Google Changing Its Agency Interface

Google is changing the way it will interact with agencies using AdWords. They’re discontinuing the Google Advertising Professionals program in favor of the Google AdWords Certification program, and eliminating fees for some agencies using the API, based on client spend.

Agencies that have at least one certified employee may qualify as Certified Partners now. The certification process will also change, with more training materials, harder tests that include application and best practices, and a new badge that includes a “click to verify” CTA. Individuals certifying will now have to pass two tests instead of one, according to Search Engine Land.

For large enough agencies, Google will be waiving the AdWords API fee. They’ll begin accepting applications for that program one month from today.

Google Places Wants To Help You?

Last week Google announced the name change from Google Maps to Google Places along with some changes to the local listing service that is so important to local search. At the end of the week Google also announced something that they are not real well known for: support. Here’s how the Google LatLong blog puts it:

With a new name comes a fresh support experience. The Google Places team wants to make sure that, as a business owner, your experience with Google Places is a good one, so we’ve taken some steps to expand and refine our support offerings.

NJ Court Says Determines Whether Woman Is A Journalist or Not

The online world is interesting for all of us when it comes to defining who we are. While it’s easy to call yourself a blogger what does that actually mean from a legal standpoint? How is a blogger truly defined when it comes to the legal side of the coin?

A case in New Jersey has brought attention to the rights and protections provided to someone but whether it is about a blogger is something that seems to be up for debate. MediaPost’s report is titled “Jersey Court Rules Blogger Not Protected By Shield Law, Must Divulge Source”. A pretty astounding headline but after reading the report I am not convinced this ruling is about bloggers at all.

US Senator Wants FTC to Look Into Facebook Privacy Practices

Last week we brought to your attention the fact that Facebook was starting to spend some time in Washington, DC talking to folks in the intelligence community as well as the FTC. Well, now after US Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer’s action we can understand why Facebook would like to develop some friendships in high places.

The local ABC New York City affiliate ran this piece on the senator’s request. It’s interesting to see how the people who pay attention to local news are being “informed” about the online world especially when it comes to something they can get paranoid about like privacy. Schumer and most politicians want to play on the public’s fears so they can look like they are busy. What better place to make the public squirm than the idea that their private information is being spread across the Internet with no concern for wants and desires for that data. While it may not even be completely true it sure makes for good TV.

Cup of Joe: Steve Jobs Is a Marketing Guru

Let me start off with a little disclaimer: I don’t like Apple products. I used nothing but Apple products for most of the 1990s but since then I’ve grown to dislike the vast majority of the things they produce and the business decisions they choose to make.

However, I think Steve Jobs is a marketing genius. If you look at Apple’s history it is defined by a very distinctive brand and vision which has guided their direction and development. This can be seen in everything from their products to their user interface. All of which emphasizes a polished and well thought out marketing strategy.

Google Bringing GPS Navigation to iPhone…This Just In: No It’s Not

You’ve got to love how quickly rumors can start, spread, and become fact, all before you can say “Google world domination.”

Case in point? MacUser published on Thursday what appeared to be a scoop:

The navigation system is available as a free update to Google Maps on Android phones, but won’t stop there. Google confirmed at a London press conference that it plans to bring free satnav to other smartphone platforms, including the iPhone, although it wouldn’t say when.

Excitement ensued. Posts flew around the web, gushing over Google’s pre-cached, always up-to-date, navigation capabilities.

iPhone users everywhere salivated.

Then this:

“We did not say we would bring it to iPhone, we said to date we’ve had it on Android and that in the future it may come to other platforms but did not confirm this will be coming to iPhone at all,” a Google spokesperson told PCWorld.

Microsoft Sees “Strong Growth” in an Extra $300M Loss for Bing???

Back when I was a VP at a publicly-traded search marketing firm, I learned one thing: I would never make a good CFO.

It’s not that I can’t use a calculator, I just get soooo bored looking at cash flow statements, P&Ls, etc. We’d have our auditor in for meetings and I’d do my best to be busy “optimizing an important client’s web site!” ;-)

But, I’m not completely ignorant, so I’m sorry Microsoft, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes. You may say (emphasis added),

“Windows 7 continues to be a growth engine, but we also saw strong growth in other areas like Bing search, Xbox LIVE and our emerging cloud services,”

according to Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. But when I look at your numbers, I can’t help but see this: