Amazon Acquires Goodreads: Boon or Bust for Small Publishers?

1067843_old_books___Goodreads is a social network devoted exclusively to the literary arts. They have 16 million members and a book rating and reviewing system that can’t be beat. In addition, there are genre specific social groups, groups for writers and hundreds of daily book giveaways. “Over just the past 90 days, members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.”

And now, they’ve been acquired by Amazon.

It’s a good match-up, given that Amazon is one of the largest (maybe THE largest) book sellers in the world. What does surprise me is that the press releases regarding the acquisition are extremely Kindle oriented.

Here’s Amazon:

YouTube Pulls AdSense Reports Off AdSense

youtube-logoMore and more, I have the feeling that every time I look left, gremlins are causing havoc to my right. That’s why I appreciate tools that pull data from the left and the right and the up and down into one place so I can see what’s going on at a glance.

Adsense was like that – one login and I could see how my entire network was doing, including my ads on YouTube.

To quote Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau, “not anymore.”

For some odd reason, YouTube has elected to remove the day-to-day AdSense data from AdSense. The totals will still add up at the end of the month and you’ll still get paid the same way but if you want to see how you’re doing on any given day, you’ll have to log in to two different reports.

SMBs Rarely Post to LinkedIn and Twitter But Still Claim Social Media Success

For the small business owner, social media is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s a relatively inexpensive form of online advertising but on the other hand it can take up a lot of time to deliver only minimal results.

When Constant Contact asked 1,000 small business owners which social media network was tops. . . well, I’ll bet you know which one they named most often.

Facebook. It was Facebook, of course but it makes me wonder if that’s really the truth or just a knee jerk response. The real news is the number two slot. Check out this graph:

constant contact SMB

Could Stores Really Get Away with Charging a ‘Just Looking’ Fee?

Brick and mortar store owners are frustrated by customers who use their stores as a showroom – trying out items in-store, only to buy them online from someone else. One shopkeeper in Australia decided that enough was enough and posted this sign in the window:

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First, let’s get the validity question out of the way. It could be phony or someone’s idea of an early April Fool’s joke. It was originally posted on Reddit, then was picked up by The Consumerist. That’s all I have on the origin and I don’t doubt that it’s real. I do doubt that the store owner is forcing customers to hand over a $5 bill the minute they step inside the store. That’s the only way you could enforce the rule as you can’t lock the door behind them then force them to pay in toll in order to leave.

Ning Tries to Recover its Zing

ningDo you remember Ning? Back in 2005, Ning launched an unusual social networking tool that combined the conversation of a forum with the content of a website. Thousands of people signed up to create communities dedicated to their favorite TV show or movie, hobby or cause. You could also build a private Ning space for members of your local little league team, club or company.

Back in the day, I belonged to several Ning groups, so I was extremely disappointed when the free service converted to a paid service. That was the beginning of the end. Because they were doing it for fun, not profit, thousands of community owners shut down their sites and reopened in places such as LiveJournal and Facebook.

What’s One More Ad? Facebook Tests Ad Exchange Ads in the Feed

The Facebook News Feed used to be sacred ground, reserved for only those with a direct connection to the profile holder – for example, posts from brands they follow. . . .

Then Facebook got tricky. They put in “Sponsored Stories” and bumped branded Page Posts to their own tab. Then they offered to put those Page Posts back in the main News Feed for a price (Promoted Posts.) Now, they’re testing Facebook Exchange Ads in the News Feed. Ads like this one:

facebook feed ads

The overall message: if you want your business to show up in a prime location, you have to pay, pay, pay. And that should be okay with marketers. After all, you’d pay to put a banner ad on another site or hang a billboard in town – so shouldn’t you pay to have your ads show up on Facebook?

Facebook Adds Reply to Comment Feature: A Cheer Rises Up Across the Land!

Take notice, my fine readers, today is a banner day – I’m going to say something nice about Facebook.

After years of wishing and hoping, Facebook just implemented replies to comments. Yes, you heard it right. Now you can directly respond to a comment whether it’s first, last or somewhere in the middle. Look:

facebook reply

This is huge, especially if you use Facebook to respond to customer service questions. But it’s also the only way to start a true conversation between a group of followers. And once you get a conversation going, Facebook will bump that bit up to the top of the page.

Note that the comments do not appear in the same order for everyone. Facebook bases the results on three things: