Commerce Department, Ma’am. Privacy Division

I can see it now. The black screen, the ominous ba bum sound and then the words, Law & Order: Privacy Division. They’re federal agents who put their lives on the line every day so that you, the internet user, can surf without fear of being molested by targeted Old Navy ads and free lunch coupons on your birthday. Sure they’re making it hard for the small business marketer to sell his wares, but hey, that’s the way the browser cookie crumbles. Get over it.

So, maybe it won’t be on next fall’s TV schedule, but it may be coming to a computer near you, if the federal government gets their way. Yesterday, the Commerce Department released the Internet Policy Task Force Privacy Green Paper which is loaded with recommendations “aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economic growth.”

The Top 6 Pitfalls of Affiliate Marketing for Advertisers

Affiliate marketing can be a very rewarding endeavor for the ambitious online marketer; however, there are several things you should be aware of before you take the plunge. To help you on your journey, I’ve compiled a list of some of the top 6 pitfalls you may face as you deploy your own affiliate marketing advertising campaigns.

While this list is by no means comprehensive of all the challenges you’ll face in your campaigns, it’s a good place to start and might help you avoid some headaches along the way.

1. Double Commissions

When you run your campaign you might decide to promote your offer on multiple affiliate platforms (networks, home grown, etc.), but be warned! Affiliates can register for your offer on multiple platforms and with a little cookie stuffing, earn commissions from both platforms for the same order. Yikes!

Friday Funny

I suspect I will be tagged as being ‘late to the game’ but I was just introduced to Geek Culture‘s Joy of Tech cartoon by the folks at All Things Digital in their Voices section. Hmmm, I guess that also says I should pay closer attention there as well since this is a regular feature and looks pretty cool but, hey, there’s only so many hours in a digital day, right?

For your Friday entertainment here’s a take on the Facebook World we live in.

By the way, I concur completely with the Angry Birds reference. Those little pigs are so smug.

Have a great weekend! Bookmarked for Closing

It appears as if one of the most popular social bookmarking sites (and pretty strong brand name amongst certain circles) has been marked for what Yahoo calls being ‘sunset’. In other words, it will be riding off into the sunset and sent to the glue factory. Never heard that one? OK, I’ll say it in simpler terms. It’s being shut down.

The slide below was displayed over at TechCrunch and shows other Yahoo properties targeted for sunset-land including Yahoo Bookmarks, Yahoo Buzz, AltaVista, MyBlogLog and a few more..

An update to the TC post pretty much put the final nail in the rumor and turned it into ‘fact’.

Google Includes Display in Renewed MySpace Contract

MySpace and Google Inc. will continue doing business together under a long-term deal that includes the Google Display Network for the first time ever.

Nada Stirratt, MySpace Chief Revenue Officer, has been widely quoted as saying,

“We look forward to participating in the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Ad Exchange to increase yield across our display ad inventory.”

I’m sure it’s true. MySpace has been running down a rocky road of late and parent company, News Corp, is getting tired of waiting for the profits to roll in. A little over a month ago, News Corp president Chase Carey said that MySpace needed to start showing improvement over the next few quarters, not years. Certainly, keeping Google on board, and joining the display ad network will help, but it’s not the key to saving the floundering social site.

Those Crazy Kids and Their Mobile Devices

Nielsen has just finished a study that looks at the youth of the world and their relationships with their cellphones and smartphones. It makes for interesting reading for sure and it is a way to measure just how cultural differences will shape how the mobile world shapes up moving forward.

First, here is the scoop on who chooses the devices for the younger crowd. Most pick the device themselves.

I find the grouping of people aged 15-24 pretty interesting. Would be much more interesting if the segments were 15-18 (still at home presumably), 18-21 (college years or starting to work presumably) and 22-24 (out of college and starting to be completely independent presumably).

As for the drivers for what to purchase? It varies by country but not surprisingly, price always plays some role.

Bing’s Search for Market Share

Yesterday, Microsoft’s Bing search engine announced what is the digital world’s equivalent of a tsunami of upgrades, tweaks, changes etc, etc. It happened at an event in San Francisco (I guess making these announcement out of the mothership in Redmond looks less cool as well as the fact that the digital press lives in the SF area).

To summarize, Bing made changes in virtually all aspects of its search experience ranging from further integration of Facebook (which is leading to these social signals getting play in the algorithmic determination of relevance of results at some point), changes to how maps are presented, the ability to make reservations from inside Bing via OpenTable, more details about events and venues, mobile improvements and more. The list is long and from a sheer volume standpoint it is very impressive. There has been quite a bit of coverage of the details and I will let the good folks at Search Engine Land, eWeek, TechCrunch and MediaPost give you that rundown.