Yahoo Becomes the Costco of Search Engines

I was all set to post a simple announcement that Yahoo had officially flicked the switch and changed its search results to Bing’s.

I had no plans to give Yahoo a hard time. Give it a break, I told myself. Let it prove to the world that it’s not bailing on search.

Then I read Shashi Seth’s rebuttal to…well, no one in particular.

I’ve heard some innuendo that with Yahoo! Search transitioning certain back-end functions to Microsoft, we are no longer a “search engine.” …most industry players initially build their entire technology stack in-house. As these companies become more successful, and as technology matures, many building blocks of these products are outsourced – even some of the most critical components.

Using Pot Leaf in Ads? Facebook Says You Can’t-abis

Facebook has taken a stand on just what you can or cannot show in an ad on the social media service. Of course, their decision came a week after said ad was running. As a result, st least a short while it was OK for Facebook to take the money of the Just Say Now organization before it extinguished the campaign.

The LA Times reports

Pot leaves are easy to find on Facebook pages. But the nation’s largest social-networking site has decided they cannot appear in advertisements, prohibiting them as “illegal content.”

The policy was disclosed Tuesday after a national campaign promoting legalization accused Facebook of censoring political speech. The Just Say Now campaign said the popular website rejected its ads after they had run for more than a week. The ads featured the readily recognizable leaf and asked the website’s users to “sign the petition to President Obama to support states’ rights to legalize marijuana.”

Twitter’s Promoted Tweets: 300% More Engaging Than Normal Tweets

How much benefit do you get from being part of Twitter’s limited test of Promoted Tweets?

Well, according to one of the participants, Zecco, life is pretty good at the top of the Twitter Search results!

Over the past two months, Zecco sampled 50 Promoted Tweets and measured their effectiveness. In comparison to regular Tweets, Zecco saw an average 50% increase in engagement with Promoted Tweets and 200 to 300% increases in some cases. During this time, the majority of Zecco’s tweets focused on financial market commentary and new product offerings.

Of course, 300% is relative to the baseline. So, the percentage could appear to be more impressive than the actual numbers. Still, it’s good news for Twitter as it continues on its quest to find a revenue model.

Google Finance Gets Mobile Makeover

Each time I find out about how Google is making strides in turning many of their popular services into a usable mobile form I am reminded of just how far mobile has to go. Honestly, I am naïve enough to think that a company like Google would already have done something long ago with an important feature like Google Finance to make it a mobile standard. Guess I was wrong. If Google is playing “catch-up” then just how far behind is the rest of the world?

From the Google Mobile blog (which was from a cross post from the Google Finance blog which brings up the point that it is a part time job trying to keep up with all the blogs Google has but anyway)

Gap Deal Blitz’s Groupon Servers

Last week, Groupon members got a great deal, $50 worth of clothing at The Gap for only $25. More than 440,000 subscribers took advantage of the deal and they did it so quickly, they temporarily stalled the servers at the popular new deal site.

Part of the reason for the huge influx was that it wasn’t just Groupon members who were clicking. Shortly after the deal was announced, the news spread over thousands of mommy blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. I came across more than twenty mentions of the deal during my usual travels around the web and it looks like I was one of the rare few who resisted. Still, I’d venture to say that Groupon got a lot of new signups that day.

Local Online Ad Spending Continues to Rise

Local online ad spending is climbing faster than expected with sales reaching a number in 2011 that was originally predicted for 2012.

According to a study by Borrell Associates, which was reported on by PaidContent, online ad spending is likely to rise 18% next year rising to $16.1 billion dollars. Ad spending overall is expected to hit $51.9 billion which equals a 14% growth.

This is a nice leap over this year’s spending which is likely to rise less than 2% from last year. Borrell says this upswing is coming mostly from the rise in targeted advertising to local audiences and “everything involving social media.”

None of this is surprising given that “local” is the magic word of late. Everyday the marketing news is filled with stories about new mobile apps, websites and social media sites that are helping business target the customers in their neighborhood.

Consumer Reports Concerned About Mobile Payment Safety

Fresh off its success in helping to take the Apple Antennagate fiasco to a new level, Consumer Reports may be trying to make a name for itself in the world of the mobile Internet.

According to the LA Times the group is now making some waves in the area of mobile payment security.

{Consumers Union} the nonprofit testing and information organization, which publishes Consumer Reports, called on regulators Tuesday to implement protective standards on mobile payments.

Federal law currently shields credit or debit card holders from many charges associated with lost, stolen or misused cards. But without industry-wide rules for “digital wallet” providers, consumers could risk losing money through fraud, merchant disputes or processing mistakes, the group said.