AOL & Yahoo Plan Merger? Building an “Exclusive” on…Well, Nothing Actually

Sometimes, merger and acquisition rumors are juicy, thrilling, with a sense of mystery.

Other times, they’re a lame duck and you wonder why anyone–let alone Reuters–would waste the time writing the story.

Exhibit A:

Exclusive: AOL mulls breakup, then merger with Yahoo

Ooh, that’s a BIG story, right? AOL, trying to reinvent itself and Yahoo, looking at a boatload of options to survive.

This is a huge story for a Monday in December. Let’s examine the “smoke” to this “fire” shall we?

…The plans are still in the exploratory stage…

Oh, OK. But I am sure the two sides are deep in talks, right?

…and Yahoo has not been contacted, the sources said…

Oh well, I’m sure Reuters has someone reliable that can be quoted here.

Was Groupon’s Rejection of Google the Right Move?

Groupon knock –offs breathed a huge sigh of relief as they category maker in online deals rejected the lavish offer of around $6 billion in total that Google put on the table last week.

According to a Bloomberg article

Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason, who started the company in 2008, had concerns about the strategic direction it would take under new management and what could happen to his employees if he sold to Google, according to a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because the discussions were private.

If there was ever a chance to ‘take the money and run’ this one was it. Why? In my opinion, it’s because although Groupon has the lead in the online deal space right now, it is more about being first rather than being better or, more importantly, hard to replicate.

Facebook Profile Changes: More Media Play Than News?

Facebook sure has arrived when it comes to the traditional media set as it used 60 Minutes (in more ways than one) to roll out the new Profile Page design. I say used 60 Minutes because I personally came away from the watching the interview with nothing new. In other words, it looks like Mark Zuckerberg has mastered the ‘no event’ interview and he is getting a bigger stage for an audience he usually doesn’t get to address.

How he came across depends on who you are and how you see things, of course. If you are Jay Yarrow of the Business Insider you just put a headline that ‘he rocked’ and give no reason why ‘he rocked’ and just show the video. While Andrew Wallenstein of econsultancy took the other side of the ledger and explained why (Which is the better way to go. Don’t just say something and not explain it no matter what your point of view is.).

4 Great Tips to Build More Links to Your Blog Posts…Based on Scientific Analysis

This is a guest post by HubSpot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella. It contains data from his upcoming webinar “The Science of Blogging” taking place on December 9th.

Many marketers and small business owners see blogging, rightly, as an important aspect of their SEO efforts because of their ability to attract inbound links. And even beyond SEO, getting lots of links for your blog posts is key to establishing yourself as an expert and building traffic.

I’ve spent the past few months analyzing data on over 150,000 blog posts and I’ve identified several ways you can optimize your blogging efforts to drive more incoming links.

Day of Week

Cup of Joe: Are You Marketing For Sh*ts and Giggles?

Ben the BodyguardRecently a new site launched that has had a lot of folks talking on social media. The designers are using an innovative scrolling design with high quality illustrations to entertain and sell their brand. Ben the Bodyguard is a soon to be released app on the iPhone and iPad that protects your phone from theft and your boss from reading about your former workplace…I think….Or is it the photos on the phone from thieves? Where does the iPad play into all this???

Oh, to be honest I am actually pretty confused about exactly what or how this new product works. But for the 20 seconds it took me to look over their beautiful site, that didn’t matter. Will I buy their product? No, I mean I don’t understand it!

Is Do Not Track Something to Worry About?

This past Wednesday, the FTC released a report stating that they were behind a “Do Not Track” program that would automatically stop all ad tracking unless the consumer opted in. The consensus from the government is that advertisers aren’t doing enough to assure consumer privacy, so they’re being forced to step in.

As of this morning, a dozen plus blogs and news outlets have chimed in on the topic discussing everything from the possibility of it becoming a reality and who will be hurt if it happens.

Multichannel news covered a Time Warner media VP’s appearance before the subcommittee on Thursday. Joan Gillman’s point was that “Do Not Track” would interfere with the “vibrancy” of the internet in that it would restrict a company’s ability to be marketing innovators.

Gowalla Upgrade Adds Foursquare and Facebook

Location-based check-in services aren’t as big as they appear to be from the hype, but still, companies are clamoring to take over the space. Foursquare has been the high-profile leader for awhile but there are folks that prefer Gowalla’s interface and then there are those who don’t leave Facebook for anything. That’s why Gowalla has decided to run with the old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Gowalla’s latest update allows the user to see the check-in updates of their friends, even if they’re using rivals Foursquare, Facebook, even Twitter and Tumblr.

Josh Williams, CEO of Gowalla had this to say about the decision: