamar Weinberg, you know, she knows, social media.

If you don’t know Tamar Weinberg, then when I tell you she’s the community and marketing manager for Mashable–the #1 social media blog in the world–you’ll believe that she knows social media. :-)

So, you’ll probably want to jump on this opportunity to win one of 3 copies of her fantastic new book The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.

As the book promises, it will help you:

  • Explore blogging and microblogging, and find out how to use applications such as Twitter to create brand awareness
  • Learn the art of conversation marketing, and how social media thrives on honesty and transparency
  • Manage and enhance your online reputation through the social web

Study: Only 17% of Twitter Users Are Active; New User Accounts Down 20%

Here’s are some metrics that should concern those inside of Twitter:

  • The number of new users per month is down 20% since its peak in July 2009.
  • The average Twitter user has just 27 followers, down from a peak of 42
  • 80% of Twitter users have tweeted fewer than 10 times
  • The percent of active Twitter users is down to just 17%

The data comes from RJMetrics, which analyzed 2 million tweets from about 50,000 users. You could argue that no data is accurate, unless it comes from Twitter itself, but isn’t it interesting that we never see any of these numbers come from Twitter? You’d think that if the real numbers were more encouraging, Twitter would issue a “State of the Twittersphere”–similar to Technorati’s state of the blogosphere report.

Q4 Results Show Things Looking up for Yahoo

Things might be looking up for Yahoo, which just posted its best quarter since Carol Bartz took the reins a year ago. They earned $153 million (11 cents per share) in Q4—a huge improvement over the same quarter last year, where they saw a loss of $303 million (22 cents per share). And Yahoo might have even done better, if it weren’t for all the internal changes and pending Microsoft partnership.

That may be changing soon. “We are done looking inward,” Bartz told analysts. “We are looking outward at the incredible opportunities ahead.” And this year’s opportunities might even include acquiring other companies. Yahoo also projects that Q1 of this year will be even better YOY, with $1.63B in revenue (which would be lower than Q409, but ain’t that always the way? maybe they held back some of their revenue to report in Q1?).

From Lab to Beta: Google’s Social Search For All

It’s rare that Google gets trumped on news but with all the Apple iPad (insert your favorite disgusting nickname here) hoopla from yesterday the announcement that Google’s social search is now in beta for all to use kinda slipped by. After a little reading on the subject there may be a good reason for this. In other words, Google maybe didn’t want to make a big deal on this one. Read on to find out why.

The Official Google Blog announced the move with this

We think there’s tremendous potential for social information to improve search, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. We’re leaving a “beta” label on social results because we know there’s a lot more we can do. If you want to get the most out of Social Search right away, get started by creating a Google profile, where you can add links to your other public online social services.

Readers Hit New York Newsday Paywall Then Turn Around and Walk Away

All of the talk of paywalls for online content that gets the bulk of the attention by the ‘press’ is focused mainly on large publications like the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. These publications have international readership and have significant influence when it comes to coverage of the major events in the world as well as in the business arena. Because of this significant influence many believe that the paywall discussion is valid because people need these sources to stay informed.

What about paywalls on the local level though? How will more localized papers fare when it comes to asking people who do not subscribe to the publication to pay to see the content online? If the results at New York Newsday are any indication its not a pretty picture.
Crain’s New York Business tells us just how bad it is

Facebook Planning Conversion Tracker Tool

The value of social media to business and Internet marketing is often hard to determine. But Facebook would like to help. Yesterday at OMMA Social, Facebook’s direct response solutions manager Brian Boland announced a conversion tracker tool from the most popular social network. Designed to complement Facebook Connect, the tool is already in testing.

The conversion tracking tool being tested by a “handful” of Facebook advertisers doesn’t have a launch date, but Boland believes it should become available sometime before the end of March. A JavaScript snippet will go into the Web page. Marketers will have an option to set up multiple tags to track numerous conversions.

Reports will provide a list of tracked conversions and the impressions and the clicks that led to each. The feature will help marketers build out messages as the campaign expands into a variety of pieces.