Can LivingSocial Really Give Groupon A Run for Its Money?

We have talked about the LivingSocial v. Groupon situation here before. It’s always interesting how readers respond. There appears to be a very misguided line of thinking that Groupon has the lead in the daily deal space that is insurmountable and all others should just fold up their tents and call it a day.

Well, Amazon didn’t just give LivingSocial $175 million because it was feeling generous. It did it because it felt like there was room to take a shot at Groupon. If the traffic chart below from Experian’s Hitwise is any indication they may be right.

Microsoft’s Online Efforts Keep Losing Money

Microsoft reported good results yesterday for the last quarter of 2010. I guess the term good could be an understatement when you post a quarterly profit of $6.63 billion on numbers that beat the street. No one doubts that Microsoft is still a strong company with Windows, Office 2010, Xbox, Kinect and server businesses moving right along.

However, what we are interested in the Internet side of the ledger and it tells a familiar story that makes one wonder if Microsoft will ever make money online. The chart below from the Silicon Alley Insider gives a history of the excessive hemorrhaging that the online space has provided for the company with the latest quarter reporting a loss of $563 million.

What’s Your Social Profile Worth? About $4.00

If you went to the store and bought $4.00 worth of goods, that’s not going to keep the place open for business. But when 1 billion people each spend $4.00, now you’re on to something.

Deloitte has just released the 10th edition of their “Predictions for the Technology, Media and Telecommunications” report and one of the questions is “Social Network Advertising: How Big Can it Get?”

The answer, they say is about 4 billion in 2011. That’s a combination of advertising, virtual goods and social network ecommerce. When you pull out only the advertising dollar, the ARPU (average revenue per user) drops to $3.50 which is still an expected rise over the $3.00 ARPU for 2010.

Does Demand Media’s Successful IPO Validate Content Farms?

Yesterday, Demand Media may have pulled off one of the best “just in time” IPO’s of all time. The company mass produces content and is one of the leading content farms in the online space. People within their company and others like them (Yahoo’s Associated Content, Examiner.com, AOL’s Seed etc.) bristle at the notion that they only produce high volume, keyword specific content which leaves quality far down the list of desired results. Truth be told, the vast majority if readers don’t know the difference which is more an indictment of education levels than a companies ability to capitalize on a market.

Twitter’s Search for Search Talent Finds Bing’s Principal Scientist

Holy Search Find, Batman! Twitter looks to be getting quite a bit more serious about making the term “Twitter Search” less of an oxymoron and more of a real resource. While Twitter has developed relationships with the major search engines to get their feeds for indexing and archiving it did so more as a recognition of its inability to do it itself. Heck, someone needed to get a grasp on the gazillion tweets and the relative small percentage of real information buried among them!

So Twitter has made the step of taking one of the top talents of Microsoft’s Bing search decision engine (someone PLEASE explain that one to me) and bringing them into nest. ReadWriteWeb reports

Yahoo Reports Surprising Rise in Display Dollars

They thought it wouldn’t happen, but the folks at Yahoo! (and many others) got a happy surprise when they totaled up the balance sheets for Q4 2010. Turns out they saw a 16% increase in display ad revenue, popping them up from $465 to $567 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the spike did nothing to help the 600 people that got pink slips in December. It’s also too little, too late for the additional 1% which are expected to be let go in the coming months.

The trouble lies in the fact that even though display rose, search ad revenues dropped 18%. Overall, the company was down 4% in total revenue over last year and that’s enough to hurt.

Yahoo! is blaming the drop on outside forces. Says ClickZ,

Facebook Encourages You to Buy with Friends

It can be hard keeping up with the virtual Jonses. First your old roommate gets a new tractor for his farm, then your mom gets a missile launcher and your best friend just got a baby whale. Don’t stress it. Facebook’s new Buy with Friends program is going to help you keep up by offering you a chance to purchase everything your friends bought and you might even get a discount.

Deb Liu of Facebook Commerce Product Marketing announced the roll out of the new program at the Inside Social Apps InFocus 2011 Conference.

Buy with Friends is an attempt to make social commerce more social and it could be both a boon and a bust, depending on which side of the dollar you’re on.