Google+ Begins Vanity URL Roll-Out

Want to look me up on Google+?

No problem, let me give you my profile URL:

No problem if you’re clicking through from a webpage but what if you’re not? There’s no way you’re going to find me directly without relying on my full name and search. Lucky for you, my name isn’t that common but if you’re looking for a specific John Smith, good luck with that.

I will never understand why social networks insist on giving us all a series of numbers. It may mean something to a browser, but to a human being, it’s so much gobbledygook. And while it’s true I want all browsers to find and love me, I want people to find and love me, too.

HuffPost Live Ushers In New Era of Citizen Journalism

HuffPost Live is now. . . Live!

And with that, online news guru Arianna Huffington ushered in a new era of citizen journalism that could change how news networks conduct themselves going forward.

HuffPost Live is a daily news, live webcast that relies heavily on social media engagement. Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 10 pm, Huff’s news correspondents take turns manning the anchor desk, to chat about what’s happening in the world. To keep the conversation going, they’re pulling in comments and Tweets from the scrolling chat box to the right of the video. Then, they mix it up by inviting viewers to join them as guests.

Mac Owners Love eCommerce but Social Media is a Hard Sell

When it comes to ecommerce, Mac owners take the cake (the decorations, the plates, the party favors. . . ) with the highest average order value of $102.83. But the real surprise is what comes next. It’s not the PC owners, it’s the iPhone users with 97.49.

The numbers come from Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly data report for Q2 which looks at online shopping trends. And while you can’t control what device people use to shop, you can control how they access your e-store in the first place.

According to Monetate, that social media link that we all love so much, isn’t doing us any favors.

  • Social media referral traffic lags far behind email and search, with the Average Order Value (AOV) of social traffic $26.21 less than search traffic and nearly $20 less than email referral traffic

Olympic Advertisers Falter at the Social Media Hurdles

Over the past week, I’ve spent anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours a night watching Olympic coverage. I’ve seen our women’s gymnastics team get the gold. I’ve seen Misty May play more volleyball than I ever thought I’d see in my lifetime, and I now understand how a headwind can affect a pole vaulter’s performance.

I also understand the struggle of Olympic moms (Thanks P&G), and I learned that Olympic boxers eat at McDonalds and that Matthew Perry and a monkey both have new shows coming up on NBC. Those last three things, I’ve learned over and over and over again to the point where I want to run screaming from the room when the commercials air for the 59th time in one week.

It’s an Open House: Pinterest Removes Invite Requirement

Pinterest has removed their invite requirement! Now everyone who wants a Pinterest account can sign up and get one instantly. Exciting news, right?

At least half of you are now scratching your head saying, ‘funny, I didn’t know you needed an invite to get on Pinterest.’

Technically, you did. But unlike other soft launches, you didn’t have to get one from a friend on site or wait weeks to have your request approved. You requested, you were approved – no muss, no fuss. Now, I’ve heard from others that this wasn’t always the case. I’ve heard reports of waiting weeks for an approval and that might have been the case when I built my first Pinterest site. Honestly, I don’t remember, so the process couldn’t have been too painful.

Google Gets Hit With Big Fine For Serving Up Cookies

Google Inc. has been ordered to crack open the wallet and pay a $22.5 million civil penalty for misrepresentaion of privacy policies.

The FTC says Google told users that the Safari browser was set to block cookies by default. Taking their word for it, users continued to surf the web, believing they were free of prying eyes. Not so. The FTC says that for a few months between 2011 and 2012, Google created a work around that placed tracking cookies for their DoubleClick network on millions of Macs, iPhones and iPads.

As if lying to the public wasn’t bad enough, the FTC says Google violated an agreement they had with the government agency that specifically forbid them from misrepresenting privacy options.

Call Out the Urban Spelunkers, Google+ is Officially a Ghost Town (Infographic)

It’s only August, but I’m ready to give out my award for the best infographic graphic of the year. It’s the header from the Umpf’s examination of one of life’s great mysteries: Is Google+ really popular or is it a ghost town?

Google is cagey about releasing stats on Google+ and when they do, it’s often hard to distinguish general Google users from those actually on the social network. The current estimate is 170 million Google+ accounts, which would make it the second most popular social network after Facebook. But, as we all know, having a lot of signups does not an active community make. For marketers, it’s interaction that counts, so Umpf counted it.