Groupon Now Gives Chicagoans Dinner for a Dollar

In order to promote their new Groupon Now service, Groupon is offering a number of dollar deals for folks in the Chicago area. $1 for $10 meal at Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli, $1 for $18 at Baba Pizza and Pasta, or perhaps you’d like to pay $1 for beers at Grace Street Tap.

The promotion is running today only, but if it’s successful, it’s likely Groupon will repeat it when they open Now in other cities. It’s also assumed that Groupon is picking up the tab for the discount, but that’s not for sure.

Groupon Now is a variation on the daily deal site that preys on hungry, bored people who don’t want to plan ahead. It’s heavily mobile-dependent, using your current location to offer you deals in your area.

Which Traffic Source Has the Best Conversion Rate?

We spend a lot of time around here discussing the concept of whether or not social media marketing is worth the effort. We’ve seen reports that show that website traffic from social media networks is pretty low and I’m about to show it to you again. But this time, I’ll take it a step further thanks to the folks at SeeWhy.

SeeWhy studied a sampling of 60,000 ecommerce transactions across a variety of sites in February 2011. The first thing they did was chart where the traffic came from, but not all of the traffic. Since running an online store is about selling things, they looked at only the people who actually loaded items into their shopping cart. Here’s what they got:

Comcast Threatened To Pull Nonprofit Funding Over Tweet

Social media is great isn’t it? Never before have more people had more chances to voice opinions and share ideas. While that’s the rose-colored glasses description of the space let’s not forget what might be crawling underneath when you flip the rock over.

An example of how companies can simply get themselves the wrong kind of attention happened in Washington state recently. The short version is that a small non-profit that was getting some support from Comcast (Reel Grrls) tweeted their surprise at a recent Comcast hire who came from the public sector. The results are less than hilarious if you are Comcast. The Wall Street Journal reports

Google Opens Inside Search Blog

If you follow Google’s series of blogs on the wide variety of areas that the company plays in there has always been one conspicuous absence. Among the LatLong, Mobile, AdWords blogs there has never been an actual Search blog. That is until this week with its new blog called Inside Search.

The first post from the blog reminds readers that it’s not like there has never been any posts about search. It’s just that there has never been a blog about search.

In the past we’ve published information about search on the Official Google Blog (more than 400 posts about search and more than 50 weekly wrap-ups), and webmaster-oriented posts on theWebmaster Central Blog (more than 300 posts). We also operate a help center for search and another for webmasters. That’s not to mention the search help forums which have more than 50,000 discussions, and the webmaster central help forums with more than 90,000. Combine this with YouTube channels and search conferences, and it’s safe to say we talk a lot about search.

Bezos Says Amazon Sales Tax is Unconstitutional

For awhile now, Amazon has been fighting the battle over the collection of sales tax. The simple version goes something like this. The rule up until now has been that if you don’t have a physical presence in a state, then a retailer does not have to charge sales tax when shipping to that state.

Now, some states are saying that having affiliates in a state, is equal to having a physical presence. One by one, states have been enacting this new law and one by one, Amazon has been canceling affiliate deals with people in those states.

Starbucks Teams Up with Lady Gaga

Starbucks has just announced that they’re teaming up with Lady Gaga. Yes, the woman who wore a dress made of raw meat to the VMA’s. The promotion will include exclusive videos and downloads through the Starbucks Digital Network and a Gaga scavenger hunt game across all of the store’s social networks.

Store appearances are not on the agenda, at least not until they can figure out how to create a dress out of coffee.

The announcement came shortly after Forbes listed Lady Gaga as the world’s most powerful celebrity, knocking Oprah down a peg. It was previously noted that the star would be teaming up with Farmville as well. So perhaps there’s a triple cross-over event in there somewhere.

LinkedIn’s Valuation Going Up, Up, Up, Up, Up!

OK, before you read on do yourself a favor and sing this post’s headline to The Rolling Stones “Shattered” where Mick says “Don’t you know the crime rate’s going up, up, up, up, up!”. It’s fun, honest.

But back to the news. LinkedIn’s first day of trading is off to a killer start. TechCrunch reports

This is a big day for professional social network LinkedIn, which was founded in 2003. After filing its S-1 with the SEC in January, the company has begin trading its shares, under the symbol LNKD, on the New York Stock Exchange this morning. As we learned yesterday, LinkedIn priced its IPO at $45 per share, giving the company a valuation of $4.5 billion. Today, the company began trading at $83.00 per share, a 84 percent increase from $45 per share. That’s a $7.8 billion market cap. It’s now up to $90 per share, but is fluctuating.